A "Blast From the Past" as we prepare to celebrate WIN's 35th Anniversary ...
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Blast From the Past #1: 
(1992, Northside) Firtree Court

Taking Back the Land
Firtree Court was 15-parcels of vacant land - overgrown, littered and blighted. The site, which had once been a community of single-family homes, was purchased by the State of Ohio in 1972 and razed to make way for the Colerain Modified Expressway. Two decades later the expressway plan had been scrapped, with exception to a portion of the project called the Colerain Connector. Firtree Court remained vacant land which had become “a symbol of stagnation”, according to a local reporter. 

Throughout these years a woman named Mary Jackson, whose Firtree Court home had been demolished, persistently championed the rebirth of housing on her street. WIN worked with Mary and Firtree Court Civic Association President Cliff Slaughter towards achieving community victory. 

(Above, left to right: Sister Barbara Busch, Ray Schumaker, Mary Jackson, Carrie Johnson, Marilyn Evans, Sister Judith Martinez, Carrie Cornist.)

From Highway to Homes
Together with Northside Community Council, WIN and the Firtree Court Civic Association, a Coalition Against the Colerain Connector (CACC) was formed. CACC gained the attention of State Representative William Mallory who said, “It is time to take back the land.”  Finally, after decades of debate, the connector project was halted and the Firtree Court land was donated to WIN. 

WIN developed the land at Firtree Court to build 14 energy-efficient homes geared to young buyers. The homes were sold at $47,000 for 1,000 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and an unfinished Basement. 50 low and moderate-income families applied for the homes; those selected received a 7.75% fixed rate mortgage from Provident Bank.

Before There Was “Green”
At a time when only Kermit the Frog knew about “being green”, Working In Neighborhoods had its own Energy Savings Solutions division and distributed compact fluorescent light bulbs to homeowners. WIN led the charge for energy-efficient housing; the Firtree homes provided low to moderate income families with a 30-45% savings on gas and electric bills. The green features included: Highly-insulated walls made with foam core panels, Fluorescent wiring, and hot water heating. These features meant a family making $16,000-$21,000 a year would pay $150 or less on annual heating costs.

Firtree Court is a quiet, safe and close community of homeowners. Ultimately the project encouraged redevelopment in Northside, a neighborhood which had been experiencing disinvestment for many years, now a popular destination for many young home-buyers. As Sister Judy Martinez told the Cincinnati Post in 1993 “Our priority has been to build quality, affordable housing in order to help revitalize and stabilize the community.” Today, WIN continues to organize, revitalize and stabilize communities.

- Samantha Brockfield 

WIN's 35 years: Empowering Residents, Revitalizing Communities

Leading up to WIN's 35th Anniversary Celebration, we would like to share the following new features with WIN supporters:

Blasts from the Past

There will be 4-5 blasts leading up to WIN's November 12 Celebration. These will include:
  • Powerful stories from the WIN history books 
  • Fun facts you probably didn't know about WIN
  • and treasures from the media archives. 

Flashback Fridays

Each Friday on WIN's Facebook page, revisit moments from throughout WIN's 35 Years in a snapshot. 

Did You Know ... ?

  • WIN had a Job$ Co-Op that put people to work in their own communities. The Janitorial co-op successfully contracted with local child care centers.
Click here to see the 1983 issue of “cityWINdows”.

For more information on WIN's 35th Anniversary Celebration, visit
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