Mural in Lower Price Hill.
This ArtWorks Cincinnati mural in Lower Price Hill illustrates the community's focus on supporting the people of the neighborhood.
Jennifer Polzin (pictured with Ciara Allen, left) and her sister Jessica moved to Lower Price Hill in 2009 after doing missionary work here. The Iowa natives now host volunteers from churches and colleges from around the country. This summer, they turned a garage into a clubhouse for youth. "We saw the things the kids had been through and wanted to create a place where they could just be a kid and be creative," said Polzin, who met Allen in the neighborhood, took her in and was awarded custody in July 2011. "We’re just trying to offer a place for healing, hope and joy."
Darrius Johnson, of Westwood, graduated from Oyler School in Lower Price Hill, where he was the number one D-lineman in the division, he said. Now he works in security at Paul Brown Stadium. But he still spends spare time in Lower Price Hill. "The community is one big family itself," he said. "I volunteered for St. Michael's Church and took kids to the Boys and Girls Club. This is its own city inside a city."
Lower Price Hill native Tina Thompson lives in Price Hill-Delhi and works at BlocHead Pizza on State Avenue. "I used to be on drugs and stuff, so I kind of messed up my work history, and this place gave me a second chance," she said. "To be honest, before I got this job I was so discouraged trying to get a job, the first thing on my mind was to start selling drugs again. I have a very strong family support. Donna [Jones] is one of them. She said, ‘You come here and work with me, keep yourself straight and clean and be here on time every day and you’ll have a job.’ So that’s what I do."
Lower Price Hill resident Vicky Burton poses with her son, daughter and her daughter's friend.
Like his father, John Kassow was born and raised in Lower Price Hill. "The health problems people have today aren’t from the air itself; it's all the activities the kids are introduced to," he said. "They have to have something to lay the blame on. I smoke; if I catch something, it's not from Queen City Barrel, it's because of a choice I make." He isn't hopeful for the future of the community. "I believe it will continue to go downhill here. The city is running people out of Downtown and they end up here. The tourists don’t come out this far."
Connie O'Malley has lived in Lower Price Hill off and on her whole life. "My family is all from Harlan," she said. "In those days you mined coal or you didn't work. Coal mining was a very hard life. My mom came up here and made parachutes during the Second Word War. My dad followed right after the war ended. The jobs were here." The closeness of the community keeps her committed to its future. "I work two jobs," she said. "I could live wherever I want, and I live here. My people are here. We want for nothing."
Long-time Lower Price Hill resident Sue Daniels sits on State Avenue, where she can connect with her neighbors as they walk by.
Chris Cade graduated from Woodward High School and then played basketball for Miami Middletown and Miami Hamilton for a year. Then money got tight and he had to come home. "I should be playing now, but I’m like, ‘Who's going to pay my bills?’ " Now a father working two jobs, he doesn't think much about his dream of playing basketball overseas. "Just because you grow up out here don't mean you going to be a dope dealer," he said. "I'm not going to say it don't get tough. The key is to stay out the way."
In Lower Price Hill, neighbors get to know each other in all kinds of ways. In the summer, especially, children are nearly always outside, playing with family and friends, making the most of their tight-knit community
Warren Whitworth has lived in Lower Price Hill for most of his life. He was raised by a single mom and has three brothers. His only sister died of cancer when she was 35. "I'm disabled and on a fixed income and this is all I can afford," he said. "I would live elsewhere if I could. If I had a vehicle, I would live elsewhere and come hang out here."