A decade of change in Over-the-Rhine

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Timothy Thomas was unarmed when he was shot and killed by Cincinnati Officer Stephen Roach on April 7, 2001. Two days later, debate over his death sparked civil unrest and rioting in the streets.

The city has taken steps to rebuild. After 2001, the focus shifted to rebuilding Over-the-Rhine. Entrepreneurs took a chance, and one organization spent tens of millions of dollars to revitalize the neighborhood.

Back in 2003, there were more than 2,800 vacant buildings, lots, and housing units in the neighborhood. Then, 3CDC stepped in.

"I think it's been a good partnership between city and corporate community," said Stephen Leeper, 3CDC President and CEO. "We've invested $125 million or so over the last, I'll say, five years or so."

That green sparked growth.

Jay Rodg opened Mixx Ultra Lounge on Main Street back in 2007.

Rodg said the riots, in some ways, helped everyone see what people living in Over-the-Rhine were feeling, and made everyone in the Tri-State focus on changing it.

"I named my place Mixx because I wanted to see people mix," said Rodg. "I wanted to see Asians, Indians, Africans, whites all come in to one place. Cincinnati is still not there yet."

Still, Rodg admits there has been a recent surge of business in Over-the-Rhine which in turn has made the neighborhood safer.

"I mean 10 years ago, that was the most dangerous corner--12th and Vine," said Brian Tiffany, President of the OTR Chamber of Commerce. "We had over 400 calls for service. Just at that one corner alone. Today, we have zero calls for service so there's been an amazing transformation here."

The change has also affected the neighborhood's youngest residents by shaping their outlook on just about everything--even the police.

"I hear {my friends} saying we don't like the police and things like that," said Armani Yett, 16. "But for me, I feel it's different. They're just doing their job."

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