Thursday, November 20, 2003

Center for arts will open soon

Kennedy Hts. sees revival

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

KENNEDY HEIGHTS - Residents were so convinced their neighborhood needed a center for creative and performing arts that they raised money to buy the land for it.

The Kennedy Heights Arts Center will be located at Montgomery Road and Kennedy Avenue in the former Douglas Funeral Home.

The center will feature outdoor and indoor gallery space, gardens and performance studios.

Community leaders hope the arts center will spur more business development along the stretch of Montgomery Road from Kennedy Heights to Silverton. Developers had initially targeted the property - one of the last remaining large homes on Montgomery Road - for a storage facility or a discount store. But residents from Kennedy Heights, Pleasant Ridge, Silverton, Amberley Village and Columbia Township decided that wasn't acceptable and began raising money to buy the 2.2 acres.

"It's been an energizing process with people stepping up all along the way," said Kathy Spoon, arts center committee president. Spoon said the project was jumpstarted by a $50,000 grant from the city's arts committee. Residents from Kennedy Heights and surrounding neighborhoods raised another $40,000, which gave organizers the collateral to secure a bank loan, she said.

The committee expects to close on the sale of the property Friday and move into the building after Dec. 5. "This is an example of city residents taking charge of our neighborhoods," Spoon said. Community leaders envision turning Montgomery Road into an arts corridor featuring courtyard eateries, galleries and shops.

"Kennedy Heights has been lacking in resources," said Mimi Gingold, vice president of community planning for the Kennedy Heights Community Council. "We see this arts center as the beginning of more great things to develop in our business area."

For more information or to lease studio space: 631-4278


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