6.27.2010

Cincinnati's Backward Progress

On open letter to the Mayor and City Council

Dear Mr. Mayor,

On Monday, Council's finance committee is expected to vote on an 11 million dollar allocation to help the 3CDC corporation and park district renovate Washington Park in Over the Rhine and I am troubled by this as well as by other moves made by 3CDC. If I were voting, the vote to allocate funds would be an emphatic "no."

3CDC started with the take over of the building across from the park in 2006. That building will be turned into high end condos overlooking the newly renovated park. The tenants were forced out, but compensated with $70 to help them relocate.

A whole $70. You can buy a metro pass for that amount, but little else. Certainly can't rent a place to live, pay the utilities and feed a family for more than half a week. The arrogance of 3CDC is palpitating, and was apparently done with the approval of the City of Cincinnati.

When corporations like 3CDC decide to do something like the Washington Park makeover, you can bet that it is not with the people in mind. Their move is with the interests of the people who will move into the area once the old, lifelong residents have been moved out.

Why else would 3CDC put forth a plan 3 years later, that eliminates an historic swimming pool and basketball courts, to be replaced by a dog park? Who is looking out for the residents of Over the Rhine? Certainly not the city.

Question: Is a rich man's dog more important than a poor man's kids? Seems so based on this plan.

3CDC operates with an air of impunity that is only matched by the likes of corporations such as Kroger, which offers 4 bus tokens to people who used to shop at their neighborhood Roselawn store until unceremoniously shuttered by the Kroger Company. The bus tokens get them 2 round trips to the Norwood Surrey Square Kroger.

Imagine your mother or some other senior citizen trying to negotiate a bus, even a kneeling one..with $100 in groceries in a rickety cart. Not a pretty picture and going on as we speak.

The silence of the city is deafening when it comes to protecting the people.

Where is the initiative to incorporate all kinds of housing, businesses and people in all neighborhoods to promote diversity and inclusion? Why is it that the poor must always make way for the lifestyles and hobbies of the well off and not necessarily famous except in their own minds.

The job of city government is to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. Yet there has been not even a whisper from the city.

Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of progress and moving forward. However 3CDC moves harken back to the days of gentrification without diversification, the days when Cincinnati was for the well off and white. 3CDC caters to all those people who deserted the city for the suburbs except for when the professional teams play.

Shortly after the condo take over by 3CDC there was an article on the company pointing out it's internal diversity. That may be the case, however it doesn't reflect diversity in it's development plans for the city. And as we all know these days, it's more of a class thing than a racial thing.

The days of a Riverfront Stadium with no banners and signs allowed are over. The days of a city refusing to recognize it's gay, lesbian and transgender population are over. The days of downtown businesses doing inventory during the music festival or Black Family Reunion weekends are over.

Downtown parks without a basketball hoop or a swimming pool sends the wrong message.

3CDC needs to be made to understand this, by you Mr. Mayor.

All of the people voted for you, Mr. Mayor, including me. We expect you to stand up for us. I hear an awful lot about your trips. I am an avid supporter of the street car initiative. I applaud your efforts to end the violence in the neighborhoods.

However, I am concerned about the plans put forth by 3CDC and its blatant disregard of the people who live in the neighborhoods they want to take over.

Making the renovation plans for Washington Park more neighborhood friendly would be a start in the right direction. A finance committe "no" vote would get their attention.

Post a Comment