RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD

RIVERSIDE (sometimes referred to as Hopkins) is a southwest Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA). It is bounded roughly by Rt. 237 (the Berea Freeway) on the east, Aerospace Pkwy. and the I-X CENTER on the south, Aerospace Pkwy. and W. Hangar Rd. on the west, and Puritas Ave. on the north. Riverside is one of four Cleveland neighborhoods carved from the former West Park Village and annexed to Cleveland in 1923. The other three are JEFFERSON, KAMM'S CORNERS, and Puritas-Longmead (see BELLAIRE-PURITAS). Originally part of ROCKPORT TWP., WEST PARK (named for early settler Benjamin West) had been formed in 1900.

Riverside remained lightly populated well into the 20th Century. Its first development milestone was the completion of CLEVELAND-HOPKINS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in 1925. Currently situated on 1,717 acres of land—more than 80 percent of the Riverside allotment—Hopkins was the country’s first municipally owned airport. It also was the first to use an air traffic control tower and to deploy airfield lighting and ground-to-air radio control. In 1968 it became the first US airport to connect directly to a rail transit system. To accommodate the airport’s need for additional space, Cleveland annexed to Riverside portions of Brook Park Vil. in 1946 and Riveredge Twp. in 1992.

Riverside also contains the NASA JOHN H. GLENN RESEARCH CENTER (est. 1942) on the grounds of Hopkins International. The I-X Center, located within Riverside but south of Hopkins, was built by the US Dept. of Defense. It opened in 1942 as the Cleveland Bomber Plant, with roughly 15,000 employees tasked to work on the B-29 bomber. During the Korean War tanks were built in the rechristened Cadillac Tank Plant. Much of the workforce lived in housing projects built on Triskett and Berea Roads. The Plant was repurposed as an exhibition center in 1985.

Boosted by employment at the bomber/tank plant, residential development in Riverside accelerated during and after WWII, with the neighborhood's population growing from 1,422 in 1940 to 9,715 in 1960. The number of neighborhood residents has dropped significantly since that time, due in large part to the construction of I-480 and an airport buffer-zone program to acquire and demolish homes immediately north of the airport. Some newer construction has occurred in the area of Grayton Rd. and Puritas Ave.

Virtually all residents live in the northeast corner of Riverside, which has one of lowest costs of living of all neighborhoods in Cleveland. The dominance of Hopkins Airport also means that Riverside has one of Cleveland’s lowest population levels as well as the lowest level of population density. The entire Riverside neighborhood (excluding the airport) contains only about 50 streets; 54% of Riverside residents are white, 22% are AFRICAN AMERICAN and 16% are HISPANIC. Riverside students attend public high schools in the Cleveland area or in FAIRVIEW PARK.

Christopher Roy

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