Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pendleton enforcement blitz reduces blight and crime, promotes redevelopment

Pendleton's 90-day Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) enforcement blitz ended with a ceremony and ribbon-cutting on Nov. 14.

The NEP brings together City departments, neighborhood businesses and residents to address blight, crime, and other nuisances, helping to forge new partnerships that will facilitate long-term neighborhood revitalization and investment.

Pendleton was the 14th Cincinnati neighborhood to participate in the program.

"Everything that has been accomplished has come through a collaborative effort of City departments working in concert with neighborhood stakeholders, with the financial support of a number of our partners," said City Manager Milton Dohoney. "It just shows what can happen when people come together, roll up their sleeves in order to improve the quality of life."

According to Dohoney, the NEP resulted in a 22 percent reduction in the community's blight index, with more than 150 Keep Cincinnati Beautiful volunteers participating in the cleanup of alleys, vacant lots, and neglected properties. In addition, City inspectors looked at 235 neighborhood properties.

"To date, we've found that 42 percent of the properties we've looked at had a violation," he said. "Ten property owners have already completed exterior repairs in order to bring their properties up to code."

Cincinnati Police Department Chief James Craig praised the program, noting that the increased patrols and monitoring of crime hotspots in the neighborhood over the past 90 days has resulted in a 53 percent reduction in Part Two crimes and a 27 percent reduction in Part One crimes.

"When you talk about safe cities, safe communities, safe neighborhoods, it's one answer," Craig said. "It simply means that when a place is clean, and we look at the broken windows and take care of our neighborhoods, crime diminishes. It's just that simple."

Recently, the neighborhood has progressed so much that it's become much more attractive for redevelopment. Developer Chris Lacey of A & L Properties was eager to show off his two rehabilitated properties at 1324 and 1327 Pendleton Street, an owner-occupied three-family and a single-family home that have already sold.

"Two beat up houses, they were really, really rough," Lacey said. "Both had boards on the windows, and had been vacant for probably 15 years. There's plenty of inventory down here in Over-the-Rhine, of buildings that can be turned into owner-occupied two-families, three-families, and four-families."

Pendleton Neighborhood Council President David White said that the neighborhood's turnaround has been the result of the hard work of heroes past and present, and that they deserve to be celebrated.

"There's one thing that's been constantly brought up, and it's our history," he said. "Our history has shaped our past, but it's also going to be shaping our future. History is not just buildings and the fabric that shapes our neighborhood, but it's shaped by the heroes. Pendleton has no shortage of them."

The NEP has won awards from the Ohio City/County Management Association, Neighborhoods USA, the Ohio Conference of Community Development, and the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati. In 2009, it was named as a national finalist in the category of community development in the National Development Council's Academy.

Previous NEP neighborhoods include Avondale, Bond Hill, College Hill, Corryville, CUF, Evanston, Kennedy Heights, Madisonville, Mount Washington, Northside, Over-the-Rhine (Brewery District), Price Hill, and Westwood.

Previous reading on BC:
Neighborhood Enhancement Program kicks off in Pendleton (8/15/12)
Groundbreaking for Kennedy Heights center 'a delicious, marvelous day' (6/15/12)
Crime, blight reduction program launches in Over-the-Rhine (3/7/11)
Concentrated City services coming to Brewery District, Bond Hill (1/31/11)