CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Volunteers put up Christmas lights, wreaths and decorations along a troublesome part of Avondale Friday.
The community-led effort resulted after two recent homicides at the corner of Burnet and Forest Avenues. Now a nearby fence is decked and festooned with all manner of cheery tidings, including 6,000 Christmas lights.
“It’s a day of rejoice, there’s no more fear,” Kathy Hale, who has lived in Avondale for seven years, told FOX19 NOW. “We going to light it up. It’s going to stay lit up, and we’re just letting the community know we love them and we’re here.”
Jennifer Foster is lead decorator for the effort.
“Well, the decoration idea I came up with because I had been looking at the lot for a while, and I said, ‘What can show a sense of pride and what can change the air that’s around this area so we can light it up?’” Foster said.
Cincinnati City Council member Jan Michele Kearney was on hand Friday for the unveiling of the display.
“We said we got a big ole fence, what can we do with it? and the residents were like, ‘Let’s put some lights up, we drive through other neighborhoods and they look beautiful, let’s put some lights up, let’s make it look beautiful,’” Kearney said.
The newly established Avondale Safety Group partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens to bring attention to the area.
“This area right here in particular is dark, literally and figuratively, with two homicides the last couple of months,” Cincinnati Zoo Vice President of Facilities Mark Fischer said. “It’s been a real challenge, and one of the opportunities w have here that doesn’t cost a lot of money, doesn’t cost a lot of resources, is beautification. It’s that simple.”
Community members say it’s good for the kids to see that someone cares and shows up for them.
“I’m really excited about this,” Avondale Community Council President Sandra Mitchell said. “I think this is an opportunity to get the kids involved, their moms and dads, think about that, it’s exciting. We talk about helping our community. It’s going to start small, but it’s also going to bring hope.”
“It’s very important now, with the COVID, the homicides and the way the world is going now, we have to shine a light now,” Foster said. “We can’t wait any longer.”
Community leaders say next year they want to make the display even better and brighter, potentially adding an ice-skating rink.
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