Neighborhood Revitalization

Middle NeighborhoodsShaker SquareSidaway Bridge

Middle Neighborhoods Initiative

Our mission is to foster equitable revitalization in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. We aim to enhance their economic success and appeal for both current residents and future generations. Our commitment extends to neighborhoods such as North Collinwood, Lee/Harvard, Jefferson Puritas, Westpark, Old Brooklyn, and Euclid-Green, recognizing the pivotal role they play in shaping the city’s landscape as middle neighborhoods. Through strategic initiatives and collaborative partnerships, we are creating sustainable solutions that uplift these neighborhoods and empower residents to thrive.

The Middle Neighborhoods Initiative (MNI) seeks to dramatically impact the economic opportunities available to residents of Cleveland. This multi-pronged strategy will focus on stabilizing housing markets and commercial districts in Cleveland’s middle neighborhoods. Cleveland’s middle neighborhoods face a unique challenge: they do not get the attention of “hot” real estate markets, where the housing market is healthy, nor are they often eligible for large public investments like disinvested neighborhoods that need massive intervention to change unhealthy market conditions. 

The Middle Neighborhoods Initiative will acquire and rehabilitate approximately 200 homes and provide commercial property and business owners with white box and storefront renovation funding in six of Cleveland’s middle neighborhoods.  This investment is likely the largest targeted strategy in middle neighborhoods in the United States. 

Shaker Square

Shaker Square, a historic commercial and cultural hub in Cleveland, Ohio, has been an integral part of the city’s landscape for nearly a century. Originally established in 1929 as one of the nation’s pioneering shopping centers and a nexus for public transit, it has remained a cherished landmark and communal gathering space, boasting distinctive architecture and undeniable allure. Despite its illustrious past, Shaker Square has faced periods of neglect and financial turmoil, prompting the need for comprehensive revitalization efforts. In response, community leaders initiated the “This is Shaker Square” planning study in 2019 to envision a brighter future for the square’s public space. However, challenges such as financial issues and foreclosure hindered the plan’s progress, necessitating a fresh approach to address the Square’s long-term viability.

To embark on this transformative journey, a new planning study is imperative, one that builds upon Shaker Square’s legacy while rectifying the shortcomings of previous endeavors. This study aims to craft a holistic and inclusive vision that resonates with the community’s values and aspirations. Key considerations include determining the optimal tenant mix, maximizing development potential, and fostering seamless integration with surrounding neighborhoods. Led by seasoned urban planning experts and bolstered by robust community engagement, the study will chart a sustainable path forward for Shaker Square, ensuring its continued relevance and vibrancy for generations to come. Through collective visioning and proactive engagement, Shaker Square is poised to reclaim its status as a thriving epicenter of commerce, culture, and community in Cleveland.

Sidaway Bridge

The Sidaway Bridge in Cleveland has a rich history dating back to its original construction as a wooden bridge in 1909. Replaced with a steel suspension structure in 1929, it has since become the only suspension bridge in Ohio and holds significant historical landmark status. In the 1960s, the bridge became a symbol of racial tension as it connected the predominantly black neighborhood of Kinsman with the predominantly white community of Slavic Village. During this time, houses were demolished to make way for public housing on the Kinsman side, and black children were allowed to cross the bridge to attend schools in white neighborhoods. The bridge played a central role in the racial divide of Cleveland, especially during the 1966 Hough riots, and has remained closed since then, serving as a poignant reminder of the city’s turbulent past.

In recent years, efforts have been made to refurbish the Sidaway Bridge and transform it into a symbol of unity and progress for the community. Community Development Corporations (CDCs) like Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, led by Joy Johnson, and Slavic Village Development, led by Chris Alvarado, have recognized the bridge’s potential as a catalyst for positive change. Through neighborhood planning processes and highlighting the need for more recreational green space, these organizations have outlined a vision for the vacant land surrounding the bridge. With its designation as a National Register of Historic Places in 2022 and landmark status in Ward 5 in 2023, the Sidaway Bridge now presents opportunities for federal funding to support its restoration and revitalization efforts, symbolizing a hopeful future of unity and collaboration in Cleveland’s neighborhoods.

Learn more about the history of the Sidaway Bridge:
Sidaway Bridge nominated for landmark status, raising hopes for redevelopment and green space. – The Land
A historic Cleveland bridge remains suspended in time. – Ideastream Public Media

Updated: February, 2024