Avondale development sets national example for community reinvestment

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Representative Steve Driehaus (D-OH), along with Ohio Department of Commerce Director Kimberly Zurz toured the new Forest Square senior living development construction site on Thursday, Feburary 18. Donovan's visit marked the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The government officials came to Avondale to see the progress on the site that received $1 million of the HUD Recovery Act Tax Credit Assistance Program funds. This project had been planned, but was stalled due to lack of funding. Now it is currently under construction, and plans to open in the fall of 2010.

Donovan and Driehaus gave remarks about the ways that the stimulus package has directly affected the citizens of Ohio and the Cincinnati region. The Forest Square project alone created 70 jobs for local Cincinnatians, and according to Donovan, 79,000 jobs in Ohio were saved or created due to the Recovery Act funding.

The real message of the morning, however, was how vitally important community reinvestment is to rebuilding the economy and improving life for all.

"We are laying the groundwork for resilient neighborhoods," said Donovan about the green building practices, job creation and leadership involved with projects like Forest Square, which will provide affordable housing for senior citizens and is part of a much larger revitalization effort taking place in the uptown Cincinnati neighborhood.

Developed by Cincinnati-based Model Group, the $4.2 million Forest Square development will continue the progress being made in Avondale along the Burnet Avenue corridor and will create jobs for Cincinnatians at the same time - something highly touted by the officials on hand.

"I am so excited about the job creation and revitalization made possible with these fair housing funds," said Representative Driehaus.  "I worked at Xavier as a community developer, fighting against predatory lenders and people who didn't give a lick about the neighborhood or the people in it.  At the end of the day, yes, it's job creation, but ultimately it's about creating communities."

Writer: Jenny Kessler
Photography Provided
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