Author: Lindsey Armor

CPA Presents to Cincinnati City Council

CPA Executive Director, Beth Johnson, presented at Cincinnati City Council on January 31, 2023 about the importance of Historic Preservation.

Watch her 20 minute section by skipping to the 2 hour marker on the recording.

She informed council members that Historic Preservation is beneficial to our city because:

  • it retains our unique CULTURE and makes this an interesting and vibrant place to be
  • it is more SUSTAINABLE and ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than building new by keeping construction materials out of our landfills, reusing the embodied energy exerted in the initial build, and reducing demolition pollution
  • it’s smart INVESTMENT that creates local jobs, tax credits that attract development and brings heritage tourism
  • it creates HOUSING STABILITY in housing value and in population through popular historic district designations
  • promotes AFFORDABLE HOUSING by rehabilitating abandoned buildings like old schools, libraries or hotels for adaptive reuse
  • it tells our past and present STORIES around what it means to be a resident, business or visitor of Greater Cincinnati
Also noted is the importance to celebrate Cincinnati’s status as a national leader in preservation and maintain this status as we continue to grow.

Special thanks to Councilmember Jeff Cramerding for hosting CPA at the Equitable Growth and Housing Committee.

ADVOCACY ALERT: Help save historic canal building

The Canal Building, located at Central Parkway and Magnolia Street in OTR, is a pre-Civil War historic building, one of the last examples of commercial Erie Canal structures in Cincinnati. The building is a contributing building to both the National Register of Historic Places and the Over-the-Rhine Historic District.

For the past two years, a group of neighbors has been fighting a proposed demolition of the building by a developer and its partner, the longtime owner of the building, Downtown Property Management. This development group seeks to construct a hotel and claims the historic property must be demolished as it is economically infeasible to reuse the building. They claimed this while the building was being used as an office and had been used as an office prior to the historic district being in place. Early on in the case before the Historic Conservation Board, Cincinnati Preservation Association supported the legal fees with a $2,000 donation. While the Historic Conservation Board (HCB) UNANIMOUSLY rejected the demolition request, the developer appealed the decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) which overturned the Historic Conservation Board’s Decision. The ZBA based its decision on its opinion that lack of profitability for a business is an economic hardship for the building. The ZBA’s review should have been limited to whether or not the Historic Conservation Board made any errors on how they made their decision, not to decide that case anew and second guess the Historic Conservation Board. 

If the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision stands, anyone will be free to demolish a historic building merely by showing that he or she has not realized a profit since owning it and purposely not investing in its upkeep other than for the bare minimum code compliance. On appeal, the Court is being asked to reverse the Zoning Board of Appeals’ misguided decision and restore the carefully calibrated balance between public and private interests that the City of Cincinnati’s Historic Preservation Ordinance creates. 

This case has a great legal significance for historic preservation in Cincinnati and Ohio. As CPA works to support the case we are also asking our members and historic preservation advocates to help support the neighbors that are leading the fight and give to their legal fund so they can continue their fight.

Learn More and Donate to Help Save the Canal Building

CPA Welcomes New Board Members

Cincinnati Preservation Association welcomes three new board members in 2023!

Susan Casey
Favorite Historic Site:
  Anything built in the second empire style!

Susan’s wide-ranging career has included historic preservation planning,
broadcast production for NPR’s award-winning Diane Rehm Show, and non-profit
development overseas for the National Trust of Ireland. Susan is a third-generation Cincinnati native who earned a bachelor of liberal arts degree from Xavier University and a master’s in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. She currently works for Ignite Philanthropy, helping to manage capital campaigns for many of our region’s non-profit organizations.

Jennifer Martin, CPA
Favorite Historic Site:
Old St. George Church

Jennifer has volunteered for many years within the community as the treasurer of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council, CUF Community Council, and Cincinnati Preservation Association (2013-2019). She was the accounting director at 3CDC, managing the organization’s financial and administrative functions. Prior to joining 3CDC, Jennifer was a partner at the local CPA firm, Mellott & Mellott, P.L.L., spending fifteen years in their tax and audit practice. A certified public accountant, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati.

Rick Wheeler, PE
Favorite Historic Site:
The Netherland Plaza, in particular their lobby and restaurant.

Rick is the Cincinnati team leader and senior structural engineer at kppf. He describes himself as being “driven by a passion for connecting with creative, energetic, and talented building professionals and advocates.” This passion has led him to numerous opportunities to touch and help save great pieces of architectural history in Cincinnati and this country. He states that “every historic building has its complexity and story, and getting the opportunity to be a part of bringing that back to life is truly rewarding.” Wheeler also believes that structures are the melding of history, function, and form, and are essential to making a difference in our communities and culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, a master’s in civil engineering, and a master’s in business administration, all from the University of Tennessee.

Thank you to all the CPA Board of Trustees. Your dedication and passion for historic preservation in our region makes a difference.

Clark Sole, President
Ashleigh Finke, Vice President
Judie List Sweeney, Vice President
Drew Gores, Secretary
Jeffrey Rush, Treasurer
Michael Burson, At Large

William Baumann
Susan Casey
Rob Crapsey
Kendall Fisher
Joe Huber
Dr. Eric Jackson
Mark Mallory
Jennifer Martin
Kevin McCormick
Mark McKillip
Paul Moran
Murray Monroe Jr.
Steve Rosen
Mark Scott
Arthur Sturbaum
Thea Tjepkema
Shawn P. Tubb
Margaret Valentine
Rick Wheeler
Will Yokel


The African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, included in the omnibus appropriations bill, was passed by Congress authorizing up to 3 million annually! The bill was introduced  by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and received bi-partisan support, also being sponsored by Utah Senator Mitt Romney.  Congrats to the Coalition for American Heritage and all the partners who highlighted the need for federal action to safeguard historic African American cemeteries over five years.

The African American Burial Grounds Preservation Program will help identify burial grounds ahead of infrastructure projects and commercial development, thereby minimizing construction delays and avoiding unnecessary community heartache. These sacred sites, and the stories they tell, are an integral part of our American heritage.

The importance for this federal bill started right here in Cincinnati after the Union Baptist Cemetery was vandalized and church advocates brought Senator Sherrod Brown on site which led to his introduction of this legislation and advocacy to fund the bill.  Pictured left are Cheryl New, Member of Union Baptist Church, Beth Johnson, CPA Executive Director and Louise Stevenson, Member of Union Baptist Church.

Watch coverage of Beth and Louise at the cemetery where it all began from Fox 19 here, from WCPO here, and listen on NPR here.

CPA is proud to be among the 150 groups across the country who joined the advocacy and support of this important federal legislation. Learn more about this legislation at the Coalition for American Heritage here.

The United American Cemetery (pictured above) was founded in 1848 in Avondale. It’s the oldest cemetery in Ohio designated for Black people and was forced to move in 1883 after white property owners nearby declared it a public nuisance. Currently, the historic cemetery in Madisonville is owned and maintained by Union Baptist Church.

Special thanks to Deqah Hussein-Wetzel for her research and contributions to CPA’s Sites of Black History project!

During her tenure at CPA, Deqah started a database of sites of black history, captured important oral histories that haven’t been included in other areas of history, brought new communities to engage in CPA’s work, wrote the Ohio Historic Marker for Sarah Mayrant Walker and Peter Fossett, and authored the soon to be proposed local historic designation for First Baptist Church Walnut Hills Baptist Church. She also wrote contributions to CPA’s Cincinnati Sites and Stories Mapping Site. As a local historian and planner, Deqah is also cohost and producer of Urban Roots podcast produced by the anti-racist community preservation nonprofit she started called, Urbanist Media.

Thank you, Deqah for your accomplishments on this project which was funded by Ohio History Connection, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation.

All of us at CPA wish you continued success in your future endeavors and are grateful for all you do for Historic Preservation in Greater Cincinnati.

In 2023, CPA plans to continue expanding our database of sites of black history and rightfully recognize our sites of black history throughout the region.

Learn more about CPA’s Sites of Black History Project here.

Thank You, Margo for your years of service as CPA Preservation Director.

Long time CPA Preservation Director, Margo Warminski retires at the end of 2022. Margo has worked with CPA for more than 20 years, and as Greater Cincinnati’s most dedicated preservationist, she has impacted our shared skyline, neighborhood charms and collective history in a way no one else has. 
This summer, Margo received the Daniel L. Becker Professionalism Award for Municipal Leadership from the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). At the time, the Northern Kentucky Tribune noted,
“She is responsible for more of the area’s National Register Nominations, Local Landmarks Designations and Local Historic Districts than anyone else.” 
Thank you, Margo, for your years of service to our community! As a result of your passion and dedication to historic preservation, many our region’s treasures are protected and recognized. Margo made this possible for the enjoyment of our community at large. Thanks to Margo, we all can continue to marvel and celebrate the unique look and feel of Greater Cincinnati’s built environment.
See Margo in action here,
in this Historic Preservation Video by the City of Bellevue in Northern Kentucky.