I look at Cincinnati and often ask: what holds this city back? After much thought I've reached certain conclusions. Basically a few small groups and certain people ( some our own elected officials) hold this city back. They are people whom have always "lived here" and made their assumptions about Cincinnati's future based on a flawed belief that things are 'just the way they are" or "things will always be that way".
So for those who believe that let me debunk that view.
"Fresh rioting began at dusk Tuesday, when arsonists set fire to the Findlay Market, an open-air market in Over-the-Rhine" Cincinnati Enquirer
Welcome to ground zero in inner-city decline: the Over-the-Rhine district in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reason.com, November 2001
I did a little research one day I spent hours reading news accounts about the months after the riots. Everybody, EVERY major news outlet, EVERY reporter , EVERYONE interviewed thought the riots were the end of OTR and Findlay market. One interesting assessment I read was from a local who said at the time "The city should just bulldoze all of it and build an industrial park!"
Today, when I want to go down to Findlay Market to pick up a pound of Pastrami, I have to plan my trip. No, I'm not getting into a Humvee, or putting on a flak jacket. My major concern is "Will I find a place to park"? It is that busy! If you are at Findlay on a weekend , you are making your way through a crowded market, listening to the street musicians looking for that new and exciting food you haven't tried, or those fresh vegetables.
In fact, the first time I ever visited Findlay Market in early 2008, I was literally blown away by it. It was one of the things that 'Sealed the deal' on Cincinnati. We had a 'fact finding' trip, Cincinnati was a city we were considering moving to from Indianapolis. We talked about Findlay Market all the way home. "Do the people who live there realize what a Jewell they have"? We compared it to the Market in Charleston SC or New Orleans. To think that Cincinnati had something this cool, and the architecture, can you believe the architecture! More importantly we could see the future, the things that locals can't see yet. Carriage rides in the area, trendy galleries and antiques shops on Race and Elm. Historic walking tours leaving Findlay Market every hour taking people on trips through the narrow streets talking about the architecture.
"Crazy you say, Never gonna happen!" Then you must be from Cincinnati.
I knew in the back of my mind that there has been "some trouble" in Cincinnati years back, something in the news about that, but I was looking at what I saw and convinced this city is going places. Riots? What riots?
The facts are that people are moving to Cincinnati from all over the country. They either don't know about the riots or they don't care about the riots, or they were just kids. They don't care about how Cincinnati "used to be' or what store ' used' to be downtown, they take it as it is NOW. They see a new condo project coming on line every week, a new business coming to town, a new eatery opening up. They didn't grow up here and its not 'relevant' which side of town is better 30 -40 yrs ago, or who had the better football team, or what neighborhood was white or black. They are living in the PRESENT not the PAST.
That was then and this is NOW! Time has come to put the past behind us and get about the business of building the future.
People say "Nobody is going to come in and fix that, its in Avondale!", or "No one will invest in Westwood there is too much Section 8". "Price Hill is a poor white trash dump, are you crazy? or
"Fairmount, that a gang infested , Section 8 hellhole."
We have ALL heard it, the "naysayers', the "I've lived in Cincinnati all my life and let me tell you the way it is!" These are the same people who thought they should build that highway through Columbia Tusculum years ago because it was run down, or who thought people were 'Crazy" to build in Mt Adams? "Who would want to live in that place?" Or who still believe Mansion Hill across the river is still a bunch of tenements. These are people who have permanent "blinders' on. They can't see what is going on before their own eyes, they have NO CLUE. They populate the City Data Forum boards putting down Cincinnati Urban Neighborhoods to ANYONE who asks about moving to Cincinnati. It is time to stop wasting our time trying to convince them they are wrong.
Who holds Cincinnati back? Well I will tell you. Its groups like NAACP, still resentful about the riot that happened years ago. It is COAST, with its head in the sand, fearful of any change in status quo, and yes its some members of our own city council and government. Maybe a little ashamed about their old neighborhoods and they look the other way when the bulldozers tear down parts of Fairmount, Avondale , Westwood and other urban neighborhoods, while they collect their 70,000 a year salary for their part time job. They want "new and shiny"and resent that they are 'stuck' with that "Old City". Never mind that Cincinnati's "ace in the hole" is it's historic neighborhoods.
To those "Naysayers" I say this, If you don't like Cincinnati..... LEAVE! Don't let the door hit you in your Keaster on the way out! Lead, Follow or GET OUT OF THE WAY! Go to someplace like Detroit, bulldoze all you want, see what REAL decline looks like. I'll buy you a one way ticket!
I, and a lot of other people, have houses and neighborhoods to restore, businesses to build, and we no longer have time to waste arguing with people content to live in the past!