In last week’s Newswire, there was an op-ed about the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital deal, a deal that made quite a bit of a stir in local politics. In this article there were a lot of really great things that were brought up, especially the acknowledgment that Avondale has been through an arduous history that once left a thriving neighborhood mostly desolate. Often times the community will be left out of the conversation about developments that are directly affecting their future. The writer argues that this deal is, in effect, the cherry on top of the story of how Avondale has been cheated throughout its history.
While I agree that Avondale has largely been forgotten by former leaders in the city, the Children’s deal is by no means a development that will hurt Avondale. In fact, it may be one of the best political deals Cincinnati has seen in quite some time and it will help our entire city including Avondale.
The City of Cincinnati is giving no money whatsoever to help this development, because Children’s Hospital is paying for all of it on their own accord. In fact, the hospital has already purchased the properties from landlords and gave compensation. In total, eight families will be displaced, which is not something that is good by any means. However, the benefits that come from this expansion outweigh this. Children’s has already agreed to invest $11.5 million into Avondale, outside of what they are already paying to expand. They also are already funding a school-based health clinic and they are partnering on a homeownership program in Avondale. Since they are doing so much already, it is insulting that two councilmembers including Yvette Simpson, who is running for mayor, would demand that Children’s give an extra $25 million to housing development on top of what they are already giving.
In regards to the idea that Children’s Hospital has not let the community in on the discussions, is just not true. The hospital has attempted to meet with members of Cincinnati City Council three times and they have been meeting with the Avondale community since 2014 about this deal.
We often forget that as a city, our biggest problems right now are the heroin epidemic and childhood poverty. Children’s Hospital directly fights both of those issues at their core by taking care of babies who are already addicted to heroin because their mother was on heroin. They spend a lot of their time helping for Avondale children for little or no cost. On top of all of this, this expansion is needed because, when there is an emergency, it is much easier to rush a patient between connected buildings. In these cases, time is crucial and can mean the difference between life and death.
This is truly an awesome deal that could help lift Avondale out of the issues they are currently facing. Although it may seem like this is your typical gentrification, the work that Children’s does will legitimately bring all of the community together.
Children’s has proven time and time again they are committed to doing the right thing which brings up a larger issue. We spend a lot of time criticizing big businesses that seemingly do nothing for their communities. It is a rare thing to see groups investing back into their communities. This is why when we have a company as good as Children’s Hospital, we must prop them up as a shining example to others. We should all want every company in Cincinnati to act like Children’s Hospital. If everyone gave back as much as Children’s has, we could solve many major problems in our communities.
This deal is by no means perfect and I do feel for the eight families that will have to move but since they have been compensated, the community has been engaged and Children’s is giving back to the community completely on their own accord, this deal is completely worth it, especially if we hope to continue fighting the heroin epidemic and childhood poverty.
By: Alex Hale ~Staff Writer~