Dan Hurley, in his most recent Post column, takes the question on with a historical perspective. The article is enlightening. It helps to clarify what Cincinnati is like and why. I think it describes in a very accurate (but not negative) way one of the problems with Cincinnati. Everyone has an opinion about what "the problem" with Cincinnati is of course, but this is the first time I've read something that I thought was really hitting the nail on the head. I don't think that this is the only problem we have here, but taking a good hard look at how we got to where we are now is an important boon.
I recently discovered that WXVU has podcasts for their two local shows Cincinnati Edition and Around Cincinnati. I've always been interested in listening to these shows when I hear commercials for them, but I never seem to be listening when they're actually on. With these podcasts I'll never miss an episode.
Update: I'm fiddling around with these embedded players and I'm getting different results with different browsers. If it's not too much trouble, could you let me know what result you're seeing and what browser you're using?
"While we understand the drive for more market-rate housing and do indeed see it as one element of equitable development in OTR, we caution that market-rate development has become an end in itself. We do not believe that markets will produce the diversity and economic mix so widely claimed as a common goal"
Interestingly, I recently came across a link to the Open Architecture Network which is a sub-project of Architecture for Humanity. I'm a big fan of the OAN and I think it has a lot of potential. I bring it up because it just so happens that the Miami University Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine is linked to on the AfH's People We Like page. That gives them some cred in my book.
I have always had an interest in hydroponics, but I have never really gotten too into it. I like to geek out over stuff like that, though. It is like a cross between gardening and keeping an aquarium. And it's got kind of a DIY self-reliance vibe to it. Anyway, I recently came into the possession of a gift certificate to a local hydroponics shop called Worm's Way. This was as good a time as any to check out the hydroponics hobby and get my feet wet.
I visited the store in Erlanger last Saturday afternoon. It was really fun. The only hard part was figuring out what to use my gift certificate on. The staff was extremely helpful. We basically had a hydroponics expert at our personal service. He explained the different approaches to hydroponics and helped us understand our options for getting started in the hobby. It was nice to have a store employee that genuinely wanted to help and not talk down to you. Also, the store itself was full of hydroponics setups of all different types. Plants of all shapes and sizes. It was neat. I think visiting would be valuable for the fun and educational value even if you weren't going to buy anything. Check it out.
I just got done watching the new Visions on Vine piece on Channel 9. Here are some mostly un-edited notes:
The documentary was good but I felt it was a little bit short. Want I really wanted to see was more, "We recommended this - here's what has happened." There was some of that but, not a lot. There were some interesting factoids that I didn't get a chance to jot down. Mostly they had to do with crime numbers being down.
The general impression I got was that Vine was really seeming to turn a corner and get better. There were still some problems that people were having and they couldn't really understand why they weren't getting solved, but overall, the residents had a positive attitude about the neighborhood. I actually feel kind of optimistic about the street now.
The increasing cops walking the beats and the crackdown on crime seemed to make a big dent in the amount of crime on the street. But after an initial improvement, the patrols became less consistent and less effective.
The Kroger store was improved but is is still the number two hotspot for crime in the area.
3CDC started buying buildings and booted out some of the worst venues for crime, including Albert's. The crime stats bear this out; there has been a dramatic drop in those specific locations. But the buildings remain unused and residents are displeased by the vacant buildings.
A new pizza place, Venice Pizza, was designed by UC students, opened, and employs local residents. They have not had any problems with crime. People like the place.
Basically everything fit into three categories: 1 new owners 2 better residents 3 more police
The new owners were a good step, but they need to actually develop the undeveloped buildings.
A number of new organizations moved into the area, notably the Art Academy. This has been a general improvement.
The increased police have helped up to a point, but they need to keep up with what is working.
The piece also covered Main Street a bit. Basically it was revived a lot by an active night life scene, but then a bunch of night clubs closed, but the residents are actually kind of glad because apparently the night clubs were a nuisance.
My Thoughts: I think the construction worker from Delhi said it best when he said, "It's all in the eye of the beholder." Most of the people interviewed that live down there were happy with the area. They acknowldged that there needed to be some improvement, but that is the case with many neighborhoods. Also, they pointed out that being smart is the best way to avoid crime, i.e. not going out at night by yourself, etc. Basically, people need to change their minds about the neighborhood and stop thinking of it as a war-zone. You aren't going to get shot just by setting your foot in OTR.
Anyways, I apologise for the very rambly post. I suggest folks check out the video and check out Vine St. and make up their own minds.