Business Development News

Cincinnati to test broken windows theory in Over-the-Rhine, Bond Hill

Cincinnati has selected the next two neighborhoods for its 2011 Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP). This year’s 90-day blitz will take place in Over-the-Rhine and Bond Hill.

First started in 2006, the NEP has moved through 10 of the city’s 52 neighborhoods including Mt. Washington and Corryville which were targeted last year. City officials say that the collaborative effort is designed to jumpstart community revitalization and reinvestment, and focus on developing neighborhood assets and improving quality of life.

Some in Over-the-Rhine feel like the focused effort could not come at a better time given the recent progress there.

“While Over-the-Rhine is a strong neighborhood, we could use more tools to address some real barriers, such as buildings with code violations, that prevent us from getting more things done,” says Over-the-Rhine resident and owner of Park+Vine Dan Korman.

The NEP employs the broken windows theory that changes the norms of an urban area in order to influence social behavior in such a way that prevents an escalation into more serious crime. Cincinnati’s NEP has won numerous local, state and national awards, and puts significant focus on building code enforcement, litter removal, vacant lot maintenance, beautifying landscapes and public right-of-way, and “cooling down” crime hot spots.

The 2011 NEP is made possible by Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, People Working Cooperatively, Police Partnering Center, Leadership Cincinnati, Citizens for Civic Renewal and through the financial support of $8,000 from U.S. Bank.

2011 NEP Announcement photograph by UrbanCincy contributor Thadd Fiala.

Business News

International Association of Fire Fighters selects Cincinnati for 50th annual convention

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has selected Cincinnati as the host city for its 50th annual convention in 2014. Cincinnati beat out Seattle in the final competitive bidding by earning 947 votes to Seattle’s 490.

Convention officials estimate that the event will attract more than 2,500 attendees, utilize close to 9,000 hotel room nights, and create a $2.6 million economic impact.

In a prepared release, Dan Lincoln, President & CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, stated, “This is another great victory in what has become a long string of significant convention wins for Cincinnati USA. This one is especially gratifying because it was put to a vote of the union delegates and they chose Cincinnati.”

The other significant conventions for which Lincoln speaks include the NAACP and National Baptist conventions held in 2008, the Gospel Music Workshop of America held earlier this summer, League of United Latin American Citizens convention to be held in 2011, World Choir Games in 2012, and the National Fraternal Order of Police National Convention and Exposition in 2013.

Officials say that fire fighters and staff at Cincinnati’s Local 48 worked with the CVB to develop an awareness campaign that was used to educate union delegates about the region and earn a winning vote. One of the compelling elements of Cincinnati’s bid includes the city’s history of establishing the nation’s first full-time, paid fire department in 1853. The ordinance passed by Cincinnati City Council at that time helped to provide the pattern for fire departments all over the country for the next 50-plus years. Then in 1918, Cincinnati’s Local 48 was recognized as one fo the original 55 chartered IAFF locals.

“We are very humbled that the Police and the Fire Fighters – the men and women on the front lines who make our communities safe and vibrant – have selected Cincinnati USA for their conventions,” Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory stated today at an announcement ceremony. “More than 150 years ago, Cincinnati became home to the nation’s first full-time fire department, and we look forward to building on that legacy by helping them deliver an extraordinary convention in 2014.”

Arts & Entertainment News

Two national community engagement movements to gather in Cincinnati tonight

Transition Town Northside will be meeting tonight at 5pm, and members of the Over-the-Rhine community will be taking part in National Night Out at historic Findlay Market.

The National Night Out event in Over-the-Rhine offers a chance for community members to engage with their local law enforcement officers. Police officers from District One of the Cincinnati Police Department will be at the event that will include food and games. Organizers state that the event is geared towards creating a safe, healthy community by strengthening relationship with the community and its police force. The event will take place at Findlay Market’s farmers shed (map) on the north side of the market house from 5pm to 6:30pm. Please contact the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce for more information at (513) 241-2690.

The Cincinnati Police Department will also be participating in five other National Night Out events throughout the city.  District One will also be at Mt. Adams Monastery (map) from 6pm to 8pm, District Two at the Mt. Washington Recreation Center (map) from 6pm to 9pm, District Three at the Kroger Grocery on Ferguson Road (map) from 5pm to 8pm, District Four at Fleischmann Gardens Park (map) from 6pm to 8pm, and District Five at College Hill Presbyterian Church (map) from 6pm to 9pm.

Meanwhile in Northside, a group committed to helping the neighborhood build community and achieve a more fossil-free existence will be meeting from 5pm to 7pm at the McKie Center (map). The goal of Transition Town Northside is to create an umbrella under which like minded individuals and organizations can pool their efforts, with the main goal of working towards a neighborhood that is local and sustainable. The grass-roots, community effort is generally geared toward responding to the challenges presented by peak oil.

All of these events are free and open to the public and most can be accessed by Metro bus service (plan your trip). Free bicycle parking is also available in the immediate area for most locations.

News Politics

Weigh in on local policy issues in 2011 Hamilton County Citizen Survey

Officials are encouraging Hamilton County residents to take the 2011 Citizen Survey. The annual survey asks for input on 12 key issues including topics like the legalization of marijuana, public transportation investments, land banking policies, government consolidation efforts, and even a variety of election-related issues.

The survey takes approximately eight to ten minutes, and allows residents to share their opinions about difficult policy issues facing Hamilton County.

One of the biggest elements of the survey is the issue of government reform. Presently there are 49 different jurisdictions throughout Hamilton County. Many of which have overlapping services and functions, that if consolidated, could present significant cost savings for taxpayers.

Several questions also focus on jail overcrowding and criminal treatment programs. The issues at hand include how to immediately address the jail crowding issue while also solving the problem long-term in a cost-effective and socially acceptable manner. Two such solutions include the legalization of marijuana and an increased focus on treatment and prevention programs for repeat offenders.

Residents of Hamilton County can access the 2011 Citizen Survey online now by visiting the county’s website or by visiting the survey directly.

News Politics Transportation

Wendell Young tapped to replace Laketa Cole on City Council

It was announced this week that Wendell Young will replace Laketa Cole on Cincinnati City Council as she leaves to take a job at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Young is a retired police officer and is currently a high school teacher in the Cincinnati Public School District. Young has run three previous City Council campaigns all of which left him on the outside looking in, but now the North Avondale resident will have his chance inside City Hall.

For Cincinnati Streetcar advocates, the departure of Laketa Cole also means the departure of her support for the modern streetcar project in the funding phases now. Much has been made of Cole’s replacement being chosen for his race or willingness to keep certain staffers around, but not much has been discussed in terms of the key issues that Young will face when he begins his new job. Cincinnati Streetcar supporters are certain to like what they hear.

“The streetcar will be a fantastic opportunity to improve our transportation options downtown,” explained Young. “It will fuel job creation and economic development throughout our city, and will help fund city services for our neighborhoods.”

Beyond his support for the Cincinnati Streetcar project, Young has also stated that fixing the City’s budget, improving neighborhoods throughout the city, and improving Cincinnati’s public safety are top concerns of his. It also appears that Young will work to improve the status of minority contracts, a primary issue with the departing Cole, and race relations as he previously served as the president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP.

“I’m also concerned about public safety.  I’m a retired cop, I can’t overlook that, but the reality for me is that it doesn’t seem to matter how many police officers you have.  The real crime fighters are citizens.  The real crime fighters are people who are proud of their neighborhoods, and feel empowered to take care of their neighborhoods, who will not tolerate misbehavior in their neighborhoods.”

Wendell Young will serve out the remainder of Cole’s term which ends November 30, 2011 at which point Cole would have become ineligible to run again due to term limits.

“When you look at our core city one of the things that makes it attractive is the belief that we’re going to eventually get to the place where one day where people don’t have to own a car to get around, that public transportation will be good enough to get around, and that the goods and services they really want will many times will be within walking distance.”