Success Stories!

…but first, a bit of history.

The River West working group was founded in 2007 by a group of local residents who felt that there was tremendous untapped potential along our Riverfront. We all realized that our community existed because of the river, but this asset has been underappreciated in recent times. Through research, outreach, and public advocacy, the Working Group seeks to implement and support “transformative” public and private initiatives that can grow our community locally and regionally. Our success has been our common sense approach to investment that taps underutilized areas along the western riverfront, and by promoting the natural and historic assets that we all share.

We realized early on that the key to our success is seeking positive change through working with our established business interests, as well as providing a conduit to the local Community Councils. We are proud to have the endorsements of the local stakeholders along Cincinnati’s riverfront, and take seriously our role in being their advocates. We are proud of our accomplishments to date, and look forward to continue our work with our partners to make the riverfront fulfill its potential as a vibrant place to work, live, and play for all of our citizens.


We aren’t usually the types to sing our own praises, but for the sake of introducing who we are and what we’ve done, here’s a list of some of our accomplishments…



Rezoning Waldvogel Site – 2007/12

In 2007 residents learned that the Waldvogel site – a riverfront parcel in Lower Price Hill purchased by the city for reconstruction of the viaduct – was to be leased to a barge terminal operator. Concerned citizens gathered together to learn more about the proposal, and eventually opposed the terminal because of its requirements for heavy public subsidies and negative impact on the adjacent historic neighborhood. As part of the process, River West petitioned City Council, and ultimately won approval to rezone the site RF-R Riverfront Recreational. This zoning allows for commercial development compatible with the adjacent neighborhood, and also allows for future recreational access for this key urban gateway site. Visit the archive here. 

Waldvogel rezoning

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Lower Price Hill Working Group – Oyler Spray Ground & Metro West – 2008

We work hard to make our communities better places to live, work and learn. Visit the archive here. 

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Enerfab- 2008

River West worked with city and business interests to support the redevelopment of an empty boat storage facility into a manufacturing center. Working with representatives from the Enerfab corporation and the Riverside Community Council, the team was able to negotiate a Non-Withstanding ordinance that preserved the residential zoning of the property, while allowing Enerfab to operate on the site. The agreement also included provisions for landscaping, site maintenance, and allowed the adjacent restaurant to maintain access to an existing docking facility for its guests.


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Gilday First Responder facility – 2010

The community was approached by local governmental representatives to seek support to create a unique first responder station on the Gilday Recreation Center property. The concept was that a coalition of local agencies – Coast Guard, fire, and police departments from both Ohio and Kentucky, would jointly develop and operate a “super dock” facility that would provide immediate access to the river for law enforcement and emergencies. This will be the first facility of its kind in the county. This effort resulted in a master plan for the recreation complex that maintained and enhanced the recreation amenities for residents, while providing for the new safety facility. Funding for the complex has been approved by Homeland Security, and preliminary planning and site analysis is currently underway.

Master Plan 48x36cp.pdf

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Waldvogel Viaduct – 2010/2011

The Waldvogel Viaduct was first constructed as a “temporary” structure in the 1940s to serve as a primary access to the western suburbs. By the turn of the 21st century, the viaduct structure was in very poor condition, and considered to be one of the worst bridges in Hamilton County. Over a period of almost two years, River West hosted a series of meetings with community stakeholders to shape decisions about design elements throughout the project. The result is a $78 million dollar reconstruction project that will allow Lower Price Hill to have access to the riverfront for the first time in almost a century. Provisions have also been made for decorative structures that will create a symbolic gateway to western Hamilton County. Construction started in 2011 and River West continues its role in this project by communicating with the project management team and giving updates to local residents.

Waldvogel viaduct

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help – 2010/12

After losing one historic community church for a development that did not materialize, the residents of Sedamsville learned that Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a 19th century Cincinnati landmark, was scheduled to be torn down as a nuisance property. While the church was unused and in poor condition, the community council understood that it was an irreplaceable part of the city. River West worked with community leaders and city government to move control of the property from private ownership to The Cincinnati Preservation Association, which prompted the city to use demo funds to stabilize the structure and the roof. CPA is now actively looking for a new owner, and the community is proud to know that its centerpiece will be around for years to come.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

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Riverside History – 2011

The housing crisis has been devastating for the Western Riverfront. Many homes have a modest market value, and these values plummeted during the recession. In addition, federal dollars for demolition were focused on Cincinnati’s west side, further compounding our loss of housing stock. While most of the riverfront can be considered working class housing, this was not always the case. Nestled among the smaller frame houses from the last century, there are dozens of structures that remain from Cincinnati’s Antebellum past – when the riverfront was home to some of the wealthiest families in America. In order to bring attention to these important structures, River West researched the history of the known estates, and “discovered” additional ones through historical documents and satellite imagery. To date, four key mansions that were abandoned have been saved and are currently under restoration. A lecture series has also been developed to inform people across the region about the area’s history and significance.


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Neyer Development – 2011/12

In 2011, Neyer Inc. purchased a 40 acre parcel in the communities of Riverside and Sedamsville. This parcel is the largest vacant site in the region. Members of River West met with the developers to insure that the future development of the parcel would be compatible with the adjacent historical and residential assets in the area. The outcome of these discussions was a vibrant mixed-used plan that minimized the impact of industrial development, added a component of consumer-facing retail, and provided an easement across the site for the future Ohio River Trail. Construction for an access road to the site is currently underway, and the parcel is actively being marketed to potential businesses.

Neyer master plan

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Cincinnati Master Plan – 2011/12

The city of Cincinnati embarked on its first comprehensive master plan in 30 years to help shape public policy for future development and public investment city-wide. Members of River West sat on the Steering Committee and key focus groups during the master planning process to ensure that public policy for the next generation would favor new development along the western riverfront. The outcome of this participation is provisions in the master plan which allows for mixed uses along the river, including retail and recreational opportunities. In addition, there is a provision in the plan for a more focused planning effort to identify assets and uses specifically along the riverfront.

Cincinnati Master Plan_Page_1

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Sedamsville National Register Nomination – 2012

In order to control indiscriminate demolition in their community, the residents of Sedamsville reached out The River West Working Group and Cincinnati Preservation Association for help. The Historic village, which is nestled in a valley, dates back to the early 19th Century. Decades of neglect and slum lording have left the remaining buildings in poor condition. Residents realized that there childhood homes would be lost, and sought a way to bring attention and investment to the area. Over a period of almost two years, CPA and River West documented each structure, applied for and received both state and national recognition for this important and picturesque village. With this designation, historic buildings have been saved from nuisance proceedings. There is a new sense of neighborhood pride, and investors are beginning to consider redevelopment of the area.

Sedamsville historic

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Evans Field Renovations – 2012

The leadership of the River West Working Group have had a continuing dialogue with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission for several years. One of the key focuses of the community was to provide enhanced recreational facilities for the newly renovated and expanded Olyer School. In order to accomplish this, CRC has agreed to commit to significant renovations to the existing Evans field complex, including athletic fields, and a shelter area. River West coordinated this effort with elected officials, and also worked to incorporate additional vacant parcels into the complex. Ultimately this active recreation area will have direct access to the new Price’s Landing recreation area and the Ohio River Trail along the riverfront.

Evans Paper Layout

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Peter Cremer – 2012

Members of River West were approached by the city’s Economic Development Department regarding the sale of a 20 acre parcel in the Sedamsville and Riverside neighborhoods for use by Peter Cremer, an established industrial business in the area. The initial proposal was to erect a tank farm on the site. Local residents felt that this would be destructive to adjacent historic neighborhood, and would limit additional development potential on nearby vacant land. Working with the city and Peter Cremer, a revised plan was developed where a smaller parcel would be used for a new regional office/headquarters facility, and the office building at the existing industrial site would be raised for new tanks. In addition, an easement was provided on the north side of the property for the Western Riverwalk. With this compromise, the community has a new headquarters building with high visibility to River Road, and the business has the ability to expand and create new jobs in the area. Construction of the facility is currently underway.


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Lower Price Hill Visioning – 2012

River west was approached by leading citizens of Lower Price Hill who requested help with the Waldvogel site. After River West assisted in the process of rezoning this site, it was clear that there needed to be a vision and master plan for this key riverfront parcel. River West sought the assistance of local design associations, including the AIA’s Urban Design Committee, the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Planning Association, and Architecture for Humanity to consolidate the communities desires for the newly christened “Price’s Landing”. In May of 2012, a community Vision Session was held. Dozens of stakeholders – local residents, community groups, parks and recreation, and city administrative departments attended the session. The result was a vision document for the site that focuses on a low impact sustainable recreation area which will provide river access and regional amenities. Work is currently underway to transform this document into a comprehensive master plan for the site.

Lower Price Hill vision 2 (Custom) Lower Price Hill vision 1 (Custom)

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Joining forces with The Ohio River Trail – 2013

One of the key initiatives of the River West Working Group has been the development of the Western Riverwalk. In the spring of 2013, the River West board was approached by the leadership of the Ohio River Way, parent association of the Ohio River Trail. As this trail nears its completion on the east side of Cincinnati, it was determined that the Western Riverwalk would be the next phase of this extensive trail system. The Ohio River Trail was envisioned over a decade ago as a continuous trail on both sides of the Ohio River, stretching from Madison Indiana to Maysville Kentucky – a distance of over 200 miles. Several sections of this trail have been completed, and River West is excited and proud to have laid the groundwork for this next crucial phase of work.

Ohio River Trail (Custom)

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