With 30,000 residents and 5.7 square miles, Westwood is Cincinnati’s largest community…not only in population, but also in geographic area. With a community of this size, the question for economic development organizations was, “Where do we start with this revitalization?” The conclusion was that the best place to start was the oldest part of the neighborhood, a key to the community’s identity.
That area for Westwood is the business district near Westwood Town Hall, in the vicinity of Harrison Avenue, Montana Avenue, and Epworth. Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (WestCURC) together with HCDC’s Office of Economic Development and a grant from Duke Energy, set forth on a multi-level economic development strategy to bring people back to Westwood, both emotionally and physically.
The first step in this plan was centering a series of summer community events in the area. In the summer of 2016, every weekend there was a pop-up event, whether it be an art show, a car show, pop-up retail stores, etc. WestCURC also closed off the Urweiler intersection with Harrison Avenue, which had created an unfavorable traffic triangle. In addition to these visible changes in the area, WestCURC also continued work behind the scenes. WestCURC connected HCDC economic development staff with small businesses planning on opening in the business district. These include the West Side Brewing, Muse Cafe, Necessities Market, and Lillywood. These meetings involved reviewing of business plans, marketing plans, financials, to help further the companies’ success in Westwood.
In addition to the business district rejuvenation, Westwood has designed a family-oriented leisure area nearby that will include a playground, event space, a garden, a dog park, a veteran’s memorial, and a promenade.
Community revitalization is a long process. So while these changes won’t be made immediately, they are well on their way.