Enhancing community connections in Cincinnati, by reclaiming alleys, sidewalks, and steps for the pedestrian.
Most Cincinnatians may not know where East Alley is, in relation to the rest of the city. They certainly cannot be blamed for that. East Alley is a neighborhood alley like so many others, originally established to provide public rear access to residential (in this case) and commercial properties). Located in the southwestern corner of Mt. Auburn, many city folks may think that the grid of streets near East Alley are in Over-the-Rhine. Its situation in Mt. Auburn is a significant circumstance, as most of Over-the-Rhine is moderately protected as a National Historic District, while the study area is not. That designation protects the bulk of street corridors from demolition.
The nearby streets to East Alley–St. Joe St., Thill St., Loth St., Wendell Alley, and Rice St.–can be characterized by high vacancies and a majority of razed properties. It is because of the latter point that additional streets cannot be grouped with the aforementioned. The plentiful gaps in the residential fabric also isolate these few streets from surrounding infrastructure and public knowledge. Subsequent razing of most of the block bounded by Mulberry St., St. Joe. St., and Loth St.–due to the 1886 and 1964 incarnations of the Vine Elementary School (currently the temporary site of Rothenberg Preparatory Academy)–represents the institutional demolition at hand.
The current project started off with East Alley is fairly deplorable condition. The overgrowth alone renders the alley unnavigable. Illegal dumping, broken glass, and years of decomposition also make East Alley unsafe for mobility of any kind. The first step is to remove weeds and small tree growths. This will clear the way for litter removal and sweeping up glass chards. Subsequent goals include some finishing touches to make the alley more inviting, as well as a search for a nearby resident or block club to “adopt” the alley for continued maintenance. The end result, we hope, is a renewed interest in East Alley, and grasping the attention of the city for rehabilitation and strategies for drainage.
This project began on December 12th, 2011.Sources