Our Neighborhood

vision

The MidTown Neighborhood Vision Plan is a place-based, holistic, living neighborhood plan representing a guiding vision of the people, places, organizations, and built environment that will further connect the MidTown neighborhood physically and socially.

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A Comprehensive Vision for MidTown's Next Five Years

THE MIDTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD is at the intersection of several neighborhoods - AsiaTown, Hough, Central, Fairfax, and Downtown. Home to a wide variety of individuals, industries, and organizations, the MidTown community benefits from the connectedness of its stakeholders, physically and socially. MidTown’s location, supportive business community and unique programming connect people with job opportunities, helps us to retain a diverse mix of businesses, and create inclusive pathways for growth.

MidTown is a place for connection, belonging, and the joyful celebration of the patchwork of cultures and communities that make up MidTown. In MidTown, prosperity is reinvested in the community, equity and inclusion are fundamental expectations, and innovation helps families realize the opportunities promised to generations before them.

MidTown residents are involved and empowered to be self-sufficient and drive change in the neighborhood. Our many voices are amplified in public spaces and the streets are alive with activity. People of all backgrounds find wellness and healing, lifted by a network of purpose-driven partners...

Now and in the future, there is a place for everyone in MidTown.

Turning Vision into Action

Goals & Strategies

Our vision will be realized as we work toward achieving the overarching goals defined by the planning process. The 20 strategies below define the approach we should take to realize our shared vision for MidTown. Rather than having a single focus, we see the strategies as interrelated – actions taken toward each strategy have the potential to move our community toward achieving multiple goals.

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STRATEGY

Promote Clear
Expectations
for New
Development

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STRATEGY

Imagine
AsiaTown as a
Home for the
AAPI Community

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STRATEGY

Upgrade Payne
Avenue as
the Anchor
of AsiaTown

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STRATEGY

Build
Out the
Innovation
Community

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STRATEGY

Celebrate
Local
Businesses
 

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STRATEGY

Elevate
Black
and Asian
Creative Voices

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STRATEGY

More
Art and
Color!
 

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STRATEGY

Restore
and Grow
MidTown's Green
Infrastructure

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STRATEGY

Dismantle
the Barriers;
Heal the
Wounds

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STRATEGY

Create
Community
Gathering
Spaces

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STRATEGY

Mitigate Blight,
Vacancy, and
Environmental
Health Issues

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STRATEGY

Build
Youth
Resilience
 

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STRATEGY

Strategically
Invest
in New
Housing

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STRATEGY

Reduce
Housing
Stress
 

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STRATEGY

Be a Local Hub
of Black History,
Entrepreneurship,
and Celebration

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STRATEGY

Get
Work
Ready
 

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STRATEGY

Improve
Neighborhood
Safety
 

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STRATEGY

Connect
and Empower
Neighbors,
Block by Block

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STRATEGY

Help
Residents
Reach Their
Health Goals

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STRATEGY

Preserve
Legacy
Buildings
 

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HOW TO USE THIS TOOL

The Plan in Action

This community plan was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the final “Plan” needed to be flexible in order to eventually align with a new normal, post-pandemic.

The Vision Plan is presented as a deck of “Action Cards” to ensure that there are always opportunities for new individuals, groups, and institutions to integrate into their own work and champion this important Plan. Every card is associated with one of the 20 strategies above.

As you explore the deck, find cards that align with your interests or the aim of your organization. Use the deck to identify shared interests and priorities, or outline a process or for taking action. Combine cards to make even more meaningful impacts.

In addition to a strategic focus, each card contains the following areas:

Actions

Near-Term

SUPPORT

Neighborhood Vision Plan

Action Cards

All Strategies
  • All Strategies
  • Address Vacancy
  • An Innovation Economy
  • Build Youth Resilience
  • Celebrate Black History
  • Celebrate Local Businesses
  • Clear Development Expectations
  • Connect & Empower Neighbors
  • Create Gathering Spaces
  • Dismantle Barriers
  • Elevate Black & Asian Voices
  • Get Work Ready
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Imagine AsiaTown Plan
  • Improve Safety
  • More Art & Color
  • New Housing Development
  • Preserve Legacy Buildings
  • Reach Health Goals
  • Reduce Housing Stress
  • Upgrade Payne Ave

Get Work Ready

Create a Central Location for Employment and Workforce Development Information

Reinforce MTC’s role as a “connector” organzation by building and maintaining a public resource for open positions and workforce development opportunities in MidTown and the surrounding areas.


20A

Mitigate Impacts of Vacancy & Environmental Health Issues

Address Environmental Issues on Existing Vacant Land & Commercial Spaces

Target short and long term environmental interventions on properties throughout MidTown. Implement environmental remediation, tree planting, and other bioremediation where possible. Take action related to air quality (industrial and auto emissions), tracking environmental polluters.


12C

Get Work Ready

Include Career Connections in All Midtown Community Events and Programming

Consider every event an program an opportunity to connect employers to employees, , and emphasize the array of career pathways that exist in MidTown. Use events to engage two generations - job seeking parents and inspire younger generations.


20B

Celebrate Local Businesses

Promote “Buy Local” & “Procure Local” Campaigns to Help Boost the Midtown Economy

Promote local manufacturers and b2b services in in MidTown; seek commitment by local institutions to look to the local economy to meet their business needs. Continue marketing campaigns that encourages patronage of local businesses.


18B

Imagine AsiaTown as a Home for the AAPI Community

Make AsiaTown More Holistically Connected & Walkable

The AsiaTown Neighborhood overlaps MTC’s service area and both communities stand to gain from strengthening physical and socal connections within and between the areas. Physical pathways within and between these areas should improved to make stronger, safer connections that include connections to Historic Chinatown and Superior. MTC’s efforts to market MidTown businesses should include assets in the AsiaTown community at large, wherever possible.


6C

Get Work Ready

Support Efforts to Build Community Financial Literacy, Independence & Empowerment

Help residents reach their financial goals by centralizing free training and educational resources on the MTC webpage. Expand staff knowledge of existing area resources and capacity to support local entrepreneurs.


20E

Promote Clear Expectations for New Development

Create a Developer Reference that Identifies Critical Community Priorities for New Development

Develop marketing collateral using content from the Vision Plan to communicate to developers and investors the priorities and unique characteristics of different parts of MidTown. Share Equitable Development Guidelines with interested developers.


1B

Be a Hub of Black History, Entrepreneurship and Celebration in Cleveland

Initiate / Fund Project to Collect Oral Histories; Display in Midtown

Stories of the African American experience in America are often unknown and poorly documented. MTC can be a champion for Black history by helping to initiate a project to collect oral histories in MidTown and find ways to integrate these stories into public spaces, exhibitions, and events.


3F

Reduce Housing Stress

Encourage New / Innovative Programs That Link Housing & Social Conditions

Increase the number of housing programs in the area that address resident social, health, and wellness challenges in new ways. Explore and support unique Dividend Rent Model, housing for expectant mothers, recovery housing etc.


11D

All Strategies
  • All Strategies
  • Address Vacancy
  • An Innovation Economy
  • Build Youth Resilience
  • Celebrate Black History
  • Celebrate Local Businesses
  • Clear Development Expectations
  • Connect & Empower Neighbors
  • Create Gathering Spaces
  • Dismantle Barriers
  • Elevate Black & Asian Voices
  • Get Work Ready
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Imagine AsiaTown Plan
  • Improve Safety
  • More Art & Color
  • New Housing Development
  • Preserve Legacy Buildings
  • Reach Health Goals
  • Reduce Housing Stress
  • Upgrade Payne Ave

Help Residents Reach Their Health Goals

Bring Health and Wellness Focused Establishments and Amenities to Midtown

New spaces and places to focus on personal health and wellness are needed in MidTown to build a wellness culture in the community. Business recruiting efforts are needed to bring fitness spaces and healthy food options to MidTown.


14B

Get Work Ready

Provide Free Translation Services for Job Seekers

Support a diverse workforce and increase opportunities for non- or limited English speakers to gain equitable access to local jobs.


20C

Connect and Empower Neighbors, Block By Block

Continue Co-Creating Midtown Programming with Residents to Activate Community and Spaces

Intentionally involve residents to co-create programming bring joy in their neighborhoods and build community through storytelling, celebration and civid involvement. This Action also reinforces a concept defined in the Imagine AsiaTown plan to increase visibility and recognition of community members’ stories, contributions and commitment.


5B

Encourage New Housing Development

Pursue New Housing that Works for Working Families

Use MTC’s planning capacity to help to define the right housing typology mix for the area. As new housing is proposed, emphasize the need for not only new units, but unit configurations and sizes that support families of different sizes.


10B

Preserve Legacy Buildings

Pursue MidTown Historic District Designation in the National Registry of Historic Places

Capitalize on MidTown’s historic assets to draw residents, workers, and visitors, pave the way for more historic preservation of neighborhood buildings.


9A

Help Residents Reach Their Health Goals

Support Creation of Health Liaisons Programs Affiliated With Local Medical Institutions

Support, partner, and promote permanent program affiliated with local healthcare institutions. MTC will rely on local partners to champion this program.


14A

Upgrade Payne Ave to Anchor AsiaTown

Cultivate Vibrant Programming for AsiaTown Centered on Payne Avenue

Foster culture of collaboration and connection between MidTown and AsiaTown as organizations and places to achieve shared goals identified in the MidTown Neighborhood Vision and Imagine AsiaTown plans.


8B

Mitigate Impacts of Vacancy & Environmental Health Issues

Create A Distressed Property Intervention Program for Residents Looking To Improve Their Homes

Over two-thirds of MidTown’s housing is frame construction and rated in “fair” or worse condition by the City. Help residents improve and maintain current housing stock by connecting residents to resources available through Local, County, and State programs.


12B

More Art & Color

Celebrate, Expand, and Document Art in MidTown's Public Spaces

Make MidTown’s mural artwork a defining feature of the neighborhood with events and art walks highlighting the evolving art in public spaces around the area.


2A

A Snapshot of the Neighborhood

MidTown Today

The one sure thing about MidTown at this moment is ... it's changing! In our work to develop this Plan, we collected two critical types of information – quantitative data about the place, and qualitative data built from our own experience exploring the area.

We combined this with the robust input we received through our outreach and stakeholder engagement in the process. At the intersection of this qualitative and quantitative data analysis, eight major ideas emerged - that provide a simple, but comprehensive grounding in our understanding of MidTown today.

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1

MidTown doesn’t have a single identity, it’s a PATCHWORK. Because of this, people identify with MidTown in different ways.

2

MidTown is the Intersection of diverse Communities.

3

MidTown has HOUSING, but it is not the center of any single community.

4

There is a need to improve community Health outcomes.

5

MidTown needs to be a pipeline for Jobs that are accessible to people in the local area.

6

Stakeholders agree: MidTown's Location is its biggest asset.

7

There isn't a Place that brings people together [except Dave's]. There needs to be one, and it needs to be Bold.

8

MidTown is Designed to be a passthrough. It can be redesigned.

The MidTown Neighborhood Vision Plan is meant to be a critical catalyzing element for the area. Its vision statement articulates the type of community MidTown strives to be as it changes and grows over time. It documents the qualities of the MidTown area today that are critical to retaining MidTown’s uniqueness and authenticity over time. Born of hundreds of ideas shared by MidTown’s many stakeholders, this plan was revised and polished by the MidTown Inc. team and project Steering Committee and shared here with pride and excitement for what is yet to come.

This Vision Plan can help define the neighborhood in the future.

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FROM MIDTOWN CLEVELAND

A Message from the Team

The MidTown Cleveland, Inc. team is excited to share the results of your Neighborhood Vision Plan. Despite the twists and turns of the pandemic, we are thrilled with the input, engagement, and thought partnership from you—our community—in preparing a five-year, actionable plan that is thoughtful, holistic, and community-based.

We know the MidTown neighborhood is at a critical juncture with the acceleration of real estate development and economic growth. What happens in MidTown over the next decade will directly impact not just the residents and employees of MidTown but also the tens of thousands of residents in the neighborhoods north, south, east, and west of us. We recognize that we must act with urgency to ensure that the Neighborhood Vision Plan and the development and plans that follow will reduce disparity and advance racial equity. We thank you for your investment in this process to create a guiding vision that will further connect MidTown’s built environment and community both physically and socially. We can’t wait to partner with you towards achieving the compelling vision laid out in the plan!

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Thank You from the MidTown CLEVELAND team!

Jeff Epstein
Executive Director

Joyce Huang
Vice President of Community Development

Richard Barga
Vice President of Economic Development

Paul Deutsch
MidTown Board Chair

Principal - Bialosky Cleveland

NEIGHBORHOOD VISION PLAN

Steering Committee

Our steering committee consisted of 36 individuals and thought partners who are from or working in the MidTown, AsiaTown, Hough, Fairfax, Central, and St. Clair-Superior neighborhoods.

Akin Africa

Angie's Soul Food

Keith Benford Jr.

Hough Resident, Artist, E. 66th Street Youth Advisory Council Member

Aparna Bole

MidTown Board, University Hospitals Rainbow Center for Women and Children

Robert "Bob" Brown

MidTown Board, City Planning Consultant

Maria Campanelli

MidTown Board, Children's Museum of Cleveland

Paul Deutsch

MidTown Board Chair, Bialosky Cleveland

Joe Duffy

St. Clair Superior Development Corporation

Alana Garrett-Ferguson

Hough Resident

Anne Goodman

St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (Interim)

Darin Haines

MidTown Board, MCPc

Marsalis Hammons

Cleveland Foundation Service Fellow, CLE Metro School District

Joy Johnson

BBC Development Inc.

Julian Khan

Neighborhood Connections & NeighborUp

Adam King

Cleveland Owns, Board Member of Dunham Tavern Museum

Lillian Kuri

The Cleveland Foundation

Lexy Lattimore

Artist; Community Activist

Reverend Dr. Leah Lewis

Filmmaker, Writer, Entrepreneur

Julie Megyimori

Dealer Tire

Jacqueline Muhammad

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Kevin Nowak

CHN Housing Partners

Catondra Noye

Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation

Rachel Oscar

Campus District, Inc.

Frank Porter

MidTown Board, Former Owner of Central Cadillac

Isaiah Pritchard

Hough Resident, Artist, E 66th Street Youth Advisory Council Member

Kim Scott

City of Cleveland Planning Commission - Chief City Planner

Sonya Shakir

City of Cleveland Community Relations Third District Representative

Khrys Shefton

Famicos Foundation

Ron Stubblefield

Jumpstart, Inc.

Elaine Tso

ASIA, Inc.

Carolyn Watts Allen, Esq.

Hough Resident, Former City of Cleveland Director of Public Safety

Sharonda Whatley

City of Cleveland Planning Commission - City Planner

Anthony Whitfield

Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation

THOUGHT PARTNERS

Tiffany Graham Charkosky

LAND Studio

Evelyn Burnett

ThirdSpace Action Lab

Mordecai Cargill

ThirdSpace Action Lab

Maura Garvin

ThirdSpace Action Lab

Community Participation

Starting in March 2020, our team worked hard to connect with residents, business owners, artists, workers, youth, nonprofit stakeholders, and more in MidTown. Although our original engagement plans changed due to COVID-19, we connected with over 500 people throughout our process both virtually and physically distanced. Early one-on-one interviews gave us a solid grounding in the area, and the creation of two bespoke engagement tools - an online survey and a collaborative virtual map - allowed us to collect ongoing information from stakeholders about the area. Virtual focus group discussions allowed us to workshop strategies specifically related to small business development, leveraging the arts, and amplifying Black and Asian voices with those entrenched in the local issues and environment. We also hosted two virtual Community Updates to keep the community in the loop on our progress.

256+

Community Surveys completed.

100+

Comments added to the online map.

100 

Individuals participated in focus groups.

40+

Joined our Virtual Public Meetings.

25 

One-on-one interviews with stakeholders.