A group of volunteers are working hard to transform one historical part of Walnut Hills from a crime ridden area into a friendly neighborhood hangout.
It's part of the 5-point alley transformation project, which is a network of alleys between Gilbert Avenue and Copelen Street. The project kicked off last weekend.
The areas have mostly been avoided by residents in recent years because of crime, and simply because it's been turned into a dumping ground.
"Actual car seats from cars... We found an old recliner. We found tires," said Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation Director Kevin Wright.
However, Wright says these five alleys are now starting to take better shape.
"The alleys at one point were the lifeblood of pedestrian connection in the neighborhood, and so, we are trying to take these problems and turn them back into what they once were, which is asset," explained Wright.
On Saturday, about 50 volunteers cleared weeds, picked up trash and filled a 40 foot dumpster in the process.
"We had weeds up here that were, no joke, about 20-30 feet tall. So the weeds had grown into trees," said Wright.
Wright says a pop-up Biergarten event, including cold drinks, music and socializing with neighbors will take place the day after each monthly clean-up.
Although, there's a much bigger plan in the works.
"We see opportunities in some of these garages back here for possible retail restaurant uses, where tables and chairs spill out onto the alley and live music is being played," he added.
Laura Davis owns a restaurant just down the road from 5-point alley. She says she's so into this project, she actually participated in the cleanup last weekend. As a long term resident of the area, she's excited to 'see' some progress.
"You know it's that iceberg idea that 90% of the work is below water, and 10% pops it's head up above and you're like oh, finally," Davis explained.
The Redevelopment Foundation is hoping small businesses and restaurant owners like Davis will catch on to the growth. Davis says for her, it already has.
"We are renting at above capacity right now. We're renovating new space to be able to get people in and it is terrific to see this neighborhood taking off," said Davis.
The Redevelopment Foundation plans to hold more cleanups throughout the summer until September. The next one is scheduled for Saturday May, 18 and the first pop up Biergarten event will be on Sunday.
For more dates on the clean up and pop up Biergarten events, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/WalnutHillsRF#!/WalnutHillsRF
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