Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Neighborhood Enhancement Program kicks off in Pendleton

Pendleton officially became the 14th Cincinnati neighborhood to participate in the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) with a kickoff press conference this morning at the Pendleton Art Center, located at 1310 Pendleton Street.

The 90-day NEP enforcement blitz brings together City departments, neighborhood businesses and residents to address blight, crime, and other nuisances, helping to forge new partnerships that will facilitate long-term neighborhood revitalization and investment.

"This is an important program because it speaks to the commitment in our City to our great neighborhoods," Mayor Mark Mallory said. "Pendleton is one of those gems."

The effectiveness of the program will be measured every 90 days, then six months after completion.

"It's not just about the process, it's about the results," City Manager Milton Dohoney said.

Police response

Assistant Police Chief James Whalen, speaking on behalf of Police Chief James Craig, said that Pendleton used to be part of his district. He pledged the department's focus on open air drug markets, curfew and truancy issues, traffic safety, and quality of life crimes.

"There is almost nothing that the police can't help others do," he said. "We really value the possibilities here."

Earlier this year, the NEP in Kennedy Heights was credited with a 9 percent drop in blight and a 16 percent reduction in crime.

Dancing in the streets

As Pendleton Neighborhood Council President David White began to speak, a dance party broke out to Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Streets".

The choice of music was fitting, White said, because the neighborhood has many reason to dance in the streets – from its residents, to its local artists and artisans, to its architects, to its community oriented businesses.

Physical changes are coming as well, he said. Historic arts district signage will be added to Liberty Street and Reading Road, and new public art will turn Pendleton Street into what he called a "boulevard of art".

"Communities separate themselves by indentifying and promoting things that make them unique," White said. "Many cities would die for these assets. The NEP is going to make our community better."

Stakeholders crucial

More than $10,000 in seed money has been donated to fund the initiative, with assistance coming from project sponsors U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, and Huntington Bank. Community sponsors include Sol Design + Consulting, Verdin Bells and Clocks, the Model Group, BOOST!...for meetings sake, Pendleton Art Center, Iris Book Cafe, Shadeau Breads, Christopher Lacey of A & L Properties, and Meredith and Chuck Downton.

"Without the willingness of stakeholders to step forward and engage, this effort does not work," Dohoney said.

The NEP has won awards from the Ohio City/County Management Association, Neighborhoods USA, the Ohio Conference of Community Development, and the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati. In 2009, it was named as a national finalist in the category of community development in the National Development Council's Academy.

Previous NEP neighborhoods include Avondale, Bond Hill, College Hill, Corryville, CUF, Evanston, Madisonville, Mount Washington, Northside, Over-the-Rhine (Brewery District), Price Hill, and Westwood.

Previous reading on BC:
Groundbreaking for Kennedy Heights center 'a delicious, marvelous day' (6/15/12)
Crime, blight reduction program launches in Over-the-Rhine (3/7/11)
Concentrated City services coming to Brewery District, Bond Hill (1/31/11)