Fairfield Twp., Habitat for Humanity and others are hoping to help to transform the blighted Five Points area this spring, and hopefully beyond.
The distressed area sees a significant amount of police activity, but Fairfield Twp. Administrator Julie Vonderhaar said people in that community “truly love the area” and want to see its reputation change. Five Points is an area where the township has purchased several abandoned properties through Butler County’s land bank and razed homes through the federal Hardest Hit Fund program.
“There are many really neat families in the Five Points area, and they have deep roots — deep roots and good people,” she said. “We can give them help and give them back a sense of pride. They are an important part of this township, just as important as any other part of the township.”
Rock the Block is a neighborhood cleanup and exterior home repair project hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. On April 13, Habitat will be joined from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by officials and volunteers with Fairfield Twp. and Butler County, as well as Disciples Christian Church, Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF), LawnLife and 17 Strong. The event will kick off at Disciples Church, 2047 Tuley Road, and itwill focus on homes along Tylersville Road and King, Lenox and Parkamo avenues.
A closing ceremony will be held at the church at the end of the workday.
Research has shown neighborhood cleanups matter, said Jen Kephart, Volunteer Services and Program Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati.
“Whenever you can clear up blight in a neighborhood, or brush removal, there are indicators that show that contributes to reducing crime activity,” she said. “If you can reduce brush that’s crowding alleys or crowding out lighting, you are going to directly and positively impact that space to create open spaces for more visibility and overall pride in the neighborhood.”
Kephart said many low-income families find it difficult to volunteer, but Rock the Block is “an opportunity to serve right in your neighborhood” as families volunteer together.
“That’s powerful, and people can take pride in their neighborhood in a way that doesn’t happen that often,” she said. “We come into neighborhoods to praise the positive. There are hard-working families in Five Points and we want to celebrate that.”
Rock the Block will assist as many as 15 homeowners this spring, but as of now only six homeowners have signed up. There is a form on Habitat for Humanity’s website, www.habitatcincinnati.org, and homeowners in the Five Points area have until March 22 to sign up.