You are on page 1of 3

J U S T I N J E F F R E A N D M I C H A E L E A R L P AT T O N P R E S E N T. . .

The Comprehensive Neighborhood


Rescue Plan
Strategies to Engage, Empower, and Improve Our Communities
T h e E l e v e n P o i n t s o f P r o g r e s s
! Defining “Assets” ! Establishing a ! Strengthening Neigh- ! Recycling Building

! !
Trained Work Force borhood Business Dis- Materials
! The Untapped Poten- tricts ! Locally-Based Sus-
tial of Vacant Buildings ! Practical Education tainable Living
for Students ! Community Council
! Entrusting Neighbor- Congress ! The City’s Role in
hood Assets to Local ! Community Redevel- Supporting Neighbor-
Stakeholders opment Trusts hoods.

the same time, our vacant buildings and those


A real plan for real people in advanced states of disrepair are not living
up to their potential. They are frequently eye-
The Neighborhood Rescue Plan is a vision for sores and magnets for crime. With some crea-
rebuilding Cincinnati’s economy and community tivity and political will, we can put these
hand in hand, block by block. By thoughtfully properties in the hands of their neighbors,
identifying, engaging, and combining who have a direct interest in turning them
underutilized resources, every neighborhood in the around and finding a productive use for them.
city can transform its existing assets into In extreme cases, where there are active safety
permanent economic and cultural strengths. With or structural concerns about a privately held
initial leadership at the city level, communities can building and the landlord is unresponsive, the
plan, build, and control their own futures. Groups city may need to order its disassembly (see
of communities can share assets for short- and page 4). Allowing the property to continue to
long-term projects that will benefit all of them and decay and cause problems for the neighbor-
allow each to maintain its individual character. Justin Jeffre, who is endorsed by the South- hood would be irresponsible.
west Ohio Green Party, believes in putting
Defining “Assets” people first. Entrusting Neighborhood Assets to
Every neighborhood has something to offer – Local Stakeholders
under-used housing stock or commercial
Most people can readily identify the problem
property, historic architecture, unique cultural
properties close to where they live – nobody
attractions, skilled specialists, entrepreneurs
knows the neighborhood like the neighbors.
with energy and ideas, individuals or institu-
Under the Neighborhood Rescue Plan, local
tions with spare investment capital, a thriving
residents will control programs to repopulate
business district, projects that need workers,
and rehabilitate vacant buildings in each
or workers that need jobs. By emphasizing its
neighborhood. Since this work can be done
strengths, a community can find ways to use
more quickly by 40 to 50 neighborhoods than
them to expand its capacity in other areas. We
a centralized agency, we call on the city to
encourage each neighborhood to take an in-
begin transferring deeds to the properties it
ventory of what it has and discuss ideas to
currently holds to community councils and
exchange those resources for what it needs to
Michael Earl Patton, who is endorsed by the neighborhood development corporations.
get what it wants. Existing organizations such
Hamilton County Libertarian Party, knows the Community members will inspect the proper-
as Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts
issues. ties, evaluate their potential based on local
United, the Community Development Corpo-
needs and market conditions, and restore
rations Association of Greater Cincinnati, and
them to an appropriate use. Homes can be
Xavier University’s Community Building In- The Untapped Potential of Vacant offered to low-income families, seniors, teach-
stitute can help neighborhood groups find Buildings ers, or public employees. Renters’ equity pro-
potential sources of funding and assistance
One of Cincinnati’s greatest assets is its hous- grams can be used to help responsible tenants
with grant applications, project planning, and
ing stock. Inspiring architecture and well-built become homeowners.
other services.
homes can be found throughout the city. At

Paid for by Jeffre for Council, Gwen Marshall, Treasurer! 1


T H E C O M P R E H E N S I V E N E I G H B O R H O O D R E S C U E P L A N

Establishing a Trained Work Force for construction projects. In any form, the CRT
will serve as both a managing entity for
Multiple new rehabilitation projects will re- neighborhood assets and a way for residents
quire a labor force. Local contractors will be to invest directly in the community.
hired to oversee the rehabilitation work and
remediate hazardous materials. In exchange, Strengthening Neighborhood Business
the contractors will agree to provide living- Districts
wage jobs and vocational training opportuni-
Vital neighborhood business districts are es-
ties for unemployed and under-employed
sential to great communities. They provide
residents. The trainees will learn building
jobs, opportunities for neighbors to get to
trades, supervisory skills, and other profes-
know each other, and convenience. Shopping
sional skills such as accounting and project
at neighborhood stores is also a socially and
management. Since the projects will be located
environmentally responsible choice because it
in their communities, transportation to the job
supports a cluster of stores that many resi-
site will not be an obstacle for most workers.
dents can walk to rather than driving several
Cincinnati Public Schools and labor unions
miles. Stable business districts foster commu-
can support the training component by pro-
FRIENDS, viding facilities for evening classes and expert
nity pride and can be catalysts for some
neighborhoods to distinguish themselves as
instructors. Training for neighborhood pro-
destinations for cultural tourism, antiques
It is with great pride that we unveil our jects can also be integrated into unemploy-
shopping, night life, etc. Establishing a spe-
ment or re-entry programs. Residents who
“Comprehensive Neighborhood Rescue participate in the training program will gain a
cialized identity helps a neighborhood appeal
Plan” for the citizens of Cincinnati. to visitors and residents seeking a unique ex-
sense of ownership in their community and
perience.
can use the skills they learn to find permanent
We have spent the last two years jobs.
The anchors of neighborhood business dis-
studying the issues that face our City, tricts are locally-owned independent shops.
Practical Education for Students
trying our best to find realistic solutions By supporting and promoting locally-owned
that empower citizens, as opposed to the High schools’ curricula should include businesses, Cincinnati can reverse its negative
status quo of City Hall politicians giving instruction in practical skills (housekeeping, cash flow. Locally-owned businesses buy more
basic repairs, and money management) as of their supplies from nearby, and all of their
handouts to the favored few. well as optional vocational training classes. In profits stay in the community. By contrast,
order to retain more of the students who do stores with headquarters in far-away states
We hope you will spend some time not attend college after high school, schools send millions of Cincinnatians’ dollars to
considering our ideas, and we hope, when should offer a vocational track that will equip other cities every year.
it comes time to vote on Election Day, graduates with skills that will help them find
good jobs in addition to a diploma. With In order to increase the presence and impact of
you will cast your ballot for the
improved short-term prospects after locally-owned independent businesses, all of
candidates who have ideas best matched graduation, these young people may be in a the independent businesses in the city should
to your own. position to attend college or open their own organize an alliance that will function as a
businesses a few years later. Cincinnati Public mutual protection society, a networking vehi-
It is our firm belief that our collaboration Schools should also endeavor to have a school cle, and a political lobbying bloc. The city can
across party lines indicates the real operating in every neighborhood, at least support this alliance by promoting a “Shop
through the elementary level. Larger schools Cincinnati” advertising campaign that em-
moderate political stance for an phasizes the benefits of local ownership; by
serving multiple neighborhoods increase
independently minded Cincinnati – a travel times and exacerbate traffic congestion. giving purchasing and contracting preferences
stance not created by the artificial to businesses owned and operated by city
Community Redevelopment Trusts residents; and by sponsoring grants for stu-
constraints of big-money, corporate
dents graduating from UC’s College of Busi-
politics. In addition to building communities’ reserves ness who submit proposals for new businesses
of active skilled workers, the Neighborhood in a competition and commit to operating
Thanks for taking the time to review our Rescue Plan will also provide means for them here. Subsidies and other economic in-
plan, and thank you for your vote on holding property and cash in trust for the centives should be reserved for local busi-
community, in Community Redevelopment nesses. National big-box retailers already en-
November 6th!
Trusts (CRTs). A CRT may take various forms, joy a dominant market position that has put
from a simple bank account held by a great pressure on independent businesses, and
Respectfully yours,
community council or other existing group, to have no legitimate need for government assis-
an independent neighborhood bank. A tance.
neighborhood bank would be able to provide
a full range of financial services, such as low- At the neighborhood level, communities
Justin Jeffre and Michael Earl Patton
interest mortgages and micro-loans for local should identify businesses they would like to
entrepreneurs, free investment counseling, add to their business districts and advertise
and financial literacy classes. CRTs’ profits will widely for specific opportunities, seeking local
be used to support neighborhood projects. A entrepreneurs whenever possible. At the same
mature CRT can also provide staged financing time, they should identify the types of busi-

2! Paid for by Jeffre for Council, Gwen Marshall, Treasurer


T H E C O M P R E H E N S I V E N E I G H B O R H O O D R E S C U E P L A N

with few opportunities for advancement or


specialized training. Training provided as part
of public contracts will provide a way for
some minority employees to become inde-
pendent contractors, which will facilitate
higher inclusion targets. Policy-makers must
take care to ensure that contract provisions
specifically address inclusion of racial minori-
ties. Inclusion targets that apply to both
minority-owned and women-owned enter-
prises may tend to diminish the amount of
contract money ultimately paid to minorities.

*Establishing an ombudsman who can inves-


nesses that they judge to have detrimental community gardens we’ve already mentioned
social effects, and the city should grant them tigate claims of abuse by inspectors or other
and housing and dining co-ops. Although
the authority to block the sale of commercial city employees.
these are currently seen as “alternatives” to
space to such businesses.
conventional single-family living, they are
*Streamlining the permitting process for sim-
Community Council Congress examples of how small groups of people can
ple remodeling jobs, which will make it easier
live more economically by sharing some of
for property owners to maintain their build-
Representatives of every neighborhood in the their work and expenses. We would like to see
ings.
city will convene quarterly to share ideas on these kinds of arrangements emerge in many
community building, beautification, crime different communities.
*Ending or substantially revising the chronic
prevention, building preservation, reclaiming
nuisance ordinance. In its current form, the
fallow property, marketing historical assets, The City’s Role in Supporting
ordinance unreasonably holds landlords re-
and other related topics. Through these meet- Neighborhoods sponsible for even minor infractions commit-
ings, communities will identify common
City-level economic and personnel policies ted by tenants and inhibits positive police-
needs that can be presented by the Congress
have a direct impact on the ability of neigh- community relations.
to the city with specific legislative or proce-
borhoods to maintain properties that enhance
dural recommendations. Neighborhoods will
the community, vital business districts, and a *Reviving the “dollar house” program, offer-
benefit from each others’ experience by learn-
population of productive residents. Some ing city-owned buildings that aren’t slated for
ing about approaches to various issues that
ways that the city can contribute to these Neighborhood Rescue projects for sale for one
have worked well and those that have been
goals, in addition to those mentioned previ- dollar to residents who commit to repairing
less successful. The Congress will serve as an
ously, are: structural problems and living in the house for
ongoing neighborhood improvement forum,
a minimum period. This program can be a
and also as a networking opportunity for
*Hiring only Cincinnati residents for all future successful complement to the Neighborhood
communities with shared geographic, institu-
openings in every department, with a goal of Rescue Plan if it’s re-introduced without many
tional, and/or economic interests to begin
city residents representing at least 90% of the of the burdensome requirements of its previ-
collaboration on partnership projects. These
work force. This policy will help keep as many ous incarnation.
projects may involve bringing together differ-
Cincinnatians employed as possible and will
ent types of resources from each community
keep more tax money in the city’s economy. *Expanding local police presence by maintain-
to achieve particular goals.
Although exceptions can be made for special- ing more substations in the city.
Recycling Building Materials ized positions requiring a broader search for
qualified candidates, people who work for the *Working with the county and the public li-
Vacant buildings in extremely poor condition city should live in the city. Like the trainees in brary to open library branches in neighbor-
cannot be successfully remodeled without the neighborhood projects, resident city em- hoods that don’t have them and restore serv-
excessive expense. Under current policy, they ployees will also have a sense of ownership ice levels at branches that have had to reduce
are demolished, and the debris goes to land- that will motivate them to do their best. hours.
fills. A more responsible approach, which
could be utilized in Neighborhood Rescue *Applying the business incubator concept to a Conclusion
projects, would be to disassemble the build- new program focused on building contractors.
ings rather than demolish them. Salvageable Our vision can directly benefit a community
A contractors’ incubator could help contrac-
pieces would be removed intact and sold, re- by providing jobs and training opportunities
tors gain experience and build up a customer
cycled, or used for other projects. For example, for residents while deterring crime and main-
base during their first few years of operation
the interior layer of many older buildings’ taining property values. Many of these ideas
by assisting with phone and mail service, bill-
outer covering is higher-grade wood than is can be accomplished by citizens taking the
ing, bookkeeping, supply storage, and other
generally found in modern construction. initiative and working together. The most suc-
tasks.
cessful projects will involve creative thinking
Locally Based Sustainable Living and the combined commitment and efforts of
*Improving minority inclusion targets and
many individuals – sometimes even a neigh-
adding job training requirements to public
As neighborhoods across the city undertake borhood’s entire population. While extensive
contracts. In a city with nearly 50% minority
these initiatives, we encourage them to leave planning and negotiation may be necessary to
residents, inclusion requirements should be at
room in their plans for models of sustainable reach agreement on some issues, the goal of
least 25% (or higher when possible). Many
production and consumption, such as the self-reliance will help stakeholders create
minority residents are in low-level positions
meaningful projects for their communities.

Paid for by Jeffre for Council, Gwen Marshall, Treasurer! 3