Spring Grove Village could soon become Cincinnati's newest neighborhood. No, that won't take the count to 53 neighborhoods in the city; it will stay at 52 if Winton Place residents vote to change the name of their community. The Winton Place Community Council recently mailed postcard ballots to residents, asking them to vote on changing the name. Why? "The purpose is to better differentiate our great neighborhood from the larger area of all things Winton, whose name frequently has a negative connotation in the city," the postcard says.
"This to me is just outrageous," says Mary-Jane Newborn, a Winton Place resident and community council board member. "It's to try to build an invisible wall between us and Winton Terrace."
Newborn believes the name change is racially motivated. While Winton Place is a diverse neighborhood, but most Winton Terrace residents are African Americans. But that analysis is nonsense, according to City Councilman Chris Monzel, a resident in favor of the change.
"I think that's people trying to stir up a fight where there isn't one," Monzel says. "You have black and white people voting to change it."
The proposed name change is a positive step, he says, not a withdrawal from anything.
"For us we're trying to establish an identity," Monzel says. "This has more to do with marketing who we are and trying to build on that history that we have. When people ask me where I live and I say Winton Place, they say, 'Where is that?' I say, 'Next to Spring Grove Cemetery.' Everybody knows where Spring Grove Cemetery is."
Winton Place incorporated in 1882 and was annexed to Cincinnati in 1903. One proposal pondered by the community council last month was Hanaford Place.
"Because the architect Samuel Hanaford lived here and there are a number of his designed buildings here," Newborn says. "Spring Grove was the original name, like in the early 1800s."
Before 1841 the area was known as the Mill Creek Township Farm, owned by Matthew Winton, who clashed with the law on a regular basis over his sale of illegal whiskey at his tavern on Third Street, Monzel says.
The community council planned to count ballots on the name change Nov. 14.
The tabulation of absentee ballots in last week's election confirmed Ben L. Kaufman's suspicion (see "Voting in Spite of It All," issue of Nov. 8). After the debacles in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 raised new doubts, conservative Hamilton County Republicans apparently shared his anxiety and voted absentee for the Nov. 7 election. The board of elections said 18,981 absentees voted for Blackwell, while 19,461 voted for Strickland; 20,055 voted for DeWine, while 19,349 voted for Brown. That's a lot of GOP skeptics.
New Candidates and Budgets
Greg Harris plans to run for city council next year. The progressive Democrat, who challenged U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) in 2002 and 2004, has been meeting with labor groups to build support.
"My priorities include leveraging Cincinnati's existing assets," he says. "I would love for Cincinnati to become one of the greenest cities in America, including more brownfields re-development and connecting Cincinnati's core to our region's network of recreation trails. I think the Freedom Center can be better utilized to catapult Cincinnati as a heritage tourism hub that allows for immersion into the history of abolitionism and the Underground Railroad but also a site for the ongoing fight for human rights. I would love, for instance, to see an annual African American Theater Festival on the riverfront devoted to these themes. I also see a strong need to create a seamless public transit grid to unify and support the emergence of a central entertainment corridor that unifies The Banks, downtown, Over-the-Rhine, UC, Clifton, Northside, etc."
Meanwhile, the city is set to begin debating how to make do with less. City Manager Milton Dohoney's first proposed budget calls for less of everything except cops. The proposal, released Nov. 13, includes closing 13 city swimming pools, eliminating two community centers and a health clinic, less frequent recycling pick-up and lower spending on social services and the arts. But the budget includes funding for 65 more police officers. Mayor Mark Mallory will hold a public forum on the budget at 6 p.m. Thursday in Room 344 of the main building at Cincinnati State College.
The chair of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission stopped by for an Election Night inspection of the Hamilton County Board of Elections as ballots were being tallied. To learn what he found and how Winton Place votes, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.
Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or pork(at)citybeat.com