2017 Neighborhood Business District Bus TourYesterday I had the chance to participate for a second straight year in the bus tour portion of the annual City of Cincinnati Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program (NDIP) grant competition on behalf of my neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge. The structure of the tour is that from 8am-2pm, a charter bus full of City Employees and Neighborhood Representatives of all 20+ Neighborhood Business Districts competing for grant money are driven from neighborhood-to-neighborhood (stopping only for bathroom breaks and beer) where a spokesperson for each community gives an overview of what is happening in their neighborhood and description of what they are proposing to use the funds they are requesting on, whether that is property acquisition, streetscape, signage, or in the case of Pleasant Ridge this year, parking improvements. The coolest thing for me being on the tour for the second year in a row is noticing how much all the different business districts have grown in the past year with new retail, restaurants and offices opening throughout the city. It also helped validate a lot of my preferences for future Home 2.0 project sites (which I wrote about in a blog post this time last year). Below is a Map Highlighting all the Neighborhoods visited on the tour in Yellow, with my favorites for future development projects highlighted in Orange.
The most memorable moment from the tour for me was when an elderly man in a motorized scooter stopped the bus to ask the driver and people on board what we were doing. The conversation that followed went something like this:
- (Man) 'What are you all doing?'
- (Bus) 'We're taking a tour of the City of Cincinnati.'
- (Man) 'Oh OK, Where are you all from?'
- (Bus) 'The City of Cincinnati.'
This made me think, why don't we take time to explore our own city like we do as tourists of other cities? If I've learned anything from these bus tours the past couple years, it is that the city and its many neighborhoods have a ton of hidden gems to uncover, it's just a matter of taking the time and making the effort to discover them.