Soapdish: Meet the modern “pioneers” of OTR’s Wade Street

Almost seven years ago, in this very virtual column, we took up the mantle of Walt Whitman’s 1865 ode to manifest destiny in surveying a few of the urban pioneers staking their proverbial claim on our city’s fair landscape. With the passage of time, and the white-hot speed of redevelopment in the basin, it makes sense to check in on a few more pioneers — and in this case, they are actually next door neighbors.

At first glance, Pat McCafferty and Vada Hill seem like an unlikely pair of urban homesteaders, particularly when you view their Over-the-Rhine block of choice: the previously abandoned and forlorn-looking section of Wade Street that spans from the Elm/Liberty streetcar stop to the Central Parkway protected bike lane.

These two settlers arrived on the Western fringes of OTR from vastly different points of origin — McCafferty, a CPA living in suburban Montgomery, and Hill, a former bi-coastal marketing wunderkind who resided in a D.C. brownstone for 15 years — and seemed an unlikely pair of stylish urban newcomers on a desolate street once better known for impromptu stoop drinking and illicit drug use in abandoned breezeways.

Scratch a bit below the surface, however, and these new residents start to look, as Hill asserts, like “two of the smartest guys in the city right now.” And their timing could not have been more perfect.

Full disclosure: As vice president at Urban Expansion, an OTR/West End real estate development and construction company, and the developer for both renovation projects, it behooves me to disclose my fairly intimate knowledge of Hill and McCafferty’s homes, from the initial purchase in Dec. 2013 to the final sale of the two renovated 1870s-era townhomes.

It also behooves me to say that if I were asked back then to speculate on who would end up owning these two homes, I’m not sure I would have envisioned either Hill or McCafferty.

Sitting down for lunch in the soaring, three-story main area of Hill’s home, however, not unlike the puzzle of Wade Street itself, things start to make more sense. Hill informed me at the outset that it was my story in the Dec. 2014 issue of Soapbox that piqued his interest in the project.

“Someone has to be a little visionary to move here,” my quote went. “All you have to do is look at how much OTR changes in a span of months. Places you thought no one would live are now occupied.”

Hill is a Walnut Hills graduate who started his career at Procter & Gamble before moving on to politics, advertising and CMO positions at Taco Bell, Fannie Mae and Jackson Hewitt, among other posts. He’s a self-described “comfortable urban homesteader,” who, in the course of relocating back to his hometown (primarily for family reasons) was “solving for artwork, furniture and wine.”

He could see himself as the “visionary” described in that article. When he saw the soaring renovated space at 221 Wade, he admits, “I got it.” It didn’t hurt that the three-story main living area offered a perfect setting for his collection of African American fine art and Israeli sculpture.

McCafferty, on the other hand, was a single dad in a sprawling suburban home in Montgomery. When his last child graduated and his kids left the family nest for the more urbane locales of downtown L.A., Manhattan and Boston, he figured moving to OTR was the best way to get them to visit. Add to that the inherent walkability, the streetcar (“a big attraction”) and the ability to avoid the depressing slog of commuting via I-71, all of which — combined with the historic architecture — was too good a deal to pass up.

Both homes are LEED Silver certified, which means they are built to provide cleaner indoor air, use less energy and water and lead to savings on utilities. LEED-certified homes also maintain better value over time and afford the owner a tax abatement to the pre-improvement value of the property for 10-15 years.

In addition to the two Wade Street properties, Urban Expansion has renovated a number of LEED-certified, single-family homes in OTR; two more LEED Silver townhomes (at 1008 and 1010 Elm) just hit the market, with another project in the pipeline in Pendleton.

Hill was quick to emphasize the value inherent in these homes. He has friends familiar with historic renovation projects in D.C. and New York, but what he found here amazed him.

“This was a contemporary renovation with preserved historic detail and square footage that you cannot find anywhere else,” says HIll.

Hill looked at other neighborhoods in Cincinnati, including Walnut Hills’s Woodburn and North Avondale’s Rose Hill, but he felt a connection with OTR that other places just did not have.

“A lot of Cincinnatians crave safety, security and nothing changing,” he notes. “That’s not me; that’s not this area. And while some are explorers, others like to stay close to home. OTR is a way to keep those explorers closer to home.”

Hill found the diversity at Walnut Hills High School critical in preparing for his experience in a multicultural and vastly spread out socio-economic corporate world. Leaning in, he says: “If you find diversity threatening or if you don’t like unpredictability, then OTR is not for you.”

The pair of residences on Wade are buffered to a certain extent by the Elm Street Health Clinic to the south and Chatfield College to the north — pillars of health and education, respectively, in a rapidly evolving urban neighborhood.

Chatfield recently renovated, relocated and reopened its campus in the restored 1870 Windisch-Muhlhauser Lion brewery stable.

On the other side, Hill notes that the health clinic, housed in a converted 1890s-era public school, is an “excellent neighbor.”

While some might view proximity to these very public-facing institutions with hesitation, both McCafferty and Hill see it a draw, not a drawback. McCafferty even teaches classes at Chatfield (as well as at Miami University), to many first-generation college students.

It should be noted that Hill has assumed with gusto his unofficial role as a Wade Street ambassador; he is currently preparing to host a brunch for up to 200 fellow Walnut Hills alumni as part of their 40th reunion. The event will, in part, introduce a whole new demographic to this part of the city. Later this year, he will host a wedding in his home for a niece from D.C.

While McCafferty and Hill are currently the only residents on this block of Wade, both having arrived in late 2016, the pair’s solo status may not last long.

Brothers Rob and Luke Bennett, via their group Karvoto Construction, are putting the finishing touches on the Hillman Point development, whose buildings were in rough shape when they acquired them in early 2016. “Rough shape” is pretty much par for the course for many on this block: missing roofs, rotted ceilings and joists, wholesale missing floors, etc.

The first phase of Hillman Point consists of 10 total units — five new builds and five historic rehabs. The total cost for the project is $5.96 million, and two of the units are currently pending. Every unit will be LEED Silver certified.

McCafferty and Hill both appreciate the fact that, although still in the heart of OTR, their little pseudo-side street offers them a modicum of privacy that they would not have if situated on something of a more main drag.

Even with another 10 units coming online, that dynamic won’t be threatened anytime soon; also uncontested will remain the duo’s status as the modern-era “Pioneers of Wade Street.”

Content originally published on SoapboxCincinnati

Click link above for more pictures.

Chatfield College Named a Best Value School for Fourth Consecutive Year

For the fourth consecutive year, Chatfield College in St. Martin (Brown County) and Cincinnati, OH has been designated a Best Value School by University Research & Review, a company dedicated to improving the process of how a student selects a post-secondary school.
The Best Value award committee selected Chatfield from the nearly 8,000 eligible postsecondary schools throughout the U.S. Chatfield College was chosen by the committee because it passed rigorous standards, including a combination of cost, accreditation, variety and quality of school programs, and student satisfaction with the institution.
The award committee is made up of former university presidents, CEOs, provosts and professors. Eligible schools must be nominated by a third-party to be considered for the Best Value School designation and then undergo a rigorous review process by the committee to be selected. Award recipients must re-qualify every year.
“It’s an honor to receive the Best Value School designation for the fourth year in a row,” said John P. Tafaro, Chatfield College President. “Chatfield continually strives to provide the best value to our students and the community, and we are thrilled to receive the award again this year.”
A complete list of Best Value colleges can be found at

Chatfield College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in St. Martin and Cincinnati. Chatfield is an open enrollment college. Prospective students need only to have a High School Diploma or GED to attend and will be guided individually through the enrollment and Financial Aid application process. The St. Martin campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118. The Cincinnati campus is located at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call 513-875-3344 or email

Student Profile- Maria Bockhorst, ’17

  • Secretary of the Chatfield Student Service Club
  • Member of the Julia Chatfield Honor Society (3.9 GPA)
  • Member of Phi Theta Kappa
  • National Honor Society member
  • Math tutor for Chatfield’s Peer Tutoring program
  • Austin E. Knowlton Scholar
  • Nanny of two boys, one of whom is special needs
  • Preschool Sunday School & Youth Group leader at St. Louis Church
  • American Heritage Girl leader
    Ever since I was in first grade, I have wanted to become a teacher. I would come home from school and play school with my American Girl dolls and sometimes my siblings. I loved being able to teach them and have that impact. This love for teaching most likely came from my mom who is currently a preschool teacher. I have always admired her and how much she has positively affected her students’ lives. I want to have that same influence in a child’s life. I want to be the person who shapes children’s lives, helps them grow, and helps them learn.

    I started my college journey my junior year of high school as a College Credit Plus student at UC Clermont. After the first semester, however, I wanted to make a change, so I switched here to Chatfield. I chose Chatfield for a couple minor reasons like the smaller campus, the smaller class sizes, and how close the campus is to my house. As well as for some major reasons like, for one, the homey feeling Chatfield provides with faculty and staff who know each student and the comfortable, welcoming campus.  And lastly, I stand strong in my Catholic faith and Chatfield, being a Catholic College, made it quite impossible to say no to a transfer.

    I spent the last three semesters of high school taking classes here and I am extremely grateful for having Chatfield a part of my college path. I am glad that I became a part of this college community because Chatfield has brought me many memories and experiences that I will miss dearly. From the professors and staff who care so deeply about their students to the friendships made within this campus, Chatfield has definitely earned a space in my heart. However, none of this would be true if I didn’t receive the Austin E. Knowlton Scholarship.

    When I started attending Chatfield, I knew that after I graduated high school, I would have to transfer because I wouldn’t be able to afford attending Chatfield full time. That was hard for me to grasp since I fell in love with Chatfield as soon as I stepped foot on campus. I was pushed to apply for scholarships just to see if there was a chance of me staying. I applied for every scholarship that I could, and I wrapped my head around the fact that I most likely would still have to transfer.
    Last spring, my high school held a college fair that included Chatfield College. I didn’t bother to stop by their booth, knowing that I had my heart, in that moment, set on the University of Cincinnati. To my surprise, however, I was informed by a friend that I had received the Knowlton Scholarship and a quick trip to the booth made it a reality!
    By receiving this scholarship, I was able to finish my journey at Chatfield and stay in the close, comfortable atmosphere that the Chatfield campus provides. I made a lot of lasting friendships, and became part of an amazing college community.

    In the fall, I will continue my journey at Wilmington College to earn a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with endorsements in Reading, Math, and Special Education for grades 1-4.  None of what I have achieved this far in my educational journey would be possible without Chatfield and the financial contribution from the Austin E. Knowlton Scholarship and I am truly thankful.

    What Are the Benefits of Taking Guitar Lessons?


    There are several benefits for an individual to take guitar lessons. If a person wants to learn how to play guitar, lessons would be the key to helping them succeed at a quicker rate and to not fall into bad habits such as improper hand technique or poor music reading. Learning bad habits at an early stage of learning a music instrument may result in many years of frustration for a student trying to undo what they have learned wrongly.

    Having a teacher helps a student to keep going even though it might be tough at times to succeed at any given task. A teacher can inspire students through his or her example. A teacher can also inspire students through coaching them and letting them know that if they keep going they will be able to finish the task that they need to do.

    For anyone else who is not interested in becoming a guitarist, I think that guitar lessons could also be a good thing. Lessons can help a student have a deeper appreciation for music and for the effort it takes to become a musician. Guitar lessons can help a student with eye-hand coordination and the use of peripheral vision. Lessons also help students to have a sense of self-discipline and patience. During lessons, students play music with their teacher and this helps students to learn how to work in a team setting – in advanced classes students also work together in small groups to make music.

    The classes for Chatfield College’s 2017 Enrichment Program are 6 weeks of half hour private lessons. These lessons are private and 1 on 1 as opposed to a classroom setting where there are many students. I design the curriculum for the lessons around each individual’s abilities and take into consideration their taste in music.

    The cost of the Enrichment Program at Chatfield is $40. The average cost of half-hour guitar lessons at music stores or private lesson studios range from $18-$25 per lesson. I charge $20 per half-hour lesson at Hauer Music. So this is an incredible bargain for you to take lessons through Chatfield’s Enrichment Program.

    With all this in consideration, I hope that you will consider taking guitar lessons through the Enrichment Program at Chatfield College this summer.

    Jamie Murrell

    From Couch to 5K- Anyone Can Do It!

    When the weather gets nicer, the urge to get outside and move around gets stronger! Also, as it gets warmer, the number of 5Ks held increases. While these races can be a lot of fun, they can be daunting as well! Never ran one before? Hoping to cross that off your bucket list? Join us for the Couch to 5K class, as part of the Sumer Enrichment Program at Chatfield College.

    This class will appeal to many different people. If you’d like to run a 5K or even walk it, this class is for you! If you’ve run one before but are hoping to better your time, this class is for you! If you’re looking for a group to train with, this class is for you! If you’re just looking for a reason to get off the couch and away from the tv, this class is definitely for you!

    The Couch to 5K class will run for six weeks, beginning on Monday, June 5th and costs a one-time fee of $40. We will meet at the St. Angela Hall porch on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and complete a 30 minute workout. All you need to bring is running shoes and a watch! Former collegiate runner and current high school track coach Brianna Houchens will be leading the group, as well as offering other healthy tips and tricks.

    The class is designed to gradually push you towards your goals and can be completed at your own pace and comfort level. The workouts will be ran/walked around Chatfield’s scenic and historic campus in St. Martin. Included in the cost of the class fee is a paid entry (a $20 value) to Chatfield’s Nun Run 5K held on Saturday, July 22nd at 9:00 am. What better way to train for a 5k than to have a race in mind and get to know the course beforehand!

    Interested yet? You can find out more about this class, as well as the others being offered by going to or calling Brianna Houchens at 513-875-3344 ext. 140. To learn more about the 5K or to get registered, visit


    Spotlight on Jerome Manigan

    Back in 1981, Jerome Manigan auditioned to become a Radio Reading Services (RRS) broadcast volunteer. Initially, he read the Front Page and Editorials section of The Cincinnati Enquirer. With his professional experience at Avco Broadcasting (now Channel 5), he helped create the first RRS schedule.

    He trained RRS board operators and showed them how to do manual editing. Dennis Runyan, then Broadcast Coordinator at RRS, came to Jerome with “the perfect magazine as a vehicle for his voice,” The Good Old Days. Jerome has been reading this publication on RRS since 1987 and has been nationally syndicated. He received two Ohio Educational Broadcasting awards for RRS for programming: a show called Playhouse Perspectives and a show interviewing local political candidates about the American Disabilities Act before it became law. Jerome was also the 2004 recipient of the RRS Moser Award, in recognition for his outstanding volunteer service as a Broadcast Reader.

    Jerome served as a classroom teacher, program manager and principal. In the 1980’s, he was named Poet Laureate of Cincinnati. The mayor of Cincinnati appointed him to the Citizens Committee on Youth as a board member and the governor of Ohio appointed him to serve on the Ohio Criminal Justice Supervisory Commission. He currently teaches two classes at Chatfield College, where CABVI was located many years ago. As Jerome says, “Through my years of RRS volunteering, I have met so many outstanding, selfless people. I am pleased that The Good Old Days has appealed to so many listeners with the great stories of love for one’s neighbors.”

    *Content originally posted through Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired

    The Art of Quilting Celebrated at Chatfield’s Annual Car, Craft, & Quilt Show

    More than 40 years ago, when Chatfield College was very newly opened to the public, Agatha Fitzgerald, OSU was looking for a way to bring the arts to the local community when someone suggested a quilt show.  This simple idea blossomed into one of the college’s most successful artistic ventures in the college’s history – an annual quilt show that celebrates the art of quilt making.  This year, the college will hold this annual event on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    One hundred people came to that first exhibit in the winter of 1974 to view the 30 quilts displayed and to purchase the wares of a few crafters in the Gym Building.  Over the years, this event has grown and evolved significantly, but its original purpose has not changed – to showcase quilt making as an art form and to honor the creativity of the quilt maker.

    The number of contemporary and heirloom quilts on exhibit in the Gym Building has more than doubled over the years, and the event now includes a quilt raffle, a classic car show, a book sale, crafts and craft demonstrations, free carriage rides across the college’s beautiful campus, live music and delicious food.

    This year’s beautiful queen-size raffle quilt was pieced and quilted by Lisa Hardesty, and quilted by Chatfield staff member Cheryl Kern, Rosanne Brubaker and Lisa Hardesty.  The raffle quilt will be on display in the Gym Building on April 29 and the winning ticket drawn at the close of the show.  Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.  If you can’t make it to the show, raffle tickets can be purchased on line at

    Free carriage rides throughout Chatfield’s beautiful, rural campus will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., courtesy of First State Bank, and provided by Karen’s Carriage in Goshen, OH.

    General admission for the 2017 Car, Craft and Quilt Show is $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Chatfield College is located in northern Brown County, Ohio near the intersection of US Route 50 and 68.  The address is 20918 State Route 251, St. Martin, Ohio, 45118.  For information, visit or contact Pam Spencer at 513-875-3344, ext. 126 or

    Chatfield Announces New Chief Academic Officer & Dean

    Chatfield College has announced the appointment of Peter E. Hanson, PhD, as its new Chief Academic Officer & Dean.

    Hanson will officially begin his duties in June.  He joins Chatfield after a successful 17-year teaching career at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.  While at Wittenberg, Dr. Hanson served as Chair of the Faculty Executive Board, Co-Chair of the University Planning Commission, Chair of the Educational Policies Committee, Chair of Assessment of Student Academic Achievement Committee, and was a team member for re-accreditation for Institutional Effectiveness.

    He has also taught at Centenary College of Louisiana, Penn State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Illinois.  He was named a SOCHE Academic Leadership Fellow at Wittenberg, the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant at the University of Wisconsin, and was selected by students to be an Honorary Member of the Wittenberg Class of 2013.  Dr. Hanson was rated in the top five percent of all teaching assistants campus-wide for four semesters while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois.

    Dr. Hanson received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

    “Chatfield College is most fortunate to be able to attract someone with the credentials and experience of Dr. Peter Hanson to be our Dean and Chief Academic Officer,” said John P. Tafaro, Chatfield’s President.   “His seventeen years of experience on faculty and as a successful leader and administrator, make him uniquely qualified for this important position.  All colleges, especially private, liberal arts schools like Chatfield, face many challenges in today’s complex higher education environment.  Dr. Hanson has addressed and dealt with many of these challenges before, and we are thrilled he is willing to share his God-given talents with us at Chatfield.    We welcome Pete, and his wife, Lynn to the Chatfield Family.”


    Average Doesn’t Mean “Bad”

    I was recently ordering a pair of shoes online, and a review for the shoe read: “Average comfort”. I quickly realized I took this to be a negative connotation. Why in the world would that resonate as a negative perspective? Why is average not taken as doing well in our culture?
    In the simplest term, there cannot be “exceeds average” across the board in a statistics column, it just wouldn’t work out mathematically. With that being said, we still feel a bit of shame or self-doubt if someone throws us into the “average” column. We confidently believe our children should be above-average in every sense, and take offense if we are told they fall into the “average”, or God forbid “below-average” category.
    In the era of the “You Tube celebrity” it isn’t hard to understand why we feel the overwhelming need to stick out and shine brighter than others. I mean it can’t be that hard to be spectacular when a woman wearing a Chewbacca mask becomes an internet sensation…right?
    Becoming a “celebrity” (I do use that word loosely) this day and age seems to be more sought after than being respected. Numerous online “celebrities” have reached this status because of the number of hits they have received, and typically this is at the expense of their dignity and ultimately self-worth. Do we really admire these people, or are we looking at them thinking “oh wow, at least I’ve not reached that low of a point in life!” For whatever reason, there seems to be a void in this country, and the press and media are all too eager to fill it with people making fools of themselves. It’s hard not to think the ultimate fools are those forwarding the videos to friends.
    Imagine for a moment if a simple video of a father playing with his children received 100 million clicks instead of some profanity laced clip of a tween going off on a crowd in a Dr. Phil episode. Think long and hard why our culture leans toward the extreme. Why can’t being a loving and average person get the same amount of celebrity?
    I think the answer is fairly simple, but not all that overtly obvious. True and heartfelt human compassion does not seek attention, but instead longs for nothing more than unselfish kindness and love. This era of celebrity is short lived, and following up with most of these viral stars within a year or two will often yield depressing results.
    Being “average” should make you feel proud and also thankful. Being average in our nation means you have more than 90% of the globe, and you are living a life that allows you luxuries billions will never experience. There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence, because the journey there will often lead you to cross paths with some amazing people, and if you’re lucky, a few of them will also look back on you as amazing.

    Chatfield Alumna Experiences Big Success

    In 2003, Deanna Hoskins was laid off from her job, and as a single mother, was unsure of her future. She was a convicted felon and knew that her job options were limited. She had always wanted to go back to college but says she never had the courage. She was unsure if she would be able to make it in a campus environment after being out of high school for so many years.
    “Then one of the teachers at the daycare where I took my children told me about Chatfield College,” said Deanna. “She had gone there and had nothing but good things to say about it, so I thought ‘now is the time,’ and I went for a visit.”
    From the moment she walked into the building, she felt right at home. “It reminded me of the small classroom feel of the Catholic School I went to as a kid,” she said. “It wasn’t intimidating at all!”
    Deanna enrolled as a full-time student, and immersed herself in classes. Even when she got called back to her job, she worked out her schedule with her boss so that she was able to work full-time while still attending classes full-time. “I wasn’t willing to quit,” she said.
    After graduating from Chatfield in 2005, she enrolled at Mt. St. Joseph University to focus on a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. “I knew I wanted to work in Social Services. I knew I wanted to focus on corrections and substance abuse so I had crafted all of my classes to help me break the barriers I may face as a convicted felon trying to re-enter the job force.”
    Deanna’s strategy worked, and she found herself interviewing with the Indiana Department of Corrections for a job as a case manager. They were impressed with her ideas on re-entry and hired her in spite of her felony.
    “That’s when I recognized God’s will, as opposed to my will,” said Deanna. “He had a bigger plan for me than I ever thought possible.”
    As soon as she graduated from Mt. St. Joseph University, she moved her family to Indiana and began her career in Criminal Justice. In seven months, she was promoted to unit manager and found herself training her colleagues on re-entry. She was recognized by the State of Indiana for her work with the Access to Recovery program. She earned a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice through the on-line program at the University of Cincinnati and moved back to Ohio to work for Hamilton County as the Director of Re-Entry, an executive position that she never thought possible as a convicted felon.
    “We changed employment policy in Hamilton County and in the state of Ohio,” said Deanna. “We made it possible for felons to avoid a useless job search so that they are only applying for jobs that accept felony backgrounds.”
    It wasn’t long before her work with the states of Indiana and Ohio became noticed on the federal level. She was invited to be part of a federal panel on Re-Entry in New York City. Soon after, she was notified of a position with the United States Department of Justice as the Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections and Re-entry. She applied, was hired, and moved to Washington D.C.
    “My integration into D.C. has been a fantastic experience,” said Deanna. “Right now, I live in a condo on Pennsylvania Avenue and I am thinking about buying a house in Virginia overlooking the Potomac River.”
    Sometimes, she says, she cannot believe it. She says she would never have imagined herself in a position like this back in 2003. “I am so glad that I didn’t allow my fear of going to college prevent me from getting an education,” she said. “I would never have had the chance to experience any of this if I had allowed fear to step in.”
    In the end, that is what her advice is to anyone who may be thinking about going back to school, regardless of circumstance: “Don’t let fear get in your way. Don’t short change yourself. Go to college, work hard, study hard. It will all pay off in the end. It took six years of hard work to get my education, but I’ve been reaping the benefits for the last 11 years. It’s definitely worth it.”
    Deanna recently joined the Chatfield College Board of Trustees and says she is looking forward to working with her alma mater. “I’ve encountered many of the same challenges that current students experience at Chatfield. I am pleased to be in a position to instill hope in students and impact policy and procedures.” She will be the speaker for Chatfield’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 am on the St. Martin campus.