CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City Council and neighborhood groups want to make sure East Price Hill keeps its character while revitalizing its business corridor.
City leaders and neighborhood advocates want to protect 16 buildings on the stretch of road between Hawthorne Avenue and Purcell Avenue with a Warsaw Avenue Local Historic District.
The designation means a historic conservation board would have to approve any significant changes to the outsides of the homes built between 1885 and 1923, though interior changes aren’t affected.
Cincinnati City Council approved the Warsaw Avenue Local Historic District on Wednesday, something Rachel Hastings of Price Hill Will calls "a huge deal" for the city's civic center.
“This was kind of the civic heart of East Price Hill when it was developed, and that’s why we have all these important civic buildings that are still here,” said Hastings, the group's executive director. For three years, she and Price Hill Will consulted with experts to evaluate the historical value of the buildings.
“It’s a lengthy process, so not only did we have to make sure we have community support to create a local historic district, we also had to engage architects to do a thorough history of all these buildings ... and really prove that these buildings are not just old but are worthy of a historic district preservation,” she said.
Those buildings include a historic police station, library and an old fire house.
"Our historic buildings are beautiful," said Sheila Rosenthal of the East Price Hill Improvement Association. "They’re amazing architectural features to our community. Once they’re gone, they can’t be replaced."
Price Hill Will and the East Price Hill Improvement Association believe the new historic designation will help with plans to boost its business corridor over the next several years.
The designation also allows the groups to apply for historic tax credits, which will help fund the $10 million initiative for restaurants, commercial spaces, affordable housing and more. The groups have also applied for a state designation and hope to acquire a national historic designation soon to secure more funding for the project, with construction tentatively slated for 2021.
“The buildings are all pretty old, and they all need a lot of love and some TLC and so we really want to bring them back to their former glory," Hastings said.
The group leaders say the designation ties the past to the present and helps lay the foundation for East Price Hill's future as a vibrant place for families.
“It’s also going to say something positive and powerful about our community, about the things that we value," Rosenthal said.