Written by Keloni Parks, Branch Manager, West End Branch Library
For our twenty-third episode, we spoke with former West End resident, Herbert Winston, who lived with his family in Richmond Village (now The Arts Apartments of Music Hall) from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. During his brief time in the neighborhood, he attended St. Joseph Catholic School, and frequented LeBlond’s Boy’s Club, which was close by in Over the Rhine.
“It was a small apartment—living room, little dining room, and a bathroom and two bedrooms,” describes Winston. Richmond Village Apartments were built around the same time as nearby Park Town Cooperative Homes, and was part of the Laurel-Richmond Urban Renewal Project. It opened in 1962 and had 288 units in 24 buildings on Lincoln Park Drive (now Ezzard Charles Drive) that included free parking, and fifteen fenced playgrounds.
Originally intended for middle income families, the corporation that owned Richmond Village decided to limit the income of its residents to attract lower income families, reduce costs, and receive a lower interest rate on its mortgage. By 1963, the complex was 17% vacant, and faced foreclosure, along with another development owned by the same corporation, Fay Apartments in Cincinnati’s Westwood. In 1969, the development was repossessed by the Federal Housing Administration and placed for auction. The corporation owed the government 3.1 million dollars in unpaid principal and interest, but purportedly profited $98,055 on the apartment complex.
The complex only contains 21 buildings now that were recently renovated, and all of its rents are at 60% Area Median Income (AMI). Winston and his family moved to Mt. Healthy in the mid-seventies.
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