WestCURC Seeks Developer For Key Westwood Property

A new endeavor to transform one of Cincinnati’s most vibrant historic business districts is underway in Westwood.

The Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (WestCURC) is now accepting proposals for the development of the former Bolton & Lunsford Funeral Home property at 3042 Harrison Avenue. WestCURC acquired the property in March in partnership with the City of Cincinnati Department of Community and Economic Development and The Port.

WestCURC offers the former funeral home property for redevelopment as Westwood continues its dynamic revitalization. During the past few years, significant private and public investment in the community has included a $3.8 million renovation and repositioning of Town Hall Park, the multi-million dollar Madcap Education Center in the historic former Cincinnati Bell Telephone exchange, West Side Brewing in an old Rambler dealership, Nation Kitchen and Bar in a former firehouse, celebrated restaurant Ivory House in the old Westwood Homestead Bank, Muse Café, and a number of boutique shops in the Ruehlmann Building, and award-winning Henke Winery. Recently announced is Great Parks of Hamilton County’s plans for a 22-acre park and urban ecology center on the ground of the former Gamble Estate, less than a mile from the funeral home.

Westwood is Cincinnati’s largest neighborhood with a diverse and geographically distributed population of approximately 30,000 residents. Residential neighborhoods surround the historic business district and, combined with other urban amenities, lend the area its walkable, welcoming appeal.

The Bolton & Lunsford Funeral Home traces its origins to 1938 when Wain A. Bolton opened the Bolton Funeral Home at 3042 Harrison. He was joined by his son-in-law James Lunsford in 1962. At one time, the family-operated concern provided service at three locations, and three generations of the Bolton and Lunsford families were involved in management. Operations ceased during the past year.

The full request for proposals is available here:
https://westcurcdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/2021-07-07-westcurc_rfp-final.pdf

For more information, contact Greg Hand at info.westcurc@gmail.com

Business Owners Invited To December 4 WestCURC Meeting

All Westwood business owners are invited to attend the next meeting of the Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corp (WestCURC) at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 4 at the recently opened Madcap Education Center.

Among its purposes, WestCURC represents the interests of business owners in Westwood’s historic business district in dealings with the City of Cincinnati. In the recent past WestCURC has partnered with other civic organizations in developing plans for the park grounds around Town Hall. WestCURC has worked with the City to bring a Westwood version of Nation Restaurant to the fire house on Epworth, and has played a part in the ongoing expansion of West Side Brewing. Currently, WestCURC working with the City on plans to calm traffic moving through the business district on Harrison and Montana. In addition, WestCURC hopes to extend bicycle lanes and routes to Westwood Town Hall and on streetscape improvements along Harrison between Montana and Boudinot.

At the December 4 meeting, Caroline Duffy, a consultant working with WestCURC, will present an update on the latest developments with the traffic calming efforts and the streetscape improvements.

WestCURC Welcomes Madcap Education Center

Six years after the Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation coordinated the transfer of the former Cincinnati Bell switching center to Madcap Puppets, the new Madcap Education Center has celebrated its gala opening.

The new $3.4 million arts education facility will host dance, acting, puppet and visual arts classes and workshops as well as children’s performances in a theater designed for family enjoyment.

Madcap Puppets have been planning the Center since the Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (WestCURC) purchased the building for the organization in 2012. The Center becomes a “home base” for the touring company and a venue for expanded children’s programming on the west side, including special events and arts education classes, workshops and summer camps.

In March 2017, Cincinnati Landmark Productions and Madcap Puppets announced a merger of the two venerable west-side arts organizations and a re-invigoration of the”Bell Building” project, at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Urwiler Avenue.

At the merger announcement, CLP announced new funding – the allocation of New Markets Tax Credits from Cincinnati Development Fund – that would make the project possible. Since that time, CLP has partnered with US Bank and the City of Cincinnati to finalize the New Markets deal.

The City of Cincinnati had planned and previously budgeted $4 million for the renovation of Westwood Square, the land around Westwood Town Hall. Upgrades include new landscaping and seating, the addition of an event stage area, a promenade for event vendors, a new playground area and a dog park, effectively activating a space that serves as the center of the city’s largest neighborhood. In December, CLP officials presented and received approval from the Cincinnati Planning Commission, Park Board and City Council to bundle the two projects together in order to maximize the New Markets benefit.

On December 29, 2017, the financing deal was closed, resulting in $2.1 million net benefit for the Madcap Education Center project. With that and other recent funding, the project could officially break ground. Interior demolition began in February 2018 with full renovation/construction starting in April.

Cincinnati Landmark Productions (CLP) is the non-profit owner and operator of the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts in West Price Hill and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater in East Price Hill. Madcap Puppets – based in Westwood – has provided touring children’s programming since 1981 and annually presents over 600 performances across 15 states for 160,000 children. Since the merger, Madcap Puppets has operated as a division of Cincinnati Landmark Productions and will continue to tour and offer its in-town programming.