CINCINNATI — The West Price Hill Community Council is fighting to save a building it calls historic to the area.
The Schulte Mansion was built on Glenway Avenue back in 1892. According to the Cincinnati Department of Planning and Engagement, it first served as a home to Henry Joseph Schulte. It was later sold to Henry J. Radel in 1931, when it became a second location for Radel Funeral Home. It’s been vacant since 2019.
The building is slated to be torn down, making way for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati Workforce Development Center.
“We’ve laughed here, we’ve cried here. People have played in this parking lot as a child and we’re not done with it yet,” said Laura Hamilton, past president of the West Price Hill Community Council. “This building is part of the fabric of the community and collective memory of the community.”
The community council is asking the city to deem the property a local historic landmark, preventing it from being demolished.
“This place is special and it is the last 19th-century grand structure left along this corridor that was once a residence and turned commercial,” said Hamilton. “And, more importantly, it’s a landmark. It’s visible for blocks. It’s recognizable.”
Hamilton said more than 700 people signed a petition asking the structure to be saved. In 2013 the community council awarded the funeral home with a plaque, designating it as an "Official Price Hill Landmark."
However, city planners do not necessarily agree.
In a report issued to the Cincinnati Planning Commission, city planners wrote, “The property is not significant and has lost all its architectural integrity.” The report does not recommend the commission and city council approve the designation.
“I never expected to get in a situation where anyone is upset. That’s certainly not our intention,” said Bill Bresser, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. “(We’ve) been here for over 80 years to build community. We don’t want to upset folks. But, we also want to deepen our impact, widen our impact.”
Bresser said the organization is currently under contract to purchase the property, although it’s not a done deal. The purchase is on hold while this process unfolds.
If purchased, the building will not be saved.
“The plan would be to demolish the building. The building as it is would be really expensive to renovate. It’s in a state of considerable disrepair… it’s been on the market for over 11 years. It’s been vacant for at least two,” said Bresser.
He said the Workforce Development Center would be the first of its kind in the area, and it would be targeted specifically for teens.
“Kids in 10th through 12th grade. We want to create a separate space for them,” said Bresser. "We’d have classroom space and we’d convene businesses, universities, trade schools, high schools, of course… to truly usher kids into lives of self sufficiency.”
The property is directly across from the current Boys and Girls Clubs center on Glenway. Right now, that space includes all ages, and only one room is designated for teens.
Bresser said the location makes perfect sense, because it wouldn’t create any transportation issues for families that have both young children and teenagers. Also, the teens could still use the center for its gym space.
“We’re interested in these services,” said Hamilton. “It’s a horrible prospect to somehow feel like this is adversarial. We’d like to find a solution that works for everyone.”
Hamilton suggests the organization look at other vacant properties along Glenway.
The Cincinnati Planning Commission meets at 9 a.m. on Friday. City Council will have the final vote.