Getting rich in Greenfield

Cincinnati's new Rhinegeist Brewery in OTR district.
Cincinnati’s new Rhinegeist Brewery in OTR district.

Greenfield’s past, present and future continues to be a major topic in several Facebook threads and maybe it will, in the end, result in something healthy. Seems to be, however, that lots of people are talking while very few, including myself, are doing anything about it.

I’m in that group that has taken their turn and is simply tired. I’m just too old to pick up a hammer and help rebuild the downtown, or the ball diamond, or anything. All I have is the ability to offer the advise of my experiences and to promote the good works of others. I can chip in some bucks and encourage others to do the same but I just don’t have the will or drive to get physically involved.

But, for several years now I’ve read a regular email report on urban development in Cincinnati and find it amazing all the changes that have taken place in parts of that city. A major non-profit development group called Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation (3CDC) has been successful in rebuilding Fountain Square, Washington Park, any number of buildings in the downtown district, and major renovations in the Over the Rhine area along Vine and other streets.

Couple of years ago I spent ten weeks in Cincinnati and first hand witnessed much of what was going on. During that time I often wished some of whatever was happening there could be taking place in Greenfield. Matter of fact, a little was happening. Johnson Controls was reopening its doors, and things suddenly weren’t as bleak as they’d been. But still, while millions were being spent on rebuilding Cincinnati, almost nothing was, or still is, available for the Greenfields of Ohio and America.

While there are many reasons for what is happening in Cincinnati they could be boiled down to, Cincinnati is the squeaky wheel and its future matters more to those who decide where the development dollars are spent. There is also more people with money in Cincinnati who are willing to invest that money in their community and accept the associated risks.

For example, one of the things happening in the Over the Rhine district now is the assembly of a new micro or craft brewery called Rhinegeist Brewery. The people behind it are mostly Cincinnati businessmen and local investors. They purchased brewery equipment from a small Mexican brewery, moved it to Cincinnati, and are currently installing it onto the second floor of a century old building on Elm Street with plans to be pumping out suds before the year is over.

I don’t know what their future is but certainly there is a regional and national market for quality craft brewed beer in today’s America. My question is, however, why aren’t Greenfield’s businessmen doing the same? We have abundant fields of wheat and corn at our beckoning, we have what is reported to be excellent quality water, and we certainly have an abundance of empty buildings. We have good people needing jobs, who aren’t afraid to get dirty, and who won’t be asking for union scale anytime soon. Why isn’t someone here taking advantage of the things we do have? Sometime ago I suggested that someone might consider starting a craft distillery, now permitted under Ohio law, and use local corn to produce distilled spirits. Why doesn’t Greenfield reek of fermenting corn like Chillicothe reeks of cooking pulp?

So, here’s the deal. If I’m just one old man sitting in a recliner with a laptop computer and I can see these potentials, why can’t some middle-aged guy with a little money see them? I’m going to continue sitting here and making suggestions and hopefully someday a young E.L. McClain will see worth in something, make his fortune, and help out their community. All I ask is a small finder’s fee or maybe a free bag of microwave popcorn.

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