Walnut Hills has the distinction of being one of Cincinnati, Ohio’s most historic and culture-rich communities. While it in the past was a prosperous locale, it currently is full of tumbledown structures. Many of its former residents left it for the suburbs. In 1977, a Walnut Hills firehouse was left in flames due to a fire, bizarrely enough. When this happened, the building was simply deserted and never rebuilt.
Kent Hardman, however, saw an opportunity with the building. The developer negotiated with the city and bought the old firehouse for a mere dollar. The firehouse was full of major problems and therefore was in no way an attractive buy. Part of the building didn’t have a roof, for example. Hardman put a lot of money into the building, however, and currently lives on its upper floor — a loft.
He also transformed the first floor into a pizza restaurant — Firesize Pizza Walnut Hills. Although Hardman changed much about the building, several things remain intact including some fireman lockers and some beams. These elements give the structure a lovely combination of history and contemporary convenience. Hardman doesn’t expect to make significant amounts of money from his work.
Despite that, he does wish for it to give the failing community a major boost. Although Walnut Hill’s old firehouse was for decades a sad reminder of what the neighborhood was before, it now has a great opportunity to change things for the better. Walnut Hills was a success before and could be one yet again.