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Residents take back neighborhood park

KENNEDY HEIGHTS, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- A quiet neighborhood rocked by several murders last year had a choice. Do nothing or take a stand. People there chose the latter, and it's paid off.

Kennedy Heights Park is full. The band is playing and children are enjoying an evening out.

A young girl, Tarah Cave said she was at the park, "because since I was doing well in school my mom suggested I could come."

This is the last day of the year for 'play in the park', an event that was organized by members of the community who wanted to give families something positive to do.

Paul Zlatic of Pleasant Ridge said, "We've been residents of Pleasant Ridge for a few years and there were some things at the park that were not the best of things. We had some community members that wanted to support the place. We've probably been here about six or seven times throughout the summer, just to be a presence here"

The park has undergone a makeover of sorts. Last year, a man who murdered in the park during a double shooting, and that had a lot of families on edge.

Cincinnati Police Captain Jeff Butler said, "about 15 months ago where we're standing we had a homicide. About a week later, we had one 50 to 75 yards from here. The residents didn't want to be in the park. They were afraid of the danger."

What followed was a community rallying, telling criminals through a strong presence that the park belongs to families.

Community organizer Susan Wade Murphy and others started play in park last year and continued it this year with activities for kids, food and fun.

People who live in Kennedy Heights and other neighboring communities say the turnaround in the park is a good example of people not giving up to crime.

"When you have great people like Kennedy Heights and Pleasant Ridge that are together and stand up and say 'no. this is home and no one is going to tread in my yard.' That's what they've done. They've reinvigorated the community," said Captain Butler.

"I think in Kennedy Heights and Pleasant Ridge you have people that intentionally move here to be a part of the community," said Zlatic. "When something bad happens, you respond with positive things."

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