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Old 09-07-2008, 07:42 PM
 
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After attending the University of Cincinnati in 2000, then bouncing around other parts of the country for the past 6-7 years, I am moving my family back to Cincinnati for a job.

I've heard some talk here and there about Westwood, some positive, some not so positive, and I was wondering what peoples' opinions were about the area.

Like I said, I attended school at UC, and, oddly enough, I have no familiarity with Westwood at all. I've done some house searches over there, and have seen some pretty nice places at pretty affordable prices.

So, what's up?
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
2,868 posts, read 8,447,977 times
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I grew up on the west side. In Delhi...Westwood has some great houses but the majority of the area is slipping. I would not move there but that is my personal opinion. Also, the public school system (Western Hills) is borderline at best...I would not send my kids to any schools in that system...

You should check out Delhi, green township, Bridgetown...those are all similar in price and are in a much better school district...Oak Hills school district...
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,199 posts, read 57,331,348 times
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One cannot write off any neighborhood in Cincinnati as simply "good" or "bad." Cincinnati is a city of neighborhoods, and within those neighborhoods are sub-neighborhoods, and within those sub-neighborhoods are residential pockets. Parachute down in any point in Cincinnati, walk five minutes in any direction, and the condition and vibe of the neighborhood will be completely different than that of your starting point.

Westwood is a huge neighborhood -- it may be the biggest of all the city neighborhoods, IIRC -- and like any other Cincinnati neighborhood, it has its good pockets and its bad pockets.

The part closest to Cheviot, around Westwood Town Hall, is well-kept and perfectly safe, with a variety of homes and apartments in all sizes and configurations. The residents are friendly and watch out for one another.

As you start to go down the hill toward the valley, though, things may get a little dicey on and off, depending on which pocket you're in at the moment.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:26 AM
 
710 posts, read 2,649,718 times
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westwood is the largest city neighborhood by a long shot, nearly twice the size the size of the second largest neighborhood
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:51 PM
 
62 posts, read 270,255 times
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Default Westwood

I hope you do decide to make Westwood your new home -- my wife and I moved here from NJ about 18 months ago and we have incredibly wonderful neighbors on a beautiful street of well-maintained homes.

The majority of Westwood is not slipping; it is Harrison Avenue (south of Lafeuille) and the portion of Queen City that parallels it that are to be avoided. While I don't think they are dangerous at all (you folks want dangerous, let me take you on a tour of certain parts of New Jersey) -- they are overrun with poverty. Entry/exit on either of these roads can get disheartening if traveled on a daily basis. Montana Avenue is the best of the (3) gateways.

The post about "bubbles" or pockets of goodness is very true of much of the city, including Westwood. The area around the town hall and soon-to-be renovated public school is a nice spot, but there are particular streets/portions of said streets that might help: Epworth, Eugenie, WerkCastle, Dunaway, Westbrook, Gilna, Lischer, Daytona, Ramona, McKinley, Cheviot, Fleetwood, Werk, Junietta, Feltz, Eggers, Ratterman -- to name a few -- are nice streets. There are plenty of others. And the home prices can't be beat -- plus, most of these homes were built when they still knew how to build homes -- when a 2 x 8 was actually 2 x 8, and today's pressed/glueboard I-beams were made of American steel.

Westwood has its challenges, there's no doubt. Most communities in Cincinnati do. But there are strong civic associations, a great historical society, and a charming Art-Deco library.

There's alot to like about Westwood. I would encourage you to at least take a look. There are a couple of great homes on Eugenie and Fleetwood -- the one on Eugenie had a big turnout this past Sunday for an open house -- it certainly looks neat from what I saw driving by and online.

Best of luck to you and your family!
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,938,347 times
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You'll see "East Westwood" mentioned in media stories; there's no such actual place on any map, and its boundary line shifts depending on who you talk to. The contradictory-sounding name alludes to the section of the neighborhood that's perceived as no longer "nice." Whether the street of demarcation is McHenry, Montana, or Baltimore, the area to the east is what's going downhill both geographically and socially. Fueling much of the slippage into crime and decay is the closure or downsizing of two large municipal housing developments - "projects" - Laurel Homes in the West End, and Millvale in Fairmount. A good many of these communities' residents were given Section 8 housing vouchers, and carried them across the viaducts. Ready and waiting were landlords whose apartment houses or complexes were out of fashion and going to seed. The resulting racial and socioeconomic transition triggered panic selling, which sent eastern Westwood into a downward spiral. Farther west, many longtime residents saw the changes taking place and took stock of their own situation: aging property, lousy public schools (the two Cincinnati middle/junior high schools, Dater and Heinold, had long since become "blackboard jungles"), and the closure of beloved local businesses such as the Window Garden restaurant and the Westwood Cinema. They voted with their feet and skedaddled out of the city, mostly farther westward.

It's not at all strange to be unfamiliar with any west-side area if you went to UC. I grew up in Greater Cincinnati as an "east sider," and ventured between Colerain Ave and the river - west of the Mill Creek - only a few times a year. Being the geography nerd and ace navigator of my family, I was always the one dispatched to "that part of town" on errands. What's most striking about how Westwood appears today as opposed to even 10-15 years ago is the marked increase in an AA presence there, even along and near thoroughfares such as Glenmore and Boudinot which crisscross the neighborhood in its western sector. The idealist in me likes to think that every apartment is renting at market rates and every house is changing hands through sale. The cynic in me sees every "brick box" apartment building and faded '70s complex, along with many of the houses (particularly the brick Capes) converted to Section 8. Reality lies somewhere in between, no doubt. And this, of course, leaves out all the dozens of "classic" palladian-windowed ranch houses, and bungalows, and Victorians, and stately wood-frame or brick 2 1/2-story Colonials scattered throughout the community. (The annual Westwood House Tour is always a good way of getting a peek at some of these architectural gems inside and out.) It also calls forth assumptions that the ethnic composition of a neighborhood correlates with its level of safety, which are belied by a check of the crime statistics in "mixed" Cincinnati enclaves like Paddock Hills and Kennedy Hts where many of the people never lock their doors.

No one can deny either that Westwood is still in the throes of radical transition, or that the jury is still out on how well the community can weather it. One of the city's strongest and noisiest neighborhood councils, called Westwood Concern, is on the front lines of the battle to preserve the serene quality of life once enjoyed throughout the community and still present in much of it. (Visit westwoodconcern.org to find out more about this group.) They continually score small victories - getting city funds freed up for the demolition of drug houses and abandoned apartment complexes, sponsoring a large-scale curbside cleanup of Harrison Ave, having "problem" pay phones removed, etc. Small victories have their way of adding up into a bigger win.

The question you need to ask yourself, then, is whether an awesome house at a nice price is worth buying given that the area it's in could either rebound or decline in a few years' time. For assistance in reaching an answer, my suggestion is always to visit the local police district station and ask to see the "call list" for the street you may potentially buy on, as well as its neighboring streets 3-5 blocks in each direction. Do the Saturday/Sunday test: walk, or drive slowly, around the vicinity for twenty to thirty minutes at around 11 at night on a mild Saturday, then do another tour at around 3 PM on a pleasant Sunday. Measure the noise level, take note of who (if anyone) is hanging around outside, check whether people are chatting amiably with each other or passing in silence. See whether your presence is noted cordially or warily. Good neighbors go a lot farther in defining the quality of a place than do pretty houses alone.

Plenty of folks in this forum will tell you to write off Westwood (and nearby Price Hill, for the same reasons) entirely. I'm a city kid by upbringing and choice, so my opinion swings in the other direction albeit with the cautionary notes I've sounded. Your most skeptical take on that and any other Cincinnati community, given that you have children, should be around the quality of education available. A lot of Westwood's remaining longtime denizens, as well as numerous newcomers, opt for parochial schools. Their tuition, along with the cost of most houses in Westwood, would set you back less than buying a home in a suburban community with better public schools would. So when you're on the Sunday portion of the Saturday/Sunday test, make that a question you raise if you happen upon friendly people (which, on Cincinnati's west side, you're bound to.)
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:50 AM
 
1,071 posts, read 3,939,357 times
Reputation: 265
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersey_too_expensive View Post
I hope you do decide to make Westwood your new home -- my wife and I moved here from NJ about 18 months ago and we have incredibly wonderful neighbors on a beautiful street of well-maintained homes.

The majority of Westwood is not slipping; it is Harrison Avenue (south of Lafeuille) and the portion of Queen City that parallels it that are to be avoided. While I don't think they are dangerous at all (you folks want dangerous, let me take you on a tour of certain parts of New Jersey) -- they are overrun with poverty. Entry/exit on either of these roads can get disheartening if traveled on a daily basis. Montana Avenue is the best of the (3) gateways.

The post about "bubbles" or pockets of goodness is very true of much of the city, including Westwood. The area around the town hall and soon-to-be renovated public school is a nice spot, but there are particular streets/portions of said streets that might help: Epworth, Eugenie, WerkCastle, Dunaway, Westbrook, Gilna, Lischer, Daytona, Ramona, McKinley, Cheviot, Fleetwood, Werk, Junietta, Feltz, Eggers, Ratterman -- to name a few -- are nice streets. There are plenty of others. And the home prices can't be beat -- plus, most of these homes were built when they still knew how to build homes -- when a 2 x 8 was actually 2 x 8, and today's pressed/glueboard I-beams were made of American steel.

Westwood has its challenges, there's no doubt. Most communities in Cincinnati do. But there are strong civic associations, a great historical society, and a charming Art-Deco library.

There's alot to like about Westwood. I would encourage you to at least take a look. There are a couple of great homes on Eugenie and Fleetwood -- the one on Eugenie had a big turnout this past Sunday for an open house -- it certainly looks neat from what I saw driving by and online.

Best of luck to you and your family!
i've been to jersey. it's no more dangerous in many cities than cincinnati. no go on westwood, it's going downhill and the racial issues will only get more tense as people continue to play the blame game.
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:37 AM
 
62 posts, read 270,255 times
Reputation: 67
Hillside-

You may have been to Jersey, but I grew up there. And yes, there are plenty of beautiful towns -- far more beautiful than anything in all of the greater Cincinnati area. There is money in New Jersey -- the kind of money that doesn't exist here.

That's the big difference in types of crime/motivation for same. The majority of crime in NJ cities is gang-related; even areas where people pay $12k+/year in property taxes, you'll find wars between African American and Latino gangs. These gangs have money -- they're not poor, they don't go around ripping off people's copper downspouts and stealing car radios.

What you've got in Cincinnati is poverty. Abject poverty. It's sad and pathetic. Crimes are generally crimes of opportunity. Which is why it isn't as scary as some areas of New Jersey. It's also why it's nowhere near as nice as most areas of New Jersey.

Racial issues, tensions, and blame game? What exactly, in concrete terms, does that mean?
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:14 PM
 
1,071 posts, read 3,939,357 times
Reputation: 265
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersey_too_expensive View Post
Hillside-

You may have been to Jersey, but I grew up there. And yes, there are plenty of beautiful towns -- far more beautiful than anything in all of the greater Cincinnati area. There is money in New Jersey -- the kind of money that doesn't exist here.

That's the big difference in types of crime/motivation for same. The majority of crime in NJ cities is gang-related; even areas where people pay $12k+/year in property taxes, you'll find wars between African American and Latino gangs. These gangs have money -- they're not poor, they don't go around ripping off people's copper downspouts and stealing car radios.

What you've got in Cincinnati is poverty. Abject poverty. It's sad and pathetic. Crimes are generally crimes of opportunity. Which is why it isn't as scary as some areas of New Jersey. It's also why it's nowhere near as nice as most areas of New Jersey.

Racial issues, tensions, and blame game? What exactly, in concrete terms, does that mean?
...and i grew up in cincinnati, lol.

cincinnati, for all its drawbacks, has a lot of natural and man-made beauty that's very rare, if not authentic to cincinnati. true, gangs aren't as big in cinti, but neighborhood beefing is pretty big. you're right, cinci has a ton of shameful poverty, but that's what makes it so bad. i've never, until today, heard that having more poverty means less danger. that's more people who are on their last dollar, and grew up on pennies. desperation makes people crazy, and i don't think it's any less scary than anything going on in most of jersey.

as goyguy put it, there has been a heavy migration of blacks and hispanics to the westside, and in most cities (esp. cincinnati), migration means problems between races and cultures. when problems arise, people need someone to blame. look at "east westwood", "spring grove village", and "east walnut hills". this is blatant racial profiling by the city of cincinnati. concrete enough?
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:04 PM
 
62 posts, read 270,255 times
Reputation: 67
OK, you grew up here, I grew up there -- we each know our respective states better than the other -- but I've lived in both. ;-)

There is much to admire about Cincinnati. I wouldn't have moved here if there wasn't. I disagree with an outright rejection of any one of Cincinnati's regional neighborhoods. To paint with such a broad brush in a city where pockets of decency are defined street-by-street is a knee-jerk response.

"...migration means problems between races and cultures" -- is there another race beside the human race to which you are referring?

"...when problems arise, people need someone to blame" -- and what are those problems? Generally those problems aren't being caused by working, tax-paying, homeowners. They have worked hard to maintain their way of life. They take care of their property. They take care of their families.

Shall I be more concrete? Whenever you watch the news in Cincinnati, nearly every "victim" of a crime already has a mug shot to display on screen. I don't care what color your skin is, or where you're from -- if you live your life in an honorable manor, if you work for a living, if you pay taxes, maintain your property (owner or tenant), take care of your children/spouse/parents, then what kind of tension would there be? None. And your face wouldn't be on file.

Racial profiling = a bunch of cr*p. You know what I see when I turn on the news? Brothers killing brothers. People stealing copper. Lots of decent people trying to figure out what to do about it. And the constant perpetuation of the poverty cycle: destroying people's lives with non-stop government assistance. Housing, food, child-care. More kids you have, more checks you get. One generation after another. And unlike previous generations, these folks aren't shamed by their condition; rather, they often posses a warped sense of entitlement.

This is off-topic, but giving people stuff rather than helping them earn it for themselves has proven to be a failed policy. It diminishes people's self-worth. Human beings need tasks, we need something to do, goals to accomplish. Cincinnati needs to wake up and stop embracing this cycle of poverty if it ever hopes to become a grand city once again.
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