St James Pocket Park
The St James Cut Through was an old public plaze designed in the 1970’s plaza, used by residents to get from the residential section of the neighborhood to the business district. But, it was also used for negative activities such as drug dealing, outdoor bathroom and public drinking. The cut-through was filled with trash, overgrown weeds, illegally parked cars and the street lights had been shot out.
The conventional safety recommendation was to fence off the space to cut off the negative activity. However, this would also prevent well meaning residents from using the most efficient route to get to the business district, including the grocery store and the pharmacy
Instead, during the NEP, WHRF partnered with WHAC, WHBG and the City of Cincinnati to clean up the cut-through, install lighting and block car access with the use of jersey barriers. Later, WHRF partnered with MKSK to design the pocket park. Through a series of community work days, the cut through was painted bright colors, new creative lighting was installed, new trees and better landscaping were planted and a little free library was installed on a kiosk.
Five Points Alley
Five Points Alley was an abandoned lot filled overgrown with weeds, full of debris from litter to needles and a haven for crime. Through the efforts of some hardworking volunteers, the space was cleaned up enough to host a monthly series of biergartens. The success of the biergartens lead to places like Fireside Pizza and Angst Coffeehouse and Pub to move into Walnut Hills permanently.
In 2015, WHRF partnered with BLDG to do a series of wayfinding murals, marking each of the Five Alleys. We also partnered with MKSK to create a site plan for improvements for the space. In October of 2015, construction officially began.
Concord Street Garden
Concord Street Community Garden was started in 2010 through a partnership between the Civic Garden Center and several interested neighbors, including Tom and Mary Carson, the owners of the lot. Formerly Washington Limousine Service, for a decade the lot had been a dump site.
In May 2014, WHRF partnered with Cross Roads GO Cincinnati and The Model Group, building an additional 19 garden beds. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, UC Serves and the Civic Garden Center hosted a few volunteer groups, a Safe and Clean Grant was awarded and Interact for Health provided funding to finish construction.
The garden now consists of 62 beds of which 40 beds are gardened by individual gardeners and 22 are gardened communally with produce going to the Walnut Hills Kitchen and to the Open Door Food Pantry. The garden uses numerous reclaimed materials: a retention pond made of 200 used tires, a greenhouse made out of used windows, a tool bin made out of used doors, a brick patio made out of reclaimed bricks and compost bins out of used pallets pulled from dumpsters.
The tires, the greenhouse and the bathtubs were painted by teenagers through Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and the City of Cincinnati’s Youth2Work summer program. Special thanks to Gary Dangel for his vision and expertise and to the yoga teacher trainees from Vitality for their tireless contributions.