Cincinnati casino helps transform neighborhood

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CINCINNATI (AP) — The surrounding neighborhood of the $400 million Cincinnati casino has seen less crime and a host of improvements ahead of the facility's opening in three weeks.

The two-story, 400,000-square-foot casino sits on what used to be a shabby-looking surface parking lot on the edge of downtown Cincinnati. It's in a small but artsy neighborhood known as Pendleton.

Since the casino broke ground almost two years ago, more than $22.9 million has gone toward widening streets, replacing busted sidewalks, planting trees, improving lighting, installing public art and creating a large, grassy plaza for live events.

Statistics from Cincinnati police show that crime in the neighborhood has dropped 34 percent — from 212 crimes in 2011 to 141 crimes last year.

The facility is the last of four voter-approved casinos to open.

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