Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Gathering Place

I saw this article in today's Cincinnati Enquirer. It's about Wyoming and the spirit of volunteerism that pervades the community. Not only volunteerism, but neighborliness that stems from a sense of place and pride in that place. I believe we have that in Amberley, but what really struck me as a significant difference between the two communities (and I'm not talking about our lack of a business district or neighborhood school), was the photo of  residents having a cup of coffee and a chat at the Wyoming Pastry Shop. 

Where do we go in Amberley when we want to relax and chat with our neighbors -- about our community, our families, our lives...? A gathering place is a central part of a community. To see our neighbors and elected officials in a relaxed setting in the community can ease suspicion and strengthen our ties to the community. We don't even have a restaurant in our own community to call our own. Or do we?

In the last few months I've realized that we actually do have a restaurant in Amberley Village. This realization came about through the process of filling out required forms for the We THRIVE! grant. At a meeting of the grant working group, JCC Executive Director Jeff Baden was in attendance.Discussion turned to the nutritional components of Amberley's food outlets -- of which there is only one: the JCC.  The cafe offers healthy food options to all who go -- not just members of the J. Since then, I've been going to the J-Cafe whenever my thoughts or discussions will be concerning Amberley. I met Council member, Bill Doering, at the J-Cafe for lunch. Resident Ilene Ross met me there to discuss how to persuade Amberley residents to embrace the J-Cafe as their local restaurant. State Representative Denise Driehaus met me at the J-Cafe when she wanted to chat about Amberley and our community's needs. 

In the coming months, I intend to meet with representatives of the JCC to discuss how to market the J-Cafe to Amberley residents, but in the meantime, I would like to invite you to make the J-Cafe YOUR local gathering spot. Like those other coffee shops in other communities, the J-Cafe offers a full range of coffee drinks, as well as pastries, soups and sandwiches. And since it is in our neighborhood, the odds are good that you will run into your Amberley neighbors there. You might even run into me, and if you do, feel free to stop and chat about Amberley. 

Isn't it great to have our own place to call home?

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