Cincinnati revitalization program racking up awards

The City of Cincinnati has won the Ohio Conference of Community Development (OCCD) President's Award for excellence and innovation in the delivery of housing and community development for its Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP), the most recent in a series of awards for the strategically focused services and revitalization strategy.

Awarded last Wednesday at the OCCD's annual conference, the award was bestowed based upon the significance of need addressed, the ability to sustain the impact over time, the ability of the project to be replicated elsewhere with similar success, and the scope of the impact on the community.

Dwendolyn Chester, deputy director of the city's Department of Community Development, traveled to Columbus to accept the award.

"It's not a government to the people initiative," she says.  "It's government to the people, and the people to the government, working in harmony to improve the neighborhoods.  And the post-planning for after the initial 90 days really helps solidify that partnership."

In May, the NEP won the National 2008 Program of the Year award at the Neighborhoods, USA annual conference, and received an award for the Most Outstanding Collaborative Effort by the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati in June.

The awards reinforce something Chester already knows – that NEP is a strong idea.

"The fact that NEP continues to stay in the spotlight, and to receive awards, is an indication of the positive progression of what has been a true community and government partnership," she says.

The department is scheduled to present the program in front of an upcoming OCCD quarterly meeting.

"This is an excellent opportunity," Chester says.  "It can be replicated in other communities throughout the state."

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Dwendolyn Chester, deputy director, City of Cincinnati Department of Community Development
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