HAMILTON, Ohio - Taking it back.
A small number of Hamilton, Ohio, residents are hoping to send a message. They care about their community, and they say the days of drugs and prostitution there are over.
They live in Lindenwald, Hamilton’s largest neighborhood, and they plan to take it back. They’re spreading the word one step at a time.
Anita Shivley remembers the days long gone, when Lindenwald was in its heyday.
“It was a wonderful community to bring up your kids in,” she said.
Shivley has lived in the Lindenwald for more than three decades. Back then, the biggest issue was keeping the kids away from the trains that rolled through.
“Keep the kids away from the train tracks. That was the worst part of it,” Shivley said.
“It’s been over the last 7-8 years. It’s really gone downhill."
Shivley said says the drug epidemic has hit her and the community hard.
“I myself have had a son who was addicted to heroin. Is clean now. We’re ready for it to go," she said.
Charles Saylor agreed.
“This has got to stop,” Saylor said. “This used to be a good neighborhood and I want it to come back as a good neighborhood."
They held a walk Saturday take the neighborhood back.
“To me, to clean up this area - to bring it back to what it needs to be - is where I’m at,” said Shivley.
“We need to clean up these streets. These kids need a place to play, a place to go. Where they don’t have to worry about picking up a needle.”
The group started small. “Ten of us at the first meeting. Organized our walk,” said Shivley. And turned into 68 community members, walking as part of Operation: Take Back the Wald.
“Lindenwald is a great community to live in. Right now, it needs some help. I think we’re on the right track. We have to let them know we’re not going to put up with this anymore. It’s our community and we want it back.”
A small step toward a greater goal.
“We have to get out and let the city know we’re not going to put up with it anymore,” Shivley said.