Friday, May 04, 2001

Many in Peaselburg say enough's enough

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — As a longtime resident of the city's Peaselburg neighborhood, Linda Hugenberg can remember when a site now being considered for a jail was a playground for neighborhood children.

        “In the '50s, there were two ballparks down there and swings,” said Mrs. Hugenberg, a third-generation Peaselburg resident. “That's where all the kids would play.”

        This week, Southbank Partners proposed that same 10-acre grassy field separating Peaselburg homes from Interstate 75 become the location of a $30 million county government center and jail.

[photo] John Sams' yard overlooks a field that has been proposed as the site of a new jail in Covington.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        “If that happens, it'll be the death of a residential neighborhood,” Mrs. Hugenberg said.

        Many Peaselburg residents say the proposed jail is just the latest event to hurt their neighborhood.

        “I think it's very sad the way we are constantly having to change Peaselburg,” said Susan Ham of the Friends of Peaselburg Neighborhood Association.

        As some examples, Ms. Ham and other neighborhood residents cite:

        • Construction of Interstate 75 in the late '50s and early '60s, which essentially split the neighborhood.

        • Closing of a popular park at 19th Street and Jefferson Avenue when Glenn O. Swing School was built in 1969.

        “It's like, "What did we do to deserve this?'” Mrs. Hugenberg asked.

        “We're working to promote more pride in our neighborhood, but things like this jail proposal don't help.”

        Residents say Peaselburg is a mix of young families and older people who've lived in the neighborhood for decades.

        If built, the jail would be within four or five blocks of St. Augustine and Glenn O. Swing schools.

        The school principals are concerned about the additional traffic a jail would generate, as well as the lack of recreational opportunities for neighborhood children.

        “Truthfully, that area would be a wonderful park for our children,” said Sister Mary Lynette Shelton, St. Augustine's principal.

        “It would give our children some place to play other than in the streets.”

        Not everyone in Peaselburg is opposed to the prospect of a nearby jail.

        From his back yard, John Sams can look out on the proposed jail site.

        But the 10-year Peaselburg resident isn't worried.

        “I don't think it would be a bother to anyone, just as long as they don't destroy our properties in the construction of it,” he said.

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