LOWER PRICE HILL, Ohio (Joe Webb) - A 90-day blitz to clean up Lower Price Hill is wrapping up this week, but work on one of the city's poorest neighborhoods will go on all summer.
On Thursday, people in Lower Price Hill celebrated what may seem like a small thing to many, but is a game changer. They cut the ribbon on a new laundromat.
90 percent of the people in Lower Price Hill rent, and most don't have laundries in their buildings.
Many had to take their dirty clothes on the bus to wash them. No more.
It's just one of many things happening to help break the cycle of poverty in one of Cincinnati's poorest neighborhoods.
They cut the ribbon on Thursday on what they are calling a "social enterprise."
The Washing Well is a non-profit laundromat run by "Community Matters."
With grants from Impact 100 and Procter & Gamble, they were able to build a first class laundromat that will give two locals a job and an entire neighborhood a break.
"If you have to take your laundry outside the community it adds an extra cost, so just on the laundry affordability front it helps families with their monthly budget," said Vice President of Community Matters Mary Delaney.
On the heels of the city's 90-day blitz to clean up the neighborhood, the Washing Well also turned a vacant eyesore back into a community asset.
For most of its life, the corner of Neave was the Riesser Drugstore.
The Riesser girls were back on Thursday and thrilled that the place their father and grandfather worked was brought back to life in sych a helpful way.
"I just feel like they're still living through this building," said Josalyn Riesser Koopman, who worked at Riesser Pharmacy.
The Washing Well is just the first of many projects targeting Lower Price Hill.
In July, 300 volunteers from the Reds Community Fund, P&G and the zoo will hold their Annual Community Makeover there.
This vacant lot, a half block from The Washing Well, will become a community garden.
They will bring new life to Evans Fields. They will also bring new life to the old Espy Boys and Girls Club on Glenway.
"We're working with them to renovate that as part of our July 28th makeover and Santa Maria Community Services will be moving into that new space," said Executive Director of the Reds Community Fund Charley Frank.
A lot is going on and a lot more work is to be done, but they are making progress.
"We still have one of the highest poverty rates in Cincinnati and one of the lowest life-expectancy rates in Cincinnati and people are ready to change that," said Charley Frank.
The laundry is now open. It will also serve as a community meeting place.
The goal is to eventually turn it into a worker-owned cooperative that sustains itself.
A lot of work ahead for the people of Lower Price Hill, but lots of steps forward this spring and summer.
The laundry is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
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