The HOUGH AREA DEVELOPMENT CORP. (HADC), a locally based organization formed in the spring of 1967 to direct neighborhood redevelopment after the HOUGH RIOTS, undertook several ambitious programs before becoming inactive in 1984. After the riots, DeForest Brown, a street minister turned social worker, feared the misuse of HOUGH reconstruction monies. Brown put together a coalition of professionals and neighborhood leaders to form one of the nation’s first community development corporations. Known as the Machine, Brown's coalition included Hough leaders Daisy L. Craggett and Christine A. Randles, architect Julian C. Madison, and Burt W. Griffin and C. Lyonel Jones of the LEGAL AID SOCIETY. The group formed the HADC in secret, fearing that the local COUNCIL FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES and other officials would take control. HADC found support within the federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and from Mayor Carl Stokes's CLEVELAND: NOW! program, which provided an initial $62,000 grant. In July 1968 HADC received a $1.6 million OEO grant to fund a mixed-use townhouse and shopping center project (Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza at Wade Park Ave. and Crawford Rd.), 600 units for housing development, and a molded rubber factory (Community Products, Inc.) that employed 65 workers at its peak in 1979 before closing four years later.
Perhaps HADC's most controversial project was Great Eastern (formerly Ghetto East) Enterprises, Inc. In 1969, Operation Black Unity, an umbrella for fourteen African American organizations staged boycotts and picketing of McDonald’s restaurants on Cleveland’s East Side to protest the lack of black-owned franchises. The movement paved the way for HADC to purchase two McDonald's restaurant franchises on Euclid Avenue in 1970 using federal antipoverty grant funds to supplement local loans. Disagreements over the operation of the restaurants led to a deep rift between Great Eastern Enterprises leaders and Brown’s successor as HADC executive director, Franklin R. Anderson. A former CORE Cleveland chapter chairman, Anderson served a tumultuous four-year tenure and averted an attempted ouster in 1972. Although problems plagued the HADC’s community efforts in these years, they symbolized the ability of AFRICAN AMERICANS to plan, build, and operate businesses in areas where urban renewal had failed.
HADC’s Homes for Hough project, launched with seed money from Harris-Intertype Corp. (later HARRIS CORP.) chairman RICHARD BARCLAY TULLIS, made sporadic progress in constructing apartment complexes and scatter-site housing in the 1970s. In 1973 the organization partnered with Citizens for Better Housing and UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, INC., to develop the 160-unit Community Circle Estates on Hough Avenue near E. 93rd Street. After a period of several years with little further progress in new housing, HADC introduced the six-unit Crawford Estates in 1980, which it touted as the first conventionally financed residential subdivision built in inner-city Cleveland since World War II.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan’s administration began to scale back federal investment in cities, signaling new challenges for an organization born of “War on Poverty” idealism. By Sept. 1982 HADC was dependent on local foundations. With dwindling resources, in 1984 the Hough Area Development Corp. laid off its staff. By 1986 only eight of the HADC board’s eighteen members remained active. When the organization finally disbanded in 1989, it left assets including properties and more than $100,000 in cash and a certificate of deposit. Often at odds with what she claimed was HADC’s turn toward promoting gentrification, Councilwoman FANNIE LEWIS redirected her energies toward a newer group, Hough Area Partners in Progress (HAPP). Lewis tried to prevent the dormant HADC from returning its funds to the federal government, hoping instead to salvage these assets for HAPP’s use. U.S. Rep. LOUIS STOKES lent support to Lewis’s effort and prompted a federal investigation into the HADC’s disposition of assets. Although it turned up no evidence of malfeasance on the part of the organization’s leaders, HADC dissolved, setting the stage for a period in which Lewis and HAPP led many neighborhood revitalization efforts in Hough.
Article Updated by Mark Souther
Finding Aid for the Hough Area Development Corp. Records, WRHS. Series 1.
Finding Aid for the Hough Area Development Corp. Records, WRHS. Series 2.
Finding Aid for the Hough Area Development Corp. Photograph Collection, WRHS.