By Justin Malone, Staff Writer
Seth Walsh, a Xavier graduate and the former chief executive officer of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC), was officially appointed as the newest member of the Cincinnati City Council in December.
Walsh was chosen from nearly 40 applicants by Councilmember Reggie Harris to serve on City Council for the next year and fill the council seat vacated by current U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio). Harris emphasized Walsh’s experience in equitable urban community development in the College Hill neighborhood as a prominent factor in his decision to select Walsh for the position.
During his time as the chief executive officer of CHCURC, Walsh and his team worked with residents, small business owners, neighborhood associations and the city of Cincinnati to revive the Hamilton Avenue Business District found within College Hill. The company’s efforts have brought nearly $85 million in economic investment to the neighborhood, with $65 million in transformations to come in the years ahead.
Under the leadership of Walsh, CHCURC facilitated the building and preservation of more than 300 housing units in College Hill, with forty percent of those units being affordable housing for residents. The company also helped with creating and maintaining 21 local small businesses in the neighborhood.
“At College Hill, I learned how to keep the community engaged, how to make the community’s vision become a reality and how to do it in a way that when you start seeing success, the community that began the process is still the community that’s there when that’s happening. So, the development is actually truly equitable for the community as a whole,” Walsh said.
Before joining CHCURC, Walsh also served as the executive director of the Sedamsville Community Development Corporation and as the assistant director for the Community Development Corporation Association of Greater Cincinnati, now known as Homebase.
He cites his undergraduate education at Xavier, graduating with a degree in political science, and his role as SGA president his senior year as extremely influential in his choice to work in community development.
“After I graduated from Xavier, I got a lot of fulfillment out of being able to help people achieve their goals and visions and looked for a job that allowed me to do that. I found that I wanted to be someone that can be helpful and impactful for others because being SGA president showed me the impact that your actions can have in a leadership role,” he detailed.
“That is why I was willing to take this role. I spent a lot of time constantly thinking I can, and I want to, and that comes back to my Xavier roots; they’ve really helped that flourish,” Walsh added.
As a councilmember, Walsh plans to use his experience, and especially his work with CHCURC, to continue the work City Council seeks to address, specifically affordable housing.
“The opportunity coming forward was that I could keep what I learned in college to myself, or I could really use this opportunity to go spread it to the rest of the 52 neighborhoods in Cincinnati. I just chose to use what I learned over the last seven years and pay it forward. And I think that we have a council, we have a mayor and we have an administration trying to achieve what’s been done in College Hill throughout the entire city,” Walsh said.
“We’re a city of neighborhoods and that’s so critical and so important, so beautiful about Cincinnati, but we’re also all Cincinnati, and we’re all really in this boat in the same direction. And we’re stronger when we work together,” he added.