20 September 2008

The Times They Are A-Changing

OTR is on the cusp of change. Two weeks ago appeared this missive from OTR residents which was echoed on Building Cincinnati, Just Past Central and Cincinnati Blog. Several weeks before that I posted about this article in the Pulse-Downtowner. And yesterday the Business Courier published the article "With disproportionate number of social services, Over-The-Rhine also grapples with concentration of crimes."

These are a few examples of the increased attention OTR has been getting from the public, the media, city council and the business community. I think the key difference now versus years ago is the business community. The business community has been making Cincinnati its bitch for about a century. When it wants results, it gets them.

Now that 3CDC, PNC Bank, Western-Southern, etc. are invested in the OTR market, the world will move with them. There is every reason to believe that sometime in the near future, OTR will start looking significantly different from year to year. The concentration of social service agencies will diminish. The crime, drugs and litter will diminish. Socioeconomic diversity will increase. Businesses will move in. Streetcars will roll along. And Washington Park will morph from a place to drive by and witness society at its most pathetic to a place where workers and residents eat their lunch and walk their corgis.

How the city will get there is uncertain, but the first step is for all parties to recognize the problem. That has finally happened. The second step is moving towards solutions, which is happening as we speak. The second-and-a-half step is to marginalize the Smithermans who can be guaranteed to try and prevent progress by playing the race card and fomenting opposition based on emotion rather than sense. I hope council, businesses and residents discuss this and prepare a proactive plan to derail it with-- pardon the poorly placed expression-- extreme prejudice.

I also hope social service agencies can deal with this as an opportunity to re-invent themselves rather than as a threat to their existence (like OTR, now that I think about it). If they can provide new models for their services that the community believes will produce results, they will get the chance to follow through.

Meantime, I think I'll start scouting condos...

1 comment:

Kate The Great said...

I have been jonsing for an OtR condo for a good year or two.

With the way the financial world is playing out, I am bummed it's going to be a lot more difficult to get a loan ~ I guess it's time to start saving that 20% down payment...