Working in Neighborhoods
was one of 12 organizations selected by the Project for Public Spaces
to receive technical assistance from the Walkable & Livable Communities Institute
, which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WIN is currently working to make the Beekman-Elmore corridor of South Cumminsville more walkable, livable, healthy and welcoming.
In South Cumminsville, only one in four people own or have access to a car, so crosswalks are vital to the community. But people had problems getting across the street in front of Wayne Park, where the crosswalk signals were too short. With a simple change in signal duration, it’s now easier for people to cross the street, says Marilyn Evans, president of the South Cumminsville Community Council.
WIN is also working to increase home ownership in South Cumminsville. The neighborhood has a 54 percent home ownership rate, which is high for the city of Cincinnati, where the average is 32 percent.
“WIN has had the opportunity to redevelop sections of the neighborhood into different housing options,” says Sister Barbara Bush, executive director of WIN. “We purchased an old church and converted the school into 18 senior housing units. It helped bring seniors into the community and opened up a housing option for the seniors who already lived here.”
The organization also provides education for homebuyers on everything from how to start saving for a house to how to secure a loan. And it's the second largest foreclosure prevention organization in the county. To date, WIN has educated about 300 families on buying a house and helped about 600 families from losing their home. WIN has also been dabbling in green efforts since the ‘70s, teaching homeowners how to be more energy efficient.
WIN partners with the South Cumminsville Community Council on an after-school program for kids; they also offer an on-site summer camp. There are plans to increase the recreation facilities at Wayne Park, and possibly put in a walking track and splash ground, Evans says.
“We’re also trying to combat the lack of healthy food options in South Cumminsville,” Sister Barbara says. “The neighboring communities of Northside
and Camp Washington both recently lost their grocery stores, and it’s becoming harder for residents to get to healthy food.”
Closing the Health Gap
came in and is looking at a healthy store program along Beekman. There’s also a community garden at the corner of Roll and Ralston, and it’s become an opportunity to educate kids about fruits and vegetables.
“WIN has helped us come together, work together and stay on the same page as a neighborhood,” Evans says. “There are so many different opportunities for people to come in and make changes. Without WIN, it wouldn’t be possible for us to uplift our neighborhood.”
WIN is a comprehensive community development corporation, and is active in three Cincinnati neighborhoods—South Cumminsville, Northside and College Hill
. It has rehabbed homes in Spring Grove Village, Elmwood Place and the West McMicken area of Over-the-Rhine. WIN will celebrate its 35th
anniversary in November.
By Caitlin Koenig
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