OTR community gathers to change the narrative in Grant Park: ‘We’re here’

Cincinnati police were on hand as neighbors flocked to the park two days after a drive-by shooting.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2023 at 12:46 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The atmosphere around Grant Park in Over-the-Rhine was veritably carnival-like Friday afternoon, two days after the jarring drive-by shooting that left a man and three juveniles hospitalized.

Community members turned out and banded together, resolved not to let the shooting define them or the neighborhood they call home.

“We bringing hope,” said an attendee named Dorron. “We bringing opportunity. We bringing choices. Regardless of the thing that happened, we are here to let this community know we support them. We’re here for them.”

3CDC and the city are working on a $60 million plan that will rehabilitate and redevelop the area from Grant Park up to the anticipated Findlay Community Center. The nonprofit developer believes the project will be every bit as transformational for the area as Washington Park was for the southern half of the neighborhood.

In the meantime, safety concerns continue. CPD data from the last four years show Grant Park is the most dangerous part of Over-the-Rhine. Since 2019, nearly 21 percent of all shooting incidents—and 10 of the 24 shootings that turned deadly over that span—have happened within a block of the park.

It doesn’t always seem like it. Workers at Over-the-Rhine’s restaurants live in buildings nearby. Cincinnati’s hottest bar of 2022 is located one block south. Even as police were investigating the shooting Wednesday afternoon, people in suits and ties were walking past the evidence casings on their way home from jobs downtown and elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Those gathered for Grant Park Resource Day on Friday eschewed the park’s problems in favor of its merits.

“This is what a park is all about, and this is what we want to see instead of the mess we saw two days ago,” Dorron said. ”Our kids should be able to run through this park freely, enjoying themselves, smiling, laughing and having a great time.”

Cincinnati police were on hand as well.

“Really they’re reclaiming the park today,” said Asst. Chief of Police Mike John. “And that’s important to us. Send that message out there that there’s people here that care about this community greatly and they want to see this park used for all the right reason.”

John says the investigation is ongoing. Investigators are currently trying to match the ballistics from dozens of fired bullets and shell casings that littered the street, hopeful that a match will be made in a national database.

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