Slavic Village Development works with and for its residents, businesses, and institutions to promote civic engagement, community empowerment, and neighborhood investment.
LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is said to have claimed “change alone is unchanging.” That is, nothing ever remains the same. This neighborhood that we call “Slavic Village” was originally an Irish and Manx community, became a Polish, Slovenian, Czech, Slovakian, and Croatian neighborhood for several decades, and is now a colorful mix of African Americans, Appalachians, Puerto Ricans, Slavs, and citizens from around the world. A community whose air was once thick with smoke is
now an EcoDistrict. Homes that were once vacant teem with life. Our Village constantly renews and reinvents itself, driven by our residents, businesses, and organizations.
But, if anything remains the same, it is Slavic Village Development’s commitment to our community. While our programs continually adapt to meet the changing needs of this neighborhood, we continue to work with and for our residents, businesses, and institutions to promote civic engagement, community empowerment, and neighborhood investment.
I am grateful for the nine years that I have spent at SVD, and I look forward to what this Village will become with a changing, but always, always dedicated and capable team.
Chris Alvarado, Executive Director
Broadway Slavic Village Roadmap
Broadway-Slavic Village became the 9th community worldwide to receive EcoDistricts certification this past July. The EcoDistricts certification details a neighborhood-wide commitment to equity, resilience and environmental protection through year 2050. The Broadway-Slavic Village Roadmap was adopted by the EcoDistrict team in December of 2022 after 2.5 years of collaboration, workshopping and outreach. The Roadmap includes goals, strategies and indicators/performance targets under each of the three pillars and will be recertified every two years.
Gearing Up for Our Master Plan
GCRTA received $432,000 from the Federal Department of Transportation to carry out a comprehensive Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) study for the Broadway Ave Corridor. The study will allow for better transportation improvements and sustainable, equitable development projects that are conducive to transit. The section of Broadway that the TOD plan will consider is approximately 4 miles long beginning at the E. 34th ST Red Line Rapid Station and ending at the Turney/Ella bus loop. The Broadway Avenue TOD will make recommendations to meet the following goals within a half-mile buffer of the corridor: (1) Address racial and economic disparities, (2) capture economic value and (3) advance climate action. Outreach and community engagement will begin January 2024.
Our strategies to stabilize the Slavic Village community include renovating and marketing housing to provide various options to retain existing residents and attract new ones. Slavic Village ReDiscovered (SVR) and Neighbors Invest in Broadway (NIB) are two of our alternative purchasing options offering homes for very low to low-moderate income levels. The Housing Team has worked on growing the use of nuisance abatement capacity by utilizing the receivership tool to address problem properties. SVR’s renovation of Dorver Avenue and Cullen Drive are examples of transformative nuisance abatements that provide safety and stability to the neighborhood and its residents. Over ten years, SVR home values have nearly doubled, with sales price increasing with
each sale. This past year, our annual Vacant Property Survey shifted to a parcel-by-parcel strategy, yielding a more detailed report regarding occupancy, vacancies, green space, and more. We have continued systematic progress on reducing vacant structures in Slavic Village by collaborating with the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to notify them of problem properties, pushing for the remediation of code violations, more strategic demolitions, prioritizing condemnations, and holding absent property owners accountable. SVD has also begun collaborating with developers to usher in new developments and amenities. In 2023 and beyond, we will seek additional grant funding to extend the reach of our housing development programs, benefit buyers, and increase accomplishments overall.
This year, we have had several exciting developments for our Housing Outreach department and in our community partnerships in our effort to assist our residents. In conjunction with WRAAA, we launched the ADA Senior Home Modification program. This grant program helps senior residents of Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood who qualify to age in place by providing installation of safety and accessibility equipment such as ADA approved windows, ramps, grab bars, and walk-in showers. We have also been able to create our Eviction Prevention Pilot Program through grants awarded from the Ohio Bar Association, Huntington Bank, Key Bank, Enterprise, and the Sisters of Humility of Mary – providing funding allocated towards assisting residents in financial crisis with necessary resources to keep them in their homes. As in the past, we were also able to secure grant funding through CareSource and CMPHF in order to facilitate larger-scale home repairs for several households. We are thrilled to be well on track to meeting and exceeding our last-year’s achievement of assisting over 600 households in the neighborhood, and look forward to expanding our programming further next year in order to give the most supports possible to our residents.
This past year has been fruitful for business in Slavic Village. We have seen successes in small business, manufacturing, and institutional sectors.
This spring saw the reopening of Daisy’s on Fleet, a beloved neighborhood ice cream shop. New owner Brittany DePriest has kept much of the business the same, recognizing its previous importance to the community and offering new options, such as Polish Boys and other creative sweets and savories.
A long-time manufacturing business, Cleveland Wire Cloth, has undergone new ownership. Local group, Freshwater Capital, purchased CWC in the spring of 2023 and is looking to modernize the company and grow its operations.
Lastly, the national organization Beat The Streets has moved into the neighborhood on Broadway Avenue. Their mission is to positively alter life’s trajectory for youth in the community through wrestling programs and activities. They support health and wellness, social and emotional impact, and physical literacy. Cleveland chapter executive director Demetrius Williams has already significantly impacted the community and is working alongside the board of directors to fund substantial improvements to their facility.
Recycling & Composting
Through generous support from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, Slavic Village Development received two grants to promote recycling and composting efforts in our work and the community. The first grant focused on a composting and equipment program to build a backyard compost station for yard waste generated by our vacant lot maintenance and park/greenspace work. This spring, we hosted a DIY yard waste composting workshop, teaching residents how to build a compost station. In the fall, we will host a second workshop to teach residents what materials are used for yard waste composting and how to care for a compost pile.
The second grant focused on special projects; the funding was used to implement recycling and composting in our events, such as Pierogi Dash and Rooms To Let. We partnered with Republic Services and Rust Belt Riders to reduce up to 100+ lbs of recycling and compost. Our new partnership with Republic Services allowed us to host a recycling dumpster on office property, which has led to around 500 lbs of recycling diverted from the landfill this year.
Contractors for the MetroParks/City of Cleveland RAISE grant are now in place for the Morgana Run Extension, Booth Ave Extension, and Opportunity Corridor/Iron Court Connector. Chagrin Valley Engineering is the selected contractor for design, and the Smith Group has been selected for community engagement which will kick off late summer 2023. Deliverables for the Morgana Run Extension include construction-ready documents that will segue to construction with the ODOT I-77 Repavement Project, 2025-2030. Deliverables for the Morgana Run Extension include full design of the link between Morgana Run Trail at Booth Ave and Mill Creek/Garfield Park Reservation. Opportunity Corridor/Iron Court deliverables include feasibility planning for the connection between the Opportunity Corridor Trail at E. 55th to the Slavic Village Downtown Connector Trail near Iron Court/Broadway.
This year, we want to highlight the Slavic Village Youth Council, which was formed to elevate youth voices in our neighborhood and develop them as youth leaders. The youth council consists of youth who live, learn, or work in Slavic Village. We are focused on incorporating youth voice when creating opportunities, events, and spaces that will foster their personal and academic growth and success. Looking forward, our focus is on securing funding to increase current programs to build capacity to serve more children. We intend to put these resources toward:
• Support staff of youth programs (i.e. tutors and mentors)
• Providing diverse experiences for youth (college tours,
career exploration opportunities)
• Programming to help youth cultivate practical life skills,
financial literacy, healthy lifestyle, relationship building
• Allocating resources for a youth think-tank where young
people of our neighborhood can plan, pitch, and receive
funding to execute their ideas
COMMUNITY STEWARD SAFETY COMMITTEE
The Community Steward Safety Committee is working hard to change the negative stereotypes and perceptions and has been working on monthly flyers, called Village Success – to highlight all the amazing things happening in our community. Additionally, postcards informing and encouraging residents to be proactive in their communities in regards to calling or e-mailing the city about housing violations or dumping to city services have been produced and are being delivered throughout the community. Stay tuned for other projects of the safety committee.
• Waste committee launched a No Littering/No Dumping and
Pick Up Poop (PUP) sign campaign. They also hosted two
neighborhood clean-ups with support from Court Community
• Active Living hosted a Fix-A-Thon with Bike Cleveland and
Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, fixing 60+ bikes that are now ready to
ride. Active Living also helped promote Slow Roll Cleveland in
Rooms To Let
This year’s Rooms To Let event, held July 8th-9th, culminated in months of hard work from organizers, volunteers, artists, and staff. Two historic commercial buildings and “The Hub” were utilized for art installations, an artist market, and live music. The mediums included interactive installations, film, audiovisual productions, sculpture, photography, live performance, and murals. Over 50 artists, 20 vendors, 50 volunteers – totaling 116 hours, and 1,800 attendees made this year’s event better than ever.
RTL is funded through generous support from the Fowler Foundation and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Project Support. Of the 2023 budget, $12,000 was spent on artist stipends and $1,000 to musicians.
Nite at The Races
Nite at the Races once again provided an evening of boisterous festivities for both residents of the neighborhood and friends from without. Over 250 attendees enjoyed hearty food, beverages, a DJ, and some good-natured betting on our ‘horses.’ We were so pleased with the turnout and the celebratory atmosphere, and guests of this year’s event are already talking with anticipation about next spring’s Nite at the Races return!
As always, all three events were a resounding success inviting staff, community stewards, and volunteers to come together with creative solutions in planning and executing, as well as embracing and reveling in the air of community that we aim to cultivate through these occasions. These occasions help garner significant support for future, ongoing services for our community.
Small Grant Program
Friends of Slavic Village is a small grant program graciously funded by the Third Federal Foundation. Its mission is to bring together Broadway Slavic Village’s best asset–the many strong corporate, civic, and resident leaders committed to our community’s well-being–to enhance our quality of life and promote a healthy image of our community.
The Mini-Grants are available quarterly, funding projects up to $500, which Slavic Village Residents review. From June 2021 through today, 18 grants have been funded, totaling approximately $9,000.