Old Brooklyn- Home of the Cleveland Zoo and a stable community for middle class families

I excluded the suburban part of Old Brooklyn east of I-176 (Jennings Freeway). During the late 1880s farmers in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood were among the first in the Midwest to use greenhouses to cultivate vegetables and by the 1920s the neighborhood was one of the nation’s leading producers of greenhouse vegetables.

Development started to replace the farmsteads by the late 1800s and early 20th century and Brooklyn became another Cleveland streetcar neighborhood completely annexed into the City by 1927. There is also some housing on the edges developed btwn the 30s-50s. Old Brooklyn is also blessed with several commercial districts. Pearl, Broadview, and State roads were vibrant biz districts btwn the 1920s-1960s and were followed, after WWII , by  shopping plazas at  Memphis-Fulton, Broadview-Brook park, and Pearl-Brookpark. Old Brooklyn’s most notable landmark, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, created in 1907 after relocating from University Circle.

From an urban perspective this is one of Cleveland’s more stable residential areas and historically has been a place where middle class families who wanted to live in the City would consider purchasing an affordable home. There is some walkability here with many schools, decent transit and good access to dwtn, lots of parks, and some retail and cultural amenities. But there are still some iffy spots throughout and many vacant store fronts limiting the vibrancy of the biz district and retail options. Bike lanes are also limited. A major push to activate Brooklyn’s biz district and build mixed-use apartments along them would do wonders to the neighborhood from an urban perspective.

Click here to view my album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Consistent sidewalks and curb cuts throughout. 50-50 with modern ADA curb infrastructure and generally concentrated in the more upscale parts of the neighborhood.
* Convenient access to dwtn.  Only 15 minute drive and 30 min bus ride.
* Good diversity across all measures, especially economic.
* Good tree canopy.
* Overall good parks, especially the Cleveland Metro Parks around the Zoo, the expansive Loew Park, and Harmody Park which follows the creek. Several other small parks pretty well distributed throughout Old Brooklyn and several cemeteries.
* Culturally, decent restaurants & bars, several cafes, a couple art galleries, night clubs, and live music venues the Cleveland Zoo, and a couple of local museums.
* Good number of walkable schools across all ages but mixed ratings.
* An ok # of rentals but very affordable. 1-beds lease for $600-800, 2-beds btwn 700K into the low 1Ks, and a handful of 3-beds in the $1,000s.
* For sale is also very inexpensive. Small  1-beds sell btwn 50K-100K, 2 beds btwn 50K-200, 3 & 4-beds  btwn 75-350K.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Bike lanes are patchy and not consistent. Not dedicated bike stations here.
* While housing is relatively inexpensive there is  limited higher end product (both rental and for-sale) .
* Ok retail amenities with a discount supermarket, a butcher & cheese shops, several drug stores, a large greenhouse in the middle of the district, a couple bike stores, a couple thrift stores, several dessert stores & bakeries, several banks, a public library & post office, a good # of churches, and a hospital.
* Urban form is good in chucks but often large auto centric breaks and consistent limited renovated stretches.
* Generally a safe area but with crime hot spots here and there. Also a good amount of vacant store fronts.
* In-fill is generally pretty limited but most of it crummy autocentric bldgs. But some decent mid-centric apartment bldgs with good urban form.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty low.

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