Public Private Partnership Success
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority’s private and public partnerships mean more than the preservation of precious affordable housing; the conglomerations bring community together. The Grand Re-Opening of Park Eden is authentication of that statement. Representatives from the local level to the national level were together to not only celebrate the transformation of 176 affordable housing units but to recognize the significance of CMHA’s reimagined affordable housing. City of Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval attended and said, “This kind of game changing progress doesn’t just happen on its own. Greg and the hard working people at CMHA are implementing a bold vision to ensure that residents and neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati have real access to places they can be proud of, places they can trust, that they don’t have to worry so much that they can focus on enriching life for themselves and their families.” Mr. Alex Scharfetter, District Director for U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup also joined the reopening. He shared a letter on behalf of the Congressman that stated, “Your organization has set the standard for what should be done throughout the country.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is more than a funder for housing authorities, HUD is a very significant partner. Mr. James Cunningham is the HUD Region 5 Administrator and he shared that there is a $30 billion backlog in capital needs across the country. The Rental Assistance Demonstration was created to give housing authorities a new tool to leverage funds with different sources to restore aging housing stock. Mr. Cunningham went on to state, “We cannot afford to lose the affordable housing we have. So this Park Eden preservation through the HUD RAD program is incredibly important.”
Our housing advocacy partners participated in the celebration as well. Ms. Kristen Baker, Executive Director of LISC Greater Cincinnati provided, “CMHA owns over 4000 properties in our county. They are an important partner and it’s important for us to remember that every single one of those units is necessary to the success of our region.” We also received encouraging messages from Ms. Rosalind Fultz Constituent Liaison to Congressman Steve Chabot, State Representative Catherine Ingram, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus, City of Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Wallick Construction Senior Vice President Bill Hinga, OHFA Director of Legislative Affairs Guy Ford, OCCH VP of Development Annie Ross, Lument Senior Analyst Joseph Hague, and Director of the Connected Region at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Pete Metz. We also secured a special partnership with ArtWorks for the Roots of Walnut Hills. That is the beautiful mural that was created and painted by a talented team of artists. ArtWorks’ Senior Director of Impact Sydney Fine spoke at the reopening and several of the artists attended as well.
Transformations like what has taken place at Park Eden, Pinecrest, Sutter View and The Evanston are great for the residents, our staff, the organization and the community. We could not carry out our Mission without strong partnerships. We have checked all the boxes with these projects. Residents were provided a beautiful place to stay, jobs were created along with opportunities for Section 3, MBE and WBE businesses. Record numbers of dollars were spent with those businesses. Park Eden’s preservation added up to approximately $35 million in our billion-dollar transformation.
Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff who worked on the renovation and Grand Re-Opening of Park Eden. And a thank you to the residents for living through the construction and for participating in the renovation plans. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority is Re-Imagining Affordable Housing.
Gregory D. Johnson, MS, EDEP, PHM
Chief Executive Officer