Demolition of Vacant Lincoln Heights High School Unlocks Continued Revitalization of The Village


October 23, 2023 

Demolition of Vacant Lincoln Heights High School Unlocks Continued Revitalization of The Village

Leveling of blighted school to position Lindy Ave. as a future economic artery in the community.

Cincinnati, OH, October 23, 2023 – After years of sitting vacant with asbestos and other hazardous materials, demolition began today to tear down the former Lincoln Heights High School and make way for future development.

At a news conference in front of the abandoned high school Monday morning, The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (The Port) and the Village of Lincoln Heights were joined by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, State Senator Catherine Ingram, the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Hamilton County Commissioners, school alums, and community members to acknowledge this pivotal turning point in the recent and future growth of Lincoln Heights.

“Today, a piece of our history is being removed, but tomorrow, our future shines bright in the Village of Lincoln Heights," said Mayor Ruby Kinsey-Mumphrey.

The former Lincoln Heights High School was donated to the Village by a private owner. Still, the municipality experienced challenges establishing funding to redevelop the school due to the high costs of cleaning up interior contamination. The high school property and adjacent privately owned Lincoln Heights Elementary School are the two largest development sites in the Village. As the geographic center of the jurisdiction, the site has been a critical focus of Village leadership for decades.

“While we are saddened by the removal of a once great building, we are excited regarding the endless possibilities its removal will bring,” said Harry Holbert, Village Manager of Lincoln Heights. “We know none of this would be possible without the great relations we have formed and are grateful for all who have helped make this event happen!”

On behalf of Lincoln Heights, The Port applied for and received funding from the Ohio Department of Development’s Building Demolition and Site Revitalization program to support this major economic development initiative. With a 25 percent match from the Hamilton County Commission, a path emerged to demolish the high school and prepare for future growth opportunities.

“Lincoln Heights High School is the perfect example of why we launched the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program within the Department of Development,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “For decades, this dangerous and dilapidated building has been standing in the way of new economic development. Today’s demolition will transform this community, opening Lincoln Heights for many new and exciting opportunities.”

“One Hamilton County was the theme to my State of the County Address, meaning that no township, city, or village is left behind,” said Commission President Alicia Reece. “The County’s one-million-dollar Impact Grant to Lincoln Heights was intended to fund these types of transformational improvements to drive economic development in the heart of the Village. Leveraging our funding to demolish the long-forgotten high school as well as make critical street upgrades and improvements to Memorial Field is erasing decades of disinvestment and abandonment.”

Work first began in Summer 2023 to begin clearing asbestos and other hazardous materials that existed in the structure. With the cleanup now complete, work began today to tear the building down. O’Rourke Wrecking Company managed the environmental cleanup and is managing the demolition.

“We appreciate the confidence and trust the Village of Lincoln Heights and The Port has placed in us for the safe revitalization of this site,” said Michele O’Rourke, CEO of O’Rourke Wrecking Company. “With asbestos removal complete, we move onto the demolition phase of the project, which will make way for future development. Congratulations to all the civic leaders represented here today and to the community as a whole.”

While demolition is a sign of forward progress, it was important for all parties involved to acknowledge the symbolism this building provided for the community in the past. O’Rourke preserved bricks from the school to provide as keepsakes to former students and residents.

In addition to the high school demolition, The Port has partnered with the Village of Lincoln Heights on other economic development initiatives. The Port and the Village entered an MOU in February 2022 to develop additional housing and partner on other avenues of bringing vibrancy to the area, including creating a broadband “smart village” and assisting with code remediations and repairs.

“Each of these projects signifies perfect alignment among The Port, the Village, the County, and State resources, setting the stage for new growth in one of the nation’s oldest historically Black self-governing communities,” said Philip Denning, Executive Vice President at The Port. “The Port is happy to partner with the Village to build a stronger community for all its residents and visitors.”

Demolition of the former Lincoln Heights High School is expected to conclude within two weeks. It will take another four weeks for the site to be cleared. The Village continues to work through redevelopment plans for what comes next to Lindy Ave.


About The Port:

The Port was formed in 2001 to stimulate the growth of the regional economy. Partnering with the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Port works to redevelop manufacturing and residential communities to build the foundation of job creation and livable, viable communities where residents can experience economic prosperity. For additional information, please visit

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