Avondale's 'First Ever' Plan Nearly Across The Finish Line
Avondale residents are one step closer to having a comprehensive plan for the neighborhood.
City Council's Economic Growth and Zoning Committee approved the proposal Wednesday, and the full Cincinnati Council will vote on it Thursday.
City officials said the Avondale QOL, or Avondale's Quality of Life Movement, will be the first-ever comprehensive plan for the neighborhood. Previous plans were focused on specific areas of Avondale, but not the whole neighborhood.
The plan has 13 goals focused on four key themes: increasing safety; sharing success; connecting residents and building partnership with institutions; and improving housing.
More than 230 residents and stakeholders participated in a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the neighborhood, and more than 100 then came together for a kickoff and visioning session. Four resident-led teams met from April to July 2019 to develop goals and recommendations.
Jennifer Foster has lived in Avondale for 14 years and wants to remain there for the rest of her life. She supports the proposal.
"I think the plan is good because it includes everyone," Foster said. "It doesn't ostracize no one. I think the key component is giving everyone an equal chair at the table and making sure their voices are very valuable and they're heard."
Henry Brown also helped work on the final product. He said it will be successful because of the "pre-work" that's been done on it.
"So I can say to you that we have all the resources aligned," Brown said. "Most importantly, we have the hearts and minds of the people who are actually going to have to do the rest of the work to bring this plan alive."
Stacey Hoffman, with the city planning department, said for the increasing safety component, about 25 kids sat down with Cincinnati Police officers from District 4.
"And the kids were able to actually talk to them like people and kind of understand how they feel when they come into a scene," Hoffman said. "And then the kids also told the police how they feel. So it was really telling and we got a lot of good information that way. And I think we bridged a few of the gaps with quite a few of the kids, and we're going to move forward and do more of those. But again, this is something that the kids thought up themselves."
City statistic show Avondale had a population of 12,043 in 2017, and is predominately an African American neighborhood. The city also said 28% of the housing in the neighborhood is vacant, and only 25% is owner-occupied.
Avondale is also home to several major institutions including Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the zoo, and the new MLK/I-71 Interchange.