Arts & Entertainment Development News

9th annual Paint the Town to impact 59 homes in two neighborhoods

After suffering a cancellation due to weather on Saturday, June 12th, more than 1,500 volunteers will spread across Avondale and Evanston to paint 59 houses as part of the 9th annual Paint the Town service event organized by Give Back Cincinnati. This year organizers expect approximately 7,500 man-hours to be donated during the single day of service activity.

The volunteers will work to improve the appearance and value of each home in the neighborhoods selected according to current needs. According to organizers, the increased value and improved appearance then help to improve each individual community. Each home to be painted has been sponsored by a local business, and the services are provided at no cost to the home owners. In 2009, more than 1,200 volunteers participated in painting 42 houses. Since the event’s first year 212 homes have been painted throughout Cincinnati in Price Hill, Northside, East End, Madisonville, Hartwell/Carthage, College Hill, and Covington.

“Painting a home for a community member is a great way to improve their lives, and serve others. It is a simple way for groups to actively engage and enjoy serving,” stated Give Back Cincinnati leaders. “We envision a day when we will paint 100 homes in a day with over 3,000 volunteers.”

Registration will begin at 7:45am on the day of the event with painting beginning at the houses at 9:30am. Following the service activity, volunteers will be treated to a post-event celebration that will include food, drink and music from 3pm to 7pm. Volunteers will also be treated to breakfast during registration.

Those interested in participating can register online. Paint the Town will be meeting in the northeast corner of the Norwood Plaza parking lot (map). Parking is expected to be tight, so organizers are asking those participating to carpool, bike or take public transit (plan your trip) to the event.

Business Development News

Xavier University’s campus transforming for the 21st Century

Xavier University is in the midst of a building boom. New buildings are rising that will continue the transformation the university’s main campus. Work has been ongoing for some time and most is expected to be complete for the next academic year.

At the corner of Ledgewood and Dana, there is a new 88,000 square-foot building being erected for the Williams College of Business. Xavier will take possession of the building from the construction crews this month. It will be ready for students by August, the beginning of the next academic year.

Nearby the 84,000 square-foot Conaton Learning Commons is rising, and is a multi-use facility uniquely suited to the modern student’s need of a flexible space packed with technology. It too will be ready when the students come this August.

Further down Ledgewood Avenue, which is sporting a new median and roundabout, a new 240,000 square-foot dormitory and dining complex is currently under construction as part of the Hoff Academic Quad. These buildings, which currently have two huge cranes towering above them, still require about a year before completion but will eventually house and feed hundreds of Xavier students.

Business News Politics

Neighborhood Enhancement Program showing signs of staying power, Perkins Lounge to be shuttered

Cincinnati’s nationally-acclaimed Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) is having a lasting impact in Evanston where the program started two years. Today Cincinnati officials announced that Perkins Lounge, long known for a history of drug activity and for being an eyesore in the heart of Evanston, will be shut down as ordered by Judge Nadine Allen utilizing State of Ohio Nuisance Abatement Laws to investigate numerous complaints of illegal activity.

On September 2, 2008, Cincinnati’s NEP began a 90-day focus on Evanston that focused on quality of life issues including crime, blight and building code violations. Since that time the program has won awards from Neighborhoods USA as the 2008 National Program of the Year, the Ohio Conference of Community Development’s President Award, and the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati award for Most Outstanding Collaborative Effort among others.

Image of Perkins Lounge from Google Maps' Street View

Program officials say that one of the targets is to create a sustainable impact that lasts beyond the initial 90-day blitz. Perkins Lounge will officially be shut down this evening at 6pm thanks to a collaborative effort between the Cincinnati Police Department, the Attorney General’s office and the Evanston community. The closure brings with it much more than the elimination of a long-time neighborhood problem, but also an indication that the much touted NEP has staying power.

“This ongoing partnership with the State of Ohio’s Attorney General’s office and these successful results are a prime example of the sustainability of the NEP,” City Manager Milton Dohoney said in a press release. “This model for neighborhood revitalization continues to be an effective tool to improve the quality of life for our neighborhoods and businesses.”

Community leaders are encouraged by the Perkins Lounge (map) news and believe it is an important step in the process of reclaiming their neighborhood.

“The Evanston community is thrilled that this shameless criminal element has finally been removed from the Evanston Business District, and greatly admires the tireless efforts of the Cincinnati Police,” stated John Lewis, Safety Chair of the Evanston Community Council and Chair of the Evanston Citizens on Patrol. “Evanston continues to focus our efforts to redevelop and revitalize our business district to be a once again thriving neighborhood.”

Most recently the NEP rolled into Mt. Washington, and over the course of its existence, the program has visited Price Hill, Avondale, Westwood, College Hill and Clifton Heights/University Heights/Fairview Heights (CUF) in addition to both Mt. Washington and Evanston. In each case the program has reduced blight on average by 15% and recorded thousands of building inspections.