This property a unusual front gabled Second Empire Cottage is being demoed by its owner tired of fighting with city officials over its fate. It could have been restored
We have 40 properties on the VBML or condemn list and if you took a qualified architect and engineer on a tour and inspected everyone of them you quickly find that most have no major structural issues. They just need cosmetics and restoration. We are in process of preparing a historic district registry nomination and were we to lose those 40 houses there wouldn't be a neighborhood left to nominate just a house here and there.
This property sits on the condemn list and has been declared a public nuisance. this house was Looked at by qualified people from the CPA advocacy group and has no structural problems. It's fate is still uncertain.
Unlike most cities that condemn buildings because they have major structural problems and are beyond repair, the City of Cincinnati condemns property in the name of "blight". It is the "Blight=Bulldozer' mentality of city officials that threaten my neighborhood the most and its my hope that PUBLICLY EMBARRASSING them in a State and National Forum may buy me a little more time to save my neighborhood and maybe in the process effect some real change in policies that will help the entire city. Knox Hill is the Poster child for how a city policies like the VBML and overworked, unqualified, inspectors are creating a defacto situation of Governmental Redlining of Cincinnati Urban Neighborhoods, that ultimately may have to be settled by a Federal Court.
Now that warm weather coming so come the bulldozers. My neighbors are not going to sit idly by and watch their neighborhood destroyed at the whim of the Nuisance Board which has a serious Governmental Conflict of Interest by having a board made up of people in a supervisory position over the inspectors bringing the cases before them.
This is the summer when we lobby at the State level and Federal level, this is the summer where we inundate the city council with facts and figures on the decimation to the property tax base caused by city demolition policy. This is the summer of press conferences, of media tours of the neighborhood, and a series of events that will draw greater attention to our neighborhood, its importance and why city officials 'don't get' Historic Preservation.
It will be summer of Education for city officials about our neighborhood, why it is important to the history of Cincinnati and why its restoration make sound economic sense for the City of Cincinnati. It will be a summer where we with other preservation minded groups to lobby to REPEAL, yes I said repeal, the VBML ordinance, lobby for a real Housing Court, a county Land Bank and get the city on the track of competent enforcement of Repair Orders, of making demolition a 'last resort' not a first choice. This will be the summer where we lobby to change the cost of demo permits so its not so "cheap' to demo and decrease the tax base. There is no reason to have two inspectors, one for occupied houses, one for vacant houses, inspecting and driving the same neighborhood. Not at a time of serious financial crisis for this city. It is time to 'rethink' how we deal with property and we need a seed change of attitude of the city that encourages restoration and preservation and not a climate of city officials being "adversarial or confrontational'.
The housing climate has changed in the last few years, with higher gas prices looming on the horizon moving back to Urban neighborhood makes more sense and we need to adopt the same policies that other cities have used to bring people BACK to urban neighborhoods not our current policy of demolishing them.
This will be a summer of Preservation Activism.