Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce

The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, located at 1401 Main st. in Cincinnati, Ohio is a chamber of commerce that serves to promote economic vitality in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. The OTRCC provides a forum for diverse interests: businesses, developers, property owners, residents, arts organizations and social service providers.

Contents

Mission

The stated mission of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce is "to represent our members by promoting economic vitality and fostering a socially and culturally diverse Over-the-Rhine Community.

History

From the Chamber's website:

"In the early 1980’s, with the leadership of Jim Tarbell, local businessmen, activists and civic leaders Fred Berger, Walter Gabennesch, Kim Krause, Dick Thomas and Bob Wimberg, concerned that the needs and the opportunities of Over-the-Rhine were great, and that an organization to address them did not exist, formed the neighborhood Chamber of Commerce,

Even before the OTR Chamber acquired it’s official 501c6 designation, this group had secured the National Historic Register recognition for the entire 360-acre (1.5 km2) footprint of the OTR neighborhood. OTR has the largest collection of 19th century Italianate architecture than any district in the United States, an asset that continues to be a core value and appeal of the area.

In spring of 1985, the group’s first meeting was upstairs at Grammer’s Restaurant where Jim Tarbell was named president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to improving civic involvement and rebuilding the inner city. Early members included Diane and Bill Smart, Marge Hammelrath, Mary Bonansinga, Tom Denhart and Joe Gorman. Monthly meetings moved from one business and establishment to another so members became familiar and supportive of one another. (This tradition continues today with monthly lunch meetings and various networking activities in a variety of businesses in OTR.)

From the beginning, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce has actively encouraged the maintenance and establishment of businesses in the area. About the same time the OTR Chamber began, Terry Carter opened Neon’s bar and nightclub. This was the catalyst that began the revival of the Main Street Entertainment District. Numerous clubs, restaurants and bars lined Main Street and entertained nearly a million visitors a year.

Cincinnati is rich in volunteerism and philanthropy. the early 1990’s with the energy and support of the OTR Chamber, the OTR Foundation was spun off as a 501c3 organization, to tap into the grants and fiscal gifts available to generate street animation and activity for the businesses and residents of Over-the-Rhine. Together these two organizations work hand in hand to bring special events, attentions, awareness, resources and commerce to the 360-acre (1.5 km2) neighborhood.

The OTR Chamber stays responsive to the needs of members and the community. In recent history, the OTR Chamber developed an anti-drug program with targeted police details to reduce the criminal activity related to illegal drug trafficking. The safety sector meetings successfully facilitate open dialogue between police officers, safety ambassadors, businessmen and residents in the various districts in the neighborhood.

Since its inception, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce has grown to 500 members, making it the largest neighborhood Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati. In 2004 it formed a partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to strengthen its influence and to offer added benefits for members and the community."

Regular Activities

  • Second Sunday on Main

A hip, eclectic neighborhood event held the second Sunday of the month on Main Street between 13th and Liberty and starting in the summer for five months, presented by the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. Each Second Sunday on Main has a different theme but all feature music, food, and crafts from local vendors.

  • Go OTR 5K Run/Walk

A fun, family-friendly 5k run/walk to support the Over-the-Rhine Chamber followed by the Summer Celebration, which includes plenty of food and beverages, music, and fun.

  • Safety Sector Meetings

Meetings discussing safety issues in the four designated sectors of Over-the-Rhine: (1) Findlay Market/Brewery District, (2) Main/Mulberry/McMicken Streets, (3) Washington Park & Art Academy, and (4) Pendleton.

  • Final Fridays

Monthly gallery hop in historic Pendleton and on North Main Street , that continues through out the year on the last Friday of every month.

  • Safe&Clean Program

Created by the OTR Chamber in 2003 to provide a positive environment for business and community growth. The program uses educational outrach and law enforcement collaboration to provide several initiatives, including the Weed and Seed initiative, Safety Sector Meetings, No Trespass Sign Program, Hot Spots Program, and the Drug and Gun Elimination Program.

  • Business First Grant Program

Created by the OTR Chamber to progressively and aggressively attract businesses new to Over-the-Rhine by providing grants.

  • Leads Luncheons

Monthly luncheons held on the second Thursday of the month to promote business networking, pitching business to business products and services, and idea sharing.

External links


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