Westwood is a great community that is trying to make itself better. Those who are critical of Westwood for its strong stand against continued apartment development, do not know the history of Westwood and are trying to impose a "one-size-fits-all" approach to the issue of low income housing
Westwood, like Fairmount, was once its own town, not part of Cincinnati. They were part of the great annexations that occurred from the late 1800-1930's when cities equated stature with size and population and without any real thought annexed land and communities because it was, 'the thing to do'. There was no regard to the sense of identity its residents felt about their town, it was the "bigger is better" mentality..
|Harrison Ave, prior to the 1950's, was almost exclusively large mansions and estates|
Westwood is a community in transition, it is a community of fine architecture, from grand mansions, to Tudor cottages built in the 1920's, the community has always had great style and that style includes several large apartment buildings built in the 1920's. Westwood has always been home to people of diverse income and culture.
In the 1950's, Westwood became home to many new apartment buildings quickly thrown up to accommodate young GI's and their growing families. Most of whom transitioned out of those apartments to single family homes in the neighborhood. They were ambitious , hard working and instilled a sense of values in their children who were respectful to their community.
Those apartment buildings were not built to last, not like the great buildings of the 1920's. They were poorly constructed of inferior materials. By the 1980's and 90's they were already well past their useful life. Little thought was given at the time to the auto traffic generated by these developments and the strain caused to narrow residential streets. The buildings, declined, rents went down, and became a magnet for drugs and illegal activity and those building drove down the quality of life for all Westwood residents.
They have a plan, remove blight. Remove the high density housing built in the 1950's and 1960's and eventually replace it with quality single or two family homes or in some cases appropriate retail development. If land is not yet ready for redevelopment, use that space for community gardens or thumbnail parks or even as expansion of yards for adjacent neighbors.
At the same time push city leaders to enforce the building codes and make sure that those buildings built as multifamily are maintained and make sure that those illegally converted single family homes are converted back. Encourage more home ownership which will build a stronger community for all its residents and ultimately improve the county tax base.
Westwood deserves better and its residents deserve respect for trying to make THEIR neighborhood a safe community that is on a path to improvement. Those who are critical of Westwood for its improvement efforts would better serve themselves by relying less on statistics and actually visit Westwood. If they did they 'might' understand that Westwood is an important part of the history of this city, rich in architectural heritage that should be preserved.