Three Cleveland Neighborhoods Get $9 Million For New Development

Megan McKnight stands with her daughter on Clark Avenue in Cleveland.
Megan McKnight of Clark-Fulton, with her daughter, hopes the fund leads to more activities and stores within walking distance. [Justin Glanville / ideastream]
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Megan McKnight moved to Cleveland's Clark-Fulton neighborhood a few weeks ago. And while she says she likes living there — she finds her daughter's school effective, the commercial district walkable — there are some missing elements that could make life better.

"Nicer housing," she says. "A lot of what's here is really old. And we could use a few more stores, because you can't get everything you need without walking or driving a long way."

Both housing and retail development are among the potential uses for a new $9 million fund announced Oct. 23 by financial services company JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the community funder Cleveland Development Advisors. The money will go to development projects in three Cleveland neighborhoods: Clark-Fulton, Glenville and Buckeye-Kinsman.

Yvette Ittu of Cleveland Development Advisors, which will administer the funds, said she expects a total of eight or nine projects across the three neighborhoods to receive funding over the next three years. The projects have not yet been selected, she said.

"Our focus is on the types of projects affiliated with an existing plan that we know the community is supporting," Ittu said.

Other criteria will include whether the project creates jobs; supports minority businesses; or creates affordable housing.

The neighborhoods were selected in part because of a 2017 study by Cleveland State University that recommended additional investment in high-poverty neighborhoods that are home or adjacent to areas with rising property values and large employers.

Clark-Fulton is home to Metro Health Hospital and adjacent to the gentrifying neighborhoods of Ohio City and Tremont. Buckeye-Kinsman and Glenville are adjacent to University Circle, home to several large hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.

A map shows changes in property values in Cuyahoga County between 2009 and 2015.

Grant funds will be spent in high-poverty Cleveland neighborhoods adjacent to areas with rising property values. [Cleveland State University]

People in the neighborhoods said they hope the fund prioritizes projects that help current residents, not simply bring in new ones.

At Eagle Supermarket on Kinsman Avenue, employee Carolyn Freeman — who also lives nearby — says she’d like to see more services for the neighborhood’s elderly population.

"You got a lot of seniors around here that need transportation, places to go to the store, get to the doctor," Freeman said.

Carolyn Freeman stands in front of a counter at Eagle Supermarket.

Carolyn Freeman of the Kinsman neighborhood wants to see more services for the elderly. [Justin Glanville / ideastream]

McKnight, the recent transplant to Clark-Fulton, wants more activities, parks and stores available within her neighborhood.

"We don't really have that much to choose from over here," she said. "Unless you walk far or if you got a car, you drive far."

Alex Derkson of Chase says he's already heard from neighborhood leaders that they want the money to do more than just build new buildings.

"One of the things our partners have asked us to focus on is not just doing development, but having minority contractors, minority architects, minority attorneys, minority accountants that are really participating in these deals in a meaningful way," Derkson said.

In addition to capital, projects will receive technical assistance in seeking other funding sources,said Ittu of Cleveland Development Advisors. Technical assistance will account for about 10 percent of the fund's total spending.

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