Green Development Profile: Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky LISC Complete Profile

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1 Green Development Profile: Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky LISC Complete Profile The Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky works to bring new, significant, project-related financial and technical assistance to CDCs operating in Cincinnati inner-city neighborhoods and Hamilton Counties, as well as Kenton and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky. LISC s work begins and ends with the premise that local residents can best identify community needs and develop solutions that solve neighborhood issues. Through its nuanced and tailored lending, granting, and technical assistance support, LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky provides individuals and communities with the capital and technical expertise they need to revitalize and rebuild neighborhoods. Green Development Projects Featured: Avondale Community Gardens and Greenspace Northern Larona Community Park Gabriel s Place Forest Square Herald Building 520 Thomas Street Washington Park Redevelopment Price Hill Green Development Work Areas: Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Parks and Greenspace Green Building: Affordable Housing For more information on Greater Cincinnati/KY LISC: Contact: Kathy Schwab, Project: Avondale Community Gardens & Green Space Work Areas: Food Systems and Urban Agriculture; Parks and Greenspace Cincinnati LISC has supported the development and maintenance of nine community gardens throughout the Avondale neighborhood. It is currently creating an urban farming and composting program at South Avondale Elementary and working with The Center for Closing the Health Gap (CCHG) to do public outreach on nutrition education, obesity awareness and free healthy cooking classes. CCHG s Avondale Do Right! Campaign works with local children in the gardens and the Avondale Youth Council. Using a grant from Chase bank, LISC provided support to Avondale Redevelopment Corporation for a landscape improvement project in Avondale s Avenue District located within Burnet,

2 Forest, Dury, and Erkenbrecher Avenues. Diverse plantings highlight the unique character of this area which has a high homeownership rate and is adjacent to the Cincinnati Zoo, Children s Hospital, and Burnet Avenue corridor redevelopment. The project engaged over one hundred residents, stakeholders, youth, and volunteers in planting 40 new trees. This was first step to energize residents and stakeholders to work towards stabilized property values, increased investment, and improved quality of life. The landscape project culminated on Make a Difference Day with a final tree planting as well as flowers for corner yards throughout the district. Project: Northern Larona Community Park, Avondale Work Area: Parks and Greenspace Residents developed a vision for transforming two abandoned parcels into new community Greenspace, which LISC supported through a grant from Chase Bank. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has also provided significant support through in kind donations from its horticulture department. Avondale s Avenue District Block Club identified the following elements in their vision for community greenspace as a place where neighbors gather and children play: a garden, a pagoda, picnic tables, a playground, a performance area and a fitness track. This project involves collaborating with multiple local stakeholders over a variety of issues such as youth engagement, health, beautification, environmental quality, and community development. The collaborative effort has leveraged Chase funds with in kind donations from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. As of February 2011, LISC secured control and water access; cleared the lots of broken fencing, dead trees and poison ivy, plant trees; and began landscaping. The Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation has built two LEEDcertified houses and redevelops vacant properties throughout the neighborhood. A $10,000 Home Depot Foundation grant was used to create a pedestrian-friendly greenspace in an abandoned railroad right-of-way. More on CNCURC here. Project Description: Gabriel s Place Work Area: Food Systems Urban Agriculture Together with a team of clergy and lay leaders from the Cincinnati area, Cincinnati LISC is developing a plan to establish a community ministry in the urban and impoverished neighborhood of Avondale. The group has leveraged financial and human resources to grow a community garden, form a farmers market, serve lunch three times a week, and develop the plan for and begin the implementation of the renovation of the former Parish Hall. The community gardens at Gabriel s Place have been operating since 2008 and will include hoop houses, a community kitchen, a farmer s market, and a community conference center.

3 Eventually, the project will also include composting and urban farming (due diligence and development of a sustainable business model currently underway). More here. Project: The Cincinnati Herald Building This LEED Gold project is the first in Cincinnati to win Community Reinvestment Act LEED tax exemption. Located in the Avondale community, the Cincinnati Herald Building has been critical to supporting the Burnet Avenue Revitalization Team s (BART) efforts to restore this downtrodden neighborhood. With Uptown Consortium s investment of $50 million in the area, this project preserves workforce housing for the neighborhood and covers 4-8 blocks of community transportation over five years. From residential renovation to structural improvement to complete refurbishment of the Burnet Avenue business corridor, the project promises to bring measurable, tangible changes to the lives of people who live and work in the Avondale neighborhood. The Herald Building is home to the Cincinnati Herald, the city s award winning African American newspaper. Green features include a white roof membrane, water- and energy-efficient appliances, construction waste management, regionally-sourced and recycled materials, and low-emissivity windows. More from Publichousing.com and USGBC. Project: Forest Square Forest Square is a 21-unit new construction, first class senior affordable housing project located in Avondale. As the first LEED-certified affordable housing for seniors in Cincinnati, the project will allow seniors access to critical medical resources and health services, recreation, and, more importantly, give them an overall sense of community. Forest Square has embraced the challenge of the Burnet Avenue Revitalization effort to update and restore the historic neighborhood of Avondale. The LEED Silver apartments were a $4.3 million dollar project partnering model with the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the City of Cincinnati, Key Bank, LISC, Uptown Consortium, and Avondale Community Council. Each unit includes energy-efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioning, and Energy Star appliances. The units are well insulated and the walls have been painted with low-voc paint, providing a higher indoor air quality which will benefit residents with respiratory illnesses. More from Building-Cincinnati.com here. In the news here and on YouTube here.

4 Project: 520 Thomas Street Center for Great Neighborhoods, Covington, KY 520 Thomas Street, built by the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, is one of two Kentucky homes that have been LEED-certified and the first at the Gold level. Green homes like 520 Thomas Street have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates, and government incentives. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, the Center for Great Neighborhoods is helping to keep homeownership affordable. More on Great Neighborhoods, Covington here. Project: Washington Park Redevelopment Work Area: Parks and Greenspace LISC invested $13.9 million in New Market Tax Credits for the renovation and expansion of Washington Park, a critical development that addresses the complex needs and values of a diverse community. The urban park one of Cincinnati s oldest and largest has historically served as an integral part of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood for more than 150 years but is in critical need of upgrades to restore it as a positive neighborhood asset. The park plan largely retains the historic character of the current six-acre site while expanding it two additional acres to the north onto a current surface parking lot. A 500-space sub-surface garage will be constructed under this expansion to serve Music Hall, the new School for the Creative and Performing Arts, community businesses and residents, and park visitors. Above the garage, a large civic lawn will provide much needed greenspace for informal play, large community events, concerts, and school performances. Other amenities include a dog park, playground, picnic areas, restrooms, a major interactive water feature, security upgrades, and sound and lighting improvements. Washington Park in the news here. Project: Price Hill, Northside and Covington Community groups in Price Hill and Covington were awarded $10,000 grants by The Home Depot Foundation and LISC to help their neighborhoods improve their physical health, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Since 2005, Price Hill Will has rehabbed and sold 16 vacant properties and developed seven new homes. The Home Depot grant was used to hire a consultant to ensure green practices are used in current and future renovation projects. The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington (CGN) is a community development corporation that provides a wide array of services and support to the neighborhoods and residents of Covington, Kentucky. Through their efforts to revitalize blighted and declining Covington

5 neighborhoods, the CGN rehabilitates homes and constructs new homes for buyers at or below 80% of the area media income. The Center has utilized modular construction on four recent homes, all of which received a fivestar Energy Star rating with one LEED Gold-certified. All of CGN s new construction homes take full advantage of green building techniques. Though Covington s aging housing stock and the national and local historic requirements that go along with that have made green rehabs a challenge, CGN works to increase the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of rehabilitated homes. With the $10,000 grant from Home Depot Foundation, CGN brought a green building consultant onto the development team to provide predevelopment assessment of rehab homes, recommendations to improve energy efficiency, oversight during construction to ensure proper installation of devices, and post-rehab evaluation to document the improvements and verify the effectiveness of the green techniques. More here.

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