OTR residents: This is what development should look like

An affordable housing complex for seniors slated for Logan Street is being seen as a positive example for inclusive urban renewal.
Logan Commons
Posted at 8:10 PM, Nov 01, 2021

CINCINNATI — Residents and community leaders in Over-the-Rhine are upholding a forthcoming low-income housing project for seniors as an exemplary model for community engagement in neighborhood development.

The project is called Logan Commons; it’s an Urban Sites project with the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority that will house 42 units, as well as communal and retail space. Urban Sites plans to build the complex where the west parking lot now stands for Findlay Market at Logan and Elder Streets. GBBN is the architect.

Members of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council say they’re enthusiastic about getting more housing. They also commend Urban Sites for sharing their vision with the community at the outset of the planning process, and for checking in with residents over time. Urban Sites first approached the Over-the-Rhine Community Council (OTRCC) for support for the concept back in January.

“They had it right in terms of getting to us early, no surprises, no deadlines,” said Mike Bootes, an OTRCC trustee.

Members also noted how organized the process has been, providing clear point person who residents could continously communicate with to address questions and concerns about the project. They say Logan Commons is a good model for how inclusive development should be done because it’s been a collaborative process with an array of relevant stakeholders.

“There’s CMHA, Urban Sites, the Senior Center, Meals on Wheels,” said John Wulsin, the chair of the Economic Development and Housing Committee for the Over-the-Rhine Community Council. “So this really is a coming together of different entities and I think that as a result it’s become a project that a lot of people are really excited about.”

In addition to affordable units, the first floor of the building will become the new home for the current Over-the-Rhine Senior Center, now located on Race Street.

“We do a great deal of market rate housing on our own, but we think it’s also important to have a healthy community to make sure there’s housing available for people who are lower down in income range and also for seniors,” said Tim Westrich, the vice president of affordable housing for Urban Sites. “And that’s hard to find in a lot of places. It’s just great to be bringing it here.”

The plans for the housing complex will be under review by the city’s historic conservation board on Monday, Nov. 8.

Monique John covers gentrification for WCPO 9. She is part of our Report For America donor-supported journalism program. Read more about RFA here.

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