SLAVIC VILLAGE/BROADWAY

SLAVIC VILLAGE/BROADWAY is a southeast Cleveland statistical planning area extending north-south from KINGSBURY RUN to Grant Ave. It is bounded on the west by I-77 and on the east by E. 79th St. and Broadway Ave. It traditionally comprises 2 ethnic sub-neighborhoods: the largely Czech KARLIN to the west and the old Polish "Warszawa" to the east. Warszawa was the primary area of settlement for Cleveland's POLES, who came in the 1880s to work in such neighborhood industries as the CLEVELAND ROLLING MILLS (see CLEVELAND ROLLING MILL STRIKES). Their lives were focused around their parish church of ST. STANISLAUS at E. 65th St. and Forman Ave. and the prosperous Polish commercial district along Fleet Ave. and E. 71st St. Another commercial hub for the neighborhood, more cosmopolitan in nature, flourished from 1920-40 at E. 55th St. and Broadway, which was regarded, along with DOAN'S CORNERS, as a "second downtown" for Cleveland. Polish and other ethnic settlements in the neighborhood peaked during the same period and then began a long postwar decline, due to suburban out-migration.

In subsequent decades, Slavic Village saw difficult times. During the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, ZIP code 44105 within Slavic Village recorded more home foreclosures than any other area in the country, thus marking the neighborhood as “ground zero of the foreclosure crisis.” Crime and resident attrition increased accordingly, with the population falling to a current level of about 20,000 from a high of about 60,000 in 1950. Population is now (2019) split roughly evenly between white and AFRICAN-AMERICAN. The neighborhood’s educational attainment level and median household income currently trail the city of Cleveland as a whole. Barely 15 percent of Slavic Village/Broadway’s citizens are still involved in the manufacturing trades.

In recent years, bright spots have appeared on Slavic Village’s horizon. Revitalization efforts began in the late 1970s, with the formation of Neighborhood Ventures, Inc. in Oct. 1977 by Teddy and Donna Sliwinski, along with architect Kaszimier Wieclaw. Choosing the name Slavic Village to attract other ethnic groups, they began transforming many of the deteriorated buildings along Fleet Ave. into a uniform Polish "Hylander" style. Slavic Village Development—the area’s community development corporation—was formed in 1990 and has since channeled more than $100 million into area housing projects, including a planned community, several multi-family buildings and numerous homes for low-income families. The annual Slavic Village Harvest Festival has operated continuously since the 1970s, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Updated by Christopher Roy


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