Monday, June 20, 2016 – Today our staff spent the morning in Lakewood getting an update on the housing, schools, taxes and amenities of the city. Often, inner-ring suburbs don’t get a fair shake when newcomers are exploring our region, sometimes because they are focused on newer housing (there are pockets here!) and sometimes because the schools never make the proverbial “top 10” rankings (large districts with lots of ethnic diversity rarely make those lists, just ask Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights, but lots of people still choose those suburbs) . . . but more about the schools in a minute.
When Mayor Mike Summers asked for a show of hands to see who on EA’s staff had lived in Lakewood at some point in their lives, half of us raised our hands, remembering fondly a first apartment out of college or a single family home we owned or rented.
A one hour bus tour through the city with the Mayor and Senior City Planner, Bryce Sylvester, showed us many of the reasons Lakewood continues to thrive and is known as an eclectic, historic and Millennial Dream Neighborhood (wait a minute, then why were we put on a mini bus with “Division of Aging” written on the side? Should we be offended? Ha ha!
Some facts . . .
- 52,000 residents makes Lakewood the 3rd largest city in Cuyahoga County (1. Cleveland; 2. Parma).
- Encompassing just six square miles, Lakewood’s density makes it the most populated suburb in Ohio and 2nd only to downtown Chicago in the entire Midwest.
- Lakewood’s population is 95% white, but it is ethnically diverse.
- The Gold Coast is a section of Lakewood with 13 high-rises on Lake Erie – half condo, half rental and a mix from Millennials to Senior Citizens.
- If you like new housing, don’t rule out Lakewood! Here are three pockets of new construction:
- McKinley Place – A three-acre site that was formerly McKinley Elementary School (West Clifton near Detroit); 40 two and three-story town homes in the $300-$400K range (10% give much desired first floor masters).
- Rockport – On both sides of Detroit Avenue near Beach, this four-acre site will have 50 townhomes for $200-$300K.
- Clifton Pointe – Off of Sloane on the far west end of Lakewood, very contemporary 22 units between $400K-$800K.
- While 52% of the 13,000 buildings in Lakewood are rentals, you don’t lose the neighborhood feel as 75% of the single homes are owner occupied (and many home owners have a double, living in one half and renting the other).
There are five city parks, including Lakewood Park right on Lake Erie that is 30 acres and the former estate of Marcus Hanna’s daughter.
- Clifton Park is the most affluent pocket in Lakewood
and sits on the lake at the far west end. Homes range from mid $400K to over $1 million and everyone who lives here is a member of the Clifton Beach Club (for a stipend), and it’s truly one of the prettiest private beaches on the Great Lakes.
- Birdtown is the oldest part of the city and offers the most affordable homes in Lakewood and is where lots of first time home buyers start out. It was created as company housing for Union Carbide (long since closed), and its streets created the name (Thrush, Quail, Robin, etc.)
- Clifton Lagoons is on the Lakewood side of the Rocky River and has many homes with an adjacent boat docks (some even under your home). Elliott Ness even found it cool enough to live down here 100 years ago.
Why is Lakewood a Millennial’s dream neighborhood? Every street has sidewalks and it is a very walkable neighborhood (to parks, to stores, to the lakefront, to bars and restaurants, and to the local school/playground), and it has great access to public transportation with RTA’s CSU line running down Clifton Boulevard into downtown and the Rapid with a stop at W. 117th Street to get to the airport. Low carbon footprint! But if you want to have a car (most in NE Ohio do), you generally have an off the street spot in a lot or a driveway/garage (not the case in downtown Cleveland).
With 90% of the businesses in Lakewood employing 10 people or less, it’s an entrepreneurial neighborhood with lots of locally grown shops and restaurants and an obvious lack of national chains. Beck Center for the Arts is a great anchor as well.
Lakewood City School’s Assistant Superintendent, Roxann Ramsey-Caserio, provided info on the public schools:
- Lakewood is one of just three school districts out of 600 in Ohio that don’t provide buses. It’s truly old school (pardon the pun) with kids walking or biking to a nearby school.
- There are 5,400 students, typically about 350 in a graduating class (90% graduation rate), but with seven elementary schools sprinkled through the community there are just 18-20 students in those classrooms.
- There are two middle schools (one on each side of town) and one high school.
- There were 37 languages spoken in the homes of Lakewood students last year – Lakewood is known for its work with immigrant and refugee families and is a true global melting pot. And last year, they had 500 students taking ESL classes and 200 refugees learning about America and often in their first formal school setting.
- Lakewood City Academy is the charter school, supported by the Lakewood school district, and has a drop out recovery/prevention focus.
The new Solstice Steps at Lakewood Park get a special mention – what a beautiful place to watch the sunset! Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy views open to the public!
Lakewood Catholic Academy offers an additional K-8 option for families who choose.
If you think your recruits or new hires transferring into NE Ohio could benefit from the deep knowledge and connections that Executive Arrangements can offer, please call us at 216.231.9311. We have info like this on more than 50 neighborhoods in the Cleveland, Akron and Canton areas and companies retain us to help them attract and retain the best possible talent from all over the world.