Thursday, May 24, 2001

Community rallies behind CAA

Swifton facility will result in 230 new jobs

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About 200 people rallied Wednesday afternoon in celebration of the Hamilton County Community Action Agency's (CAA) purchase of the former Elder Beerman Store at Swifton Commons Mall.

        Gwen Robinson, CAA president, said the purchase will enable the agency to consolidate offices and agency services at one central Hamilton County site, as well as contribute to the revitalization of the Reading Road corridor through Bond Hill and Roselawn on either side of the commons.

        “In this bigger building we are going to be able to put 20 Head Start classes, all of our administrative offices, CAA foundation, planning and training offices and our (social service) programs,” Ms. Robinson said.

        CAA purchased the site from the Allen Temple Foundation for $600,000.        

About 230 new jobs

        When CAA moves into the building in the commons at Seymour Avenue and Reading Road late next year or early in 2003, it will bring about 230 jobs to the neighborhood.

        Ms. Robinson said the agency has sold its present office headquarters in Walnut Hills to Purcell Marian High School for construction of a football stadium.        

Wide-ranging services

        CAA, founded in 1964, provides wide-ranging services to low-income Hamilton County residents to help them improve quality of life. The agency provides social services to about 7,000 families a year and offers Head Start — a free early education program — to about 4,500 preschoolers each year.

        CAA services include community and economic development efforts, emergency rental and mortgage assistance, job readiness skills training, utility payment assistance, and weatherization — free home-improvement opportunities to conserve energy.

        Cincinnati Councilwoman Alicia Reece said the CAA purchase is part of a plan she initiated with council approval to redevelop the business district.

        In redeveloping Swifton Commons, “we are taking a diamond in the rough, polishing it off and seeing it become a shining diamond for the entire city and county,” Ms. Reece said.


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