26 June 2007

Who needs another Old Navy?


For over a year, earth movers have been reshaping a land at the SW intersection of Colerain and I275. As a child, I remember this area from before I275 was even built, and it is a hilly, forested property, with a stream. Despite being at the intersection of Sprawl Pike (Colerain) and the largest ring freeway in the country, it remained a wooded lot for decades because of the difficult topography.

So tons of money and effort has gone into transforming this land into a shopping center. Meanwhile, a couple hundred yards away to the north, a vacant Walmart is sitting. I also remember the farm and houses that were removed for the Walmart.

Look at the graph above. I nabbed it from Jim Kunstler's site. Somehow Italians can clothe themselves and furnish their houses in style without 40,0000 SF Bed Bath and Beyond stores. Today they were putting a sign up at the colerain site and the first two stores are: Bed Bath and Beyond, and an Old Navy.

What a waste. We owe it to ourselves to improve the land when we build, not to destroy it. Here is a map of the area in question.

25 June 2007

Contemporary Arts Center

On select Sundays, the CAC has art projects for kids on the 6th floor. We went yesterday for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and had a great time. The artists that were helping to direct activities were very encouraging to our son who was making a sculpture out of used toys.

If you don't know, the top floor of the building is called the UnMuseum, and has kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits. We like it alot, but the rest of the museum is not usually suitable for young children. Mondays are doubly good, as they are open until 9pm and admission is free.

Below, a photo I found online of Zaha Hadid (architect of the CAC) with Margaret Thatcher in 1984:

Northside - Hot?

Somehow I missed this article Sunday, about rising property values in Northside. Sometimes I wish I lived in Northside. Great place to raise a family (or dogs as per the article). They got it going on.

23 June 2007

Burnet Woods


The nature center reopened in Burnet Woods today, and it looks great. They have nature daycamps that include fishing and canoeing.

They also painted the cement slide so you can go down without cardboard.

city kids play in mud too

Rinsing off:

21 June 2007

Krohn Butterfly Show

Not to be missed, the last day of the butterfly show is Sunday, June 24, 2007

My First Swim Meet

OK, Cincinnati Recreation Commission has a great program at their pools in which each of the neighborhood pools has a swim team, and each Weds they have a meet at a different pool. For children that cannot get to the meet on their own (ie: they don't have a car) they provide a shuttle bus that drives the team to the meet.


I got to Pleasant Ridge Pool for the meet at 5:30. Many kids were swimming laps. I met an aquaintance, and she said the Pleasant Ridge Swim team has 50 members. Ours has 6. I also noticed that the Pleasant Ridge pool had picnic tables, chairs and a CONCESSION STAND! Our pool has none of that.

The bus for our pool arrived over an hour late! They delayed the start of the meet until 7pm! The meet was still going on when we left at 8:30. It was getting dark.

Despite this, our son swam three races, and loved it. I have never been to a swim meet in my life, but it was fantastic. It was all very official, with time cards and age ranks and things like "9-10 year old 25 meter medley relay" etc. It ended up being a good time. I just wish CRC could get their act together and run thing smoother.

20 June 2007

Columbus has only 10 public pools

Columbus, a city of comparable size to Cincinnati, has only 10 public pools, and they open almost 2 weeks after Cincinnati's. We should be grateful for what we have.

19 June 2007

Children "roam" space shrinking


Article in a UK newspaper

"I was able to go out quite freely - I'd ride my bike around the estate, play with friends in the park and walk to the swimming pool and to school," said Mrs Grant, 36.

"There was a lot less traffic then - and families had only one car. People didn't make all these short journeys."

Today, her son Edward spends little time on his own outside his garden in their quiet suburban street. She takes him by car to school to ensure she gets to her part-time job as a medical librarian on time.

While he enjoys piano lessons, cubs, skiing lessons, regular holidays and the trampoline, slide and climbing frame in the garden, his mother is concerned he may be missing out.

She said: "He can go out in the crescent but he doesn't tend to go out because the other children don't. We put a bike in the car and go off to the country where we can all cycle together.

"It's not just about time. Traffic is an important consideration, as is the fear of abduction, but I'm not sure whether that's real or perceived."

She added: "Over four generations our family is poles apart in terms of affluence. But I'm not sure our lives are any richer."

Raising Teens - City vs Suburb

Interesting find in a Charlotte blog:

As a kid, I was raised in urban neighborhoods on Cleveland's westside and close-in suburbs. We walked nearly everywhere and took the bus when it was too far.

As a result, we got to know a variety of people and have a range of experiences. As an adult parent, I (and my wife) raised our kids in the suburbs where they had their own yard, a small circle of friends and we had to drive them everywhere. Despite my wife's and my best efforts, looking at our now-grown children, I believe that their suburban upbringing deprived them of many things, including how to interact with unfamiliar people and out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

And Wow, she generated tons of responses. She must have hit a nerve.

18 June 2007

I love our pool

Cincinnati Recreation Commission runs approximately 40 neighborhood pools. I am not exactly sure of the number, because some have closed or are being renovated, and a few of them are indoor pools, which we rarely use and serve a completely different purpose from a neighborhood pool.

This year, our pool, (Washington Park) is open 12:30-4:30 M-Sat. It has no shade, and no food or drinks are allowed. Despite the limited hours, scorching sun and lack of refreshment, it is a true oasis in the stifiling heat.

Membership for one year is $5 per person. Despite this low price, the pool gets really overcrowded on "free day", which demonstrates just how broke some people are.

The water is super clean, and PH level is monitored.

There are plenty of lifeguards, and they watch the pool closely.

They offer swim lessons, and run a swim team. There first meet is Weds in Pleasant Ridge. CRC provides van service to the meets.

Our pool gets crowded at about 50-60 people. We had just about that many Saturday.

The only improvements needed: Sunday and evening hours. Umberellas (like at Mt. Adams Pool), and concession area (like at private pools). If these things could be promised at a new expanded deep water pool at Ziegler Park, then perhaps I would support the decision to remove our pool.

11 June 2007

Raising Children in Captivity

A BBC article laments that parents don't let their children out to play with freinds:

Adrian Voce, from the Play England project, said it was unfair to blame parents as they only had their children's well-being at heart.

"Compared to the well-being derived from being out and about and socialising and growing and developing, weighed up against real threats to your child's safety - real or perceived threats - it's a no-brainer for parents," he said.

"They'd rather their child was short of a few friends and over-weight than dead on the road."

We are rearing our children in captivity - their habitat shrinking almost daily.

In 1970 the average nine-year-old girl would have been free to wander 840 metres from her front door. By 1997 it was 280 metres.

Now the limit appears to have come down to the front doorstep.

"You might get kidnapped or taken by a stranger," says Jojo.

"In the park you might get raped," agrees Holly.

Don't they yearn to go off to the woods, to climb trees and get muddy?

No, they tell me. The woods are scary. Climbing trees is dangerous. Muddy clothes get you in trouble.

09 June 2007

Our local pool

Our Local Pool, Apparently Scheduled to permanently close in August:


Actually, I don't think anyone using the pool today is even aware that the Recreation Commission has apparently decided to remove this pool, and maybe install a spray ground.
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A sprayground does not offer a chance to learn how to swim, or learn how to dive:

There is always a line for the diving boards. Many of the kids can do flips and special dives:

Kids drying off on the concrete:

The Changing Rooms and Baby Pool area:

Our local pool is its' own little community, formed for 8-10 weeks each summer. They have a swim team, and also offer "guard start" which is a way to give kids a chance to be responsible and learn about being a lifeguard.

A pool has been in Washington Park for many decades. From what I can discern from old photos, and people's recollections, this current pool is the thrid or fourth in this location. There was a concrete pool of similar size and shape here that was replaced with the current aluminum one 30 some years ago.

Has the City given up on Over-the-Rhine? Do they think children won't live here in the future?

The CRC's recent actions make me think they are attempting to remove the smaller neighborhood pools, and planning to upgrade a few of them. Unfortunately, the smaller local pools are the most popular, and the easiest for kids to access. Many of the kids going off the diving boards in these photos, are 10 and twleve years, old, and walk to the pool without parents. If this pool is removed, and the one at Ziegler enlarged, will those boys now walk across the neighborhood to get there? Would you let your son walk 7 blocks through OTR with his towel and suit?

Similarly, CRC is enlarging the Pool at Dunham, but is apparently closing the one on Rapid Run that is closer to homes and easier to walk to. 99% of the visitors to Dunham come by car, as it is up off the road in a park and away from bus lines.

Consolidating the pools will apparently save money on lifeguards, but it will remove one key necessary ingredient: kids.

Several years ago, it was announced that the Mt. Adams pool would be closed, because it had a leak. The neighbors, raised money to fix the leak, and as always, this pool continues to be packed, 7 days a week, despite the fact that it is very small and in a tight spot. Why is it so crowded? Because it is very conveniently located for many families. CRC should learn a lesson from the success of that small pool: keep the pools simple and local.

08 June 2007

Opera Dogs

I didn't attend the first Opera Dogs event last year. It seemed a bit silly, and not my thing, but friends who went said their kids loved it. So I plan on taking the kids to see all the dogs dressed in funny costumes.

In Historic Washington Park
11 AM Registration & Best Costume Contest
Noon Best Singing Contest
1:30 PM Opera Dogs Parade to Main Street

Second Sunday on Main Street Festival (Main St. between 13th & Liberty)
1:45 PM Opera Dogs winners announced from music stage
2-5 PM More canine contests (starting at 2:15pm), live music by Jake Speed, cooking demos with Chef Romy of The Palace, wine tasting, Christian Moerlein Beer Garden, pet-related vendors, unique boutiques and more. The Cincinnati Police Canine Unit will conduct a special demonstration at 3:30pm.

If we were feeling energetic, we would follow the dogs over to the Second Sunday on Main event, and then head to the free concert they have every second sunday at the Taft.

Some days there is just too much free stuff to do downtown!

Daddy Zebra


Baby Zebra


New arrival and mother at Cincinnati Zoo
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1967 Spiderman TV Show

I got this for my 6yr old, and he loves it. I like it too, not too much violence, but lots of bad guys and wall climbing. Plus the catchy tune:

07 June 2007

Obama in 2009

I was just reading a speech he gave recently, and it rings so true to our situation in Over-the-Rhine:

Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

Those “quiet riots” that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better. You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home. That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, “Not guilty” — or a hurricane hits New Orleans — and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

06 June 2007

Uncivil behavior

Last night, I unfortunately witnessed a young punk with a temper hit his girlfriend. The woman had a two or three year old with her (probaly his child), and when the police arrived, she just walked away, and when pressed, said there was not problem. He was let go.

Almost as bad as the physical violence, was the verbal abuse slung at each other. While his punk friends stood around, this idiot fake-punched her several times, and called her all kinds of names, most which I can't understand.

Although I have lived surrounded by this culture for many years, I will never completly understand what is going on. I have heard that in 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan authored a report that said a crisis was brewing because of the breakdown of the black family in the late 50's and early 60's. Unfortunately things got much worse over the next decades. Seems like there has been some improvement from the 80's, but those left here in the bottom, wouldn't know it.

05 June 2007

Pools Open This Week


The concourse fountain opened Saturday, and was the first Cincinnati Recreation Pool to open this season. The rest are scheduled to open this week. Lincoln Pool opens today and Washington Park Pool opens Thursday.

04 June 2007

OTR tour of homes

The OTR Foundation puts on a tour of homes every year or so, and I really wanted to go this year because there is a lot of new rehabs to see. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me, but this guy did.

Some of the projects were impressive, notably 1214-16 Vine by Uban Sites. They had the largest units, and EVERY unit had some kind of private outdoor space. The importance of this outdoor space cannot be emphasized enough. They also had larger units, which could fit a family, although families are more likely to choose a side street. I think I only saw one unit that was a three bedroom, and that was the townhouses on Orchard Street, by Mike Uhlenhake. In my opinion, this would be an ideal family home.

Damn, I wish I had brought my camera.