Green Umbrella in the News

  • June 06, 2022 2:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    Climate Change is just Getting Warmed Up

    By John Stowell

    June 6, 2022

    The clouds on the western horizon tease the promise of relief. The sun’s been merciless the past three weeks, turning the air into a noxious mix of choking ozone and bludgeoning heat.

    A runway at CVG buckles. The power grid teeters. The sweat-soaked home plate umpire at a Reds game collapses. A group of kids from Bond Hill fry an egg on the sidewalk and become the latest TikTok sensations. The asphalt along Vine Street shimmers with fever, and Over-the-Rhine is as empty as it was during the dark days of COVID.

    People are staying in their homes, drawing their shades, hunkering down. They’re the lucky ones. Others, with no air-conditioning, roast in their brick apartment buildings, unable to escape the relentless heat. Nighttime offers little relief. Some die.

    But those clouds bring a bit of hope—until it starts raining. It comes down in sheets of water so intense that those who’d run outside to welcome the respite are soon driven back inside. Streets overflow; sewers back up. Small streams jump their banks, turning backyards into lakes. Sump pumps are ineffective, and basements along the Mill Creek watershed begin to fill.

    It rains for hours that way and, at some point, the ground can take no more. People nearby say they hear a rumble and figure it’s thunder. It isn’t. Instead, an imposing hillside towering over Columbia Parkway slides forward on a river of rain, turning into an avalanche of soil, trees, rocks, and million-dollar homes.

    Is this Cincinnati’s version of the Apocalypse? Maybe. Skeptics might call this scenario alarmist or even hysterical. Some critics—most of them politically motivated—accuse science and scientists of perpetuating a hidden agenda. But Mother Nature, like the COVID virus, doesn’t care about the politics. She’s just getting warmed up.

    “Climate change has shifted from being this nebulous could happen to it’s happening right now, and we see it in a real way,” says Michael Forrester, director of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. Previously the city’s energy manager, he’s been helping prepare city government for a future climate that will be warmer, wetter, and more extreme.

    Cincinnati’s average temperature is already almost 2 degrees higher than in the 1950s, says Forrester, and—unless things change—scientists believe we’re in for another increase of 4 to 6 degrees by the end of this century. And while you or even your kids may not be around to see 2100, the path between here and there will likely be disruptive, painful, and expensive in ways you haven’t contemplated.

    Disruptive as in the exponential problem of climate refugees—people forced to migrate because their homeland can no longer support food production. It’s already happening in the stream of Central Americans gathering at and crossing our southern border. Painful as in an expansion north of diseases and invasive species heretofore contained in tropical zones. Expensive as in increases in energy costs and insurance rates and higher prices passed down by businesses retrofitting operations to face a volatile climate.

    “It’s a huge problem that’s hard for people to get their arms around,” acknowledges Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, the region’s premier sustainability alliance. Green Umbrella tackles energy efficiency, transportation infrastructure, local food systems, biodiversity, green spaces, environmental equity, and a host of other issues.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock (left) and Savannah Sullivan lead Green Umbrella’s advocacy efforts.


    Mooney-Bullock admits that climate change can be overwhelming and, as the opening of this story suggests, scary. “People see on the news what climate change is doing already,” she says, noting that until people feel the impact directly, those worries are often put on hold. “It’s not only about polar bears floating away on broken icebergs. It’s about how you can’t cook out in the summer or you have to constantly dry out your flooded basement or you remember it used to snow more in the winter.”

    Do you recall last Christmas Day? The temperature hit a record 69 degrees. Two weeks earlier, a deadly tornado plowed through western Kentucky, staying on the ground for an astonishing and destructive 165 miles, killing 57 people along its path. In December. While we often think of climate change as searing summer heat (a.k.a. global warming), records indicate that it’s a 365-day phenomenon now.

    “It’s actually the winter months where we’ve seen greater impact,” says Bryan Mark, Ohio’s state climatologist. A geography professor at Ohio State University, he’s an expert in glacial geology and interactions among land mass, water, and the atmosphere. Interestingly, and perhaps a suggestion of how seriously climate change is taken by some political leaders, the state climate office has no budget. Mark, who calls himself “just a thin New Englander with spectacles,” says his small staff is compensated by the university as part of a “service commitment,” not by state government.

    The warmer winters, Mark says, pose both a problem and an opportunity for Ohio’s $93 billion farming industry. On one hand, the state’s growing season has expanded as killing frosts come later; on the other, higher average nighttime temperatures and the lower number of hard freeze days mean agricultural pests and fungal pathogens have a better chance to survive each winter. Spring rains have been earlier and more intense, disrupting farmers’ planting schedules and forcing them to till when the soil is still wet; that results in soil compacting, which adversely impacts yields. “The Farm Bureau is seeing all of this as a threat multiplier,” Mark notes, “with impacts on production, profitability of the farm, and eventually food prices for consumers.”


    The U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate Assessment—written and edited by more than 300 science, business, academic, and government experts—has confirmed the longer growing season (up nine days in the last 100 years) and sees the warming trend accelerating. By 2045, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts, the Midwest’s frost-free season will increase by another 10 days; it’ll grow an additional 10 days by 2065 and a full month by the end of this century. As the temperatures increase, crops will be stressed to the point that, to quote the report, “By mid-century…maximum temperatures are projected to have moved further above optimum conditions for many crops and closer to the reproductive failure temperature, especially for corn in the southern half of the Midwest.”

    That’s us. If these experts are right or unless the trends reverse, our grandkids might be traveling up I-71 to Columbus someday and whiz by fields of cotton instead of rows of corn.

    Our climate, Mark explains, is a complex system that’s influenced both by nature and, more and more, by human beings. He’s quick to differentiate climate from weather. Think of your afternoon thunderstorm or even a weeklong heat wave as weather—a temporary event that, as we all know living in Cincinnati, can change in a few hours. Climate refers to the long-term atmospheric trends and is typically measured, in the case of climate change, over at least a 30-year period.

    Earth’s temperature has gone up and down many times during its roughly 4.5 billion years of existence. Continents were formed, species evolved and disappeared, and land was scoured by glaciers and deposited here to sculpt our seven hills. When the planet was exceptionally warm, scientists say, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was as high as 10 times today’s level. Then, when greenhouse gases fell, the planet cooled dramatically.

    There were and still are natural reasons that Earth’s temperature fluctuates. But now? An international panel of climate experts have agreed, since 1988, that most of what we’ve experienced recently isn’t natural. The planet is heating up because of us. They use terms like “unequivocal” in their latest United Nations report, and warn this “unprecedented” and “dangerous” warming is leading to a climate “that could surpass thresholds sustaining human health and agriculture.”

    The records don’t lie. Since scientists began keeping records in 1880, 21 of the world’s highest average temperatures have occurred in this century alone, according to the European Union Science Consortium. The culprit? Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which are emitted primarily by the industrial and transportation sectors. These gases trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, much like how clouds keep evening temperatures from falling.

    Carbon dioxide’s atmospheric content is measured in parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii; it was 420 ppm in April. Scientists say this is the highest it’s been in at least 4 million years, when saber tooth tigers and mastodons roamed the planet in the Pliocene epoch. World Meteorological Organization scientists say humans are living in unknown territory and the pace of warming has accelerated. More than half the carbon dioxide mankind has sent into the air since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750 has been emitted in the last 40 years.

    “It’s real,” Mark says, “and it’s not the sun or just a natural cycle. It’s us.”

    So then, what do we do? There are two principal strategies where policy leaders focus much of their time: mitigation and adaptation.

    “We need to make our city more resilient to climate change,” insists Forrester, who in March joined Mayor Aftab Pureval in kicking off the third update of the Green Cincinnati Plan. “That means looking at our infrastructure and figuring out ways to mitigate the impact heat will have on our residents. It means ensuring that our infrastructure, a lot of it built for the climate we had 100 years ago, can meet the challenges of the climate we’re going to have.”

    Forrester thinks about the 1995 Chicago heat wave that killed 739 people, most of them elderly and poor. Just three years ago, more than 1,400 people died in two separate heat waves that suffocated Germany, France, and the Low Countries. He thinks about the torrential rains that flooded Belgium last July, six days after epic thunderstorms turned New York’s subway into a river.

    When Forrester speaks of resiliency, he means adaptation—a recognition, in this case, that the climate is inexorably warming and we need to figure out how to live with it and in it. Contrast that with a mitigation strategy, which focuses on ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

    Think of the city of Cincinnati’s mammoth solar array in Highland County as a mitigation strategy. The electricity generated from that renewable zero-carbon energy source replaces standard electricity generated by burning coal or natural gas. Similarly, think of a commitment to replace your fleet of gas-guzzling cars and trucks with electric vehicles and working with partners to install hundreds of charging stations around town.

    Getting out from under the blazing sun and into the shade is an example of an adaptation strategy. Think of planting trees, improving your home’s insulation, buying more energy-efficient appliances, or even replacing your black-shingled home with a white or green (as in a garden) roof. These are all in the Green Cincinnati plan city leaders adopted back in 2018. As homeowners and utility customers have discovered, the strategies have a side benefit: They can save you money.

    “The tree canopy is especially important in the urban environment, where the heat island effect is pronounced,” Forrester says. Treeless cityscapes, asphalt pavement, and brick buildings—often found in low-income neighborhoods—have resulted in temperatures as much as 8 degrees higher than in our leafier communities, according to local heat mapping studies. Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Green Umbrella, and the city collaborated on that study last summer.

    According to Forrester, some of the most searing heat islands are along the Mill Creek valley in neighborhoods like Camp Washington, South Fairmount, Lower Price Hill, Bond Hill, Lincoln Heights, and Roselawn. “What’s especially bad about the heat in these neighborhoods is that people who live there get little relief in the nighttime hours,” he notes. “The built infrastructure holds the heat in at night, and it becomes a public health issue when people have no opportunity to cool off.”

    Heat, in fact, is the No. 1 weather-related killer, according to the National Weather Service—more than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and lightning. It can kill anyone anywhere, but low-income and communities of color are particularly susceptible. “It’s really important that we have equity-centered action on climate change,” says Savannah Sullivan, climate policy director for Green Umbrella. “Our most vulnerable communities are suffering disproportionately in terms of their actual physical impacts, but it also adversely affects people socially and economically.”

    Air quality in those communities, Sullivan notes, is often poor because they abut an industrial complex or an interstate highway. Many residents live in substandard, poorly insulated housing with inadequate air-conditioning. There’s little to no green space or tree canopy to soften the searing heat. These conditions, she says, strain physical and mental health, discourage social interaction, and blow a disproportionate hole in the wallets of those living paycheck to paycheck.

    Sullivan’s job is to coordinate climate change policy positions and solutions among dozens of local governments within Green Umbrella’s 10-county, three-state community. Green Umbrella organizes the annual Midwest Sustainability Summit, which this year is themed “Emergent Strategies for an Equitable Climate-Prepared Region.” On July 21, Green Umbrella plans to launch its Regional Climate Collaborative—a network designed to encourage local governments to work with residents and the private sector to share ideas and information, institute policies, and design both mitigation and adaptation projects.

    “We want to be on the cutting edge of developing equitable climate solutions that work for our community,” Sullivan says with enthusiasm. The collaborative plans to develop a regional climate playbook to highlight best practices, specific needs, funding opportunities, and visions and to offer a menu of options on energy, transportation, efficiency, and other climate strategies that local governments can access and see what fits best.

    This isn’t Green Umbrella’s first climate collaborative initiative. In fact, the organization was created in the late 1990s specifically to bring parties together to preserve and restore the region’s greenspaces. It’s since evolved into a multi-dimensional organization with hundreds of members working on everything from bike trails and healthy food to building efficiency and environmental education. Climate was always embedded in the organization’s work but wasn’t formally added to the agenda until two years ago.

    Similarly, Cincinnati City Council formed a new climate committee this year, chaired by Councilmember Meeka Owens. Mooney-Bullock, complimenting former Mayor John Cranley’s environmental record, is optimistic the new leadership in City Hall is just as progressive. “We had a climate workshop for all the City Council candidates last April, and around 40 came,” she recalls. “Eight of those elected in November had climate plans as part of their campaigns. To me, that shows how the issue has matured.”

    Climate change also poses a challenge to our rivers and streams, says Richard Harrison, executive director and chief engineer at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), which focuses on the water quality of the Ohio River and its tributaries. A warming climate, especially one that incites epic rain events, grabs his attention.

    Harrison echoes the oft-heard caveat that the impact of climate change on our region’s principal water resource is a complex topic. ORSANCO is a data-driven organization, he notes, directing me to a 2017 study conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that’s 321 pages long and kind of hard to follow if you don’t have a science background or a thick dictionary. It says climate change is affecting the Ohio River, and, as we warm up, those changes may become more pronounced. Increasingly heavy spring rains and more summer droughts impact barge navigation, hydroelectric generation, fish reproduction and diversity, algae growth, erosion, and sedimentation. While some of these could be seasonally beneficial, most aren’t; the wild swings from a swelling, roaring river in the spring to the leisurely, turbid summertime current concern river managers the most.

    Harrison mentions how those signature heavy rains can overflow streets and overwhelm water sanitation systems. Out in the country or on your suburban lawn, fertilizer and pesticide runoff eventually makes it into the river. “Bacteria growth is really impacted by these rain events, especially through combined sewer overflows,” he says. “Fertilizer runoff carries chemicals that, if they become too concentrated, can cause algae blooms and harm fish.”

    The Metropolitan Sewer District’s multibillion-dollar combined sewer project should help in Hamilton County, says Harrison. The city’s Forrester, however, isn’t so sure. The federal consent decree that required a makeover of our sewer system was based on requirements in the 1972 Clean Water Act. “There’s a recognition at MSD that we need to prepare for the future, but the consent decree isn’t set up that way,” he says. “We need to continue to plan and build these heavy, more frequent rains into our modeling.”

    As the frequency of river and stream flooding has increased, property owners along water banks or further inland are seeing their insurance rates increase. Some might wonder if their homes will still be standing 30 years from now. A 2021 study by the nonprofit First Street Foundation showed that more than 230,000 homes along the Ohio River are at high risk for flooding as it flows through the heart of Appalachia. Most owners of these threatened homes are poor.

    Closer to home, rising river levels present a challenge to a historical home. The website Stacker cross-referenced data from the Federal Energy Management Agency with the list of properties on the National Register of Historic Places, revealing the famous Underground Railroad stop in Ripley, the John P. Parker House, as being at “very high risk” of future flooding.

    While these data points can certainly feel distressing, things could be worse. In fact, Cincinnati billed itself a future “climate haven” in the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, noting we “live outside the likely disaster areas” on the east and west coasts and the oppressive heat band in the deep south. No wildfires, hurricanes, or rising sea levels here. The Reds can still play outdoors in August (but always sit in the shade on the first base side for a day game), and most evenings you can still grill a burger on your Weber.

    Still, this story’s opening scenario isn’t all that far-fetched. Forrester notes that the Cincinnati region has had nine rainstorms in the last 10 years qualifying as “100-year storms.” That’s defined as a storm so intense the chances of it happening are 1 percent.

    Many of our storms have been selective, such as a tornado. You might get a 3-inch rain in Northside but only a few sprinkles in Oakley. And that hillside above Columbia Parkway? You remember how long that vital east-side artery was shut down while debris was cleared and the retaining walls fortified at a cost of $18 million. The city maintains more than 1,500 miles of similar hillside retaining walls.

    But there are solutions: Big ones that government and industry can do, smaller ones you can do. They add up. Most of them can save you money on your energy bill, and some—like installing solar panels or buying an electric vehicle—have tax benefits. Maybe you’ve done some of them already, like buying LED light bulbs, upgrading your insulation, reducing your food waste, or riding the bus to work.

    Those little things are important, says Green Umbrella’s Mooney-Bullock, but ultimately the federal government needs to figure it out and lead. In the meantime, she believes, it’s important to educate and do what we can as a community to develop tools to address specific area climate change impacts. Forrester agrees, but says the clock is ticking. The city of Cincinnati is decarbonizing, but China keeps building coal plants. We all share the carbon molecules. There’s only one ecosystem on the planet.

    Ohio State’s Mark calls climate “a big ship to turn around,” noting the atmosphere is already front-loaded and carbon molecules are going to stay up there for generations. If we turned off every light right now, he says, the world’s temperature would still go up one degree in the coming years. The heat increase is baked in, so to speak. “We are smartening up to what we face, and now we need to pull up our bootstraps and get to work,” he says.

    Adapt and suffer, he notes sardonically, is not a sustainable strategy.

  • June 02, 2022 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Pop Sci

    Biden’s Infrastructure Bill is Funding the Switch to Electric School Buses

    By Carla Delgado 

    June 2 2022

    As part of the federal government’s action plan to expand clean and safe school transportation across the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched the Clean School Bus Program. The new program aims to use $5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act over the next five years replace diesel-powered school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. Almost 95 percent of school buses nationwide are powered by diesel, carrying more than 25 million children to school every day.

    In 2020, the number of diesel emissions was equal to approximately 26 percent of the US transportation sector’s carbon emissions or about 9 percent of the country’s total energy-related carbon emissions. Not only will this transition reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but it will also minimize health risks associated with diesel exhaust, such as eye and nasal irritation, headache, and fatigue.

    Several places nationwide have already begun shifting away from diesel-powered school buses. The Montgomery County Public Schools district in Maryland, which intends to replace more than 1,442 diesel buses by 2035, began its transition to electric school buses last year. The city of Boston hopes to replace more than 700 school buses with electric ones by 2030, starting with 20 buses in the next school year. The state of New York is the first state to commit to electrifying all its school buses, a goal it hopes to achieve by 2035.

    Diesel-powered school buses affect human and environmental health

    Diesel engines contribute to poor air quality because exhaust contains various pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and fine particles.

    “When diesel is burned in a bus engine, it produces fine particulate matter—particles with a diameter much smaller than human hair—that floats in the air and lodge deep in our lungs when we breathe them in,” says Jeremy J. Michalek, director of the Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University.

    Fine particulate matter can increase the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and exacerbate existing health conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Diesel exhaust exposure may also cause changes in lung function and inflammatory changes in the airways, and increase the risk of lung cancer and premature death. Children, whose bodies are still going through physical growth and functional maturation, are especially vulnerable to air pollution.

    “Diesel exhaust is one of the most dangerous pollutants we come in contact with in our daily lives,” says Will Barrett, national senior director of advocacy and clean air at the American Lung Association. Aside from causing asthma attacks and other respiratory problems in children, it can also affect their brain development and test scores, he adds.

    [Related: Filtering diesel exhaust could make it worse.]

    Research shows that communities of color and those with a low socioeconomic status have greater exposure to air pollution. Historical redlining—the racially discriminatory policy of residential segregation during the 1930s—played a huge part in shaping systemic environmental exposure disparities in the US. It is a major factor why communities of color are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, regardless of income, in more than 200 cities today.

    The Clean Air Act of 1963, the first federal legislation regarding air pollution control, significantly improved air quality and public health over the past few decades. For instance, the national concentrations of air pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide improved by 73 and 61 percent, respectively, between 1990 and 2020. However, despite the dramatic reductions in pollutants, more than 4 in 10 Americans today still live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution.

    “Our air is cleaner now than it used to be, thanks to improved recognition, public policy, and technology, but air pollution still kills about 100,000 people every year in the US,” says Michalek. Replacing diesel-powered school buses is a step in the right direction, which helps reduce air pollutants and health risks from diesel exhaust.

    Electric and clean fuel school buses are the way to go

    The Clean School Bus Program will provide $5 billion from 2022 to 2026 to replace diesel-powered school buses with zero-emission models. “What they really mean by ‘zero-emission’ is ‘no tailpipe emissions,’ and the only technology currently eligible is electric,” says Michalek. The program also supports the transition to low-emission models, which refer to buses powered by alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas or propane.

    The transition to these models can reduce community exposure to pollutants from the exhaust, GHG emissions, and maintenance and fuel costs. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that the adoption of clean technologies and fuels on school buses reduced children’s exposure to pollutants and improved their health.

    [Related: Low-carbon energy minimizes racial disparities in neighborhoods with air pollution.]

    “There is no question that replacing diesel school buses is one of the most important local actions that can be taken to protect children’s health, both for kids who ride buses, bus drivers and teachers, and for those around idling buses at schools, says Barrett. Schools with fewer resources can immediately benefit from updating diesel buses to electric ones, which could mean an overnight elimination of diesel exposure for kids, he adds.

    The first funding opportunity under the program is the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates. Online applications for the rebates already opened last month, and high-need school districts and low-income areas are considered priority applicants. Those who are selected by the EPA can already purchase new buses and submit the necessary payment request forms by October this year.

    “We know that the burdens of unhealthy air aren’t shared equally, and we know that more must be done to ensure equitable access to the benefits of cleaner technologies,” says Barrett. “Kids in lower-income school districts, rural districts, and other districts in underserved communities must be prioritized for this investment.”

  • June 01, 2022 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Citybeat Cincinnati

    Summer Guide: 25 Things to Do in Cincinnati When It's Hot AF Outside

    By CityBeat Staff and Maija Zummo on Wed, Jun 1, 2022 at 5:17 am

    Summer in Cincinnati can be sweltering, but there’s no lack of cool ways to spend your days — both literally and figuratively. Whether you’re looking to relax poolside, stuff yourself with fried festival food or catch an outdoor concert, there’s an activity for every vibe as the temperatures rise.

    This list of 25 things to do when it’s hot AF outside will help you navigate the season, taking you from creamy whips and Kings Island to air-conditioned attractions and everything in between. (Note: This is not a comprehensive list of everything you can do or attend this summer.)

    1. Take a dip in a public pool

    The good news is that many public pools will be opening in Greater Cincinnati this summer. The bad news is that because of staffing shortages, not all of them can. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission ( is opening eight of its 24 pools, with the goal of hiring additional lifeguards to open more. The pools at Dunham, McKie and Oakley are currently operational and Dempsey, Evanston, Hirsch, Lincoln and Pleasant Ridge open June 6. Daily and season passes are available. Covington’s ( Goebel Park Pool, Randolph Park Pool and the Latonia Water Park/Splash Pad open June 8 and entry is free for residents (with registration). In Newport (, the pool at Veteran’s Memorial Park is open with a $3 entry fee (free for seniors, military and those under age 4). Over-the-Rhine hotspot Ziegler Pool ( is also open for the season and only requires reservations for early-morning lap swimmers. Entry is $4 per day. Check each pool’s website for amenities — slides, climbing walls, concessions, etc. — and full details.

    2. Splash through a sprayground

    You don’t have to be a kid to revel in the fun of a sprayground. Similar to running through a giant sprinkler, these centrally located public splash pads feature fountains, jets and other water elements to cool you down on a hot day. Bonus? They’re free to enjoy and open daily. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission ( operates nine spraygrounds — Caldwell, College Hill, Dyer, McKie, North Fairmount, Oakley, Oyler, Pleasant Ridge and South Fairmount — featuring fun and colorful sculptural elements. In the heart of the city, there are also spraygrounds at Washington Park (, Smale Riverfront Park ( and Ziegler Park (; the Otto Armleder Memorial Aquatic Spray Ground at Sawyer Point is closed this summer for maintenance.

    3. Ride the 11 original attractions at Kings Island

    This summer marks Kings Island’s 50th anniversary. The amusement park staked its claim in Mason in 1972 as a replacement for the longtime — and frequently flooded — favorite Coney Island. While Coney only closed from 1971-1973 before reopening its attractions along the banks of the Ohio River, many of its classic rides (and employees) made their way to Kings Island. According to King Island’s area manager, digital marketer and roller coaster-enthusiast Don Helbig, there were only 60 attractions when the new theme park opened; today, there are more than 100. While we have loved and lost many favorites to retirement (RIP Phantom Theater), these 11 attractions have been around since the park opened in 1972, though several have been renamed, multiple times: Eiffel Tower, Dodgem, Grand Carousel, The Racer, K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad, Monster, The Scrambler, Peanuts’ Off-Road Rally (fka Pee Wee Raceway), Linus’ Beetle Bugs (fka Funky Phantom), Race for Your Life Charlie Brown (fka the Kings Mills Log Flume) and Woodstock Express (fka The Beastie).

    4. Watch the sunset while sipping a drink at a rooftop bar

    During summertime, it doesn’t get dark until late in the evening, which provides a perfect excuse to watch the sun go down and the city lights come up with a cocktail in hand. These are the city’s top 10 rooftop bars, as voted by CityBeat readers in the 2022 Best Of Cincinnati issue.

    Rhinegeist (1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

    Braxton Brewing Company (27 W. Seventh St., Covington,

    21c Cocktail Terrace (609 Walnut St., Downtown, Still closed for the season; check for updates).

    Top of the Park (506 E. Fourth St., Downtown,

    City View Tavern (403 Oregon St., Mount Adams,

    The View at Shires’ Garden (309 Vine St., Downtown,

    AC Upper Deck (135 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks,

    Pins Mechanical Company (1124 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

    Bishop’s Quarter (212 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland,

    The Blind Pig (24 W. Third St., Downtown,


    Photo: Hailey Bollinger

    Ziegler Pool

    5. Stuff yourself at a food festival

    Go Greek for the day or gorge on goetta at these seven favorite food festivals.

    Newport Italianfest: Celebrate local Italian heritage with authentic eats, live music and history displays. June 9-12 at Newport’s Riverboat Row. Free.

    Panegyri Greek Festival: Dance, drink and dine like you’re in Santorini. June 24-26 at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Admission is $3.

    Rockin’ Taco Festival: This fest promises “a splash of Latino culture on the banks of the Ohio River” and lots of tacos. June 24-26 at Covington Plaza. Free.

    Bacon, Bourbon and Brew: Hosted by Braxton Brewing, every menu item has to incorporate bacon, bourbon or beer. July 14-17 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

    Cincy Soul: The Black Taste: Musicians, vendors and local Black-owned eateries celebrate African American heritage. July 22-24 at Sawyer Point. No admission details as of press time.

    Glier’s Goettafest: Enjoy everything from goettawurst and goetta nachos to goetta fudge, plus the world’s only goetta vending machine. July 28-31 and Aug. 4-7 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

    Great Inland Seafood Festival: Get whole Maine lobsters and tons of other tasty crustaceans and fish. Aug. 11-14 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

    6. Play some pickleball

    Invented in the 1960s by the family of a congressman who used ping-pong paddles and wiffle balls on a badminton court when they couldn’t find their shuttlecock, pickleball seems to be Cincinnati’s new favorite sport. It can be played on tennis courts or regulation pickleball ones. Sawyer Point is in the process of resurfacing its popular pickleball courts through mid-summer, so players will have to find elsewhere to enjoy some friendly competition until then. Locally, the Cincinnati Pickleball Club connects players, has a comprehensive list of places to play, and explains how to sign up to reserve a court.

    7. Shop an outdoor pop-up

    Warm weather means open-air markets, from maker-friendly pop-ups to outdoor antique fairs. Here are some upcoming summer shopping dates:

    Art on Vine: Shop the work of local fine artists and crafters. Noon-6 p.m. June 5 and July 3 at Fountain Square.

    Burlington Antique Show: Features more than 200 antique and vintage vendors. Admission fee. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21 at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

    Charm at the Farm: A shabby-chic vintage and maker market. Admission fee. June 10-12 and Aug. 19-21 on a former Lebanon horse farm.

    The City Flea: A “curated urban flea market.” Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11, July 16 and Aug. 20 (includes a kid market) at Washington Park.

    O.F.F. Market: A monthly market featuring local makers, vendors and food artisans. Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13 at Summit Park.

    Second Sunday on Main: An Over-the-Rhine street festival with shopping, food, music and a monthly theme. Free. Noon-5 p.m. June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14 on Main Street.

    Tri-State Antique Market: Features items guaranteed to be at least 30 years old and/or out of production. Admission fee. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. June 5, July 3 and Aug. 7 at Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds.

    WestSide Market: Features more than 100 local vendors, food trucks and activities. Free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 4, July 2 and Aug. 6 at Westwood Town Hall.

    8. Catch a movie at a public park

    While Cincinnati has two great drive-in theaters nearby for some outdoor cinema — Starlite Drive-In and Holiday Auto Theatre — plenty of parks in Greater Cincinnati also offer screenings of family-friendly (and not-so-family-friendly) movies throughout the summer. Here are three:

    NightLight 513: This is a new 21+ movie pop-up and party coming to Sawyer Point this summer. The season kicks off with a screening of The Breakfast Club on June 16 and will feature a pre-show DJ, local food trucks and craft beer. Films begin at dusk, but general admission is at 7:30 p.m. Events are ticketed.

    Summer Cinema at Washington Park: Free films will be screened every Wednesday at the park’s bandstand beginning at 8 p.m. Parent Trap kicks off the season on June 8. Food trucks will be parked onsite and concessions — aka the bar — will be open. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to claim your spot.

    Float-In Movie Nights at Great Parks: Swap your car for a rowboat to enjoy a movie at various lakes in Great Parks of Hamilton County this summer. There are three screenings left — Jungle Cruise (June 3), Hairspray (July 8) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Aug. 19). Films begin at 9:30 p.m. Register online in advance; boat rental is $40.

    Putz's Creamy Whip - PHOTO: SAMI STEWART

    Photo: Sami Stewart

    Putz's Creamy Whip

    9. Go berry picking

    Summertime means berry time, and several local farms offer the public u-pick opportunities throughout the season. Crops can ripen at different rates based on weather, so check with each farm before heading out with your basket in tow. Blooms & Berries Farm Market ( in Loveland offers the chance to pick blueberries by the pound, typically in June and July. Indian Springs Berry Farm ( in Fairfield Township lets you harvest your own USDA-certified organic blackberries, generally starting in July. Alpine Berry Farm ( in Batesville, Indiana, opens around Father’s Day for blueberry picking. And Hidden Valley Orchard ( in Lebanon offers multiple u-pick options throughout the summer, including strawberries, blueberries, peaches, grapes and apples. As of press time, Bright Star Acres ( blueberry farm in Kenton County, Kentucky has yet to list its 2022 dates.

    10. Take a tour of creamy whips

    Is it even summer without a visit to a neighborhood creamy whip? These walk-up ice cream joints sling soft serve, chili dogs and nostalgia with a smile.

    Putz’s Creamy Whip: The still-family-run Putz’s Creamy Whip first opened in a trolley car in 1938 before relocating to its current concrete structure just down the hill from Mt. Airy Forest in the 1950s. A cult favorite, not much about this place has changed over the past several decades: they still use the same Electro-Freeze machine and it’s still cash only.

    Zip Dip: Westwood’s Zip Dip literally shines like a beacon of light through the dark — the iconic neon lightning bolt adorning the roof is unmistakable. It was added to the building in the 1950s and has been guiding customers through summer heat waves to ice cream salvation ever since. Try an orange and vanilla twist.

    Mt. Healthy Dairy Bar: Mt. Healthy Dairy Bar has been serving leaning towers of soft serve for more than 65 years. If you’ve got a giant appetite and love a good challenge, they also have a monster sundae that jams three servings of ice cream and sundae toppings, four brownies and a banana into a ginormous bowl.

    Norwood Delite Creamy Whip: This no-frills whip has been in Norwood for more than 65 years, serving everything from footlongs and barbecue to burgers and Cincinnati’s famed blueberry soft serve.

    Silver Grove Dari Bar: Open since 1952, the Blitz — their take on a Dairy Queen Blizzard — is a favorite menu item at this little walk-up creamy whip in Northern Kentucky.

    Bonus: Surprisingly, the AmeriStop gas station in Bellevue is a favorite creamy whip destination. Owner Meghal Patel is the brains behind the store’s dessert offerings, which draw patrons from across the Tri-State. He has two machines and rotates flavors each week.

    11. Have a hot dog

    Just like with creamy whips, Cincinnati is home to seasonally open walk-up hot dog stands that harken back to the nostalgia of summers’ past. Sharonville’s cult-favorite Root Beer Stand ( originally opened as an A&W Root Beer Stand in 1957 and still makes its root beer using well water from the property. The eatery is famous for its foot-long Timmy Dog, topped with secret-recipe chili, cheese, onion, mustard, hot sauce, ketchup, relish, slaw and sauerkraut. Mr. Gene’s Doghouse ( in South Cumminsville has been slinging dogs for 60 years. Signature menu items include a classic Chicago Dog, a Rueben Dog and a popular Slaw Dog loaded with chili and coleslaw.

    12. Rent a canoe or kayak

    Spend a Sunday floating down one of Greater Cincinnati’s rivers in a canoe or kayak. Loveland Canoe & Kayak ( offers a 2-4 hour paddling party down the Little Miami River and past Historic Loveland Castle. Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures ( has spots in Ft. Ancient on the Little Miami River, in Brookville on the Whitewater River and even in Costa Rica, with trips 3-7 miles long. Green Acres Kayak ( in Harrison is located on the Whitewater River and offers 3-, 5- or 8-mile trips. Check with each business about reservations, boat rental fees and what you can — and can’t — bring with you (We’re looking at you, ca-brewers). Use your new watercraft skills during Ohio River Paddlefest ( on Aug. 6. Thousands will take to the Ohio River in canoes and kayaks in the nation’s largest paddling party.

    Loveland Canoe & Kayak - PHOTO: SAVANA WILLHOITE

    Photo: Savana Willhoite

    Loveland Canoe & Kayak

    13. Sunbathe on local beaches

    We may not have a coastline here in the Midwest, but several nearby state parks are home to lakeside public beaches. About an hour away, Caesar Creek State Park ( in Waynesville offers a 1,300-foot beach that is open to the public 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. After a day of hiking, mountain biking, fishing or boating, hang out on the beach or take a dip in the lake. East Fork State Park ( in Clermont County is one of Ohio’s largest state parks, offering trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as access to fishing and boating. The 1,200-foot beach is open dawn to dusk and has amenities like changing booths, showers and restrooms.

    14. Snack your way through Cincinnati stadiums

    The Cincinnati Reds ( may be having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, but they aren’t the only sports team in town. MLS soccer team FC Cincinnati ( and Frontier League baseball team the Florence Y’alls ( are both heating up their respective stadiums. And regardless of whether any of the teams’ performances can entice you, their stadium eats surely can. Great American Ball Park revealed several new menu items this season, from loaded vegetarian hot dogs and a cone stuffed with barbecued meat to the Rookie Cookie Fry Box: french fries smothered in chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, crumbled Oreos, bits of chocolate-chip cookies and miniature marshmallows. TQL Stadium welcomed a new executive chef this season and a bevy of new dining options, including dishes from locals Lucius Q and Fusian. Those with Cincinnatus Club seats can indulge in a Lucho Burger from Blue Ash burger joint Sammy’s. Named for player Lucho Acosta, the sandwich features a special burger grind, cheese, peppers and chimichurri aioli. The Y’alls Thomas More Stadium offers classic ballpark eats and a few fun drinks. The bourbon peach slushie is a popular option.

    15. Ride a waterslide

    This summer, Coney Island hopes to make history. Between noon on June 17 and noon on June 18, Coney Island will attempt to set a world record for the most people down a water slide in 24 hours. The attempt will take place on The Twister, a 45-foot-high water slide that features four separate chutes twisting and turning over a quarter mile in length before dropping riders into the pool. If you can’t take part in this feat, you can still hit the park’s waterslides anytime this summer, bounce across a floating obstacle course or lounge in the world’s largest recirculating pool, aka Sunlite Pool.

    16. Hit a local bike trail

    Looking for the best trails to bike this summer? We asked Wade Johnston, director of area bikeway advocacy group Tri-State Trails, for his recommendations. Plan your ride with their “Low-Stress Bike Map” feature.

    Whitewater Canal Trail: “What used to be three noncontiguous trail segments has now connected into a cohesive 11-mile trail spanning from the Laurel Fedder Dam almost all the way to downtown Brookville. This scenic corridor traverses through historic downtown Metamora and features memorable locks from the former Whitewater Canal.”

    Wasson Way: “The recent extension of Wasson Way through the treetops of Ault Park is a must see. This east-west corridor of the planned CROWN 34-mile urban trail loop now spans roughly 6 miles and connects to downtown Mariemont via the Murray Path.”

    Great Miami River Trail: “Last year, a key gap between Middletown and Franklin was closed, after nearly a decade of effort. You can now ride roughly 65 miles from Middletown through Dayton to Piqua, which is a big deal!”

    Riverfront Commons: “Covington’s riverfront got a makeover last year with a new amphitheater and improved trail alignment west of the Roebling Bridge. On top of that, Covington recently extended the trail’s western terminus to Swain Court, which drastically improves biking to West Covington and Ludlow, as well as featuring a spectacular riverfront view of Cincinnati.”

    Ohio River Trail: “Cincinnati is doing its part to advance the regional vision for the Ohio River Way between Portsmouth and Louisville by building out new connections in the Ohio River Trail. Last year, a critical link between Lunken Airport and Coney Island was completed. This eastern leg of the CROWN extends roughly 7 miles from Schmidt Field in the East End to Kellogg Park in Anderson Township.”

    Little Miami Scenic Trail: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Little Miami Scenic Trail, also lovingly referred to as the Loveland Bike Trail. Unfortunately, a key stretch of this trail will be closed through December for the construction of a new bridge at King Ave./Grandin Road near Cartridge Brewing. When complete, the trail will feature an improved trailhead, parking lot and tunnel to bypass the road intersection.”

    17. Take a hike

    Both Great Parks of Hamilton County and Cincinnati Parks — recently named the fourth best parks system in the nation — have excellent hiking trails. But the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford offers a fun “Hike for Your Health Challenge” that comes with its own passport. The center’s Rowe Woods spans more than 1,000 acres and features over 14 miles of trails, rated from easy to difficult. Hike all 17 (including those at the associated Long Branch Farm) and get your passport stamped after each one to win a prize. Note: There is a fee to enter the Cincinnati Nature Center and Great Parks locations.


    Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

    Shakespeare in the Park

    18. Go to an outdoor concert

    With the addition of the festival stage at downtown’s newish Andrew J Brady Music Center ( and Newport’s indoor/outdoor PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION ( to the existing Riverbend Music Center (, Cincinnati is now a prime spot to catch a concert under the stars. Some big-name acts heading through town this summer include Maren Morris (June 25) and Glass Animals (Aug. 3) at the Brady; Bon Iver (June 21), Death Cab for Cutie (July 7) and Wilco (Aug. 16) at OVATION; and Dead & Company (June 22), Rod Stewart (July 12), Jimmy Buffett (July 21), Backstreet Boys (July 26), Alica Keys (Aug. 18) and Wiz Khalifa (Aug. 27) at Riverbend.



    19. Watch Shakespeare in the park

    The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is bringing its super popular, free Shakespeare in the Park series to public spots across the Tri-State, with productions from Over-the-Rhine to West Chester and beyond. This summer’s show is Twelfth Night, which CSC describes as a “lively rom-com on an island where everyone is in love with someone — and the wrong person loves them back.” The season kicks off July 15 at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park.

    20. Cool off in air-conditioned attractions

    Need to beat the heat? Take a break in the air conditioning. Local museums are a great option for a cool retreat, and the Taft Museum of Art ( reopens to the public with Jane Austen: Fashion & Sensibility on June 11, featuring costumes from famous Austen film and TV adaptations. Another big indoor attraction opening this summer is Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (, a large-scale digital art and virtual reality experience at the former Gidding-Jenny department store downtown. It opens June 1 and there is an entry fee. Escape under the sea at the Newport Aquarium (, which features everything from shark bridges and touch tanks to glowing jellyfish and a new 60,000-gallon coral reef tunnel.

    21. Visit the midway at a church festival or county fair

    As fish frys are synonymous with the Lenten season in Cincinnati, so too are church fairs with summer. The Catholic Telegraph ( has a full list of Cincinnati-area fests, full of carnival rides, games, live music, funnel cake, beer and even light gambling. One of the first of the season — All Saints Catholic Church Festival in Kenwood (June 3-5) — has it all, from local craft beer and food trucks to blackjack and bourbon tastings. For a similar vibe, the Hamilton County Fair ( is back Aug. 11-14 with a midway full of rides and games, livestock displays, demolition derbies, arts and crafts exhibits, tons of fried food, giant tomatoes and all the rest of the wholesome county antics you’d expect.

    Northside Fourth of July Parade - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER

    Photo: Hailey Bollinger

    Northside Fourth of July Parade

    22. Get nostalgic at a pop-up roller rink

    Get ready to lace up those skates: Frisch’s and 3CDC have partnered to host a special pop-up roller skating rink at Court Street Plaza downtown this summer. The retro experience launched during Memorial Day weekend and has additional dates July 1-4 and Aug. 5-7, with events into October. The rink spans 10,000 square feet and offers rentable skates. There is an admission fee and skate rental fee; guests also can bring their own skates. Event details are searchable on Facebook.

    23. Stock up at the farmers market

    In need of farm-fresh, seasonal produce? Farmers markets abound in Cincinnati, with one happening most days of the week. Here are three favorites, as voted by CityBeat readers in the 2022 Best Of Cincinnati issue.

    Findlay Market: Ohio’s continuously-operated public market is full of independent vendors and a markethouse stocked with meat, veggies, homemade bread and sweets. On weekends, the shed plays host to area farmers selling their fresh-picked goods, including wildflowers.

    Hyde Park Farmers’ Market: Held 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays through October on Hyde Park Square, the market features more than 35 food artisans and produce from sustainable farmers. Check the website to see what’s fresh that week.

    Northside Farmers Market: This year-round market is held 4-7 p.m. on Wednesdays during the summer at North Church. Browse everything from baked goods and farm-fresh eggs to apothecary items and seasonal produce. Pre-ordering is available online.

    24. DORA districts

    DORA districts — or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas — are popping up in neighborhoods across Greater Cincinnati. In these specific spaces, you can grab a beer, wine or cocktail to sip while you stroll, either from shop to shop or in the great outdoors. Westwood ( recently hosted the grand opening of its 14-acre DORA along Harrison Avenue and The Banks ( opened its 85-acre DORA last year. Other neighborhoods including Loveland (, Bellevue (, Milford (, Hamilton ( and Summit Park ( in Blue Ash have their very own designated areas where visitors can have an open beer or cocktail, as long as they follow some simple rules: beverages must be in branded DORA cups, alcohol must remain in the boundaries of the district and drinkers must be 21+. Each neighborhood’s DORA hours and regulations are slightly different, so it’s best to check with each before imbibing.

    25. Watch a parade or find some fireworks

    Two of the most colorful annual parades take place during summer in Cincinnati. After being limited for two years due to COVID, the Cincinnati Pride ( parade and main celebration takes place on June 25, with floats, dance troupes, drag queens and LGBTQIA+ supporters of all stripes proceeding through downtown and into Sawyer Point. Fest headliners this year are singer/songwriter and transgender rights activist Shea Diamond, pop singer Jordy, Glee’s Alex Newell and Grammy-winner Daya. After a canceled event in 2020 and a house float tour in 2021, the eccentric Northside Fourth of July Parade ( will be back in full swing this year. Thousands line the streets to see creative handmade floats from vintage stores, bars and community organizations; local marching bands; drill teams; every local politician you’ve ever heard of; ladies dancing with lawn chairs; guys dancing with power tools; and other unexpected and delightful displays of pride and spirit. The event is the centerpiece of a weekend of events down at the Northside Rock N’ Roll Carnival ( Blue Ash is bringing live music back to its big Fourth of July party. This year’s Red, White & Blue Ash ( will be headlined by Pop artist Gavin DeGraw, and Cincinnati’s own Blessid Union of Souls will open the show. The day will also be full of rides, wandering entertainment and food and drink vendors, with an Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics fireworks show to close out the night. While details are still being determined for Riverfest (, it is the best way to say goodbye to summer in Cincinnati. Launched more than four decades ago to celebrate the 10th anniversary of radio station WEBN, the Labor Day weekend bash features food, music, major traffic jams and one of the largest firework displays in the Midwest.

  • June 01, 2022 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    Hundreds of Residents Weigh on Climate Change During First Green Cincinnati Plan Update Meeting


    PUBLISHED 5:15 PM ET JUN. 01, 2022

    CINCINNATI, Ohio — Five years ago, the city of Cincinnati and a collection of community partners and residents came together to compile a list of 80 recommendations to help cut local carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050.

    What You Need To Know

    Cincinnati began its year-long Green Cincinnati Plan update Tuesday night with a public event at the Cincinnati Zoo

    The Green Cincinnati Plan helps City Council shape policy related to climate change

    The specific focus of this year's update is equity

    New scientific data suggests Cincinnati and cities across the country will need to speed up their reduction in carbon emissions

    It was part of the update process for the Green Cincinnati Plan, the city’s playbook for crafting policies related to climate change.

    Since 2018, the city has enacted or is near completion of 85% of those goals, according to the city’s Office of Environment and Sustainability.

    But new scientific data suggest more needs to be done and much quicker than once projected.

    On Tuesday, about 300 people — city leaders, environmental organizations, business reps, and community advocates — gathered at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to kick off the five-year renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    The event opened with comments from Mayor Aftab Pureval and City Council member Meeka Owens, who chairs the city’s committee on environmental issues.

    The education at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, where the first meeting of the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan update took place. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    The education at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, where the first meeting of the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan update took place. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Since the last Green Cincinnati Plan update, Cincinnati has funded the construction of a massive solar energy array on former farmland about 45 miles east of downtown Cincinnati. They also established a Cincinnati 2030 District, which got area building owners to commit to cutting their carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.

    Hamilton County voters approved a new sales tax in 2020 that will inject tens of millions of dollars into local public transportation in regional transportation.

    Because of the Green Cincinnati Plan and other strategies, Cincinnati has seen a 37.8% reduction in carbon emissions since 2006, according to city statistics. More than 20,000 tons of local recyclable material get diverted from the landfill every year.

    “As exciting as these successes are, we know there’s so much more we have to accomplish,” Owens said. “This renewal (of the Green Cincinnati Plan) is a tremendous opportunity to reconsider our goals of the past and to challenge ourselves to aim for higher goals in the future.”

    No looking back: Need to be more aggressive with goals moving forward

    Owens’ point is relevant considering a recent climate study suggesting that aiming higher in terms of carbon reduction may be less of a goal than a necessity.

    A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that despite global efforts to reduce carbon emissions over the past decade, those numbers have actually increased since 2010 “across all major sectors globally” because of human activity.

    The IPCC report shows the world needs to “go bigger and we need to go faster,” Michael Forrester, who leads the city’s Office of Environment and Sustainability, said at the time of the release. “It doesn’t mean that we’re doomed, but it requires action. And that really is what the Green Cincinnati Plan is — it’s our plan of action.”

    Michael Forrester, who leads the Office of Environment and Sustainability, speaks during the opening meeting of the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan update process. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Michael Forrester, who leads the Office of Environment and Sustainability, speaks during the opening meeting of the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan update process. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Last week, the Green Cincinnati Plan steering committee passed a motion setting new directives that exceed the previous goals. Now, they’re shooting for a 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and achieving complete “carbon neutrality” by 2050.

    In recent months, the city has launched several environmentally focused initiatives, including a commitment to have an all-electric fleet of vehicles by 2035 and installing additional solar panels and improving energy efficiencies at nine city facilities. They've also made considerable investments in bicycle infrastructure and safety.

    The city created and invested $100,000 in the Green Cincinnati Fund, money dedicated to environmental projects.

    But through this project, the city hopes to do more, said Ollie Kroner, who leads sustainability efforts to the city.

    The 300 or so people who attended Tuesday’s kickoff offered feedback on what it should include. They took part in breakout sessions focused on eight themes, ranging from food to transportation to buildings.

    Participants floated between the rooms led by members of the steering committee Beyond taking part in conversations, they also posted notes with neighborhood-specific concerns and recommendations on oversized poster boards, each with its own prompt.

    The group will turn those notes into information used at future public meetings. There are 30 meetings planned over the next year.

    “For the past 15 years, the city has had an 80% by 2050 decarbonization goal and we are on path to meet that, but science that’s come out tells us that’s not enough,” Kroner said. “We’re looking for the best, biggest and boldest ideas to get us where we need to be.”

    Chance to build a more equity city for all

    A major focus of this update will be equity.

    Predominantly Black, Brown and low-income neighborhoods are already experiencing issues related to climate change and those factors will worsen if things don’t improve, Kroner said.

    Cincinnati’s “urban heat island neighborhoods” — those with a lot of impermeable surfaces like parking lots and large buildings — can get up to 12 degrees warmer than those with more tree canopies and green spaces.

    Data shows neighborhoods with less green space get much hotter than those with more green space. More heat means higher utility bills and extended exposure can lead to health issues, like heart and breathing troubles.

    “We have designed cities that require parking for all new construction, but now across America, we have eight parking spaces for every car. We’ve paved most of our urban core; now we have urban heat island issues, we have storm water runoff issues,” Kroner said. “Over and over again, you see how we’ve scripted the problem into existence.”

    This Green Cincinnati Plan renewal process has to be intentional about targeting the historically underrepresented communities they know climate change will disproportionately affect, according to Ashlee Young, with Interact for Health. Otherwise, the group will just end up discussing the same issues five years from now during the next update.

    "If we come out with a plan that is not equitable, if we come out with a plan that doesn’t have dollars designated to our Black communities, we’re doing a disservice," said Young, who chairs the GCP Equity Committee.

    Participants left Post-It notes with questions, feedback and solutions for local environmental issues. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Participants left Post-It notes with questions, feedback and solutions for local environmental issues. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Tanner Yess, with Groundwork Ohio River Valley, said a key component of the Green Cincinnati Plan is the fact residents are involved. They not only get to hear academics and city officials talk about climate change, but they’ll be a key part of those discussions, listing concerns in their specific neighborhood. They may even be the ones to come up with the solutions to those problems.

    “The environment, conservation and sustainability, in terms of equity and social justice, are inextricably linked, especially as it relates to climate change,” he said. “The social justice issues we see in society, whether it’s segregation, transportation, housing — they’re being compounded by climate change and impacting those who were more vulnerable to begin with.”

    Groundwork Ohio River Valley will be a key player in the engagement process for the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    Getting people to take part who’ve historically not received an invitation “to the table” is one problem the steering committee and Groundwork Ohio River Valley will hope to address, Yess admitted. To address that problem, the organization plans to use an aggressive canvassing campaign focused on the real-world effects of climate change.

    “These are the people who are dealing with higher asthma rates; people who are dealing with housing insecurity because of rising energy costs,” he added. “We want to have their voice to bake their words into the plan in order to respond to these issues.”

    That's important, Young said, because oftentimes when people talk about climate change, they use language that isn't accessible to everyone.

    Chance to provide feedback online or in person

    During the last update, the city received over 1,400 comments from residents. Officials hope the number will increase this year because of a bigger emphasis on community engagement. The city doubled its usual financial commitment to outreach efforts this year.

    Times and dates for future meetings aren’t yet available. The city will post meeting updates on its Green Cincinnati Plan website.

    Residents can also submit their recommendations through the 2023 GCP Recommendation Form. There’s also a Cincinnati-centric climate change survey.

    “You could feel the energy in the room (Tuesday) night. This is clearly an issue that’s important to the people of Cincinnati and it’s an issue they want to lend their voice to and give solutions to help solve that problem,” Kroner said. “They’re planting the seeds and ideas that will ultimately give shape to this plan.”

    The steering committee aims to have the final draft of the Green Cincinnati update by year’s end, City Council will then vote on it, likely in spring 2023.

    Hundreds of residents weigh on climate change during first Green Cincinnati Plan update meeting

  • May 24, 2022 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Media

    The Philanthropic City: Sharing the Wealth to Build Strong Communities

    by David Holthaus

    May 24, 2022

    Cities are engines of our local and national economies, and centers of creativity, culture, and entertainment. But they are under more pressure than ever. This is the latest in a monthly series, The Case for Cities, that looks at how Cincinnati and similar cities can grow by becoming places of choice, as well as models of social justice.

    By all accounts, Charles H. Dater was a frugal man.

    Although he was the inheritor of a family business, Charles lived his years in a modest, three-bedroom ranch on Ferguson Avenue in Westwood. When he and his wife dined out, it was often at Frisch’s. He drove his cars until they wore out. One of them was a Dodge Aries K-car, a low-budget economy car that could be bought new for about $7,000 in the '80s.

    He managed the family’s investments and real estate adroitly, and by the time he was in his 70s, he had amassed what can only be called a small fortune. The Daters had no children, and when Charles was planning for his estate, the idea of a foundation came up, an idea that appealed to him. In 1985, he established the Charles H. Dater Foundation, and in its first year, the Foundation made 13 grants totaling the modest sum of $9,500.

    Dater died in 1993 at the age of 81. The Foundation lives on, and now gives away about $5 million a year. Since it was started, the Dater Foundation has made more than $55 million in grants, with a mission to support organizations that benefit youth. Two West Side schools bear the Dater name: Gilbert A. Dater High School (named after his grandfather); and Dater Montessori, an elementary school.

    His name on the schools are about the only public recognition of the impact of the Dater Foundation, as Charles is said to have also been a humble person who, when he was alive, preferred to give anonymously, and in any event, didn’t seek recognition for his charity.

    Charles H. Dater

    “We’re kind of a quiet foundation,” says Roger Ruhl, a vice president and board member. “We tell grant recipients just go do good work and serve your constituents.”

    Dater’s vision, generosity, and legacy has benefited thousands of Cincinnati kids. It has funded expansions at Children’s Hospital, a reading room at the Westwood branch library, programs for underserved youth at the Clippard YMCA, programs at the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, and a lot more.

    It's a classic, Cincinnati story: a thrifty West Side family saved its pennies for generations and shared its wealth with its hometown. But The Dater Foundation is not unique in its generosity.

    Over the decades, local foundations and other philanthropic organizations have made investments that have built and sustained this city and many others. They’ve built institutions, funded the arts, improved the quality of life, expanded health care and education, and supported and endowed efforts to foster social justice.

    Cincinnati's vibrant and diverse arts scene wouldn't be the same without the significant contributions from foundations funded by people named Corbett, Nippert, Budig, Rosenthal and others. The Procters, Gambles and their heirs have donated millions to improve health care and other causes. Jacob Schmidlapp funded low-income housing and the arts with his banking wealth. First-generation American Manuel Mayerson put a real estate fortune to work supporting Cincinnati's Jewish organizations, education, and impoverished children. Murray Seasongood was a lawyer and politician who pushed for government reform in Cincinnati, and set up a foundation devoted to good government. Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. had an eye on opportunities for improvements they could make to the communities around them.

    (Full disclosure: The Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation, as well as the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile,Jr. Foundation support Soapbox Cincinnati.)

    And corporations and just regular people donate tens of millions every year to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, which supports dozens of local social service organizations.

    “We invest in the things that are important in this city,” says Kathy Merchant, who was president and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for 18 years, until her retirement in 2015.

    Some see the challenge for philanthropies today as responding to the changing needs of a society in which the wealth gap between the rich, the poor, and the just-getting-by has grown rapidly, and where decades of racial inequities have come to the surface.

    Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the country, with an endowment of $16 billion, has written about this. "For all the good philanthropy has accomplished – for all the generous acts of charity it has supported – it is no secret that the enterprise is both a product and a beneficiary of a system that needs reform," he wrote in "From Generosity to Justice: a New Gospel of Wealth."

    Philanthropies are beginning to respond to calls for systemic reform.

    Greater Cincinnati Foundation is this region's largest community foundation, giving away more than $120 million in 2020 alone. Started in 1963, the Foundation’s focus and strategies have evolved, as it focuses today on advancing racial equity and opportunity. One of its programs is Racial Equity Matters, a program funded by bi3, Bethesda, Inc.'s grantmaking initiative. As part of that, it’s made the diversity and equity training program that delves into the root causes of racism available for free to thousands people since 2019.

    “Making sure you change as community needs change is really important,” Merchant says.

    Matt Butler and his wife, Rebekah Gensler, assessed community needs to figure out how to have the most impact when they started one of the region’s newest philanthropies, Devou Good Foundation, in 2014.

    They had founded an e-commerce business, Signature Hardware, with $10,000 in savings in 1999. Based in Erlanger, it grew to become one of the largest, direct-to-consumer decorative hardware companies in the country, selling freestanding bathtubs, decorative sinks and vanities, door hardware, floor registers, shower rods, faucets and the like. By the time they sold the business, it had grown to 220 employees and 400,000 square feet of space.

    Only in their mid-40s, the couple decided to use their money and time to give back.

    “We’ve always given back, but we were busy raising kids and growing the business,” Butler says. “Our giving was more passive, sending checks to other nonprofits.”

    With the creation of Devou Good, they’ve devoted themselves full-time to making a difference.

    The first step was figuring out where they could have the most impact. They began meeting with people and organizations to see where the needs were. Child care and transportation kept coming up. Lots of not-for-profits, such as the Dater Foundation, already work on children’s issues. But there wasn’t a great deal of activity around “active transportation,” or non-automobile transportation.

    In doing his research. Butler found that 20 percent of households in the region lack access to a car. When you figure in those who are too old to drive, and those who aren’t old enough, “There’s a lot of nondrivers in this area,” Butler says. “It seems like they’ve been overlooked. They don’t always have a voice at the table when decisions are being made.”

    “Active transportation,” meaning essentially any means of getting around besides in cars, became Devou Good’s primary focus. It funds infrastructure projects in Hamilton, Kenton, Campbell and Boone counties designed to make walking and bicycling safer, such as bike paths, lanes, trails, and bridges; off-road trails that can be used to connect neighborhoods; infrastructure to slow traffic in neighborhoods; creating safe, walkable and bikable neighborhoods; bike racks, bike parking, bike repair stations and bike storage.

    It's funded a thousand bike racks in Cincinnati, 500 in Covington, and 100 in Newport and other cities in Campbell County. It helped form VisionZeroNKY, a task force to eliminate all fatalities and severe injuries from automobile traffic. For the past few years, it has funded half the operating expenses of Tri-State Trails, a community advocacy group working to expand the region’s trail and bike path network. It funded a protected bike lane on Clifton Avenue, safely connecting residential neighborhoods with the University of Cincinnati.

    When COVID emerged and restaurants in downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Northern Kentucky resorted to outdoor dining to stay in business, Devou Good brought the idea of “streateries” to the public – outdoor dining areas on sidewalks and streets that were at once attractive and protected from traffic. The foundation seeded 35 streateries, an investment that resulted in the city of Cincinnati funding another 35. Devou Good also funded raised crosswalks on Vine and Main streets in OTR, slowing traffic along those high-traffic corridors that are often packed with pedestrians.

    A "streatery" in Over-the-Rhine.

    The foundation invests in more than infrastructure. It will work with community councils to inform them about what can be done to calm traffic in their neighborhoods and reduce speeding and reckless driving. At times, they advocate for public policies.

    Devou Good lobbied Cincinnati Police to make OTR a “no-chase zone,” meaning no vehicle chases by police. This came shortly after a chase in 2020 by Cincinnati police ended across the river in Newport with a crash that killed a couple in their 80s who were dining outdoors. Cincinnati Police in March did amend its chase policy, permitting chases only if suspects are believed to have committed violent felonies.

    “We look at how can we have the greatest impact,” Butler says. “If there’s areas where policy is in conflict with our stated goals, we need to speak up. It’s important to speak up for people who don’t have a voice.”

    Butler neatly sums up his overall philosophy and that of many philanthropists who have preceded him: "It's important that people who have been successful like ourselves give back, pay it forward, and try to raise up as many other people as we can."

  • May 20, 2022 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat Cincinnati

    Six Favorite Greater Cincinnati Bike Trails to Explore This Summer

    by CityBeat Staff

    May 20, 2022

    Great Miami River Trail in Franklin County

    Looking for the best trails to bike this summer? We asked Wade Johnston, director of local bikeway advocacy group Tri-State Trails, for his recommendations. His six picks — and reasons why — are below.

    Find more area bike trails at or plan your urban ride with Tri-State Trails' new "Low-Stress Bike Map” feature.

    Whitewater Canal Trail

    "If you’ve never been to the Whitewater Canal Trail, or it’s been a while since your last visit, now is the time to make the trip to Franklin County. After years of dedication by a small group of volunteers, the trail recently built some significant connections. What used to be three noncontiguous trail segments has now connected into a cohesive 11-mile trail spanning from the Laurel Fedder Dam almost all the way to downtown Brookville. This scenic corridor traverses through historic downtown Metamora and features memorable locks from the former Whitewater Canal."

    Murray Path on Wasson Way

    Wasson Way

    "The recent extension of Wasson Way through the treetops of Ault Park is a must see. This east-west corridor of the planned CROWN 34-mile urban trail loop now spans roughly 6 miles and connects to downtown Mariemont via the Murray Path. There is a short on-road segment near the switchback in Ault Park that follows Old Red Bank Road and Woodland Drive to connect the two trails. Stay tuned for some exciting news about the extension to the Little Miami Scenic Trail later this year!"

    Great Miami River Trail

    "Last year, a key gap between Middletown and Franklin was closed, after nearly a decade of effort. You can now ride roughly 65 miles from Middletown through Dayton to Piqua, which is a big deal! We're working with MetroParks of Butler County and Great Miami Riverway to link up this regional corridor to another 11 miles of the GMRT in Hamilton and Fairfield Township sometime in the foreseeable future."

    Riverfront Commons

    Riverfront Commons

    "Covington's riverfront got a makeover last year with a new amphitheater and improved trail alignment west of the Roebling Bridge. On top of that, Covington recently extended the trail's western terminus to Swain Court, which drastically improves biking to West Covington and Ludlow, as well as featuring a spectacular riverfront view of Cincinnati. While the trail doesn't perfectly connect to Newport yet for bicycling, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is developing plans to rebuild the Fourth Street Bridge between Campbell and Kenton Counties. This is an important project for interested riders to advocate for a better design with a high-quality bikeway between Newport and Covington."

    Ohio River Trail

    "Cincinnati is doing its part to advance the regional vision for the Ohio River Way between Portsmouth and Louisville by building out new connections in the Ohio River Trail. Last year, a critical link between Lunken Airport and Coney Island was completed. This eastern leg of the CROWN extends roughly 7 miles from Schmidt Field in East End to Kellogg Park in Anderson Township with one on-road section through the riverfront street grid of California. On the West Side, a new section of the Ohio River Trail West is almost finished from Fairbanks Avenue in Sedamsville to Gilday/Riverside Park."

    Little Miami Scenic Trail

    "I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Little Miami Scenic Trail, also lovingly referred to as the Loveland Bike Trail. Unfortunately, a key stretch of this trail will be closed through December for the construction of a new bridge at King Ave./Grandin Road near Cartridge Brewing. When complete, the trail will feature an improved trailhead parking lot and tunnel to bypass the road intersection. Check back on the south end of the Little Miami Scenic Trail later this summer — Great Parks of Hamilton County is scheduled to have the Beechmont Bridge complete to Lunken Airport in September."

  • May 18, 2022 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: 91.7 WVXU

    For Some Greater Cincinnatians, Every Day Is Bike to Work Day

    by Lucy May

    May 20 is National Bike to Work Day. But for some folks, that’s every day.

    According to 2020 American Community Survey five-year aggregate data, roughly 9,000 workers in Hamilton County don’t have a car available to them and roughly 400 ride their bikes to work regularly.

    That may sound like a tiny number, but it could be growing, given the nation’s continuing bike boom, increasing bicycle infrastructure in our region, widespread availability of e-bikes and growing awareness of the environmental impact of motorized vehicles.

    There are many reasons why people ride a bicycle to and from work and other vital destinations: to get more exercise; because they can’t afford a car or don’t have a driver's license; to reduce their carbon footprint; or just because it’s fun.

    But bike commuting in Greater Cincinnati presents challenges along with joys. Gaps in safe cycling infrastructure, inclement weather and danger from drivers on the roads are all part of a bicycle commuter’s calculus when riding to work.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition are avid cycling commuter and Queen City Bike President Joe Humpert; long-distance bike commuter Daniel Iroh; and Wade Johnston from Tristate Trails. They'll talk about the benefits and challenges of commuting by bike, opportunities for improvement in Greater Cincinnati’s cycling infrastructure, and why bike commuting for some transcends a mere way to get to work and represents a distinct lifestyle.

  • May 17, 2022 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    Groups Name Popular Well-Building Startup as Sustainability Winner

    by Movers and Makers

    May 17, 2022

    The StartupCincy ecosystem named a well-building firm, co-founded by a newly graduated Xavier University student, as its first winner in a new collaboration.

    Ripple Water combines the sale of high-quality water bottles for the purpose of solving the global water crisis. For every 1,000 water bottles sold, Ripple builds a well that provides clean water to communities in need, giving them the gift of life. Ripple is a for-profit, but is awaiting federal tax-exempt status for the nonprofit it has set up to help it build wells, the 10th now happening in Uganda.

    “All four of the ‘Green Room’ startup competitors have creative products that solve real-world problems,” said volunteer coach Brian Tibbs, vice president of finance and business intelligence at Monti Inc.

    “This was a close competition with Ripple winning by just two points. Ripple set themselves apart with their unique business concept and funding potential. They have a solid presentation and backed that up with well-prepared answers to the judges’ questions.”

    Alloy Growth Lab, formerly the Hamilton County Development Co., and partners Cintrifuse, Flywheel, the University of Cincinnati, Sustainable Cincy and Green Umbrella hosted the pitch competition highlighting cutting-edge startups in the sustainability space. The pitches and voting took place April 28 at MadTreet Brewery.

    The other three startups competing were:

    • Inland Shrimp is an indoor shrimp farm that provides premium fresh, never frozen shrimp, locally through the use of patented technology and a proprietary high growth, high nutrient feed formula.
    • Clean Earth Rovers tackle the problem of marine debris. Its Plastics Piranha is engineered to skim marinas and collect 300 lbs. of waste per trip.
    • Micronic Technologies is developing revolutionary wastewater cleaning technologies. Its water purification system, the Tornadic One-Pass, harnesses the science and power of a tornado to clean toxic water.

    As winner, Ripple Water receives six months of complimentary membership to space at Alloy Growth Lab, a one-year membership to Cintrifuse, 100% paid scholarship to the Queen City Angel Bootcamp, consultation and document preparation from Ulmer & Berne, a one-year membership to Green Umbrella and a ticket to the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit. Ripple (we are the ripple | official website) was co-founded by new Xavier alumni Zach Kane. Just a few months ago, Ripple won the top prize at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s national pitch competition.

    The “Green Room” collaboration brought together startup ecosystem partners to focus on sustainability in the Cincinnati marketplace. Ripple is among a host of credits — Sustainability Innovation in Cincinnati – Cintrifuse — Cincinnati is taking for its sustanability economy.

  • May 16, 2022 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    This Year’s Midwest Sustainability Summit Will Explore Strategies for an Equitable, Climate Prepared Region

    by CM Sales

    May 16, 2022

    Join hundreds of business, nonprofit, government, and community leaders at Xavier University’s Cintas Center on Thursday, June 16 for the 2022 Midwest Sustainability Summit, hosted by Green Umbrella. Whether you’re passionate about enhancing sustainability at your workplace or in your neighborhood, there are topics for everyone. The Summit will cover a variety of issues from creating healthier buildings, outdoor learning gardens at schools, and community composting programs, to learning how Cincinnati and other cities are creating a climate-conscious future. You’ll walk away feeling inspired, with tools to help influence change and innovation.

    “Anybody who cares about the health of our communities and the innovative things that are happening in the region around sustainability would want to come,” says Charlie Gonzalez, member relations and events manager for Green Umbrella. “Food, infrastructure, energy, healthy communities, climate action—there’s something for everyone.” Much of the Summit will focus on environmental justice, including programs to plant more trees in underserved communities to improve air quality, reduce heat, and lower energy bills. In neighborhoods like Lower Price Hill, Bond Hill, and Roselawn, residents were empowered to be climate advisors as part of a community engagement process to develop climate strategies for their neighborhood that will inform the Green Cincinnati Plan. The project’s success, and plans to expand the program to other neighborhoods, represent an example initiative that will be highlighted at the Summit.

    Keynote speaker Kristin Baja, director of direct support and innovation with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will share insights from her work helping cities across the nation identify effective climate strategies. She will join Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval, Dayton mayor Jeffrey Mims, and Limamayor Sharetta Smith to discuss how Midwest cities can enhance their climate resilience in equitable ways and work together to make the region a national leader of sustainability.

    Additional talks and sessions throughout the day include:

    • Your Vision – the Future of the Green Cincinnati Plan (an interactive workshop)
    • Equitable Data-Driven Decision Making for Environmental Justice Initiatives in Greater Cincinnati
    • How to Start a Green Team in Your Congregation
    • Revolutionary Strategies for a Climate Safe Region
    • Accelerating Climate Action Through Democracy
    • Resilient Composting: A Story of Collaboration in Cincinnati
    • Are Aviation and Sustainability Mutually Exclusive?
    • Strengths-Based Stories for Resilient Communities
    • Sustainability Action in Appalachian Ohio
    • Buildings as Medicine: How Better Design Removes Environmental Stressors
    • Calm Climate Anxiety: Connect & Balance Emotions, Spirit, and Action
    • Charting a Sustainable Course: How to Create a Local Climate Action Strategy
    • Innovation in StartupCincy for an Equitable, Climate-Prepared Region
    • A Food Secure Community: Resilience Through Relationships, Trust, and Local Solutions
    • Better Housing: Equitable Decarbonization through Collaboration
    • Better Building: Driving the Triple Bottom Line with Design
    • Success Through Collaboration: The Rockdale Urban Learning Garden
    • Wasted Food Stops with Us
    • Benchmarking for Better Communities
    • Introduction to the Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub
    • Decarbonizing Existing Buildings – A Historic Opportunity
    • Explore Cincinnati’s Foodshed

    The event is in person, and the main stage will be live streamed to allow for virtual attendance. For the full schedule and to register, visit

    Field trips across Greater Cincinnati

    The day after the conference, on Friday June 17, Green Umbrella partners will host a series of field trips and community activities. Even if you aren’t registered for the Summit, you can attend any of the field trips for free. Sign up at

    Ready to learn more about sustainability and attend the conference?

    Visit the Midwest Sustainability Summit’s website to register for the 2022 event and learn more about the speakers and program.

    Green Umbrella is grateful for the generous support of the event’s main sponsors, who are invested in helping create a more sustainable and climate-prepared region:

    “Fifth Third Bank is committed to reducing our environmental footprint, managing our climate-related risk, and to helping our customers and communities transition to a more sustainable and inclusive future. We are proud to again sponsor the Midwest Sustainability Summit to engage with this community to further our shared vision.” –Thomas Neltner, senior vice president, director of enterprise workplace services and chief security officer

    “Verizon believes this is a breakthrough moment for business action on climate change, which is why we’ve strengthened our commitment to sustainability and have set a goal to reach net-zero operational emissions by 2035. Verizon has become one of the largest corporate buyers of U.S. renewable energy, entering into long-term renewable energy purchase agreements for substantial renewable energy capacity and has issued four $1 billion green bonds. Supporting local sustainability efforts like the Summit is part of our overall mission to make our networks and the communities we serve more climate resilient. These donations and programs align with Verizon’s goal to help move the world forward through our Citizen Verizon initiative, which centers on Digital Inclusion, Climate Protection and Human Prosperity.” —Jessica Cohen, Director of community engagement, Verizon

    “The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University is thrilled to be a top sponsor of the 2022 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit because of its broad and inclusive approach to sustainability, recognizing that the environmental, the human, and the social are interconnected. In the spirit of Pope Francis, Xavier is committed to this kind of an “integral ecological” approach to sustainability.” —Bill Madges, faculty director The Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue

  • May 10, 2022 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    The Queen City Receives Her Crown

    by Eliza Bobonick

    May 10, 2022

    The Queen City has long struggled with its image. Once known as Porkopolis, and commonly viewed as overweight and unhealthy, Cincinnati is famed for piles of spaghetti topped with unconventional chili and mounds of cheese, and as being the home of all-too-often underdog sports teams. Outside of its low cost of living, the city has had issues regarding desirability as a place to live or visit for generations. Over time, notoriously polluted air and waterways and episodic discord due to racial unrest have also marred the nation’s collective view of the city.

    The humble queen has undertaken some serious self-reflection and subsequent action in recent years. The results are evident in a once-again bustling downtown and riverfront district – as well as safer, happier, more inclusive communities surrounding its inner core.

    Now, the heart of the city is pumping that momentum for change outward, circulating these renewed assets to the farthest corners of Cincinnati’s outermost and least served communities. Across county lines and jurisdictional barriers, different factions (often strange bedfellows) are working together to break through acquisitional stumbling blocks and financial barriers. Collectively, they are weaving a massive crown of green inclusivity to adorn the queen and elevate the possibilities of the surrounding area – in the form of an immense multiuse trail.

    The final product has the potential to vastly improve residents’ quality of life in innumerable ways. But the painstaking crafting of this crown is largely about making connections. Bridging the gap between public and private entities and linking various community gems, the aim is to share the wealth – drawing residents of all communities out of the shadows and into the light, together.

    CROWN is a clever acronym for Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. Per the CROWN Cincinnati website: “Once complete, The CROWN will connect more than 356,000 people in 54 communities to major destinations like parks, schools, and centers for employment, retail, recreation and entertainment. This walkable, bikable loop will also be fully separated from roadway traffic, providing a safe and accessible option for all Cincinnatians to gather and be active outdoors.”

    While many portions of the path have been in existence for some time, the current objective of CROWN is to finish vital connective segments in order to close the proposed 34-mile loop. Directing these efforts is a steering committee comprised of leadership from Cincinnati Parks, The City of Cincinnati, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Wasson Way Board and others. The committee determines the next logical steps for applications of grant money as it becomes available in order to smooth and expedite the entire process.

    “So the plan is for a 34-mile loop around the city – link up the Wasson Way Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail, the Ohio River Trail, and the Mill Creek Greenway,” explains Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails and member of the CROWN steering committee.

    “When we launched our campaign, we had a focus for connecting 24 miles in the loop. It has already completed the Wasson Way Trail from Xavier to Ault Park and hooked up with a path that goes into Mariemont called the Murray Path,” continues Johnston. By 2026, Johnston hopes to see the initial 24-mile plan completed.

    The entire 34-mile loop is on track to be fully connected within the next ten years. Wasson Way will be joined to Uptown via a link to Martin Luther King and Reading Road. Grant funding has already been designated for this portion via the steering committee.

    “That's going to tie into Evanston, Avondale and touch Walnut Hills to reach some communities that have historically been left out of the trail network. And I'd say that's one of our proudest accomplishments,” asserts Johnston, who runs Tri-State Trails from under the wing of nonprofit Green Umbrella. “Originally the city planned to stop the trail at Xavier, and we, as a part of our fundraising campaign, convinced the city to make this segment a priority.”

    Johnston also takes pride in having formed a public-private partnership creating the opportunity to utilize a rail corridor owned by SORTA Metro (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority) that runs from Xavier to MLK, as well as the the connection of the Western Way corridor from Mariemont down to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

    It’s been a labor of love for avid trail user Johnston, who often bikes as far as he can near his east side home and then hops on the Metro with his bike in tow.

    “Right now, Great Parks of Hamilton County is building a bridge over the Little Miami River at the end of the Little Miami trail to Lunken Airport. That is a huge, huge connection that will connect our region's longest trail to downtown Cincinnati,” says Johnston, who will personally benefit from this leg of the trail.

    Lighting, safety and trail maintenance concerns are significant details that will need to be worked out to ensure the trails are a positive experience for residents regardless of the time of day or season. Increasing community awareness is key to generating support and involvement for the ongoing care that the trails will require as provisions for proper use.

    But for now, while the funding is flowing in, the focus is on allocating it quickly and building the framework.

    “We're at a very pivotal moment. We've got a lot of money that is coming down the pipeline from the federal government for infrastructure, and at the same time we have a lot of aging infrastructure in Cincinnati – crumbling roads. In my view, this is the moment to prioritize,” says Johnston.

    With this new type of green infrastructure, the hope is to turn the focus away from repaving fractured roadways and to instead lessen their use by promoting walking and biking options. Decreased use of public roadways will slow their decay, as well as lower vehicle emissions.

    “Cincinnati metro area currently ranks F for ozone particulates or ozone pollution,” laments Johnston. “That's a stat from the American Lung Association, and the number one contributor to ozone is vehicle emissions. And so, by connecting to these employment centers and places that people want to go, we hope that it will reduce the impact on our air.”

    He looks forward to seeing underserved, highway-adjacent communities such as South Fairmont and Avondale (whose residents are struggling with widespread respiratory illnesses) benefitting from cleaner air, as well as increased access to healthy foods via trail connectivity to local grocery stores. Johnston hopes this will hinder the spread of diabetes in these areas, which are often “food deserts.”

    In addition, increased employment opportunities for those living in underdeveloped areas due to enhanced transportation capabilities will be the icing on this large, green cake.

    “People will be able to safely and comfortably ride their bikes from many different neighborhoods to get to our region's two largest employment hubs, uptown and downtown,” notes Johnston. “It's going to be a game changer.”

    All Cincinnati communities, regardless of their situational or economic characteristics, could and will benefit from the ease of access to healthful activities the CROWN will provide.

    Michele Gottschlich has a background in health care and works for the Red Cross. She has been heavily involved and invested in supporting local community trails, primarily the Triangle Trail, for many years. Gottschlich is now working to encourage all areas toward backing the development of the CROWN out of concern for Cincinnati’s collective health, as well as local economies.

    “I worked in the hospital setting. I've got a PhD in nutrition, and I worked there for 25 years and became so frustrated with all the red tape. We weren't being successful with people's long term chronic health needs,” says Gottschlich. “Trails represent the perfect preventative medicine and intervention. With diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer and osteoporosis all being rampant – trails are a wonderful umbrella to reach everybody’s health.”

    Gottschlich established the Connecting Active Communities Coalition to encourage locals to be more active outdoors pre-pandemic. She says that involvement mushroomed due to COVID limiting indoor activities.

    “Now even more people realize the value of outdoor recreation, but what is much more challenging to me is trying to reach stakeholders about the value that trails bring for economics,” says Gottschlich.

    “These communities that are economically disadvantaged are slower to jump on board because, while they appreciate it and they definitely value outdoor recreation, their mindset is so focused on their community development and funding. You look at Arlington Heights, Lockland, and Reading. They are the ones that I want to help the most. And they're like, ‘We understand, Michele, but we’ve got to figure out a way to bring business back to the community.’ They just don't see that's the link,” she says.

    The link Gottschlich refers to is the enhanced opportunity for commerce within and between all communities along the CROWN’s path that increased trail access will provide. Retail, restaurant and other business developments will find an attractive traffic flow of weary travelers in need of respite or retail therapy while on a break from their trail excursions. Those from adjacent areas seeking different goods than what they can find in their own localities will also contribute to neighboring communities’ economies.

    Gottschlich sites a personal example pertaining to an upcoming event called Canoes and Conversation which seeks to connect elected officials to the work being done and the resulting possibilities being offered by the revitalization of the Mill Creek watershed: “I was trying to get one of the local caterers for this Canoes and Conversation event, and he said, ‘Well, it'd be great if we could keep our employees, but they can't get to work.’ And we have the same situation in Evendale. In an industrial park, they can't get employees to work,” explains Gottschlich.

    “Well, if we had a trail, they could certainly get to work. We’re working with ODOT and Through the Valley on the situation about abandoning the highway, northbound, so that they merge the two highways together south, down through Lockland. They want to provide grants, but will Lockland embrace this opportunity to build a trail there?” Gottschlich wonders.

    Beyond those setbacks, Gottschlich also faces issues of fear and racial intolerance from more well off communities, even from their leadership.

    “You’d think in this day and age that people are beyond bigotry. I gave a talk to these leaders in the community, and the chair had the audacity to say to me, ‘I love your vision. It’s fantastic. But I'm not going to support it if this is going to link Lincoln Heights to Evendale. I don't want that crime. I don't want those people coming this way.’ Can you believe that?” asks Gottschlich, baffled.

    Evendale itself stands to benefit greatly from the connections being made as a part of the CROWN. A bond with nearby community treasure Sharon Woods is being constructed via a trail portion along an abandoned railway leading up the Mill Creek.

    “There used to be a rail line that went up Sharon Creek up through Sharon Hill, through what is now Sharon Woods that hadn't been used in decades and was abandoned. It took a while, but we negotiated to purchase that corridor,” says Dave Schmitt, Executive Director of the Mill Creek Alliance. “They're giving us a conservation easement on it and we're going to do all the stream restoration work which is going to stabilize the banks and the floodplains, which in turn provides the path.”

    According to Schmitt, the trail is often what brings people to the stream. The action taken by the Mill Creek Alliance over the past two decades has created a vast local resource out of what was once designated the “most endangered urban river in North America” by conservation group American Rivers. Now the Mill Creek teems with fish and wildlife, and is safe for residents to explore. This is largely thanks to the work done over the years by the Mill Creek Alliance. Schmitt believes the trail is a natural extension of the creek.

    “You want to provide access to these natural areas, and the trail does that. It brings people back to the stream, and connects these different wonderful parks like Sharon Woods and Winton Woods and Glendale Gardens,” says Schmitt.

    Todd Gailar recently purchased a golf and mini golf facility on a multi-acre tract of land along the Mill Creek. He is encouraging utilization of the Mill Creek by his patrons as well as drumming up increased business via canoe goers along the stream. He has put in a nice pull off and launch for those drifting by to access The Acres as a rest stop, and added a restaurant to increase its appeal. With the coming expansion of the trail right alongside his property, he envisions increased future benefits for all involved.

    In the summer of 2021, while Gailar was prospecting the location, he got in touch with Schmitt through the Mill Creek Alliance. Gailar was concerned about the water quality of the stream, and wondered if it would be an asset or a drawback for his business.

    “I wouldn't just buy a golf driving range with a mini golf facility. To me, it had to have some component to connect to nature,” says Gailar. “This is like, you’re going there to do something else. But ‘Oh my gosh, there was a bald eagle!’ or ‘I saw a turtle!’ I think those are the things, to me, that are like the element of surprise. It’s the magic that suddenly you've now connected people to this piece of land.”

    Gailar will continue to develop and tweak his business model while awaiting the upcoming trail connectivity. The entire process of connecting the CROWN could take awhile, but anticipation and excitement is building all around, with different developers, investors and communities making plans for the future.

    “Our master plan told us that the community wants public space and green space—and communities connected with trails. And that's a top priority for us,” says Todd Palmeter, CEO of Great Parks of Hamilton County. “So, we are currently building the Beechmont Bridge, which is in the CROWN. The funding was all secured through Great Parks of Hamilton County—whether it was federal funds, state funds or our capital project funds.”

    Also in the works, according to Palmeter, is a portion coming through Mariemont running east to Newtown called the Columbia Connector. Funding for that piece is to be generated this summer.

    “Overwhelmingly, people want to live in communities that are walkable and bikable and safe. Cincinnati doesn’t have a coast with an ocean. We don't have a mountain range like Colorado. But we do have these beautiful river valleys and the scenic hillsides. That's where the topography lends itself to building a trail, and where we have had old, historic rail corridors that we've been able to repurpose,” says Johnston.

    “On the west coast, there are water shortages and wildfires, but we are very water secure in Cincinnati,” adds Johnston. “We are building an amenity with the CROWN that is going to attract people to live here and make people want to stay here.”

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