Cincinnati, OH – HCDC, as the Hamilton County Economic Development Office, offers grant money to communities in the county that need financial assistance in redeveloping smaller blighted properties. The goal of this program is to encourage the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized commercial sites in targeted Hamilton County communities.
As Hamilton County businesses grow and expand, redevelopment of urban sites provides an opportunity for distressed areas to capture some of this investment.These monies are given out under the Urban Land Assistance Program (ULAP). HCDC recently approved the use of ULAP funds for three local Cincinnati communities: Forest Park, Deer Park, and Mt. Healthy.
The City of Forest Park has established a comprehensive plan to redevelop five acres of city-owned property containing the Forest Park Activity Center at the corner of West Sharon Rd and Waycross. The plan is to demolish the 1957 facility and convert this property for private commercial development. Forest Park received approval for $30,000 in ULAP money for the activity center and parking lot demolition. The property is adjacent to 10 acres of other City of Forest Park property that could be combined with the five acres to provide land for a mixed-use development project. It is estimated that the city will provide another $45,000 in funding to prepare the site for private development.
The northeast corner of Galbraith and Blue Ash Roads is known as the City of Deer Park’s “100% retail intersection” with high traffic counts. The property at this location was last used as a residential recycling center, a dog grooming studio, and auto repair shop. The recycling center closed in 2014 and the property was purchased by a private holding company. Additionally, this holding company started purchasing adjoining property, including the abandoned Duke Energy transfer station and two residential units, one with a block warehouse attached. These four properties comprise more than 1.5 acres at the City’s major retail intersection, which is located only half a mile from Kenwood Town Center and the Jewish Hospital Medical Complex.
The City of Deer Park was approved for ULAP funds of $35,000 to assist with demolishing the existing structures, removing blacktop, filling in basements, and removing all demolition materials. The redevelopment of the northeast intersection of Blue Ash and Galbraith Roads has been a longstanding high priority in Deer Park. The City has secured $6.5 million in funding from the OKI Regional Council of Governments, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Hamilton County Engineers for the “Blue Ash Road Streetscape Project.” This project will create the necessary safety and infrastructure improvements needed to drive transformation of the business district. Once the ULAP site is developed, it will complement the $6.5 million in public sector investment for the Blue Ash Road Streetscape Project, thus resulting in a very successful public/private sector economic development success story.
The City of Mt. Healthy has been approved for $10,000 in ULAP grant money for the demolition of a structurally unsound, blighted garage on privately owned property at 7348 Hamilton Avenue. The City has given the owner ample time to either repair or demolish the building and all attempts to reach the owner have gone unanswered. The City of Mt. Healthy is using the ULAP money to move forward with demolishing the building, which sits at the entrance to the City and has been deemed an eyesore to the community. The community has been aggressively removing blighted structures in its business district to provide opportunities for new development.