Meet the pied piper of Kennedy Heights: Joshua Swain.
It didn’t take long for Joshua to become an advocate for all things Kennedy Heights. It was 1981 when he moved to McHugh Place. Josh soon got involved in the affairs of the community, partly due to June Alexander’s urging. Kroger was preparing to build a store at the corner of Montgomery Rd. and Kennedy (the present site of the Cultural Arts Campus). The residents of McHugh Place, particularly, were not ready to have Kroger as a neighbor. Several of them were vocal in their opposition and were able to get Kroger executives to listen to their demands. Ultimately, the grocery was built but was only open a few years.
Mr. Swain has been the President of the Community Council. One of the programs in force during that time was the Citizens on Patrol. Residents were trained how to have a presence in the community to minimize crime. He was active in that program not only because he believed in it but because he wanted to know how to build an effective program.
Josh did not hesitate to speak to Mayor Charlie Luken to learn how Kennedy Heights, a middle class neighborhood, could obtain funds for community development. He was successful in that endeavor. He realized he could be the spokesperson for our community at the city level. Josh earned the respect of City officials and is recognized as a valuable link between the City and our community. For a significant amount of years, he has been and continues to be present in many meetings on several committees and advisory boards, ensuring that Kennedy Heights benefits from programs and funds that were/are in development. He has been a fixture at City Hall in these efforts.
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Cincinnati Business District (CBD) United and Neighborhood Support Program (NSP) are some of the groups he has been involved in. Our community has a significant history of winning awards in Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, thanks to Mimi Gingold and Joanie Weidner. Josh is active with Cincinnati Business District United which is an advisory group for development corporations such as our Kennedy Heights Development Corporation (KHDC) and a member of the NSP Board, which has awarded funds to neighborhoods in the past and, recently, has again begun to award funds. Sr. Carren Herring is currently in charge of our community’s efforts in obtaining funds. His efforts have been instrumental in keeping our community ‘in the know’ building and maintaining awareness of Kennedy Heights Community Council and our Development Corporation.
Joshua is glad that a Community Plan was developed with leadership by Ernie Barbeau and help from Clete Benken and many other neighbors which has been instrumental in seeing that monies can be handled and properly spent with the Development Corporation.
Mr. Swain would like others to carry on the tradition of attending these city groups so that Kennedy Heights continues to be represented. The CBD United listens to presentations of neighborhoods. Board members then travel by bus to all the neighborhoods to see the projects regarding the requested monies. They also see projects that have been completed. If anyone is interested in following in Joshua’s footsteps, please call him at 631-7281.
Josh describes KH as a viable neighborhood with an active Community Council, excellent parks, the KH Arts Center, the new Cultural Arts Campus, churches and schools, everything that a family would like have. He would be delighted to show the neighborhood to interested parties and welcome them as residents.
To those who are new to the community he offers “Please join the Kennedy Heights Community Council, learn what is happening. You’ll then be in the know and can affect what programs are developed.”
Some hopes he has for Kennedy Heights are that streets are repaired and more houses are fixed up, resulting in proud homeowners. He would like to see the Citizens On Patrol organized again.
Interviewed by Christine Schumacher
October 13, 2015
Presented to KHCC, October 20, 2015