Today, for the first time in a year, I bought a Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. On its front page was a HUGE article by reporter Mary Kilpatrick titled Abandoned homes dot area with a photo of a house being raised in Cleveland. It was a well written piece and they quoted all the right people, like former County Treasurer James Rokakis, but the story is not new. In fact, the Plain Dealer and other media outlets have written pieces like this ever since the mortgage meltdown hit NE Ohio, so it’s more like an update.
What interested me the most was a chart listing the number of vacant properties in Cleveland and suburbs within Cuyahoga County for the years 2010 to 2014. To my surprise. the city of Euclid was really hit hard, right behind East Cleveland. However, the chart did show that there are less vacancies there than in 2012 for example, which is encouraging.
A similar pattern has taken place in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland with 506 vacant properties compared to 510 in 2012 (Cuyahoga Vacancies, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 16, 2015, pg. A16). I do know that Councilman Michael D. Polensek has been very aggressive trying to get vacant homes torn down and the area East of Nottingham Rd. has favored much better than the streets off of East 140th near Bratenahl. There does seem to be an increase in home sales on the streets off of East 185th for example but the odds of property values hitting $90,000 to $100,000 like they did ten years ago seem unlikely.
On the other hand, the Euclid Green neighborhood of Cleveland, situated between East Cleveland, Collinwood, and Euclid, has less vacancies now (164) than in 2010 (197). Kamm’s Corners on Cleveland’s West Side rebounded even better.
What would have been interesting is to have that chart go back to 2005 to see how truly dramatic these communities have been hit by the mortgage crisis. I can honestly say that Euclid, for example, was in a lot better shape ten years ago than it is now and comparing current vacancies with those of 2010 cannot tell the entire story. It would be interesting to hear what the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mr. Rokakis, and the others have to say about that.