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Five Points Alley Community Visioning Session

On Saturday March 22, we invited the community to a visioning open house to dream about what could be created in the Five Points Alley.  The community came out and we had a fantastic time!

The open house was held at the Dillard Building in an unfinished room. Students from UC’s Metro lab decorated and furnished the space and showcased the grittiness of the exposed brick walls and unfinished floor. This was a space full of potential, where ideas were free to form.

Along the brick walls were a series of panels, each with an overarching theme of what we can do in a community space: make, exchange, learn, connect and play. Each panel had pictures that fit the theme and a final block to write in original ideas. By the end of the day, each panel was bursting with ideas.

Perhaps the best part of the day was how the community came together. In this almost pop-up space, people of all sorts – varying backgrounds, race, class, life experiences – were talking, laughing, sharing ideas and sharing a meal together. Young couples, older, long time residents and elementary school kids were all enjoying a unique space, a sense of community and bbq sandwiches together. Saturday was a glimpse of what the Five Points Alley will be, and we couldn’t be more excited.

A huge thank you to Metrolab at UC and the students who worked so hard to create the space. Thank you to Eli’s BBQ for providing the food, Kroger for a generous donation of water, Jeff Brewster for opening up the Dillard Building to this event and to the Haile Foundation for sponsoring. And a special thank you to every community member who came out to give input and enjoy the space.

If you’re interested in finding out some of the results of the community visioning session, join us Saturday, April 19 at 11 am at the Dillard Building. (791 E McMillan).

In honor of Women’s History month, here is a view of Walnut Hills from a woman’s perspective

This piece was written by one of the adult learners enrolled in Education/Workforce training at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries. She is a 30-something, African American woman who is seeking to improve her employability skills. Here is her perspective on the changes happening in Walnut Hills. (This piece is being submitted with the author’s permission.)

I have been a resident of Walnut Hills since 1995. During the years I lived in different areas of the neighborhood. And I have seen the many phases that it has endured. Once a viable neighborhood, Walnut Hills fell victim to drugs, homicide and other illegal activities.

Admittedly, there were times when I did not like living in Walnut Hills. Sometimes I would be uncomfortable walking down the street. On a few occasions I have been approached by unsavory characters. Unfortunately, there are people that I know that have been affected on some level by the illegal activities that have taken place. Over time the community began to suffer. It was obvious. Businesses started to shut down. The community was littered with abandoned buildings, people were subjected to unnecessary cruelty. Sadly we began to fear one another. I was not used to living in a place like that and I am sure I was not the only one.

Presently, there has been some progress in the neighborhood. Drug dealers no longer exist on street corners. Abandoned buildings have been replaced. New businesses will be opening, which means employment opportunities for residents. There is clearly a revitalization coming on. It looks good and it feels good.

Walnut Hills is home to me. I like living here. I am minutes away from school. Kroger’s and CVS are directly around the corner from my house. There are banking centers, gas stations, convenience stores and cellular phone stores on either end of McMillan. Also, there are a host of restaurants and fast food joints.

It feels good to know that the residents of Walnut Hills care about the community and decided to do something about it. The neighborhood is improving on all fronts. Everyone is investing something on a personal level. I hope that things will continue to improve for the betterment of everyone.

A passion for growth

Our CFO, Betty Waite, has a passion for gardening and a passion for writing.  Here is a piece she’s written about the community garden committee:

The sun shines enticingly, beguiling me to bundle up and see what surprises await me in the garden.  When I open the door, the blast of cold takes my breath away and I almost, almost retreat back inside, but no, it is the end of February, and I know that beneath the crusty frozen top soil, the garden is waking from her slumber.  I shiver and step out, admiring the cardinal that chirps at the bird feeder, thanking me for the black sunflower seeds he finds.  The wild onions woke up last week during the teaser of warmth, but they shiver outside as well this morning.  I survey the bed around the old box elder tree that has guarded my driveway the past half century, looking for traces of crocus.  I see nothing. 

My coffee mugs steams, tickling my nose as hot liquid warms my mouth.  I crunch across the lawn towards the front flower bed, peering closely for any sign of life.  A dandelion crouches in the grass, tow headed and sad.  I can’t help but admire her courage.  I see the green of familiar weeds seeking to stake their claim, mocking me, daring me to extend a hand, knowing that the frozen ground guards their roots. 

But I see nothing else.

No other sign of life.

No tulips extending ballet slippered toes into the frigid air, no daffodils testing the temperature, no spring bulbs at all daring to challenge the bitter cold.  But I know, and you know, and they know that warm weather will be here, soon.  This is that thing called faith; that knowing in your heart that life is not always as it seems on the surface, that given time, even winter wanes, bowing to the beauty of spring.

Just not quite yet.

I went to the seed sharing potluck at the Civic Garden Center last night, breaking bread with about sixty other faithful followers of fertility.  They believe.  The thousands of packets of dormant dust that changed hands bears testament to the truth we all know will come to pass.  Life reinvents itself each year, each season, each day. 

If you want to become a part of the community that isn’t afraid to get our hands dirty, that welcomes the trickle of sweat down our backs, whose hearts beat faster with the silent emergence of each miracle from the soil, join us.  We meet on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 5:00pm at the WHRF office at 2505 May Street.  We’ll find you a little plot of earth, hand you a hoe and packet of seeds, and applaud the dance that begins with you.

Black History Facts about Walnut Hills

We have a ton of history right here in our own neighborhood! Here are just interesting things you might not have known compiled by neighborhood resident Christina Brown. The first black woman to earn a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati opened a practice in Walnut Hills “Dr. Lucy Oxley  was the first Black [...]

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Why Form Based Code for Walnut Hills

Resident Kathy Atkinson has been a part of the Form Based Code process from the beginning. She explains what Form Based Code means for the community. When I moved into the Walnut Hills community almost 20 years ago, I was privileged to learn about my new neighborhood from the elders, many of whom had lived [...]

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Great concert in a cool space helps your neighborhood and your city

During the coming year, Monastery Studios -  a performance space and recording studio in Walnut Hills, housed in a re-purposed centenarian church- is going to partnering with The Requiem Project (also known as the folks striving valiantly to save the historic Emery Theatre from decay and dissolution). The Emery is a very long term project [...]

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