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Preparing Uptown Neighborhoods For Jobs

According to the Uptown Consortium, the innovation district could be home to 2 million square feet of office space.

The opening of the I-71/Martin Luther King Drive interchange is expected to create new opportunities for economic development. A neighborhood collaborative has been buying property around the interchange with that in mind.

Uptown Consortium President Beth Robinson says the innovation district would ideally be home to high-tech medical and research companies. She says some of the jobs should go to neighbors.

Robinson says 56,000 people live near the corridor in Avondale, Corryville, Mount Auburn, and nearby Walnut Hills, and there's significant unemployment in some of those neighborhoods. She says the Consortium plans to provide job training so there will be a workforce nearby.

"Not just economic inclusion for minority and female firms on the contracting. We also want to see inclusion on suppliers. Also we really want to make it a priority that the firms working in the innovation district hire our Uptown residents," she says.

The Consortium is working on setting up job training.

"So when the development starts to come out of the ground and we're working with private developers and so forth, that we're not scrambling and trying to do economic inclusion that way."

Robinson says the Consortium is working with the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State, and has talked with Cincinnati Public Schools.

"We don't want it to just be a commercial opportunity for people and businesses coming in. We want to help the people that are already here. And the best way to do that, we feel, is job opportunities."

The new on-ramp from Martin Luther King Drive to northbound I-71 is expected to open sometime in May. Robinson says there could be development in the area about 18 months after that.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.