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Cleveland’s Slavic Village (and Broadway) is a neighborhood on the southeast side of Cleveland bordering the industrial valley. It grew with the arrival of European immigrants attracted by the jobs in the factories in the adjacent valley. Centered at Broadway and East 55th Street, the bustling neighborhood had commercial strips and churches serving a growing population. The total population peaked at 60,257 in 1950. As de-industrialization occurred in post-World War II Cleveland, so too did it affect Slavic Village as jobs left. By 2000, its population was about half (30,524) of what it had been half a century earlier. However, Slavic Village had seen a slight increase (+3.6%) in its population between 1990 and 2000. The African-American percentage of the population increased tremendously over that decade: from only 3% to 26%. By 2016, it was estimated to be slightly over half the population.

Going into a new century, there were several negative factors indicating the overall decline of the neighborhood:

  • An increasing poverty rate of 27% (double that in 1980);
  • Reflecting the population loss, the number of vacant housing units increased, with 1,811 vacant in 2000;
  • A reduction in the rate of home ownership to just under half (49%).

2000 saw the creation of the Slavic Village Development (SVD) ( CDC representing a composite of several community organizations dedicated to the revitalization of the neighborhood. It has created and been a partner in numerous revitalization programs in the neighborhood, markets the neighborhood and organizes events (such as an annual neighborhood summit), helps to organize and works with residents, and publishes a quarterly newsletter (Slavic Village Voice). In a 2006 study of the impact of SVD on the Slavic Village neighborhood (Krumholz, Keating, Star and Chupp), the efforts of this community development corporation (CDC) to develop social capital and its role in making important contributions to eight major projects were cited (“which brought about major changes in revitalizing Broadway”, Community Development, p. 45). These projects gave hope that Slavic Village was headed in the right direction with SVD playing a key role in revitalization efforts.