By Chris Gilmore
It is safe to say that given the common lifestyles of children, at least once in our lifetime we have all experienced an injury that requires the help of a Band-Aid. This will help stop any bleeding and will also protect the injury from infection by blocking out dirt and bacteria. Furthermore, you are taught to keep the Band-Aid on until the abrasion or gash is sealed. However, there comes a point when you must remove the Band-Aid. Often though, people will leave Band-Aids on because they either forget that they’re there, they don’t want to feel the sharp pain of ripping it off, or because they are afraid to see the scar that lies beneath. This is a problem because it gives the child the idea that the Band-Aid is actually still needed, when in reality they are simply just covering up what had happened and not fully moving past the injury.
I would like to make the claim that the redevelopment within Over-the-Rhine has been applying Band-Aid’s to the neighborhood’s buildings, but not carefully removing them when the time is appropriate. In the early 2000’s, over fifty percent of OTR’s buildings had deep lacerations and were in desperate need of attention and care. Different organizations, like 3CDC, came to the neighborhood and began to bandage all of OTR’s structural injuries. However, many of the Band-Aids used were bright and shiny, with what seemed to be an extra sticky adhesive. Some people began to prefer viewing the colorful Band-Aids covered with flowers, as opposed to what the Band-Aids were supposed to be fixing. Maybe the organizations believe that they are protecting the buildings from further impurities by blocking out certain things. As a consequence, the Band-Aids are being left on the buildings, only hiding the underlying problem and pretending like it never existed in the first place.
The buildings of Over-the-Rhine are very old. They have seen and done a lot in their day, but they have always maintained their one true characteristic: their authenticity, particularly, their authenticity in relationship to who they serve. Their authenticity is literally built into them and cannot be taken away, but it can be covered up. It is important for Over-the-Rhine and its organizations to not lose sight of why the buildings are there and what their true purpose is within the community. It’s time to take the Band-Aids off.