Duke Energy awards nearly $240,000 to kick-start 10 urban redevelopment projects in Ohio and Kentucky

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  • Urban Revitalization grants designed to eliminate blight, create jobs, and increase business retention/expansion and workforce retraining opportunities

  • Since its launch in 2011, the Duke Energy Foundation program has issued nearly $1.6 million in grants to 48 initiatives in Greater Cincinnati

CINCINNATI -- Ten projects across nine Greater Cincinnati urban hubs received a combined $239,500 in catalyst grants through Duke Energy's Urban Revitalization Initiative. The program aims to support urban redevelopment projects and stimulate growth in our local communities.

This year's grants were awarded earlier today during a program at Westwood Town Hall that featured each grant recipient, as well as Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Middletown (Ohio) Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr., and Covington (Kentucky) Mayor Sherry Carran.
"We're investing in our urban cores and partnering with other forward-looking groups to transform old, dilapidated properties into valuable community assets," said Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. "The results speak for themselves. Our past grant recipients are now catalysts in their neighborhoods, attracting new businesses and jobs, and improving the vitality of these communities."
Since the Urban Revitalization program debuted in 2011, the Duke Energy Foundation has awarded nearly $1.6 million in grants to 48 local initiatives. Click here to view a short video featuring some recent Urban Revitalization grant recipients – and the impact their projects are having on their communities.
Here are briefs on the projects that will receive Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grants in 2016:
  • Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. 
    ‚Äč$45,000 for West Side Brewery development in Westwood

Something's brewing in Westwood! The heart of the neighborhood's business district – right across from Westwood Town Hall and Town Hall Park – is gearing up to welcome West Side Brewery. With the help of a $45,000 grant from Duke Energy, this highly anticipated project meets an unmet need in the neighborhood, will create the equivalent of nine full-time positions, attract visitors, and spur additional revitalization and redevelopment along a major thoroughfare.

  • Downtown Middletown Inc.
    $20,000 for Torchlight Pass in Middletown

One of Middletown's most recognizable buildings is undergoing a makeover, and Duke Energy is helping the project move along through a $20,000 Urban Revitalization grant. The 38,000-square-foot structure, which was originally built in 1955 as a JCPenney, will eventually transform into Torchlight Pass – a local destination for dining, retail, family entertainment and more. The project's first phase will create 5-6 full-time positions, and up to 25 part-time jobs.

  • Hamilton County Business Center
    $20,000 for small business coaching in Silverton

The Hamilton County Business Center is once again a recipient of a Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant. This is the fourth consecutive year the business center has been recognized. The 2016 grant money will go toward providing one-on-one mentoring and coaching to small businesses, as well as efforts to attract, retain and expand small businesses in Silverton. Since 2013, the program has proved successful among small businesses in Cincinnati's Price Hill, Northside, East Walnut Hills, Pleasant Ridge, North College Hill, Mt. Healthy, Cheviot and Westwood communities.

  • College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.
    $14,000 for National City Bank renovations in College Hill

At the heart of the College Hill business district is a funky, mid-century modern structure commonly referred to as the National City Bank Building. The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. will use its grant toward renovating the structure for potential use as a restaurant or high-end retail store. The location is ideal – the building is part of the very walkable business district and directly across the street from 53 apartments currently under construction.

  • Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.
    $5,500 for historic Metz building renovation in Madisonville

Duke Energy awarded an Urban Revitalization grant toward the renovation of the historic Metz building in Madisonville. Once work is complete, the building will house the neighborhood's police substation – including its four employees – and the community's nonprofit development corporation. Both organizations are in need of new space as a result of additional redevelopment nearby. And they hope to send a signal to potential new businesses: Things are moving along in Madisonville – literally, as progress continues reshaping the Madison Road business corridor.


  • The Catalytic Fund
    $40,000 for Marianne Theatre redevelopment in Bellevue

Built in 1941, Bellevue's Marianne Theatre is preparing for its next act. The Catalytic Fund plans to use its grant from Duke Energy to begin redeveloping the vacant property into more than 7,500 square feet of new commercial space and, effectively, create two new businesses: a special events theater and a restaurant that focuses on craft beer and wine. Once complete, developers envision the project will create four full-time and four part-time jobs, and spur nearby redevelopment.

  • Center for Great Neighborhoods
    $30,000 for Homes for Makers in Covington

The Center for Great Neighborhoods' Homes for Makers is critical to the revitalization of Covington's MLK Corridor – taking some of the most blighted but commercially-viable buildings in the area, and turning them into neighborhood-serving assets. This project, which focuses on three properties on W. 12th St., aims to restore the buildings to sell to small business owners who want to live and work at the properties, contribute to a stronger community and create jobs.

  • The Catalytic Fund
    $25,000 for Holzhauser Drug Store rehab in Newport

At the corner of Monmouth and E. Tenth streets in Newport stands a historic building that, like many others, needs some TLC. The Catalytic Fund plans to use the Duke Energy grant money to begin rehabilitating the property's exterior to create an attractive and historically accurate facade at a critical Newport intersection. The building, which has housed everything from a drug store to a laundromat, is completely vacant, and large enough to be home to potential businesses like a retail store or an office-based operation with up to 20 employees. The Catalytic Fund is hopeful that once this building is brought up to speed, neighboring property owners will see the opportunity to invest in and update their own properties.

  • The Catalytic Fund
    $20,000 for 801 Madison Avenue in Covington

It's a well-situated corner-lot building that once housed a Frisch's and other restaurants over the course of its history. The property, at 801 Madison Ave. in Covington, has stood mostly vacant since 2009. But that will change as The Catalytic Fund continues to hold advanced conversations with groups looking to move into the high-traffic space.

  • The Catalytic Fund
    $20,000 for Second Sight Spirits in Ludlow

When the owners of Second Sight Spirits opened shop in Ludlow, in early 2015, they strived to focus on the future. Well, the future is here. The business will use its grant money to begin expanding into the adjacent space on Ludlow's main drag – allowing Second Sight Spirits to expand its offerings to include bourbon, tap into the popular and heavily marketed Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and serve as a gathering space for charity events and other community gatherings. Once the expansion is complete, Second Sight Spirits will hire six new employees, two full-time and four part-time.

About Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky
Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky's operations provide electric service to about 840,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area and natural gas service to approximately 525,000 customers.

Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, supplies and delivers electricity to approximately 7.4 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. The company also distributes natural gas to more than 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its commercial and international businesses operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing renewable energy portfolio.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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Media contact: Lee Freedman
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