Avondale | Cincinnati, Ohio
With major new development on the horizon, Avondale – the largest African American community in the city of Cincinnati – stands at a tipping point.
Avondale is rightfully proud of the cultural history that comes with being Cincinnati’s largest African American community. It is home to residents who can trace their Avondale lines back generations.
But the community has seen its share of struggles. Decades of disinvestment have led to population decline, aging housing stock and increased poverty. Its business district never recovered from the civil rights unrest of the 1960s, and the neighborhood suffered disproportionately from the 2008 recession.
Three of the region’s largest employers – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, UC Health and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – are located in Avondale. The University of Cincinnati sits just outside its boundaries. The neighborhood is a 5-minute drive from downtown Cincinnati.
And Avondale is home to the new Uptown Innovation Corridor – a 65-acre innovation and technology hub. When fully implemented, the Corridor’s master plan anticipates $2.5 billion of project investment, 2 million square feet of mixed-use development (research, office, clinical, residential, hotel and retail) and the potential to create and retain 7,500 jobs.
Today, the Avondale Development Corporation-led revitalization of Avondale is bearing fruit. But the very assets and momentum that have led to Avondale being dubbed the “hottest neighborhood in Cincinnati” have also presented the neighborhood with a challenge that urban African American communities across the nation have faced for decades: gentrification.
“We can see the direction that the community wants to go and this new partnership with Fifth Third Bank and Enterprise is a bright light that enables us to move forward and create new opportunities for families, business owners, entrepreneurs and community partners.”
– Russell Hairston, Executive Director,
Avondale Development Corporation
Avondale residents are not against development. They understand how the projects underway in their neighborhood can be transformative in promoting equity and generating wealth-building. They see real estate values heating up. They want to be around to benefit.
The Avondale Development Corporation has built a comprehensive plan to ensure they are.
A decade ago, community leaders came together to form the Avondale Development Corporation to help improve the quality of life for residents of Avondale. The organization addresses critical housing needs in Avondale, works to create jobs and economic opportunities for Avondale residents, and leads organizing, engagement and advocacy efforts to foster a community of neighbors who know each other and work together for common goals.
The team and its partners will create a wide offering of lending and educational tools, specifically focused on supporting Avondale residents and businesses. Their plan seeks to:
- Support the next generation of homeowners
- Improve the housing stock
- Promote small business development
- Advance catalytic infrastructure initiatives like the Innovation Greenway Project
The new initiative builds off two major neighborhood planning efforts – a quality of life plan and housing strategy. Over 250 Avondale residents and stakeholders provided valuable input to both of those roadmaps.
What Success Looks Like
Changing the trajectory of a place is never about just one thing. It’s about changing systems, relationships and expectations – inside and outside the community.
Avondale Development Corporation has assembled a diverse group of committed partners to create that change. The collective brings economic, civic, housing, policy and health expertise. Together, they will work to build on Avondale's assets.
The team and its partners share a vision of the next generation of home- and business owners:
- New and revitalized rental and for-sale homes, accessible and affordable to Black residents
- Local entrepreneurs equipped with training and loans to open new businesses
- A revitalized business district featuring storefronts that serve the community
In the next decade, the team imagines an even better Avondale, where African American and white families have comparable incomes. And at least 50% of businesses are African American-owned.
Looking to the next 25 years, Avondale leaders seek to create a stable, thriving community: a place where all residents succeed equitably across every key indicator – health, education, employment, income, and affordable quality housing.
Mural: A Song of Freedom © 2019 ArtWorks / Design by Tylonn Sawyer / Location: 3630 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45229