On a rainy Sunday in May, Dave and I went to an event in Slavic Village called Rooms to Let. Other festivals were competing for our time that weekend including the Asian Festival and Hessler Street Fair. Since we had attended both of these several times, we decided to try something different and explore a new neighborhood at the same time.
We’d tried to learn more about this area before with a street fair advertised to start at noon to late afternoon. We arrived shortly after twelve and there was only one booth set up with bottles of water. Other people were starting to set up card tables, but little else was happening. Businesses weren’t open. There were no other visitors and just a few boys were busy zooming around on their bikes on the closed section of Fleet Ave. Our first attempt at exploring Slavic Village was not impressive.
But Rooms to Let sounded intriguing. Several abandoned houses had been turned over to groups of artists to use as large canvases for their work.
We registered and picked up a map at a former funeral home around the corner from St. Stanislaus. We’d toured St. Stanislaus before and it remains a favorite place in Cleveland. It is lovingly cared for by the parishioners and still remains the center of the community. Although the neighborhood has changed racially over the past decades, Catholics still faithfully come from near and far to worship at this Shrine Church.
We followed the RIT route east on Forman and saw two venues plus one realtor who was hosting an open house on a recently rehabbed house. Houses that are still inhabited outnumbered the vacant and foreclosed houses. Some were carefully groomed and gardens were coming up. Other houses were neglected. But walking past these homes you could see that people were ready to hang on and optimistically looked forward to new investment.While the art we saw on our tour was rather unimpressive by my tastes, it did offer visitors a chance to get inside houses and see what is a typical floor plan thus giving visitors a sample of what is available.
Booths gave us ads for places to buy. One home was offered for $89,900. It had 2000 square feet, 4 baths nad 6 bedrooms in the 3 rental units. An ad in the Slavic Village Voice advertised a 1,994 sq ft, 4 bedroom home for $8,000. A larger 2 family home was being offered for $6,000. Obviously, this would be for home buyers and investors who are willing to put in time and money.
The biggest plus of this neighborhood is the willingness of organizations and neighbors who believe in where they live enough to stand up for their community. They can see that other neighborhoods in Cleveland are being revived and Slavic Village is only 10 minutes away from downtown. The much debated Opportunity Corridor cuts through one corner of Slavic Village. This boulevard could be seen as separating part of the Village from the remainder or it might be viewed as an economic opportunity. If the Corridor is finished as planned, the commute from this area to University Circle would be more direct.
Young people who are being priced out of Tremont , Ohio City, or downtown condos might consider SV. Right now this neighborhood doesn’t offer the night life, restaurants, and boutiques of other places in Cleveland, but, hey, some people want quiet places to start a family or have plenty of space for their own business start up. Slavic Village is a very affordable alternative with good prospects of being in a up and coming Cleveland neighborhood.