Ravenna, OH- Historic Satellite Suburb of Akron, OH

This evaluation includes just the pre WWII urban fabric of Ravenna. That is more or less the entire with of the Town between the north and south railroad tracks.

Ravenna was founded in 1799 and is named after Ravenna, Italy. Ravenna grew pretty quickly in the 1800s reaching almost 2K residents by the Civic War. Historically it was know for producing some of the highest quality hearses in the Country, hired to escort Presidents McKinley and Garfield to their final resting place. Rail service arrived in Ravena via the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad in 1851. In 1877, the Quaker Oats Company was established in Ravenna with the familiar Quaker Oats logo patented in in the City. The City reached 4K residents in 1900. Thanks to this decent sized population in the 1800s Ravenna hosts an Italianate styled heavy Commercial District. The City’s population continued to modestly climb in the 1900s reaching 7K in 1920 and 8.5K in 1940. Population peaked at 12K in 1990 and has since slowly declined to 11,300 souls. Ravenna is also well know for its Balloon Festival that occurs around mid- September.

Ravenna is a mixed-bag when it comes to quality urbanism. There is a good compact Downtown core along Main St and a couple blocks off, but the quality of Main Street quickly becomes auto centric outside the Dwtn core. Quality historic residential is also pretty limited and population density is very low. Ravenna does have solid retail and cultural amenities and a decent # of good walkable schools. The City, however, lacks quality public transit, bike amenities, housing diversity (esp. rentals), and is a very homogenous White community. 

Click here to view my Ravenna Album on Flickr


* Decent grided and connected streets. Better in the core of Dwtn.
* Great economic diversity and decent generational diversity.
* Good # of schools and generally pretty well rated. High Schools is located a bit outside of Town and really isn’t very walkable.
* Some dedicated affordable housing in Ravenna.
* Good tree canopy.
* Lovely historic commercial bldgs. Residential is a bit uninspiring.
* Good urban massing in the Dwtn core but falls a part outside of the core along OH-59.
* Good cultural amenities including solid # and variety of food & beverage bizs, a major cineplex, a local dance and music school, a small conference center, and a couple local museums.
* Solid retail amenities including several supermarkets & drug stores, a couple dollar stores, lots of banks, plenty of boutiques, lots of gift shops, a couple antique stores, a toy store, a local hardware store, plenty of dessert shops, a couple gyms, a local library & post office, several churches, and a local hospital and lots of doctor’s offices sits just north of the Dwtn area. 


* Very low density for an urban area.
* So so sidewalk and ADA curb cuts.
* Pretty poor public transit.
* Some bus service to dwtn Akron but pretty  limited. Only a 20 min drive.
* Some nice regional recreational bike paths on the edges of Dwtn but nothing penetrates its.
* Poor racial diversity as this is over 90% White.
* For sale housing is pretty limited to affordable and moderately priced hsg. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-200K, 3 & 4 Beds btwn 85K-300K.
* Rentals are pretty limited but affordable.
* Limited modern infill and what does exist is very auto centric.

Grove City, OH- A Booming Columbus Suburban with an Attractive Historic Dwtn Core

This evaluation only includes the more walkable/historic part of Grove City. My boundaries broadly included Haughlin Rd/Orchard Ln to the East, Ross Ave to the North, Curtis & the Railroad tracks to the west and Kingston/Woodlawn Ave to the south.

By 1853, the newly formed village of Grove City had only 50 residents. The town founders named the village for the remaining groves of trees left standing after their initial clearing.  The City remained small in the 1800s reaching only 650 residents by 1900 and slowly growing in the early 20th century and hitting 1,800 souls in 1940. Like other Columbus satellite suburbs, the town exploded in the post War Era. Grove City officially become a City in 1958 on its path to reaching 14K residents in 1970, 27K in 2000 and 41K in 2020.

Fortunately the historic core, as small as it is has been pretty well preserved with an attractive main street (Broad Ave) with lots of locally owned shops, retailers, and food & beverage businesses. Dwtn Grove City also excels at a high level of safety, quality schools, good for sale housing diversity, quality park amenities, and pretty good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure. For Dwtn Grove City to become a great urban area it needs a lot more population and in-fill development, much better public transit and bike infrastructure, more rental options, better economic and racial diversity, and crucial retail amenities like a full service walkable supermarket.

Click here to view my Grove City album on Flickr


* Only 15-20 minute drive to Dwtn Columbus.
* Generally good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure but about 25 of roads are missing sidewalks. ADA modern curbs are pretty consistant when there are sidewalks.
* Lots of family households with children here.
* High levels of safety here in line with most exclusive suburbs.
* Several well rated walkable public elementary and middle schools. High school is more on the outskirts of Grove City.
* Pretty good for sale diversity with a handful of 1-beds available selling in the 100Ks and low 200Ks. Plenty of 2-beds that sell btwn 150K-the low 300Ks, 3 and 4  beds sell btwn 200K- 500K.
* Solid parks and recreational in Dwtn Grove City leading with the expansive Windsor Park with all its ball fields. A couple of small/medium sized parks.
* Solid tree canopy.
* Good cultural amenities with a good # of good & beverage biz, a brewery, a couple night clubs and live music venues, a local performing arts theater, and a couple local museums.
* Decent retail amenities including a drug store, lots of boutiques/gift stores,  several locally owned businesses, dwtn public library, a couple antiques and home good stores.
* Solid architecture with quality historic homes and commercial and a decent amount of good urban in-fill.
* Pretty good urban form and streetscaping along Broadway Ave (the main street).


* Very low density for an urban area.
* Bike transit is pretty poor, although decent direct connection to Dwtn.
* Dwtn connectivity is so so.
* Some bike lanes in Grove City and the Dwtn area but none go through the heart of Dwtn nor connect it to the rest of Grive City. No dedicated bike stations.
* Poor economic and racial diversity.
* Some rentals Dwtn but more 2-beds than 1 beds. Moderately priced.
* Missing retail amenities include churches, doctor’s offices, post office, a supermarket, a hardware store, and larger retails.

Newport, KY- Wonderful Historic Urban Suburban Across the Ohio River from Cincinnati

For this evaluation I included just the northern half of Newport north of the railroad. While much of the southern half was development before WW II its often blight, disconnected, and the Monmouth St (the commercial district) becomes very auto centric.

Newport was established as a town in the late 18th and incorporated as a City in 1834 with a population of only about 1,000. The first bridge spanning the Ohio River to Cincinnati opened here in the mid 19th century and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (the precursor to the Brooklyn Bridge). By that time Newport’s population was exploding reaching 10K residential in 1860, 20K in 1880 and 28K in 1900. The late 19th century also brought a large influx of German immigration. Population growth significantly slowed by the early 20th century and Newport reached its peak of 31K residents in 1950. The 20th century also brought  waves of “vice” to the City with liquor smuggling in the 1920s, gambling and racketeering in the 30s-1950s and sex clubs in the 60s-80s. In response the City demolished a significant part of the Downtown/waterfront area to create Newport on the Levee, a family friendly new urbanist development with a cineplex and a mall. This opened in 1999 but has lost much of its luster going into the 2020s.

South of the Newport on the Levee is a the Dwtn area, anchored along 4th & 5th Streets that have been ravaged by urban renewal and autocentric development. Fortunately the perpendicular street running up from the south (Monmouth St) is a fairly intact historic biz district with a good array of retail and cultural amenities. The eastern half of Historic Newport is Mansion Hill, filled with tree lined mid-late 19th century residential streets and a mix of grand and more modest homes. The western half is very working class historic stock. Newport also has solid public transit, great housing diversity, decent levels of safety, and solid walkable schools. For Newport to be a great urban district it needs more urban infill Downtown, along York and Monmouth, and other dead spots. There is a funny juxtaposition of great historic urban form and awful senseless post WW II development.

Click here to view my Newport, KY album on Flickr


* Decent urban density
* Good sidewalk infrastructure. Modern ADA curb cuts are hit or miss. Most curb cuts in the business districts have been updated but less than 50% of residential areas.
* Excellent historic architecture especially in Mansion Hill and the Monmouth Biz district. The western half is more working class.
* Modern in fill is mixed bag. Decent urban infill at Newport on the Levee and Dwtn but a good amount of auto centric crab as well.
* Solid public transit and great access to Dwtn Cincinnati being just across the river.
* Good connectivity.
* Good number of walkable schools but public schools were generally rated poor to fair. Several Catholic schools also mixed in.
* Good diversity of for-sale hsg options with 1-beds selling anywhere btwn 85K-400K, 2-beds btwn 100K-500K with some riverfront condos selling for more. 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 150K-800K with some newer product selling for more.
* Good amount of rentals available and nice mix of new and old. 1-beds lease btwn 800K-1.5K, 2-beds anywhere in the 1Ks, 3-beds 1.5K-2.5K. Good amount of afford. hsg here.
* Generally a safe place but good amount of grit, some vacancy, and medium levels of crime.
* Decent parks including the riverfront levee park, excel public plaza at Newport on the Levee, the expansive Ralph Mussman Recreational Complex, and a handful of smaller pocket parks.
* Excellent cultural amenities including many food & beverage bizs, a major cineplex,  a performing arts center, several live music venues, a couple art galleries, the Aquarium & a couple other local museums, and several historic sites.
* Good retail amenities including a couple grocerias, several drug stores, lots of boutiques, lots of antiques and gift stores, plenty of consignment/clothing stores, the Newport Levee shopping mall (no name brands clothing currently), a couple book stores, many banks, plenty of gyms & dessert stores, local post office & public library, lots of churches. Kroger’s and Target sit just outside urban Newport and other stores in the Newport Pavilion.


* Bike  infrastructure including a dedicated bike lane along the levee and a few bike rentals at Newport on the Levee. But much improvement needed.
* Decent economic and generational diversity. Racial diversity is pretty limited.
* Tree canopy was pretty sparse in parts, esp. the more working class western half and dwtn area. Mansion Hill has good tree canopy.
* Some bad urban massing along 4th and 5th Ave but otherwise pretty good.

Reading, OH- Historic Cincinnati Surbub rebranding its Downtown as “The Bridal District”

This evaluation only reviews the walkable pre WW II portion of Reading in the western half of the town.

Between 1830 and 1880, Reading grew rapidly to become the largest village in Hamilton County. It was incorporated as a village in 1851 and reached 1K in 1860. The village’s major industry in the mid 19th century was clothing manufacturing. By the turn of the 20th century like other communities in the Mill Creek Valley, Reading’s economy centered around industry suppliers for nearby aerospace and automotive plants. Sadly Reading has some very ugly segregationist history as it was a sundown town, meaning that African Americans were prohibited from living within the city or remaining there after dark. The law led to few Blacks living in Reading until the 60s. On a more positive note, Reading has reinvested itself as The Bridal District along Benson Street bosting the claim of the highest concentration of wedding-related businesses in the United States.

Reading has fair pretty good for an older Cincinnati urban suburb losing only about 4K of its peak population of 14K and keeping much of its historic fabric and commercial district in tact. This is thanks to newer suburban growth in its easter half (not part of this evaluation), solid schools, decent parks, high level of safety, and reinvesting its Dwtn. For reading to become a solid urban district it needs more housing diversity, mixed-use development especially along the run down parts of Reading Rd., much better bike infrastructure, more trees, and some key missing retail amenities.

Click here to view my Reading, OH album on Flickr


* Solid ADA infrastructure with consistent sidewalks and generally ADA curbs.
* Good economic and generational diversity and there are lots of families with children living here.
* Good ratings for the Reading schools. A elementary  &  middle school are located right in the Dwtn area. Catholic & public schools are in the more suburban eastern half of reading.
* Reading is overall a safe place.
* For sale housing is a mix of affordable and moderately priced housing with ok diversity. 1-bed homes available selling btwn 50K-100K, 2-beds sell btwn 85K-250K, 3 & 4 beds btwn 100K-300K.
* Decent park amenities with several ball fields, cemeteries and pocket parks.
* Good cultural amenities including lots of food & bev businesses, a couple art galleries and local museums, a couple night clubs and live music spots.
* Good retail amenities too including a drug store, a grocerias, a family dollar, an amazing concentration of bridal shops with supporting boutiques & salons, a couple banks & furniture/antique shops, several dessert joints, a couple doctor offices, a public library, and several churches.
* Attractive historic architecture esp. in the commercial district.
* Good urban massing along Benson Ave. Hit or miss along Reading and esp. auto centric south of Benson. Similar story with streetscaping.


* Pretty low density for an urban district.
* So so public transit access.
* Bike infrastructure is basically non-existent.
* Rental is pretty limited. Some 1-beds listed at moderate prices.
* Reading could use a full service supermarket, a hardware store, local post office, more creative (non wedding) stores, a book store, etc.
* Modern in-fill is non-existent except for some crummy auto centric bldgs.
* Tree canopy is so so.

Cuyahoga Falls, OH- Historic Akron Suburb with Impressive Valley & Waterfalls

This evaluation includes Downtown Cuyahoga Falls and the historic Westside mostly developed before WW II. The boundaries I choose more or less match this framework but I admit it’s a bit imperfect. I used State for the Western border, the Cuyahoga River for the southern and Easter Border (route 8 is used as the eastern border north of Dwtn), and Silver Lake Ave as the northern border.

In 1812, Kelsey and Wilcox built a dam on the Cuyahoga River at a place where a railroad bridge crossed it in 1876. The town was incorporated in 1836. By the Civil War Cuyahoga Falls had 1,500 residents. It reached 3K in 1900, 10K in 1920, 30K by 1950, and peaked at 50K in 1970. In 1985, a referendum adding Northampton Township to the City, which helped negate a steep population loss in the 1970s. The City actually had modest population increase between 2010-2020 and now hosts 51K souls.

Downtown Cuyahoga Falls has seen a lot of investment centered along Front St and near Cuyahoga Falls. This has brought several new apartment buildings and townhouses, lots of restaurants, bars, and cafe and good cultural amenities. Unfortunately many of the Downtown side streets are auto oriented. Outside of Downtown are mostly medium density single family homes from the early 20th century. The closer one is to Dwtn the better the walkability. The secondary commercial district along State St is very auto oriented. Cuyahoga Falls scores well in my evaluation as it is very diverse but also does well with typically suburban amenities (i.e. quality schools, parks and high levels of safety). I don’t anticipate this happening anytime soon but it would be great to see a lot more urban in-fill Downtown and a conversion of State St into a more pedestrian friendly commercial corridor. Cuyahoga Falls also need better public transit and bike infrastructure.

Click here to view my Cuyahoga Falls Album on Flickr


* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is best Dwtn and pretty good in the residential areas.
* Convenient access to Dwtn Akron across all modes. A 10 minute drive and 30 min bus and bike ride.
* Good connectivity and street grid.
* Cuyahoga Falls does well across all diversity indicators.
* Decent # and diversity of schools and overall they are well rated.
* A decent # of rentals are available and generally very affordable. Few 1-beds lease btwn $700-$900, 2-beds btwn $800-the low 1KS, 3-beds in the mid 1Ks.
* Better for sale housing diversity. Some 1-bed condos selling btwn 100K-200K, 2-beds sell btwn 125K-300K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 125K-325K.
* Good park and recreational amenities including the Metro Parks along the Cuyahoga River, a couple plazas dwtn, several small-medium sized parks spread throughout at the large Recreation Center Dwtn.
* Good tree canopy throughout.
* Good cultural amenities concentrated Dwtn but also some along State Street. Lots of Food & Bev business Dwtn and along State Street. A decent # of breweries, art galleries, live music venues and local museums concentrated Dwtn. Also a cinema in the NW corner of this evaluation area.
* Pretty good retail amenities include a couple supermarkets along State St, several drug stores, plenty of banks, lots of boutiques/gift shops/creative stores Dwtn, a dwtn public library & post office, and a good # dessert joints, gyms, salons, churches spread throughout the neighborhood.
* Generally a very safe community.
* Nice historic homes and good # of historic Dwtn bldgs still intact.


* Public transit is fair to mediocre in Cuyahoga Falls.
* Bike infrastructure is very limited here.
* Pretty good urban form along several blocks of Front Street Dwtn, but this becomes auto centric pretty quickly especially along other Dwtn Streets. State Street is very auto oriented although still has sidewalks
* Some urban in-fill dwtn. Form is generally good but often tacky design. State street has a lot of auto centric crud.
* Pretty low density for an urban area.

Cudell- One of Cleveland’s most racial diverse communities with the right urban bones to once again be a great urban district

The Cudell neighborhood has been a part of Cleveland since 1904. It was named after Frank Cudell who was a well know architect and bequeathed property to the city (where Cudell park and Recreation Center now stands). Cudell developed in the early 20th century as a streetcar suburb and mostly a working class community with residents working in nearby factories concentrated along W 117 and Berea Road. The construction of Interstate 90 in the 1960s isolated the neighborhood’s southern quarter and the Lorain business district. The neighborhood is now half of its peak population of 17K. Fortunately most of the residential streets have remained in tact especially the large homes along West Blvd. The commercial districts (especially Madison Ave) have not fared as well. Commercial uses along Madison are mostly gone and there is still significant vacancy along the corridor.

Cudell excels at great public transit access, affordable for sale homes, decent access to retail amenities (Target, Home Depot, and Stables are all located on W 117) and great racial diversity. With no racial group exceeding more than 1/3 of its population, this is probably Cleveland’s most diverse community. Cudell has the urban bones to be a great neighborhood, it just needs more investment and retail and cultural amenities to fill the vacancy, especially along the commercial corridors. My guess is that Cudell increasing sees the revitalization of neighboring Detroit Shoreway spill over. By 2035 I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a thriving urban district again. But that of course is not a done deal!

Click here to view my Cudell album on Flickr


* Solid sidewalk and ADA infrastructure with most intersections having up to date curb cuts.
* Excellent public transit service here and good access to Dwtn across all modes.
* Connectivity is generally good but the railroad and industrials areas cut into the street grid at points.
* Excellent racial diversity with no racially group exceeding 1/3 of the population. This is probably Cleveland’s most diverse community.
* Decent generational diversity. While households with children are a bit limited good adult diversity.
*Good amount of rental product that is generally pretty affordable. 1-beds lease btwn $500-750$, lots of 2-beds leasing btwn $800-the low 1Ks, plenty of 3-beds too leasing btwn 1K-1.4K.
* Pretty good tree canopy.
* Decent retail amenities concentrated on W 117th and Lorain including several Middle Eastern & Latino grocerias, a Target (with grocery), Home Depot, Staples, Save a Lot, a large Habitat Thrift store, a couple drug stores, several boutiques/clothing stores, several banks, a couple dessert joints, a public library, several churches, and a couple doctor offices.
* Excellent historic homes along West Blvd. Quality of housing off the Blvd is hit or miss. Some excellent but beat up historic commercial bldgs along Lorain.


* Decent Density
* No bike lanes in Cudell but it should be served somewhat by the City’s new dockland bike/scooter share.
* Poor economic diversity as 40% of residents are living in poverty. The Medium household income is just under 30K.
* Schools are so so. Good number of elementary schools (public, charter, and Catholic) but with mixed ratings. No walkable high schools or public middle schools.
* For Sale housing is mostly affordable with some moderate priced hsg. Really no 1-beds available. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-135K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-250K. Higher end product includes the larger homes along West Blvd, newer hsg around the West Tech and some of the gentrification is pushing in from Detroit Shoreway.
*Cudell park is a nice and multi-faceted park with a recreational center that includes a pool but really not other park spaces in the neighborhood.
* Some cultural amenities including several restaurants & bars concentrated on Lorain, a couple coffee spots and art galleries and the Cudell Fine Arts Center and a couple night clubs.
* Good amount of vacancy here especially along Madison and its side streets. Some crime as well.
* Lots of auto centric crud along W 117 and Lorain.

Bedford, OH- A very diverse Eastside Cleveland Suburb with a rich history

Difficult to parse out exactly what is urban and suburb in Bedford. As a general rule I used the river as a southern boundary, Wellman St as the eastern, Columbus & albot as the northern, and the railroad tracks as the western boundary.

The first settlers to Bedford arrived in 1813. Early settlers to the region were drawn to Tinkers Creek and the hardwood forests. Waterfalls on Tinkers Creek were ideal for mills. In 1837 Bedford Township had a population of 475 people and petitioned to become the Village of Bedford. With the growth of industry in the area Bedford reached 2,000 souls in 1840. Bedford’s population quickly declined, however, as separate municipalities splintered off. In 1900 just under 1,500 people lived here. Population grew swiftly in the 20th century leading to over 7K residents in 1940 and more than doubling to 17K in 1970. Bedford’s population contracted by about 4K but has appeared to stabilize at around 13K.

Bedford has a fairly in tact main street core along Broadway between Franklin and Powers roads. A decent array of local shops and food and beverage businesses are here but I wouldn’t say its thriving. The oldest buildings in town surround Bedford public square. There is a sizable pre-WWII fabric mainly to the east of Broadway with decent urban form. Bedford also has great access to the Metro Parks, a very diverse population, affordable for-sale hsg, good historic architecture, and good public transit.  Bedford struggles with poor schools, low density, limited bike infrastructure, limited rental supply, and many autocentric stretches. I’d love to see more dense mixed-use development here, but the market just isn’t strong enough currently.

Click here to view my Bedford Album on Flickr


* Good public transit, especially for a suburb.
* Great economic and racial diversity here. Majority African American suburb with 1/3 of the population is White and about 4% is Hispanic. Good generational diversity too.
* For sale housing is very affordable and moderately priced. 1-beds sell btwn 65K-100K, 2-beds sell btwn 100K-150, 3&4 beds sell btwn 85K-250K. High end housing and for sale condos is certainly missing here.
* Good historic architecture.
* Good tree canopy.
* Just west of Dwtn Bedford is the extensive Metroparks surrounding Tinkers Creek. Also a public pool and several ballfields and a nice public square.
* Decent cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, a couple art galleries, and the Bedford Historic Museum.
* Decent retail amenities include a supermarket, a couple drug stores, several boutiques, a couple consignment stores, a vinyl store, bookstore, a couple banks, several bakeries and dessert stores, a dwtn public library and post office, plenty of churches, and a major hospital. Many of the commercial amenities lie within autocentric spaces.
* Bedford is pretty safe overall but some pretty underutilized and sometimes vacant space along the southern reaches of Broadway Ave.


* Density is more like that of a suburb.
* Decent access to Dwtn with a 25 min drive and 45 minute bus ride. A bit longer for both modes to University Circle.
* Some gridded blocks but connectivity is so .
* Limited biking infrastructure. Dedicated bike path in the metro parks however, but that connects mostly to other parks.
* Only a handful of schools within the Bedford Dwtn and Bedford schools overall have poor ratings.
* Rentals are pretty limited esp. 1 & 2 bedrooms. What is available for lease is generally pretty affordable.
* Decent but not great ADA infrastructure.
* Modern in-fill in Dwtn Bedford is almost all autocentric and pretty ugly.
* Good urban form and streetscaping along the core of Broadway. But very autocentric in the north and southern reaches of Broadway and along OH-8.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty limited to the core of Broadway Ave and even here it’s not terribly active.
* Dwtn Bedford certainly struggles from a positive image.

Chardon Ohio- heart of Cleveland’s snowbelt and a quiet, bucolic Eastside historic suburb

The core of Chardon is along Chardon square and then extends out along the various roads radiating from Dwtn where there are sidewalks and older homes.

Chardon Township was incorporated in 1812. The town slowly grew decade by decade and by around the Civil War Chardon had reached 885 souls.  This was also around the time of the Chardon Fire which, in 1868, destroyed the majority of the  uptown area around Chardon Square. Fortunately Chardon Square was quickly rebuilt and what followed was a concentrated array of gorgeous Italianate Victorian commercial structures from the 1870s & 1880s. A new more beautiful county courthouse was also built at this time.

Post fire, Chardon’s population continued to modestly grow reaching 1,350 residents by 1900 and 2000 by 1940. Chardon also witnessed a modest amount of post-War II suburban growing doubling to  4,000 people in the 70s and reached just over 5,200 residents in 2020.

From an urban perspective Chardon has a lovely historic square surrounded by well occupied historic commercial bldgs on the west side and more institution buildings on the east. Several historic residential streets radiate out from Chardon Square, but a street grid is limited and the City quickly transitions into more suburban/bucolic development. Chardon is also very isolated, located more than 30 minutes from any major employment center and thus has poor public transit. But the City posts good cultural and retail amenities, great schools, decent parks, moderately priced housing, and a safe and quite environment.

Click here to view my Chardon Album on Flickr


* ADA infrastructure is good along the Chardon Square and hit or miss in streets move out.
* Good cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, cafes, and a couple of community theaters,
* Good generational diversity with lots of families living here, but young adults are a bit limited.* Very high quality schools located within or just north of the core town.
* For sale housing prices are very reasonable here with 1-beds selling around 100K, 2-beds 150K-300K 3 &4 beds btwn 175-400K.
* Decent park amenities with the attractive central Chardon Square and Chardon Park, which includes a pool, several ballfields and other attractions.
* Very good tree canopy overall.
* Great historic architecture, especially the wonderful concentration of 1870s-1890s Italian commercial structures (thanks to a fire!). The residential homes are also very attractive.
* This is a very safe community.
* Good retail amenities although many reside just outside of the core area in strip malls (e.g. several supermarkets, a big lots, a home depot, a couple drug store, several banks, ). Around the square there are several boutiques,  antique, and home good stores, a couple banks, a couple gyms, several churches, a dwtn post office and public library.
* Definitively an in-demand Cleveland suburb.


* Density is similar to that of a suburb.
* Very limited transit provided by Geauga County.
* 35-40 minutes drive to all major employments areas (Chagrin Highlands, University Circle, and Dwtn. No real transit connections.
* Decent connectivity. Along the square but it quickly fades out.
* Bike infrastructure is overall limited but a nice dedicated recreational path cuts through town.
* Horrible racial diversity with over 96% of the population as white.
* Okay economic diversity.
* Rentals are reasonably priced but very limited, especially 1 & 2 bedrooms.
* No art galleries, live music venues, nor museums in Chardon.
* A decent amount of unattractive autocentric in-fill on the edge of the core. No inf-ill around Chardon Square.
* Not a ton of pedestrian activity but some around Chardon Square.

Maumee, OH- Historic Toledo suburb near the Battle of Fallen Timbers

In general I included in this evaluation the pre-WWII fabric between Anthony Wayne Trail and the Maumee River.

Maumee is the site of Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s final fort, Fort Deposit, built in Aug. 1794 on his way to the battle of Fallen Timbers. Shortly after the war of 1812 a town plat was laid out at the begin of the Maumee River rapids and within a decade, the Maumee was gaining recognition as a major trans-shipment point connecting Lake Erie and lands to the west. The town quickly reached 840 residents by 1840. Yet dreams of greatness began to fade in the 1850s, when ships too large to navigate the river were introduced for use and railroads began to replace water transport. The town stagnated and only grew to 1,856 residents by 1900. The City did start to see steady growth in the early 20th century growing to 3,100 by 1920 and 4,600 in 1940. But it took its integration into Toledo’s outer belt system to really propel its growth. Maumee reached 15,747 in 1970 and  has slowly lost residents since then.

Similar to Perrysburg, Maumee has a compact main street running along a couple blocks Conant St. surrounded by several blocks of 19th century historic home. Its pre-WII fabric then sprawls out to the east more or less following the Maumee River. Central Maumee’s greatest assets are its park amenities, quality walkable schools, compact & attractive main street, tree canopy, and affordable for-sale housing. It lacks quality public transit and bike infrastructure, a central supermarket, racial diversity, and could use significantly more rental options and housing in general as Maumee’s density is very low.

Click here to view my Maumee album on Flickr


* ADA Curbs- Generally good but some spots without ADA current curbs and a couple spots without sidewalks.
* Generally good connectivity but plenty of dead ends and disconnected blocks.
* This is a very safe City and consistantly on the top of most safe cities in Ohio.
* Excellent generational diversity with a high % of households with kids. Decent economic diversity.
* Very attractive historic architecture in Dwtn and in the core residential areas.
* Overall very good tree canopy.
* Cultural amenities are modest including a couple restaurants & bars, several cafes & art galleries, the Historic Maumee Theater, and the Wolcott House musem.
* Also modest retail amenities including a drug store, a dollar store, a couple of boutiques, a couple home good stores, several banks, a florist, several dessert joints and gyms,  and a dwtn public library.
* Great park access including several small parks, the mediun size Tow Path Park and River walk, and the expansive Side Cut Metropark.
* Good walkable schools options including quality k-12 public school options and a Catholic grade school.
* Lots of affordable & modest for-sale hsg option including some 1-bed homes selling in the low 100ks, 2-bed selling anywhere btwn 100K- the low 300Ks, 3 & 4 beds btwn 150K-400K.


* Pretty poor transit access.
* Poor density. More in-line with a suburb.
* While there are limited transit options to Dwtn it is only a 18 minutes drive. One can bike it along River Road in about 50 mins.
* Some bike lanes connecting Dwtn to the metro parks but really nothing else bike infrastructurewise.
* Poor racial diversity.
* Some half decent urban infill along Conant St but plenty of crummy auto centric bldgs along Anthony Wayne Trail.
* No supermarket nor post office Dwtn.
* Rental hsg is modestly priced but very limited.

Perrysburg, OH- Historic Toledo suburb and home to Fort Meigs

The evaluation area includes Boundary Streets to the west and east, 7th St to the south and the Maumee River to the north.

By the War of 1812 Perrysburg was a settlement of 67 families. The town quickly grew to 1,000 in 1840 and served as the county seat from 1822 to 1868. Things remained pretty unchanged in the 19th century with the population only reaching 1,766 by 1900. The town’s population steadily grew in the early 20th century reaching 2,400 by 1920 and 3,457 in 1940. Perrysburg’s population really took off after 1960 with suburban sprawl and its connection highway connection to I-75. At this points Perrysburg became integrated into the Toledo metro and the City now has 25K souls.

Fortunately historic Perrsyburg has retained its charm and is in-tact. This includes an attractive several block main street along Louisiana Ave, the Perrysburg Historic District along the Maumee River including lots of great 19th century housing, and many blocks of attractive early 20th century housing. Perrysburg also has excellent schools, quality ADA infrastructure, lots of moderately priced housing, and decent cultural, retail, and park amenities. For Perrysburg to become a great urban environment it needs more density and housing. I sense a fair amount of exclusivity here as there are few residents living in poverty and very limited rental options. Perrysburg also needs better public transit and bike connections.

Click here to view my Perrysburg, OH album on Flickr


* Generally very good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure.
* Quality tree canopy.

* Connectivity is good an even includes a couple diagonal roads.
* High number of households with families.
* Lots of quality walkable schools in the core of Perrysburg, both private and public options. High schools is unfortunately located on the edge of town.
* Good range of for-sale housing. A handful of 1-bed options selling in the low-mid 100Ks, 2-beds btwn 150K-250K, 3 & 4 beds 175K-500K with some of the mansion selling in 600 & 700Ks.
* This is a very safe community.
* Decent # of bars & restaurants along Louisiana Ave (Main St), a local brewery, and a couple of cafes. Also a couple of art galleries. The Fort Meigs Historic Site is located just outside the historic core.
* Decent park amenities with a couple nice riverfront parks and the expansive Woodland Park on the Eastern Edge.
*  Good retail amenities including a grocery store, lots of boutiques, a couple of consignment stores, home good stores, banks, gyms & floral shops, several dessert joints, a dwtn public library, and several churches.
* Pretty good urban massing in the biz district and quality streetscaping overall.


* While there are limited transit options to Dwtn it is only a 15 minutes drive. One can bike it along River Road in about 50 mins.
* Very low density of an urban area.
* Public transit access is very limited.
* Bike infrastructure is very limited.
* Racial and economic diversity is so .
* Rental hsg is very limited. Really no studio and 1-bed options. Some 2-beds leasing in the low to mid $1,000s.
* Affordable hsg exists in Perrysburg but is relegated to the outskirts of town.
* Missing retail amenities include a drugstore, a bookstore, and hospital is about 1 mile outside of town.
* Urban in-fill is a half-hearted attempt for urbanity as buildings are generally historic looking but still often pretty autocentric. Not terrible though.