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Denied resources for decades, Lincoln Heights receives almost $1M from the county for repair efforts

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Nick Swartsell
/
WVXU
Lincoln Heights Mayor Ruby Kinsey-Mumphrey speaks at the announcement of a $975,000 grant from Hamilton County for road improvements and other efforts in the village.

Lincoln Heights is getting almost $1 million in Hamilton County revitalization funding.

That's a big deal for the village, officials say. Lincoln Heights has experienced years of neglect since its origins as one of the nation's first Black-led municipalities.

Mayor Ruby Kinsey-Mumphrey says the $975,000 is sorely needed in a community that struggles with a small tax base and a history of systemic racism against it. Incorporation efforts starting in the 1920s were blocked for years while other, predominantly white municipalities surrounding the village incorporated and claimed valuable industrial and commercial areas.

The county money is the latest in an ongoing revitalization effort in Lincoln Heights. The funds will go toward road projects in the village, revamping the local football field and baseball diamonds, and demolition and remediation of a vacant school.

"It is going to be life-changing for the Village of Lincoln Heights," she says. "It's going to allow us to do additional streets. We've been creative in doing the streets, but we've only been able to do like, two a year."

At a news conference announcing the grant Nov. 29, Commissioner Denise Driehaus said the money will help the village tap other funding sources.

"There is local funding; there is state funding," she said. "Lincoln Heights is leveraging county money to bring in $4.4 million into this community to take down the school, redo their field, redo the roads."

Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas highlighted the village's history and its future promise as one reason it received the grant, which was awarded on a competitive application basis. Seven other smaller municipalities in the county — Addyston, Arlington Heights, Cheviot, Golf Manor, Elmwood Place, Lockland and Mt. Healthy are also eligible for the grants, which commissioners say they hope will continue yearly.

Nick Swartsell is a general assignment reporter for WVXU. Before his current role, he worked on the station’s Cincinnati Edition program as assistant producer and was a journalist for outlets in Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and Texas prior to that. When he’s not reporting, he likes exploring places he probably shouldn’t on his bike, taking photos, and growing corn, tomatoes and peppers that are, in all honesty, much too hot for any practical use. He is from Hamilton. You can find him at @nswartsell on Twitter.