SOUTH BROADWAY

SOUTH BROADWAY is a southeast Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA). An exceptionally irregular shape, it extends nearly to I-490 on the north and as far south as Grand Division Ave. It is bounded on the west by I-77 and on the east by E. 79th St. and Broadway Ave.

Reflecting their ethnic roots, South Broadway and its SPA neighbor North Broadway are often referred to as Slavic Village. In South Broadway, the largely Czech KARLIN comprises the western section and the Polish "Warszawa" the eastern part. 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 (also see CLEVELAND ROLLING MILL STRIKES). Their lives were focused around the 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 in what is now the North Broadway neighborhood. Like DOAN'S CORNERS this area was often considered to be a second downtown for Cleveland. Polish and other ethnic settlements peaked during the same period and then began a long postwar decline, largely due to suburban out-migration.

Difficult times extended well into the 21st Century. During the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, ZIP code 44105 (which comprises most of the North and South Broadway neighborhoods) recorded more home foreclosures than any other area in the country, thus marking the area as “ground zero of the foreclosure crisis.” Crime and resident attrition increased accordingly, with the combined population of North and South Broadway falling to about 20,000 from a high of about 60,000 in 1950. Across both neighborhoods, population now is split roughly evenly between white and AFRICAN-AMERICAN. Average educational attainment levels and median household income trail the city of Cleveland as a whole. Barely 15 percent of the area’s citizens are still involved in the manufacturing trades.

In recent years, bright spots have appeared on the horizon. Revitalization efforts began in the late 1970s, with the formation of Neighborhood Ventures, Inc., in Oct. 1977 by Teddy and Donna Sliwinski and 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 (CDC)—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.

Christopher Roy

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