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Old 07-13-2011, 07:57 AM
 
2,886 posts, read 3,954,293 times
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I know some of you think all I do is complain about local government and as one particularly annoying poster repeatedly insists, "want Cincinnati to fail," but here's an initiative that I think shows real promise of making a real difference. I just hope it's going to be funded sufficiently to succeed:

Blighted buildings to start coming down | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,219 posts, read 57,353,566 times
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I'd hope, too, that any such initiative would not be abused -- along the lines of eminent domain. My eyebrows went up slightly when reading about Cuyahoga County "buying" land for the Cleveland Clinic and Hopkins Airport. I can just imagine the developers' lobbies currying favor with local governments to buy up "blighted" properties.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:36 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,371,704 times
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I am skeptical whenever I hear of government becoming an active owner of property, too great of an opportunity for abuse, graft, etc. It is one thing to eliminate blight as that should improve a neighborhood. But I strongly feel whatever is expended in acquisition, demolition, and reclamation should be the minimum the property is offered for sale. If no one wants to offer that much then let it sit as a green area, neighborhood park, etc. If the property is offered for sale for less it is simply using public money to finance private development, a sure path to corruption.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
165 posts, read 331,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah Perry View Post
I know some of you think all I do is complain about local government and as one particularly annoying poster repeatedly insists, "want Cincinnati to fail," but here's an initiative that I think shows real promise of making a real difference. I just hope it's going to be funded sufficiently to succeed:

Blighted buildings to start coming down | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com
Sarah,
I always enjoy reading your well written views. I'll confess right up front I'm an unashamed historic preservationist but hopefully, also one with a modicum of common sense. For my wife and I , Cincinnati's incomparable wealth of historic homes and buildings is the SOLE reason we want to relocate there from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. (I work in the restoration construction field) We've been to Cincinnati and seen some of the "blight" being described there. While some targeted as blight would not elicit from me a single objection to being demolished, others described by that term cause me to puzzle as to what criteria was used to make that determination.

I recall about a year ago a fine brick Clifton neighborhood two-story house dating from 1838 was targeted for demo because it had some minor soffit deterioration and leaking gutters. (according to the CPOP reports-online- by city inspectors) This landmark brick home from the beginnings of Clifton was being hastily targeted for a tear down. Luckily, the Cincinnati Preservation Association was proactively instrumental in getting the house repaired and taken off the demo list. But there are almost 100 pages of targeted houses and buildings on the City's "nuisance property" list and if every single one of them was demolished, it would be the equivalent to taking out a large Cincinnati neighborhood.

Landbanking, in it's purest form, advocates taking abandoned and neglected homes and buildings and finding new owners who will repair and maintain them, not just tearing them down one after another. (that's not consistent with the "banking" part of that term) Otherwise, "landbanking" is just a thinly veiled disguise for the old urban renewal model which has long been discredited because it seldom leads to "renewal". Parts of St. Louis after the mass demolitions, for example, are just giant open fields with maybe one or two isolated houses-any new redevelopment there may be years or even decades away. I'll argue that these large vacant swaths of urban land say as much about community decline as the blighted homes that once stood on them. Any chance of true urban renewal via restoration and preservation (as seen today in Cincinnati's OTR district) is forever forfeited once the bulldozers are finished. Neighborhood identity is also lost forever in the process.

An argument is made that Cincinnati's population has declined, therefore these buildings and homes are not needed. Good argument-except that new tract homes and strip shopping centers are still being built all around Cincinnati in the various suburban areas and townships. Therefore, according to the declining population argument, only older vacant or neglected structures are obsolete and need to be demolished. For those concerned about the "Green" environmental aspects of preservation, this is hardly environmentally friendly and wastes materials and landfill space.

I would like to suggest that this concept be tempered with common sense so that an 1870's landmark brick commercial building needing a moderate amount of repairs is not tossed in with the substandard shacks that truly need to go. Cincinnati has a questionable history of tearing down its landmarks and its only because it was such a large inland city in the past that so much still remains. While its not surprising that locals wonder what all the fuss is about (since they are surrounded by historic architecture) once they move to "modern" cities such as Dallas, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, they will soon realize how unique and special their city is architecturally. Without your Over-The-Rhine District, I can assure you the New York Times and Wall Street Journal would have had no reason to mention Cincinnati in recent articles about special places to visit.

Again, some clearing out of the blight is warranted but it needs to be done intelligently and should spare the oldest and best of your local historic architecture. Otherwise, it is a short-sighted and stop-gap approach which diminishes Cincinnati's appeal to visitors and would-be new residents. No one coming from a place with no city or state taxes or mild climate would ever want to move to Cincinnati simply for a modern home in one of its sprawling suburbs; (which look the same everywhere) however, some at least would consider doing so to buy a one-of-a-kind 100+ year old home in one of your picturesque historic neighborhoods.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:51 PM
 
2,886 posts, read 3,954,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintrest View Post
... Again, some clearing out of the blight is warranted but it needs to be done intelligently and should spare the oldest and best of your local historic architecture. Otherwise, it is a short-sighted and temporary approach which diminishes Cincinnati's appeal to visitors and would-be new residents. No one coming from a place with no city or state taxes or mild climate would ever want to move to Cincinnati simply for a modern home in one of its sprawling suburbs; (which look the same everywhere) however, some at least would consider doing so to buy a one-of-a-kind 100+ year old home in one of your picturesque historic neighborhoods.
I couldn't agree with you more, and I hope the program WILL be implemented properly. Even before the 2008 economic collapse, and even more since--there are a horrifying number of deteriorated and abandoned properties, some which never had any architectural significance and others that truly are beyond saving. The effect on neighborhood quality of life is, I believe, more drastic than most people here realize. I'm a big proponent of cleaning up and taking care of what's already built before sinking millions upon millions of dollars into new construction projects.
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