Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tomorrow a big step for Kennedy Heights cultural anchor

A long-sought community anchor finally could be coming to Kennedy Heights, pending a decision by the Cincinnati City Planning Commission.

This morning at 9 A.M. it will consider a sale and development agreement with the Kennedy Heights Development Corporation (KHDC) for City-owned property at 6620 Montgomery Road, which is envisioned as the Kennedy Heights Cultural Center.

Located on the high-profile corner of Montgomery Road and Kennedy Avenue, redevelopment of the vacant Kroger and Furniture Fair location has long been identified as the top priority within the neighborhood's business district.

A partnership including the Kennedy Heights Community Council, KHDC, the Kennedy Heights Arts Center, Kennedy Heights Montessori Center and the Cincinnati Art Museum plan to spend just over $3 million to convert the 32,000-square-foot building into three distinct spaces:
  • A large, multi-purpose event space, ten artist studio workspaces, gallery and exhibit space, a kitchen and storage, and a lobby and restroom for the Kennedy Heights Arts Center;
  • Off-site storage, gallery and educational programming space for the Cincinnati Art Museum; and
  • A multi-cultural learning environment for the Kennedy Heights Montessori Center, which has been absent from the neighborhood for three years.
The use was recommended in the 2007 Kennedy Heights NBD Urban Design Plan as a way to transform a failing commercial corridor into a thriving center of neighborhood-serving business, arts, and cultural activity.

If approved by the City Planning Commission, the sale would still need to be approved by City Council.

The City purchased the property from Cincinnati Public Schools last year for $720,000. The district had purchased the property in 2002 for a new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, but ended up rebuilding that school on the former school's site.

Previous reading on BC:
Kennedy Heights overlay added to Municipal Code (4/2/08)
EDC to consider Kennedy Heights overlay district (3/21/08)
Kennedy Heights Urban Design Plan approved (12/24/07)
EDC to hear on Kennedy Heights NBD (12/18/07)