Xavier partners with Northside for development plan

University’s Community Building Institute working with Northside Community Council | July 15, 2003

Xavier’s Community Building Institute (CBI) is partnering with the Northside Community Council to create a land use plan for the Northside community. The project is made possible by a planning grant from the Community Investment Partners (CIP), which is a funders’ collaborative—joining the efforts of Fifth Third Bank, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Procter & Gamble Fund and United Way & Community Chest of Greater Cincinnati—focused on comprehensive community development. CBI began working with the Northside community in April and hopes to have the plan completed by October. “What we’re working on is in some ways a fairly traditional plan and in other ways not traditional at all,” says Liz Blume, CBI associate director and former planner for the city of Cincinnati. When Northside approached CBI, the community already had created a steering committee composed of residents in fields such as architecture, design and landscaping. “Northside has really gone much farther than a traditional plan would to engage other people in the community,” says Blume. “Hundreds of surveys were done before the process even started. They’ve knocked on doors to get people’s opinions. They’ve really made a Herculean effort to try and get lots more community input than is typical.” Blume’s experience with the city was also an added plus for the project. “It really meant a lot to the people of Northside that Liz already knew the community,” says Gwen Finegan, Northside Business Association board member and member of the Northside Community Council. “She didn’t have to learn everything from the start up about the neighborhood.” The plan is also set up so it can be implemented quickly. “We’ve had 20 plans in the last 20 years. We didn’t want a plan that sat on the shelf,” says Finegan. Details of the plan are still being worked out, but Blume says the group is looking at how to integrate living and work space, as well as at how to redesign the area into a more contemporary job location. The plan also refocuses attention on Northside’s historic housing stock and encourages people to move to the area. For more information, contact Liz Blume at 513 745-3332.