Which Hamilton neighborhood is next? City looks to continue work with Miami students

Three of Hamilton’s neighborhoods now have worked with Miami University students to create economic development plans and chart paths for how they can revitalize themselves and attract businesses and shops.

First, there was Lindenwald, the city’s most populous neighborhood, whose business strip has seen more thriving times. Then came the Second Ward, also known as Riverview, where many businesses and people have left in recent decades, but which hopes to take advantage of increased vibrancy in the city when the proposed Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill opens just a few blocks north and across the Great Miami.

And most recently, Hamilton’s North End received its development plan from Miami urban planning students. The plan included a ranking of properties along Heaton Street on a color-coded scale from green (good), through yellow (fair), orange (poor) and red (extremely poor).

The North End is directly across the Black Street bridge from the Spooky Nook complex, and advocates for the neighborhood hope it can benefit from direct spillover of development because of demand for food and services created by 10,000-plus athletes and their families who will visit some weekends of the year.

So what neighborhood might benefit next from a similar Miami University study?

“I don’t know,” said Planning Director Liz Hayden. “I really don’t know. And also, I’m hoping that Miami will keep working with us.”

“But I would love to maybe go to 17Strong (the organization that represents Hamilton’s 17 neighborhoods) and maybe have them pick” Hayden said.

That would be in step with what Hamilton officials have been doing recently to give that group of volunteers who represent the variety of neighborhoods more power and influence over city decisions. Hamilton this year has placed more focus on working to help improve various parts of the city — particularly the North End, Jefferson, Lindenwald and Second Ward neighborhoods — outside the Downtown and Main Street business areas.

Bob Harris of the South East Civic Association, which represents the Second and Fourth wards (also known as Jefferson) this summer asked for such a plan for Jefferson.

“We know that getting our downtown healthy is just Step 1,and that we really need to make sure that all our neighborhoods are safe, healthy places with good quality of life. So these plans try to address that.”

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