Residents fear East Price Hill is deteriorating faster than they can fix it

‘A lot of us don’t feel safe.’
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:23 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - It’s a constant game of hopscotch in East Price Hill for some residents who say they regularly encounter glass and used needles on the ground.

And that’s not the least of their concerns.

“I’m scared,” said one resident who spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity. “I walk and I get followed, especially if it’s dark. You know, I just don’t feel safe. A lot of us don’t feel safe.”

People who live around Kensington Place and Woodlawn Avenue say it’s only getting worse.

“We have increased drug activity and prostitution,” said the same resident. “I’ve seen drug activity on the steps of the park, people smoking crack and shooting up.”

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Kearney hosted a meeting of City Council’s Healthy Neighborhoods Committee in East Price Hill last week. Organizations like Price Hill Will, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority and Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio highlighted some significant accomplishments of the neighborhood that some feel is coming back from the brink.

Price Hill Will, for example, has homesteaded 17 families in a program where the nonprofit acquires vacant properties, brings them up to code and then sells them on five-year, zero-interest land contracts to families making less than 65 percent of the area median income.

Santa Maria Community Services, meanwhile, provides financial assistance and workforce development programs to hundreds of low-income families in the neighborhood.

East Price Hill resident Amber Kassem, who last year told the Enquirer that Cincinnati’s West Side is “treated like a dumping ground,” gave a presentation on blight and litter.

Kassem asked the city to impose stricter measures against offending property owners. She said property owners shouldn’t be given weeks to act on a complaint. She also said the city should stick to the fines and fees it imposes to deter “negligence and vandalism” in the neighborhood.

But the residents who spoke Tuesday say their experience still has them concerned about where the neighborhood is headed.

“It’s sad,” said the second resident, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I mean, we’ve got to live here, and so I want to clean up this neighborhood and bring it back.”

Needles litter the ground in some places, often hidden beneath a layer of detritus comprising branches, foliage, soda bottles, children’s toys and cigarette butts. It creates a safety hazard, especially for children in the area, the residents argue.

“There’s children that walk home from school and have to walk past this, walk past these needles,” said the first resident. “And that’s what I’m worried about, is a kid picking one up... there’ll be fentanyl or something on it... and then we have a child that’s gone.”

The residents say they make constant calls to Cincinnati police for what they describe as ongoing drug activity, a significant amount of which occurs in broad daylight.

“I mean, that’s all we can do,” the second resident said.

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