SOUP's on: Microfunding initiative inspires Cincinnatians to pitch ideas for building community

CINCINNATI - It was a few weeks into owning property on Reading Lane in Paddock Hills that Mary and Jospeh Brickler—who jokingly introduce themselves as "the holy couple"—found out they weren’t the only ones with a nickname.

“We were into it for a few weeks before we found out that it was known as 'drug alley,'" Joseph explained. “That was a real eye-opener.”

The Bricklers, who now own 50 percent of the housing on Reading Lane, allowed that eye-opener to open their hearts  to families in Paddock Hills who are looking for safe and affordable housing.

Tenants don’t want to pay rent in drug-ridden areas, so the Bricklers wanted the residents of their apartment buildings to be happy about where they live.

“We realized the only way we’d be able to raise the standards was we’d buy as many (properties) as possible from this street,” Joseph said, including a $5 plot of land to use as a playground for children under the age of 12.

The land was cheap, but playground equipment isn’t.

That’s how the Bricklers found themselves having dinner with representatives from the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission at Pallet 23 in Northside on June 19.

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