See the Possible: Slavic Village revamps vacant lots

11:47 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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During the height of the foreclosure crisis, Slavic Village was thrust into the national spotlight, dubbed the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis.

Since 2005, more than 900 houses have been demolished by the City of Cleveland.

Today community leaders are taking steps forward to revitalize the area, one vacant lot at a time.

"It requires a lot of creativity," says Marie Kittredege, director of the Slavic Village Development Group.

A program called Re-imagining Cleveland is addressing the issue of abandoned land head on.

"It's a very important step for us as a community and as citizens to say, 'Ok, the vacant lot next to me is not somebody else's problem, it's not their problem, it's our problem and our responsibility," says Kittredege.

The first step was finding out what residents of Slavic Village wanted to see in their neighborhoods. Requests came in for community gardens -- there are now four -- and a walking and biking trail runs through Slavic Village where rundown houses once stood.

For homeowner Joe Fuentes, a bigger yard mad sense. After a condemned house next door to him was torn down, Slavic Village gave Fuentes the lot. All he has to do is pay taxes on the land. It even came with a new fence.

"I think it really makes [the neighborhood] look better," Fuentes says.

So far, 34 lots have been given new life in Slavic Village and, if Kittredege has her way, that's just the beginning.

"Now we call ourselves the 'epicenter of recovery' because we figured out how to take that vacant land, that challenge, and make a better neighborhood," she says.




















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