As a Miami University class prepares to create an economic-development plan for Hamilton’s Second and Fourth wards, students planned a walking tour of Central and Pershing avenues with neighborhood residents to familiarize themselves with the areas.
That was one outcome of a meeting held last week between city officials and members of the Second Ward and Fourth Ward, which also is known as the Jefferson neighborhood.
The Miami class, known as Miami Advanced Planning, is headed by associate geography professor David Prytherch. That same class last year developed a 39-page report suggesting ways to develop key buildings in Hamilton’s Lindenwald neighborhood.
Bob Harris, president of South East Civic Association (SECA), was among those who called the meeting one of the more productive ones that have been held. It was the third of four that are planned, with the final one scheduled for 6 p.m. March 11 at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.
As part of efforts to aid development, “We’ve gone through the neighborhood, and made assessments, and we’ve also mapped out every piece of property in the Second- and Fourth wards,” Harris said. “We know who owns the properties, that type of thing.”
That work was done by SECA’s steering committee.
“We’ve also identified all the businesses that are African-American in the community,” Harris said.
Among other plans:
- A leadership dinner, date to be determined, will happen for those who own businesses in the community, leaders of the community such as clergy, and those who want to help improve the community.
- Five workshops also are planned for neighborhood residents to help foster economic development. Those workshops will discuss the topics of a general overview of economic development in the city; programs offered by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce; a discussion of what SELF (Supports to Encourage Low-income Families) and Hamilton’s Neighborhood Housing Services do; an overview of how the Hamilton Community Foundation and Skills Central can help development; and the Small Business Development Center and SELF.
- Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, invited neighborhood advocates to a bus tour March 18-20 of the original Spooky Nook indoor sports complex near Manheim, Pa., so people can see for themselves the size of the place, and the economic impact it has had on businesses within 20 miles. So far, 34 people from across the city have signed up, Bates said. The trip costs $350 per person.
- A neighborhood cleanup of both areas is scheduled for June 1.
Hamilton Planning Director Liz Hayden called the meeting “really productive.”
She added, “I am looking forward to both the Miami student effort and the Economic Education series.”
Hayden said she hopes work by Joel Fink, the volunteer coordinator of Skills Central, can make a significant difference. At no cost, Skills Central helps unemployed and under-employed people find jobs and advance in their careers.
“I really think if Joel Fink can connect individuals with career training and associated scholarships, that would be very powerful,” Hayden said.
Harris hopes the proposed Spooky Nook at Champion Mill gigantic indoor sports complex and convention center that is planned for the former Champion Paper mill on North B St. will prompt development in the two neighborhoods.
“I think with this trip to Spooky Nook, I’ll get a better idea of what we’re dealing with,” Harris said.