Eminent domain no answer for Uptown: Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, 6/1/05

Your Voice

By Laura Kleckner

In reply to the "Your voice" column by Rick Hiatt titled "UC, city must get serious with crime" (May 15): As a homeowner and resident of Clifton Heights (the neighborhood just south of the University of Cincinnati), I take particular offense to Hiatt's comments regarding the area surrounding UC.

Known as Uptown, this area employs more than 60,000 people - more than any other area in the city of Cincinnati (including downtown). Although I will readily admit the university and its surrounding neighborhoods have problems with parking, security and housing, clearly Hiatt is unaware of the many improvement initiatives under way to address these issues.

On the south side of campus, a $300 million development project is under way. This project will include student housing, parking, retail space and condominiums targeted toward the many area employees interested in living in the community, as well as young professionals looking for an affordable urban alternative to the high prices of Hyde Park, Oakley and Norwood.

Also under way is a transportation study examining access to/from Interstates 71 and 75; parking supply/demand/management; and bus/shuttle services. This is part of an initiative to specifically address many of the problems highlighted by Hiatt without employing the easy solution of eminent domain.

On a smaller scale, area residents participate in Citizens On Patrol, neighborhood cleanups and landscaping, and have recently secured $30,000 for a lighting initiative to enhance safety.

The Uptown community, like many other urban neighborhoods, has problems, yet we are not a blighted community. A deal for eminent domain brokered by the university and the city, as called for by Hiatt, is not the answer. Although Uptown does not have the aesthetic appeal of Hyde Park, it is a vibrant community comprised of more than just the university.

Our community contains conscientious property owners and businesses unique to the Tristate. We are not simply an irrelevant property adjacent to a major metropolitan university. We are working hard to realize our full potential via a balance of large-scale development, increased owner occupancy and grass-roots activism - not eminent domain.

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