• Mon. Jun 5th, 2023

By Andria Y. Carter

Herald Staff

A steady rain Tuesday morning did not destroy the mood for the Emerge Manufacturing groundbreaking ceremony held at its six-acre site off Seymour Avenue. In fact, the rainfall set the tone for the ceremony which many said was a blessing on the seeds Cynthia Booth is planting at the former Cincinnati Garden site.

Booth, founder and president of Emerge Manufacturing, is developing a U.S.-based manufacturing company to specialize in the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health care, hospitality and industrial organizations. Booth’s goal is for Emerge to be a trusted onshore manufacture that provide approximately 100 jobs, produce products that will help, protect, and save the lives of first responders and essential works, and help address the country’s overdependence on offshore PPE resources.

Congressman Greg Landsman spoke before the crowd saying he is very excited about the project and its very much a Cincinnati story making Cincinnati history. “It is remarkable project on a sacred piece of land,” he said.

Landsman said he emailed Booth asking to attend the groundbreaking because he loved the project when Booth appeared before City Council at the Budget 7 Finance Committee meeting, which Landsman chaired prior to his election to Congress.

Emerge plans to manufacture face masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks, among other PPE products. The plant will run multiple product lines, manufacturing PPE from fabric supplied by U.S. companies. Additionally, there will be space in the facility where medical professionals and others can provide training and information on health care-related topics to the community. The plant is expected to open in mid-2024.

Among those who spoke, the history of the site is not forgotten and believes Emerge Manufacturing is making history by being a female- and minority-owned company helping to serve as a role model to the young people in Bond Hill and Roselawn. Speakers noted that the Cincinnati Gardens held special moments for many including being the place to go skating, hearing many artists including the Beetles, Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin, watching Oscar Robertson and Xavier University play basketball  and watching or learning how to skate at the gardens.

Cynthia Booth, founder and president, Emerge Manufacturing. Photo by Andria Carter

But all agreed that history has been made and is being made once again.

Mayor Aftab Pureval spoke first of the seeds planted by Booth in the Bond Hill/Roselawn neighborhoods. Standing before the crowd, Pureval told them to look at the field behind us and  what Booth is planting. He said the city is thrilled by the project and represents the type of economic growth projects his administration had envisioned for the city.

Booth told the crowd that the groundbreaking ceremony is the culmination of a three-year vision she had to do more for the Bond Hill community and provide a way to help uplift people and give them good paying jobs. She noted her journey began at the beginning of the COVID pandemic as a business owner impacted by supply chain crisis, and the impact it was having on the essential workers she employed.

As her vision came to fruition, Booth said she walks the land sometimes at dusk and talk to the Lord. She said that she told the lord that she is a vessel to do his work and her employees will be vessels to do his work as well. She said her faith guides her and the road has been long and difficult, but he keeps us steadfast. She said Emerge represents a new day for Bond Hill and Roselawn neighborhoods.

Partners in the Emerge Manufacturing project is Bon Secours Mercy Health and Advantus Health Partners. Both Dan Hurry, president of Advantus Health Partners, and David Cannady, chief strategy officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health, spoke of the supply chain issues they experienced and how the country got caught by the pandemic having foreign sourced supplies. Emerge Manufacturing will help their businesses supply their 48 hospitals in the US and those in Ireland. They both said they are looking to the future and what Emerge can do for both Bond Hill/Roselawn, Cincinnati and beyond.