Over the past six years, we have worked diligently to drive a positive change in the Evanston Community. Current plans for the development and redevelopment started with designating Evanston’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in 2000. The TIF District Plan is a tool designed to improve the overall climate for development and stimulate increased private investment.
Evanston’s Five Points Urban Renewal Plan was approved by City Council in 2002. The overall goal of the “Plan” was to refine the business district into a smaller, core area created by the growth and expansion of Xavier University. The plan’s main objectives were to promote retail development in the business district and devise a housing strategy.
Evanston Community Council implemented a housing strategy in 2007. This plan recognized the need for elderly apartment development and rehabbing homes to eliminate blight, promote safety and beautification in our TIF district.
Evanston was hard hit by the housing foreclosure crisis. We are ranked 8th out of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods according to WIN’s study of foreclosures in Hamilton County. Predatory lending resulted in the loss of many owner occupied homes. The end of 2010 left the neighborhood left with over 200 vacant and blighted properties.
The Evanston Community Council has taken the issue ‘head-on’ and devised a 2012 Housing and Commercial Development Strategies. The primary objectives of these strategies are to attract homeowners and new businesses. This will improve the perception of safety in our community through focused investments into blighted areas.
The 2012 Housing and Commercial Development Strategies focus resources in the Woodburn Avenue Corridor and historic Five-Points Intersection around Walnut Hills High School and the Evanston Recreation Center. This focus will also support children in the neighborhood along the safe routes to school by building connections among pre-existing assets. The 2012 Evanston Housing Strategy seeks to revitalize the health and wellbeing of the community from housing to safety and beautification.
Currently, the Community Council—under the guidance and leadership of President Adkins—is implementing a 2014 Housing and Commercial Development Strategy in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County Port Authority, Model Group, LISC and the Community Building Institute. This project will return 20 currently vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties to fully-rehabbed use for families interested in long-term home ownership as well as stabilizing seven critical commercial properties to positive community use.
We are fortunate to have strong partnerships with:
a) The City of Cincinnati (All Departments), TIF and Focus 52 Funding
b) The Community Building Institute at Xavier University
c) The Cincinnati Police Department, District Two
d) Cincinnati Public Schools
e) Model Development Group
f) The Hamilton County Port Authority and Land Bank (plans to rehab 20 homes and four commercial properties)
g) Moving Ohio Forward
h) The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation
i) Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)
j) Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)
k) Graydon Head Ritchey Law Firm
l) SHP Architects
m) Interfaith Business Builders (IBB), Community Blend Cooperative Coffee Shop
n) Walnut Hills High School Alumni Association
o) Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CHC-CAA)
p) Working in Neighborhoods
q) People Working Cooperatively
r) Home Ownership Center
s) Episcopalian Retirement Center
Our recent community investments that ensure the revitalization of both Evanston’s business district as well as the historic housing stock include the following:
a) Keystone Parke Office Development
b) American Red Cross Regional Disaster Headquarters
c) Evanston Employment Resource Connection
d) Evanston Exterior Home Improvement Program
e) Evanston Recreation Center
f) Woodburn Pointe Senior Housing (24 units)
g) St. Ambrose (formerly St. Leger) 26-newly constructed units
h) King Studio Experiential Learning Center Business Plan (will include a recording studio, museum and Flavor of Arts Studio)
i) Neighborhood Enhancement Program
j) Owl’s Nest Park and Evanston Park renovations.
k) Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP)
l) Community Blend Cooperative Coffee Shop (Opening May 2014)
m) Music Resource Center of Greater Cincinnati—Woodburn Avenue
n) Dana Avenue Streetscape Improvement
For more information on Evanston’s Housing Committee and/or to get involved please contact Evanston Community Council’s mainline at 513-281-2775.