Community makeover hits Roselawn site. `Wasn't there 24 hours ago.'


The Rev. Damon Lynch III, the pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church, walked around the church’s 22-acre grounds Thursday afternoon and repeated the same phrase.

“That privacy fence, that wasn’t there 24 hours ago,” he said.

“That mural, that wasn’t there 24 hours ago.”

“Those trees, they weren’t there 24 hours ago.”

The reason for the transformation was the 400 volunteers from several Cincinnati companies who descended Thursday on the New Prospect building and grounds in Roselawn for the Community Makeover organized by the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund and Procter & Gamble, the latter supplying 300 of the volunteers.

Two years of planning and six months of physical work on the grounds and 90,000-square-foot building set the table for volunteers.

“Tremendous, awesome,” Lynch said. “This is the strength of the community. They partnered with us, and we are years ahead of where we would have been, instead of scattering their effort with minimal results.

Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund, said the project was valued at $600,000 of goods and in-kind services.

“But that doesn’t begin to account for all of the hours of planning and the volunteer hours today and leading up to today,” he said.

This Community Makeover is the ninth orchestrated by the Reds-P&G partnership. In 2013, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden joined because the project at Hirsch Recreation Center and Gabriel’s Place was in their home neighborhood, Avondale.

Along the way, still other companies joined the Reds and P&G: the Kroger Co., Interact for Health, General Electric, OneSource (formerly ReSource) and the Cincinnati Community ToolBank, the last a nonprofit tool-lending program. About 80 ToolBank volunteers worked on the lower-level rooms in a day-long outing June 22 at New Prospect.

After an Enquirer story about the New Prospect makeover published on July 2, Duke Energy and Mayerson JCC jumped in.

Good thing. “We knew going in that this was going to be the most ambitious makeover, without a close second,” Frank said.

Michelle Hopkins, Senior Specialist in Community Relations at Children’s, showed off the teen room on the lower level that about 50 hospital volunteers worked on for several months.

“It’s new life, rejuvenation,” she said. “It’s something for them that wasn’t here before.”

Kroger is installing a kitchen with a pizza oven.

Upstairs, on the third floor, General Electric employees were making sure computers were up and running in the Makerspace, which includes a pair of three-dimensional printers.

Below the main church grounds, near the Mill Creek, zoo employees volunteered to build a campground, firepit and an amphitheater carved into a hillside. The firepit and amphitheater required 32 log benches and 75 tons of stone.

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