Monday, March 7, 2011

Crime, blight reduction program launches in Over-the-Rhine

Fresh off the launch of a planning initiative launched for the Brewery District of Over-the-Rhine, the neighborhood has begun a 90-day blitz to jump start long-term community relationships that will benefit the area long into the future.

A large crowd gathered outside of Findlay Market for the kickoff of the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) to hear how the program will address crime hot spots, remove litter, and eliminate neighborhood blight.

Studies of local crime hot spots are already paying dividends.

Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher announced that District One Violent Crimes Squad, in collaboration with officers from county and state agencies, has completed a long-term investigation of narcotics sales in the area – specifically the blocks surrounding the market.

Thirteen defendants have been identified, and nine have already been arrested.

"This should have a significant positive impact on the removal of drug activity in the Race and Green Streets area," Streicher said.

Several events are timed to coincide with the 90-day program, including the Great American Cleanup on April 16, the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors' Over-the-Rhine Realtor Tour on May 4, and People Working Cooperatively's Repair Affair on May 14.

"We look forward to more positive results in the Over-the-Rhine NEP," said City Manager Milton Dohoney.

The NEP will wrap up in Over-the-Rhine on May 31.

To date, the NEP has been applied to the neighborhoods of Avondale, College Hill, Corryville, CUF, Evanston, Madisonville, Mount Washington, Northside, Price Hill, and Westwood.

The NEP program 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.

Earlier this year, long-time NEP partner U.S. Bank issued a challenge to the community to encourage donations to further the program's efforts, providing $4,000 each to the 2011 NEP communities of Over-the-Rhine and Bond Hill.

An additional 13 community partners have been brought on board, and the pot of pledged money has increased to more than $10,000.

Previous reading on BC:
Brewery District planning to target 'actionable' projects (3/1/11)
Concentrated City services coming to Brewery District, Bond Hill (1/31/11)
Tickets on sale for Bockfest brewery tours (1/18/11)
Architectural Foundation releases Brewery District report (6/18/09)
City calls Westwood NEP a success (8/28/08)