Sunday, March 7, 2004

Addyston mayor: Let's clean this up

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

This vacant house on Sekitan Street is typical of those targeted by Addyston's new mayor for repair or demolition.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/GLENN HARTONG

ADDYSTON - This hilly Ohio River town, its streets lined by old Sears, Roebuck houses on 40-foot lots, is trying to turn things around.

Addyston, population about 1,000, has not been a bastion of new development in recent years.

Four decades ago, the village had seven churches and seven saloons. Most of the churches remain, but Addyston has only one bar - the Shamrock Inn - and no restaurants.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, once a popular gathering place that gave the town a sense of pride, is falling apart. Many homes are rented instead of owned.

But the village's new mayor is looking for change.

"I want to make very clear to the neighbors that we're not going to tolerate people throwing junk in their yards," said Mayor Dan Pillow, who assumed the post in January. "We're trying to set a good example by getting our act together - getting streets cleaned up, getting property we own in better shape. We're trying to bring some pride back to the community."

Pillow blames the town's deterioration on a lack of pride by residents and a lack of enforcement by local government.

But even in the two months since he took office, residents see a new energy in Addyston.

Rumpke trucks will be visiting the town in April for residents to take garbage out of their yards at the village's expense. Village leaders hope to have another cleanup in the fall.

Residents are encouraged to rehabilitate houses with help in finding low-interest loans.

The village is planning to tear down a half-dozen houses that are beyond repair.

And near Muddy Creek, the village is hoping to convert a quarter-mile frontage on U.S. 50 from unused wooded land into a park.

"We're trying to push people to clean up their houses," said Joe Getz, the village's building inspector and a lifelong resident.

Charlie Fleihman has been rehabbing the five homes he owns in the village with the hope of renting them.

"Addyston is such a great community, but it's not what it used to be," Fleihman said. "With (the new mayor), it just seems like everyone is becoming a family and trying to pull together."


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