Over the Rhine kicking off 90 day blitz to clean up

OVER THE RHINE (FOX 19) - City leaders are kicking off another 90-Day Neighborhood Blitz to clean up Over the Rhine and deter crime.

This is the 11th neighborhood enhancement program initiated since 2007 to put a stop to drugs and violence in the area. The effort is a combination of events over the next three months including a neighborhood cleanup day, a real estate tour and more patrols by Cincinnati police.

"In order for us to go into an area there must be a commitment from the neighborhood stakeholders and that clearly has happened here," says Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney.

Dohoney along with more than 30 stakeholders held a press conference Thursday morning in front of historic Findlay Market in OTR to announce the blitz.

Many businesses are partnering in the effort including new bakery Skirtz & Johnston Fine Pastries and Chocolates. The owners say improvement is needed to clean up the area and get more customers through the door.

Pastry chef Stefan Skirtz says there was hesitation to open up shop in the neighborhood and crime remains a problem. "You look down the street and you see 20 cop cars at 4 in the morning when we're showing up to start baking, you know something went down that wasn't good," says Skirtz.

Skirtz's business partner Andrew Johnston says he is positive the blitz will clean up the neighborhood and sweeten sales. "I hope more people will start coming into the door and we'll get more customers and start to bring the people out of the suburbs and down here," says Johnston.

Both Skirtz and Johnston says the 90 day blitz is a welcomed effort but realize it will take longer to really change the perception of the region.

"It'd just be nice to see that disappear, I'm sure it's not going to go away completely but at least if there is some focus on it the levels will drop," says Skirtz.

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