I am writing in regards to a final vote set to take place at today’s (Wednesday) City Council meeting in favor of a preferred development agreement in Over-the-Rhine with 3CDC. As I’m not certain you’ll be taking citizen statements at the Council meeting, I wanted to forward my comment to you here. Thank you for your consideration.
My name is Liz McEwan and I am a resident of Over-the-Rhine. My husband and I, with our three young children, live on the most beautiful street in our city. We moved here 6 years ago for many reasons, but mostly because we believed that the urban core had been neglected for too long. We believe that strong families are the foundation of strong cities. And we wanted to help re-populate our city with a strong middle-class.
We are not hip urbanites. We are a conservative, Christian, homeschool family.
But we believe in this city, we love living downtown, and we would stay here forever if we could.
I am writing to request that you take more time to consider a community-led and equitable future for our neighborhood before approving a preferred development agreement with 3CDC.
We owe much of the economic viability of our neighborhood to the partnership between the City and 3CDC. And I believe that 3CDC may continue to have an important role in the future of the neighborhood. But I have seen, firsthand, how the high-income culture and standard of living that 3CDC’s developments have produced in OTR have widened the gap between low-income subsidized housing and the high-rent, high-cost housing in these new developments.
We are a working-class family. And both my husband and I have devoted the past 8+ years to working with non-profits that strengthen Cincinnati communities. Wealthy retirees and executives may be able to afford expensive condos, but we are the ones you should be fighting to have in your city for the long-term.
If the rest of Over-the-Rhine (and then, following suit, Mt Auburn, Pendleton, and the West End) is developed with the same homogenous, high-brow, entertainment-based culture as what we’ve seen on Vine St., south of Liberty, our urban core will lose the vibrant and diverse culture that drew us all here in the first place. And, because of the cost-gap alone, it won’t be the low-income residents who have to leave; it will be people like me.
The urban middle-class of Cincinnati will no longer exist when the only housing options are either low-income housing or inflated market rate units.
Subsidized, low-income housing requirements are important, but they are not enough to create a sustainable economy. The City needs to work strategically with current and future residents to create an equitable Over-the-Rhine and to open opportunities for hard-working, capable, and competent residents to take the future into their own hands.
Until 3CDC can guarantee this sort of community-led future for us, please withhold your final vote until there can be a better conversation between all parties involved.
Thank you for your time.
(Sent in the early hours of the morning. Forward as you see fit.)