Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, October 03, 2011

Candidate blog series: Sarah Allan, Ward 1 (D)

Education: BA, English/Sociology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
MBA in Economic Development from Eastern University, Philadelphia, PA

Current Employment: Community Development Specialist at the Center for Great Neighborhoods (Covington, KY), Adjunct Professor in the Urban Studies Department at Eastern University

Experience: 15 years in the Community/Economic Development field

While I have lived the majority of my life in Cincinnati, I moved away in 1992 to go to college. In 2006, my husband and I moved back to the area from Philadelphia and bought our building in Norwood. Over the past 5 years, we have transformed the old Abrams Brake Shop on Mills Avenue into our home. While many people have wondered what in the world we are doing, most neighbors have been supportive beyond what we could have hoped for, and we are proud to call Norwood our home. [Ironically, though I never knew my dad's mother or that she had even lived in the Cincinnati area, I recently found out from my aunt, who is a genealogist, that my grandmother had lived her first 5 years in Norwood on Mills Avenue! Needless to say, I was moved and excited to find out about this connection.]

You might be wondering what I do all day at work: What does community development mean? Simply put, community development develops communities by making them stable, strong and livable. It works on the quality of life in a community through building/rehabbing housing, fostering new businesses, working on zoning issues, etc. In addition, my job involves working very closely with city governments to get many of these things done, which means I have a vast understanding of how government functions, what makes for good policy, and how to best use federal and state funds.

While my husband and I have lived in various urban centers around the world (from as far away as Cairo, Egypt to as close as Philly), we chose to settle in Norwood because we believe it is a special place. From its long history as one of Cincinnati's first "suburbs" to its reinventing itself after the GM plant closed, Norwood has shown that it is a strong community, and it has all of the elements that make a good urban place where people want to both stay and live--friendly neighbors, walkability, proximity to job centers, etc. In order to keep Norwood strong, we must not only maintain but enhance these assets. When I was asked by Keith Moore (who is the current Ward 1 leader and who is now running for Councilman-at-Large) to run as Ward Leader for Norwood, it seemed like a natural fit-- I am excited to put my skills to use in the community where I live.

When elected as Ward 1 leader, I will work to make Norwood an even more successful city. While we are already doing many things right, we could be doing more; let's continue to build on the great strides that the mayor and council have already made. I will work to keep Norwood a great place to raise a family, foster new businesses and jobs, promote quality schools, encourage attractive and safe housing, find solutions on renovating homes that are vacant or rundown, make sure that landlords are caring properly for their properties, and look for resources to upgrade and promote our parks and public spaces. My job is to make sure that all of these things happen by using your tax dollars in a responsible way that reduces the deficit while still getting the needed services. While that's not an easy task in this current economic climate, I believe it is possible but only with your help. If elected, I will be the rep for Ward 1, but its the residents' ideas, hopes, and energy that already have and will continue to make Norwood great.

I am excited to be a public servant and will work hard to keep Norwood the great community that it already is, while looking towards the future on what more it can be. Please remember to vote Allan for Ward 1 as well as the rest of my Democratic colleagues on November 8th! See for more info on all the candidates.

Sarah Allan
Ward 1 Council Candidate