It’s About Economics: Strengthening Cincinnati’s Urban Core

Photography by Daniel Smyth

For Darrick Dansby, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker and urban core enthusiast, it comes down to economics. Helping families and individuals find their dream home inspires him, but his understanding that economics is the true engine to strengthen Cincinnati fuels his overall vision.

Dansby, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Cincinnati, gravitated to the needs of the underserved. He began this journey as program director at Uptown Youth Initiative before becoming president and executive director of SmartMoney Community Services.

In 2006, he served as the Over-the-Rhine director of development for Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC).

“At the time it was a pipe dream,” Dansby says. “No one would believe that it would transform to what it is today. I tried to convince people to invest, but many were scared of the area. Now it’s the hottest place in the tri-state. Ten years ago you would have never thought that.”

As the executive director of the CityLink Center, a faith-based nonprofit collaboration between local churches and non profit agencies, Dansby helped complete the architectural drawings for a community center and one-stop shop for social service education. Most recently, his efforts as director of real estate development for Price Hill Will, an organization dedicated to physical revitalization of Lower, East and West Price Hill, led the completion of 10 housing units that helped to transform the neighborhood and reduce blight.

Now, as a fulltime Realtor, Dansby combines his experience and drive to find his clients’ dream homes and build a stronger Cincinnati urban core. “My passion for finding their dream homes centers around my passion for the belief that we can redevelop these neighborhoods in our urban core in the city of Cincinnati, and really bring Cincinnati back to the city it used to be, with strong and thriving neighborhoods.”

Dansby is not one to theorize about change, as his career so far proves. He believes in taking action, even if that involves risk. “Cincinnati has beautiful homes that have been neglected for too long. The situation is that the amount of money it will cost during the re-

hab is higher than what you would get for the sale. So you have to have folks like the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati and other neighborhood based community development corporations, who are willing to say that they will go ahead and do this knowing that they will take a loss for the first few houses. Down the road, they will not only get their money back, but they will see revitalization of this area.

“At the end of the day,” he continues, “strengthening your region is about economics. The strength of the region is only as strong as the housing base is. If you have a higher tax base, you have safer neighborhoods. If you have safer neighborhoods and a higher tax base, you have better schools. If you have better schools then you have a stronger workforce. If you have a stronger workforce then you have a stronger corporate community, which means that you are able to recycle those dollars within the city that you are trying to help. In the long run you make the entire region a more attractive place to live and visit.”

Well said – and well done.