Cleveland is on the rise! I find myself saying or thinking this exact statement at least once a week, so when offered a tour of Ohio City on Cleveland’s classic Lolly the Trolley, I knew it would be right up my alley.  The tour was put on by the Cleveland sector of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a non-profit dedicated to the prosperity and sustainability of communities on an international level. The ULI actively promotes responsible and effective land use through real estate development.

Focus of the Tour
This focus was evident during our tour of Ohio City.  Not only were we able to sightsee our beloved city but, I, along with about twenty other young professionals, were given an ‘inside look’ into Ohio City’s hidden gems and upcoming developments in the area.  We were lucky enough to have Sam McNulty, owner of Ohio City’s own Bier Markt and Market Garden Brewery, and Tom McNair, executive director of Ohio City Incorporated, to guide us and share their knowledge on our jaunt through this historic neighborhood

Where is Ohio City?
Ohio City sits just west of downtown Cleveland and is home to over 9,000 people. Cleveland has slowly been developing into a modern city, and Ohio City is no exception.  Most people are familiar with West 25th street and its landmarks, including the famous West Side Market, Townhall restaurant and bar, Nano Brew, and the Glass Bubble Project. But what else is there, and what else is coming?

Current and Upcoming Attractions
When you hear the word ‘city,’ a farm is probably one of the last things to come to mind.  However, Ohio City is home to the nation’s most extensive contiguous urban farm and is even recognized by the USDA as a national model for urban agriculture.  The Ohio City Farm provides the community with fresh fruits and vegetables while boosting the economy and contributing to the city’s ability to thrive on its own.

Another unexpected development to be found in the middle of the city is a three-mile linear park.  The Rotary Club has teamed up with RTA and the Cleveland Metroparks to propose the $13 million dollar idea of the Redline Greenway. This linear park would connect eight neighborhoods on the west side of Cleveland by means of a beautiful, green route along the RTA tracks that traverse our city. The creation of the Redline Greenway would offer a unique mode of transportation that is both accessible and cost effective for its users.

Another impressive trolley stop was at Irishtown Bend.  In the 1830s, Irish immigrants came to Cleveland and made this swampy, unstable land their home. The area dwells on a slope between the Cuyahoga River and West 25th Street, making it less than ideal for development due to its proclivity to a landslide.  Almost 200 years later, the Port Authority discovered that the area could be stabilized for approximately $49 million, thus creating an opportunity for development.  According to the Port Authority, such development could lead to street repairs and realignment, sewage line repairs, a lake link trail, and even a waterfront park.

In addition to the developmental progress Ohio City has made, many smaller triumphs were found in the pursuit of a cleaner, safer neighborhood.  For example, a bikeway on Lorain Avenue is in the works and two more have recently been modified to provide a more secure path for bikers on West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue.  Another lesser-known effort being made by the city is the removal of illegal junkyards that have resided in the city.  By doing this, the properties could be used in a more pragmatic way that would benefit the city.

Ohio City’s Future
Some things to look forward to in the near future for Ohio City include the West 25th Lofts, Mariner’s Watch Apartments on Detroit Avenue, a new café at the Cleveland Hostel, and the remodeling of the plaza on the corner of West 25th and Carnegie. At the very least, my tour of Ohio City convinced me even more that Cleveland is the place to be these days.