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The West End has been chosen for 2018 CiTiRAMA

Posted at 7:00 AM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 07:00:52-05

CINCINNATI -- CiTiRAMA is coming to the West End in 2018.

The 2018 CiTiRAMA home show, a partnership between the city and the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, will create a 54-home development along Ezzard Charles Drive, between Cutter and John streets. The development will be called Stowe Place to remember the former Harriet Beecher Stowe School, an all-black public school in the West End that closed in 1962.

Home Builders Association Director T.J. Ackermann announced the 2018 CiTiRAMA location during a wrap up of the West End Neighborhood Enhancement Program. The 90-day collaboration between the city and West End organizations and residents represented a concentrated effort to improve and invest in the neighborhood, tackling crime and blight and beautifying landscapes and buildings.

“We always look for a site with great potential. We look for a community that's turning the corner,” said Dan Dressman, executive director of the Home Builders Association. “The last two CiTiRAMAs have been in College Hill and look what's happening there.”

Stowe Place will offer an urban setting similar to Over-The-Rhine, but with single-family homes, complete with attached two-car garages. The development plan uses alleys to put the garages behind the homes and retain the urban, walkable feel of the neighborhood.

Homes will cost between $300,000 and $400,000, Dressman said. “Some might start at $250,000, but that will be for a stripped-down version.”

Andrew Vansickle has lived in a four-bedroom townhouse on Cutter Street for three years. Stowe Place will be going right across the street from him.

“My friends in OTR, who are tired of the noise, of the back-up truck beeping, of the pedal wagons, this is perfect,” Vansickle said. “This is a place to raise your kids. Peaceful, quiet. It's an ideal neighborhood for walking.”

About half of all West End residents are in poverty, and only 13 percent of housing units in the neighborhood are owner-occupied. The CiTiRAMA homes will be well out of the price range for most West End residents, said Alexis Kidd, executive director of Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses, the West End's leading community development and social service agency.

“We're excited about the opportunity to increase homeownership,” Kidd said. “But we'd love to see a balance in affordability for people who live in the West End now.”

Construction on Stowe Place model homes will begin this winter to be finished in time for CiTiRAMA in fall 2018. A couple homes already have sold.