Monday, May 12, 2008

Can the Dayton Street Historic District get a fair shake?

Can Millionairs Row in the Dayton Street Historic district get a fair shake? The neighborhood once the most prestigeous is now viewed as one of the least desirable as a place to live. I don't feel thats fair to the Urban Pioneers who are taking the risks to turn the neighborhood back. There really are two "West Ends". The west end of "City West" a huge development intended to merge people of different socio-economic background into a new community and the Dayton Street Historic District which seems to suffer the stigma of being a high crime dumping ground for the poor and disenfranchised.

Architecturally the area has a lot going for it. Home to the historic Hauck Mansion and other high end homes, admittedly some on hard times after conversion to multi family yet the area "Seems Right" for a turnaround. This possiblility is at direct odds with those "well meaning" groups who want to foster "affordable home ownership opportunities" in the area. The problem with this is that Restoring a property is totally differnt than a "rehab" of a property. In my view these groups, while well meaning, may fix a house up and resell it to a low to moderate income family who under most circumstances can barely afford the payment, let alone the maintenance. A few years down the road when work done "on the cheap" with unskilled or volunteer labor begins to fall apart the home owner cannot afford to make repairs, the property goes in decline and the neighborhood suffers.
The sucess and eventual turnaround of this area is dependent on three things. 1.) The Dayton St Historic District needs to "re-brand" itself so as to not be under the stigma of West End. 2.) The neighborhood needs to encourage more historic restoration. 3.) The city of Cincinnati needs to take a more comprehensive redevelopment look at the area that would include demolition of non-contributing structures to make way for high end historic style infill homes and garden spaces for existing homes.
"Millionairs Row" can make a comeback, it just takes some imagination and hard work!

1 comment:

WestEnder said...

Interesting perspective, hadn't considered it that way before.