From The Master Plan - Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
A number of factors affect the future of a community, including population trends, housing trends, the existing pattern of development, proximity to highways, the natural environment, and the community’s location within the overall region. In addition, in order to understand development options for the future, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the past and present. This chapter provides a history of development in the neighborhoods as well as an overall assessment of the existing conditions and trends, including comparisons of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods (and in some cases comparisons at the Ward level) with the city of Cleveland, surrounding suburban communities and Cuyahoga County. The research provides the foundation upon which the goals and strategies for the future of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods are established. The narrative below highlights the more noteworthy statistics, while more extensive data in tabular form are included in the Appendices.
The Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods illustrate the development pattern of the City of Cleveland as annexations radiated outward from the central business district during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Outlying areas frequently agreed to annexation, because it provided access to better quality services such as schools, police and fire protection, and public water. The central city government equated the increase of territory under its jurisdiction as part of a logical progression toward greater growth and prosperity.
Brooklyn Centre, and particularly the area surrounding present-day Pearl Road and Denison Avenue, was the thriving center of Brooklyn Township by the third quarter of the 19th century. It had an established business district, as well as residential areas primarily west of present-day Pearl Road. A number of mid- to late 19th century homes remain in the neighborhood.
The full development of this compact neighborhood occurred over a brief period. The area to the north of Brooklyn Centre had become part of Cleveland in 1872. In separate annexation actions in 1890 and 1894, Cleveland expanded southward to the Big Creek Valley, extending from the Cuyahoga River Valley westward to approximately the present-day City of Brooklyn. Residential and commercial development accelerated after annexation, linked to Cleveland’s continuing industrial growth, population increase, and improving transportation network of streetcar lines. The entire neighborhood was basically developed by the end of the 1920s.
On the south side of the Big Creek Valley, the Old Brooklyn neighborhood was primarily an expanse of 90 to 100 acre farms throughout the 19th century. Present-day roads such as Memphis, Pearl, State, Broadview, Schaaf, Spring, and Valley all existed by the 1850s. The vicinity of present-day Pearl and Broadview Roads was known officially as Brighton briefly during the late 1830s, although the name lingered on maps for at least two generations. The two sides of the valley were connected to each other with stream bank level bridges by the mid-19th century. The bridges facilitated the movement of goods and people to Cleveland, which was the business center and county seat.
The Old Brooklyn neighborhood also underwent a significant period of construction immediately after annexation to Cleveland. The area in the vicinity of Pearl and Broadview Roads became South Brooklyn Village in 1889. In 1905, Cleveland annexed the village, roughly between Broadview Road and West 45th Street and as far south as Spring Road and Brooklyn Heights Cemetery. Steady development of commercial and residential structures was occurring in the area, due in large part to improved access from the completion in 1894 of the first high-level bridge crossing the Big Creek Valley (which superseded the 1865 stone arch bridge that still exists at stream bank level). Immediately after annexation a streetcar line was extended across the viaduct, terminating at the car barns near the intersection of State and Pearl Roads, which further aided development. Additional annexations of portions of Brooklyn Township in 1915, 1916, and 1917 extended Cleveland’s boundaries southward to Brookpark Road and westward to the present city of Brooklyn. By the mid-1920s, streetcar lines extended out Broadview, State, and Pearl Roads, which became the spines of commercial development. At the same time, residential construction accelerated, as farmland was converted to subdivisions.
The final annexation occurred in 1927, when the area southeast of the intersection of Broadview and Spring Roads, including the already-developed South Hills neighborhood, was annexed from Brooklyn Heights Village. This action completed the present boundaries of Cleveland and the Old Brooklyn neighborhood.
The South Hills area was an important market-gardening center around the turn-of-the-century. First introduced by Gustave Ruetenik & Sons in 1887, the concept of greenhouse gardening was introduced and flourished, and families and farmers in the Schaaf Road area were “among the first in the Midwest to use greenhouses.” By the 1920s, the neighborhood was “one of the nation's leading producers of greenhouse vegetables, with more than 100 acres under glass.”
Between 1930 and 1950, new residential development continued to radiate toward the west, south, and east edges of the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. With the continuing southward movement of Cleveland’s population, which ignited the growth of Parma during the 1950s, Brookpark Road emerged as an employment and retail arterial road on the southern edge of the neighborhood.
For the past 40 years, new residential development has occurred primarily on the eastern edge of the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. After the acquisition during the 1960s of the right-of-way for the Jennings Freeway from I-71 to I-480, residential subdivisions were constructed on the adjacent high ground overlooking the Cuyahoga River valley displacing most of the greenhouses in the South Hills area. Today, a few gardens and commercial gardening centers remain operational, but are not the dominant use they once were. In the 1980s, a major industrial park was constructed in the southeast corner of the neighborhood abutting the east side of the Jennings Freeway.
Much of the area’s commercial development was influenced by the automobile, similar to that of the United States, as private transportation spurred development. Numerous shopping plazas were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s at the intersections of Pearl and Brookpark Roads (Pearlbrook Plaza), Memphis and Fulton Roads (Memphis-Fulton Plaza), and Broadview and Brookpark Roads (Brookview Plaza).
As automobile use doubled in the 1950s, along with traffic jams, delays and accidents, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of an Interstate Highway System. Limited access highways were touted as safer and more efficient transportation routes, yet many urban areas, including the Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods were significantly altered by the construction. In the 1960s, construction of Interstate 71 across the northern portion of Brooklyn Centre resulted in a major loss of period buildings. The 1970s construction of I-480 parallel to Brookpark Road resulted in the loss of numerous structures in that area.
In recent decades, with the increased interest in historical preservation, renovation and preservation activities in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood have been instrumental in preserving some of the oldest remaining houses, dating from the middle of the 19th century. According to Neighborhood Link, “a number of architecturally-significant one- and two-family houses line Archwood, Denison and Mapledale Avenues in an area which constitutes the locally-designated Brooklyn Centre Historic District.”
See Appendix D, Map D-9 for locations of Historic Designations in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre.
A demographic analysis is important and necessary for several reasons. An analysis provides insight into existing community needs in terms of facilities and programming; it proves most useful when forecasting future community needs. As such, an in-depth look at key demographic trends can assist in the formation of goals and recommendations. For detailed demographic tables, see Appendix A.
The majority of the data presented comes from the decennial Census of Population and Housing of the U.S. Census Bureau, as reported on the Case Western Reserve University’s NEO CanDo website. This analysis primarily uses year 2000 Census data, but also includes previous Census years in order to assess trends in the community.
The study area is the combined area of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods, which for the most part is also the service area of the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation. At the time the planning process was conducted, these two neighborhoods comprised most of the areas of Ward 15 and Ward 16, with small portions of the Stockyards and Clark-Fulton neighborhoods also included. Map 8.1 illustrates the ward boundaries and neighborhood boundaries existing during the planning process, 2007 to 2009. While U.S. decennial census data is available from NEO CanDo at both the neighborhood level and at the ward level, estimates for 2007 that were provided by the Anderson Economic Group in the Comprehensive Market Strategy Report were the combined totals of Wards 15 and 16. Since current data is only available for the combined totals of Wards 15 and 16, the 2000 census data is reported as both the combined totals of the neighborhoods as well as of Wards 15 and 16.
In 2000, there were approximately 43,350 people living in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods, representing a 4.2% decline in population since the 1990 Census, (down from 45,231). For that same period, there were approximately 46,050 people living in Wards 15 and 16, a 3.5% decline from 1990. By 2007, it was estimated that the population in the two wards had declined by 5.8% since 2000, to 43,359 persons. The population decline in the neighborhoods continues to occur at a slower rate than for the city of Cleveland, which had 5.4% decline from 1990 to 2000 and an estimated 8.1% declined between 2000 and 2007.
Between 1990 and 2000, the population in Brooklyn Centre became more diversified, the Caucasian population declined from 83% to 72%, while other groups increased: African-Americans increased from 5.8% to 13.1%; and persons considering themselves to be of “other race” (other than White, Black, American Indian or Asian) increased from 8.8% to 13.1%. During that same time, Old Brooklyn changed at a slower rate, the Caucasian population declined from 97% to 93.2%, while African-Americans increased from 0.9% to 2.7% and persons of “other race” increased from 0.8% to 2.6”. In both neighborhoods, the Latino population increased at the greatest rate; from 15.8% to nearly 26% in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood and from 2.4% to 6.4% in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. By 2007, the Latino population was estimated to be nearly 14% of the total population in the neighborhoods.
The number of households declined slightly (1.6%) between 1990 and 2000 for the two neighborhoods, from a combined total of 19,038 households in 1990 to 18,729 in 2000. During that same period, the combined number of households in Wards 15 and 16 at about the same rate (1.7%) from 20,122 in 1990 to 19,781 in 2000.
In the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre Comprehensive Market Strategy, the Anderson Economic Group reported the average number of persons per household for Wards 15 and 16 in 2007 to be 2.3 persons, similar to the 2000 statistic of 2.32 persons per household. This is a small change from 2000, and indicates that the decline in number of persons per household is starting to level off. The largest decline was between 1960 and 1980, when a significant decline in household size occurred due to more single-person households as young people delayed marriage and as divorces increased, and as the number of children per family declined.
While overall the neighborhoods experienced a slight decline in population and households, the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood continues to be an attractive place for families with children. In both 1990 and 2000, more than 36% of all households were families with children under 18. The number of families with children under 18 increased slightly in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood from 25.7% of all households in 1990 to 26.3% in 2000. Both neighborhoods have a higher average of families with children than the national average of 24.1% of households.
Using the 2000 census block data, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission estimated that 23.9% of the households in Wards 15 and 16 have at least one resident who is 65 years or older, and of those households, more than 50% were single person households where the elderly person lived alone. Maps illustrating the concentrations of elderly households are found in Appendix D.
In 2000, there were 19,951 housing units in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods, a decline of 1.1% since 1990, when there were 20,183. While this would seem to indicate there has been little change in the neighborhoods, Brooklyn Centre lost over 300 units (7.4%), while 75 new units were built during that time in Old Brooklyn. In comparison, there were 8,463 fewer housing units in the city of Cleveland in 2000 compared to 1990, a decline of 3.8%. However, in 2007 and 2008, with the steep increase in the number of vacant and abandoned houses due to the high number of foreclosures, the city stepped up the demolition of deteriorated structures, so the rate of decline in units is expected to also increase significantly.
As noted earlier in this Chapter, the small, compact Brooklyn Centre neighborhood was nearly fully built-out by the end of the 1920s, and a significant number of these structures are still intact. It is not surprising then that as of 2000, 71.3% of the housing stock in Brooklyn Centre was built prior to 1940, followed by 10% between 1940 and 1949; just over 18% of the houses are less than 60 years old. In contrast, 43.1% of the housing stock in the larger Old Brooklyn neighborhood and 49.3% in all of Cleveland was built prior to 1940, while only 28.8% of the housing stock in Cuyahoga County was built prior to 1940.
As of the 2000 Census, there were 3,839 housing units in Brooklyn Centre, half of which were single-family detached units, and while one-third were two-family units. In Old Brooklyn, with more than four times as many housing units (16,106), two-thirds were single-family detached units and only 18% were two-family units. In both neighborhoods, about 15% of the units were in apartment buildings.
Home ownership rates in both neighborhoods increased slightly between 1990. In 2000, 46.8% of housing units in Brooklyn Centre and 65.1% of units in Old Brooklyn were owner-occupied, compared to 44.9% and 64.7% respectively in 1990. In 2000, 12.2% of the single-family houses in the neighborhoods were occupied by renters, which was closer to Cuyahoga County (9.1%) than to the city of Cleveland (19.4%). However, in 2000, there were some areas of the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood where more than one-third of the single-family houses were renter occupied. Significant concentrations of single-family homes occupied by renters are shown in Map 8.2 (above). See Appendix D for maps illustrating other housing trends including concentrations of single parent families and renter occupied housing.
According to the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s records, the median sales price of a single-family home sold in 2006 was $46,667 in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, $88,725 in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, and $62,046 city-wide. However, by 2008, with the impact of the foreclosure crisis ravaging the county, the median sales prices had dropped by 42% in Brooklyn Centre, and 52% in Old Brooklyn, which was less than the effects city-wide, where the drop in median sales price fell more than 60%.
Income and Employment
In the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre Comprehensive Market Strategy, the Anderson Economic Group reported that the 1999 median household income for Wards 15 and 16 was $32,576, compared to $25,928 for Cleveland and $39,186 for Cuyahoga County. By 2007, the report estimated that the median household income for the two Wards had increased 23% to $40,152, while the median for Cuyahoga County had increased 22.5% to $47,992. Yet, with an inflation rate of 24.8% during that same period, the median income for Wards 15 and 16 actually had less purchasing power despite the increase.
By 2000, the educational attainment of the adult population in both neighborhoods had increased: 76% of the adult population in the neighborhoods had at least a high school degree (up from 67% in 1990), and 13% had a bachelor’s degree (up from 8.8% in 1990).
Poverty status is determined by income and family size. For example, in 1989 a family of four -- with 2 adults and 2 children with an income of $12,575 was considered poor, and in 1999, a family of four -- with 2 adults and 2 children with an income of $16,895 was considered poor.
Between 1989 and 1999, there was a slight increase in the combined overall poverty rate for the two neighborhoods, from 13.7% to 13.9%, but the neighborhood’s poverty rate was still 47% lower than the 1999 overall rate of 26.3% for the city of Cleveland.
The percentage of elderly residents living in poverty increased between 1989 and 1999 at a higher rate than the overall neighborhood rate, from 10.4% to 12.6%, and the increase was most noticeable in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood where the rate rose from 8.4% to 15.4%. In contrast, the poverty rate of elderly residents in both Cleveland and Cuyahoga County declined.
Natural amenities and resources are not only essential to a community’s environmental health, but also to an area’s economic and social health. More and more, community governments are recognizing that natural amenities act as an economic driver that can attract new businesses and residents. Natural amenities such as open space and river corridors are also beneficial to the creation of a healthy social environment: they provide community meeting places, recreation, and spiritual and mental renewal. Additionally, a community’s natural amenities provide ecosystem services that reduce the need for costly infrastructure to accommodate heavy rains and reduce the potential for flooding.
Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre have a relative large amount of open space and/or undeveloped land that provides environmental or greenspace value such as the Lower Big Creek Valley, the MetroParks Brookside Reservation, and Treadway Creek Greenway. In addition, interesting topography with the changes in elevation from the Valley floor to the Valley rim as well as other unique natural features all serve to contribute to the character and image of the neighborhoods and help make the neighborhoods a special place to visit, work, and live. These natural features not only affect the quality of life of residents, but can affect development decisions on and around these natural areas.
The Cuyahoga River, Big Creek and Tributaries
The Big Creek is a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Nearly the entire study area lies within the Big Creek watershed, which drains surface water from approximately 40 square miles eastward to the Cuyahoga River. The watershed also includes Brooklyn and Linndale and portions of Parma, Parma Heights, Brook Park and North Royalton. The southeast portion of Old Brooklyn is in the
The Big Creek Valley has played a part in shaping the physical development of the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods, industrial areas and commercial centers. The steep valley and hillsides provided a significant buffer to separate industrial uses, particularly heavy industrial uses from residential areas. The size of the valley also contributed to the co-existence of industrial and non-industrial uses - the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, located on the south side of Big Creek, west of the Pearl Road Bridge, is isolated from industrial land uses, auto salvage yards and construction industries that are located toward the eastern end of the valley.
Soil type is important when considering locations for development and redevelopment. Likewise, soil type also plays a key role when determining whether and how natural features should be protected or restored to their natural state. The hydrologic soil groups are classified by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) based on the capacity of the soil to permit infiltration. Infiltration is important when determining how best to address storm water runoff.
There are four classifications of hydrologic soils: A, B, C and D. Hydrologic Group A soils have the highest infiltration rate when thoroughly wet and have a low runoff potential. They are mainly deep, well drained, and sandy or gravely. Soils in group B have moderate infiltration rates when completely wet and typically consist of sandy loam soils. These soils are found primarily in the flat upland area of the neighborhoods in many residential areas. This is of particular importance because these soils accommodate natural storm water management applications very well, such as raingardens. Most of the land area in Brooklyn Centre and the northern half of Old Brooklyn is comprised of Hydrologic Group B soils, as depicted on Map 8.3.
A residential raingarden program was suggested in Chapter 5 to decrease the amount of storm water runoff impacting the slopes of the Lower Big Creek Valley and the water quality of the Lower Big Creek. Raingardens and other green infrastructure techniques are most appropriate where the soils are able to capture and retain a significant amount of storm water falling on the area, diverting it from both the storm sewer system and flowing over the hillsides.
Preventing excess storm water from flowing over the hillsides in the neighborhoods is of particular importance in preventing hillside subsidence and protecting the health of the Lower Big Creek because soils found on the hillsides tend to be fragile and prone to serious erosion. The soil types found on the hillsides within the neighborhood include Brecksville silt loam (BrF), Geeburg-Mentor silt loams (GeF), and Oshtemo sandy loam (OsF), see Map 8.3. The following is a brief explanation of each of soil type.
Brecksville silt loam (BrF) is typically found on steep and very steep slopes. The soil is well drained, meaning that water is removed from the soil readily. Typically, the first several layers of silt loam are highly fragile, and are undergirded by a layer of soft shale bedrock. Permeability and infiltration of these soils is slow, and runoff is very rapid, with low capacity for water absorption and storage. BrF soils are not well suited for development, but they can support woodlands and woodland habitat: although BrF soil is suited for trees, seedlings are difficult to establish because of the low water capacity. Erosion is a serious hazard if adequate vegetative cover is not maintained. Most slopes are unstable and prone to slippage.
Geeburg-Mentor silt loams (GeF) is typically found on steep and very steep slopes. GeF soils consist of moderately well drained soils, with very slow to moderate permeability. Runoff is very rapid, but unlike the BrF soils, they have moderate to high capacity to hold water. These soils have low potential for most uses other than woodland, habitat for woodland wildlife and some recreational uses. These soils are too steep for lawns or gardens, with the hazard for erosion being very severe if the plant cover is removed or disturbed. Slopes where this soil type exists are unstable, with hillside slippage common in most areas of this soil type.
Oshtemo sandy loam (OsF) is characterized by steep and very steep slopes. It is well drained with rapid runoff but also rapid permeability, with a low capacity to hold water to support plant life. OsF soils are not well suited for site development, lawns, landscaping or recreation. Rather, OsF soils are very well suited for woodland and habitat for woodland wildlife, though seedlings are difficult to establish. Construction for recreation and urban uses is difficult and the hazard of erosion is severe when vegetation is removed. Hillside slippage also limits these uses.
All three of these soils are highly fragile and erodible, and should be protected with restrictive covenants and restoration mechanisms throughout the area in order to preserve the natural characteristics of the neighborhoods and the health of the Lower Big Creek and the Cuyahoga River.
Slope is a measure of the change in elevation of the land surface measured in relation to the horizon. The higher the slope value the steeper the incline. Steepness in turn, influences the suitability of a property to be developed because it becomes progressively more cost-prohibitive to build on a very steep slope. In the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods, the land that borders the Big Creek Valley has slopes as steep as 70%. In the past, houses and garages were built close to the valley rim with little protection and reinforcement from the steep cliff. While the vast majority of the Study Area has a slope of less than 2% (1,232 acres), roughly 190 acres of land area (6%) within the Study Area have a slope of 18% or more. The steep slopes along the Lower Big Creek Valley are shown on Map 8.4.
Many factors influence the physical pattern of development within the neighborhoods including population growth and decline, changing social and economic trends, and evolving housing needs. Because land is a finite resource, an understanding of existing conditions as well as careful consideration for future land uses is necessary during the planning process. Development trends, how land is currently being used in the neighborhoods and existing regulations such as zoning all have a direct impact on community character, aesthetics, transportation infrastructure, housing affordability and ultimately its tax base.
The geography of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods spans just over 4,403 acres in size, according to a 2005 inventory conducted by the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, and reviewed by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission in 2008. The land uses range from residential to industrial, infrastructure to institutional. Not all land is developed however. Of the total, a couple hundred acres is either vacant or underdeveloped. See Table 8.1 for detailed statistics. A full discussion of each land use follows.
Residential land uses are the single largest land use within the geographies of Wards 15 and 16. Comprising over 1,943 acres or 44% of the total area,
residential uses are located universally throughout the community. The Old Brooklyn neighborhood has slightly more total acres of residential land uses than the Brooklyn Centre Study Area- 1,060 acres as compared to 882 acres. According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the most ambitious period of residential construction extended from the early part of the 20th century through the 1950s.
While multi-family housing units are located throughout the area, single-family homes are the most predominant residential land use. However, two-family houses are common along the older streets surrounding Denison Avenue and residential streets located off Pearl and State Roads. Approximately 302 acres are currently being used as two-family residential housing units, while 133 acres of land are currently used for multi-family structures. The majority of the residential housing built after World War II is single-family. Some of the newest residential areas were built since 1990 and include streets such as Ferman Avenue and South Meadow Lane off Spring Road. Since 1990, the latest new housing has been various infill housing as few undeveloped parcels exists and land has become more scarce.
Combined, commercial (retail and office) and industrial land uses comprise roughly 900 acres of the total Study Area. Many of the area’s commercial uses are concentrated along the major corridors including Pearl, State and Broadview Roads. Industrial land uses are found in the western edge of Wards 15 and 16, along the Big Creek Valley. Many of the area’s heavy industry sites are found along Bradley Road, while light industry land uses are scattered throughout the Valley and along Brookpark Road.
Parks and open space comprise roughly 401 acres of land in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre, approximately 18% of the total area. The Treadway Creek Greenway Restoration project has recently helped to open up additional park area for residents and visitors. The Treadway Creek is projected to restore and preserve 208 acres of riparian corridor and open space along Treadway Creek. The project will provide a direct neighborhood connection to the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Corridor's Towpath Trail and will help to increase recreational opportunities in the community. Construction of the trail was completed in Fall, 2007 and officially opened in May, 2008.
The Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods are geographically situated so as to benefit from excellent highway access. The two neighborhoods are easily accessible from Interstate-71, Ohio-176 (Jennings Freeway) and Interstate-480. Various highway entrance and exit ramps are sprinkled throughout the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre including access points at West 25th Street/Pearl Road, Denison Avenue and Spring Road, Brookpark Road and nearby at State Road and Ridge Road. In total, highways, right-of-ways (roads), and public utilities comprise 12.6% of the total land use acres. Of note, South Brooklyn led this section of the nation by using bituminous macadam to pave Pearl and State Roads in 1903 (Encyclopedia of Cleveland History).
Two bridges – the Brooklyn Brighton Bridge and the Fulton Road Bridge - provide the only two connections between the two neighborhoods across the Lower Big Creek Valley. The Fulton Road Bridge was imploded in April, 2007 and remained under construction through 2009
The neighborhoods are also well served by public transportation, with GCRTA bus routes along all major and commercial streets in the neighborhoods. Nearly all residents in the two neighborhoods are within a 10 minute walk of a bus route, making public transportation a viable alternative to automobile use. The Pearl Road/W 25th Street Transportation Corridor Plan provides further details on existing bus routes)
Roughly 5% of the land within the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods is currently vacant. Much of the land that remains vacant or underdeveloped is located along or within the Big Creek Valley. Steep slopes limit the development potential at these sites as seen in Map 8.4 and 8.5.
Land use patterns in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Center neighborhoods are guided by various zoning districts governed by the City of the Cleveland. See Map 8.6. These land use patterns will in turn affect the location, kind and amount of growth in a community. Combined, there are 12 different zoning classifications within the two neighborhood boundaries, ranging from residential to industrial to parking districts. When used properly, zoning can provide numerous benefits and be a powerful tool to improve the aesthetics of a community, protect the environment, and enhance the overall quality of life.
The most widespread zoning classification in total acres is the Two-Family District (2F). This zoning classification encompasses both single and double family housing, as well as all other uses permitted and regulated in a One-Family (1F) District (discussed below). Approximately 31.5% or 1,386 acres of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods are zoned Two-Family District. The One-Family District is the second largest zoning classification, covering 1,309 acres in size or about 30%. A wide array of residential-support land uses are permitted in the One-Family District including parks, playgrounds, churches, fire and police stations, libraries, hospitals, nurseries and kindergartens, as well as single-family houses. Spatially, the One-Family District is concentrated in the upper west quadrant between Memphis Avenue and I-71, and the south central part of the Study Area between Pearl and Broadview Roads.
The next largest tier of zoning is the General Industry (GI) District. The GI District occupies about 12.4% of the Study Area, a total of just over 547 acres in size. These zoned areas are relatively concentrated in four distinct areas –the Study Area’s eastern border along the Cuyahoga River, along Big Creek in the center of the Study Area, in the northwestern section of the Study Area off Denison Avenue, and along Brookpark Road at the Study Area’s southern border.
The other nine zoning classifications that cover the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods total less than ten percent of the total acres - They are a mix of residential, industrial and commercial zoning classifications. The Semi-Industry (SI) District is the largest of these zoning classifications at over 371 acres or 8.4%, while the Residence-Office (R0) District and the Parking (P) District encompass the smallest amounts of land area at 2.2 and 3.4 acres respectively or 0.1%.
A robust and healthy business environment is the goal any economic development effort. Economic development is usually described as any effort that seeks to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base. Commercial development should ideally be balanced with other land uses and serve not only the community it is located in, but will also attract other consumers and sales from outside the area.
A thorough understanding of existing conditions, including an inventory of businesses, provides a starting point for assessing the current mix of businesses. An inventory can also shed light on where discrepancies exists in terms of products and services within a community and help identify opportunities for economic development driven by the inventory’s baseline findings. This subsection presents a number of findings related to the Study Area’s current position in the regional economy.
Local and Regional Economic Trends
The neighborhoods of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre are not immune to economic forces outside of its geography. Many factors affect how profitable businesses are, how consumers spend their discretionary income, and how successful a community can be in attracting and retaining businesses. In general, the area’s industrial facilities are aged and deteriorated, the workforce may not be adequately prepared and educated to compete in an increasingly competitive environment, developable land may be contaminated as a brownfield site and be costly to remediate; plus increasing pressure to operate in a global environment has resulted in the outsourcing of jobs and rising unemployment.
While there are a number of economic challenges that Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre must address and overcome, there are an equal number of positive factors that benefit the Study Area. In general, Northeast Ohio has a well-developed transportation and telecommunication infrastructure network, a large work force, and an abundance of office space and industrial facilities.
There have been a number of market trends affecting retail on both a national and local level. Nationally, there has been the rise of the “big box” store that has replaced many mom-and-pop stores that are common in older communities. These venues typically occupy thousands of square feet in floor area and supply a sea of parking. Many of these big box stores are considered “category-killers” such as Home Depot or Best Buy but also include Wal-Mart and Target stores. Locally, there has been significant retail construction activity outside of the Study Area and within the City of Cleveland. Retail developers have built more than 1 million square feet annually for the past five years in Northeast Ohio. New developments such as Steelyard Commons have had both positive and negative consequences for neighborhood shopping plazas and retail centers. As new retail/commercial space is built, it becomes harder to “absorb” or fill existing retail space.
Another national trend in retailing is the increase of mixed-use developments. Developers, in an effort to create a small-town feel that many older neighborhoods such as Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre already have, have built “lifestyle” centers, such as Crocker Park, which offer housing and/or offices above retail storefronts.
The Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre Study Area is part of the Suburban Southwest Office submarket according to CB Richard Ellis. As of First Quarter, 2008, the Southwest office submarket had a vacancy rate of 16.72%, the third highest of the six office submarkets. However, vacancy rates may fluctuate within the office submarkets as significant new office space is built and becomes available.
While manufacturing is still an important sector in Northeast Ohio and within the City of Cleveland, its presence has been declining. There has been a shift from manufacturing industries to service sector. In Northeast Ohio, traditional manufacturing is being outpaced by new, cleaner technologies and industries such as biotech and healthcare.
Transportation costs and modes of travel have also influenced industry in recent years. Nationally and locally, interstate highways have experienced increased traffic volumes as the use of trucks and vehicles have been a growing source of transporting finished goods and raw materials. However, as the cost of fuel rises, the use of rail may increase.
Market Inventory: Methodology and Sources
During the months of September and October, 2007, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission conducted a comprehensive market inventory of businesses located in the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre Study Area. The inventory included all retail, commercial , offices, and industrial businesses. Several sources were used to compile the inventory including private databases such as the Harris Industrial Survey, Dunn & Bradstreet listing, and PhoneDisc - a national telephone directory. These three electronic databases were then merged and cross-checked against property records from the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office in order to obtain ownership, square footage and other identifying information about business properties and tenants. This comprehensive but preliminary listing of business names, vacancies, and square footage was through a “windshield” survey of the properties. Several shopping center management companies also supplied detailed information about tenants and their use of space. While the inventory includes vacant buildings and storefront space, it does not include vacant land.
Because of the dynamic nature of businesses and the difficulty in tracking continuously-changing businesses over time, the inventory is a “snapshot” in time of the kinds of business establishments located in the Study Area in the Fall, 2007. However, the listing was updated in January, 2008 to reflect some changes in the marketplace.
In total, there were 920 business establishments (including retail, commercial, office and industrial) operating in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods as of January, 2008. This translates into approximately 7.6 million square feet of floor area dedicated to business activity within the Study Area. Almost half of the total square footage was occupied by industrial uses, roughly one quarter by retail/commercial uses and 15% by offices. The Study Area’s overall vacancy rate as of January, 2008 was 12.5%. As Map 8.7 shows, businesses (represented in red) are spread out across the Study Area.
Much of the Study Area’s industrial uses (shown in blue) are concentrated to the east, along Brookpark Road, and in the upper left of the Study Area off Ridge Road. Offices (shown in pink) and Retail (shown in red) are primarily concentrated in the center of the Study Area, along the three main arterials (Pearl Road, State Road, and Broadview Road), and along Memphis Avenue.
The inventory of businesses within the Study Area was also shared with the Anderson Economic Group in order for them to develop a comprehensive market strategy and formulate specific recommendations for the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
Retail/Commercial and Office Inventory
Retail establishments, commercial businesses and offices were inventoried and grouped according to their primary use. Each business’ primary use was largely determined by its NAICS code - North American Industry Classification System code– a reporting system used by the federal government to classify establishments that use the same or similar processes to produce goods or services.
Businesses were identified and divided among seven major categories defined by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, ranging from Convenience Goods and Services to Offices, and then further classified among subcategories within each major group. Figure 8.1 illustrates the distribution of space among the seven categories
Offices comprised the largest market category, occupying close to one-third of all the non-industrial floor area, and utilizing over 1.1 million square feet of floor area. Offices were primarily concentrated in the Study Area’s “downtown district”. Medical and dental offices was the predominant type of office use covering more than 672,000 square feet and is largely attributable to MetroHealth’s Senior Health and Wellness facility. Banks, financial institutions and associated offices also comprise a large portion of the Office Space category with tenants like the Charter One Bank regional offices on Hinckley Industrial Parkway.
Convenience Goods and Services accounted for the next largest percentage of floor area with roughly 1 in 5 businesses (19%). In total, there was approximately 717,500 square feet and 241 establishments that were convenience-related. Food service was the largest subcategory within this group due to the numerous delicatessens, bars and restaurants located throughout the Study Area.
Automobile Sales, Parts, and Services businesses were the third largest non-industrial category at roughly 14% of the inventory and covering close to 526,800 total square feet. Of that total, approximately 200,300 square feet of floor area was being used by Auto Service & Repair shops, including car washes, detailing and customizing shops, and auto body repair shops. Auto Parts Sales also comprised a large portion of this category with close to 150,000 square feet of overall floor area.
As of January, 2008, the Study Area’s Retail/Commercial and Office Vacant floor area was nearly 507,700 square feet, for a vacancy rate of 13.4%. Compared to the overall City of Cleveland and other communities, this vacancy rate is relatively high – the first quarter, 2008 vacancy rate for Cleveland was 8.5% . While retail/commercial and office vacancies averaged 5,000 square feet in size, there was a range of vacancies from as small as 500 square feet to as much as 118,000 square feet in floor area. Many of the smaller vacant retail spaces were located along the older retail corridors of State, Pearl and Broadview Roads. In total, there were 109 vacant retail/commercial and office properties.
The Shopping Goods and Services category comprised 9.5% of the inventory and included big box department stores, furniture stores, clothing and shoes, and home and yard-related goods. As of January, 2008, there was over 354,000 square feet dedicated to shopping goods and services, almost half of which was furniture and home-related goods (157,346 square feet). Businesses classified as Other Shopping Goods also made up a large percentage of the Shopping Goods and Services category and included thrift stores, cellular telephone stores, and other miscellaneous retail.
Commercial Amusements such as bowling alleys and bingo halls, and Other Retail such as day care centers and business services each accounted for between 6% and 7% of the retail/commercial and office inventory. Commercial amusements in the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre Study Area included venues such as Brookpark Fun & Games and the numerous clubs and social halls found throughout the neighborhoods. In terms of Other Retail, day care centers comprised the largest subcategory, occupying over 77,000 square feet of space. Other Retail also included any unidentified retail /commercial businesses, i.e. establishments that were located on a maintained property, had an address, but lacked a sign or clearly identifiable use. Within the Study Area, there were 18 unidentified business properties/storefronts, which totaled 54,850 square feet in total floor area.
Other observations noted from the comprehensive field work included a high number of home-based businesses, storefront churches, and numerous nontraditional commercial uses (such as tattoo parlors, psychic readings, and rental stores). Although home-based businesses were generally excluded from the inventory, nearly 100 were identified by the Dunn & Bradstreet database, but were not included in the inventory when it was determined that they were not the predominant use of the property.
Average Retail/Office Floor Area
The average floor area for each of the subcategories could also be determined from the comprehensive market inventory. Table 8.2 indicates some of the more common retail/commercial and office uses within the Study Area. Department stores or big box retail tended to be 50,000 square feet of more in size and included the HH Gregg Appliance store on Brookpark Road. Typically, local grocery stores, hotels/motels, and medical and dental offices tended to be between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet in size within the Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods. However, Dave’s Supermarket on Ridge Road is over 64,000 square feet in size. Drug stores and businesses that sell new automobiles averaged about 15,000 square feet, while banks, auto parts stores, funeral homes, and social halls tended to be about 10,000 square feet. Food service, gas stations and clothing and shoe stores tended to be between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet. Retail spaces less than 1,500 square feet tended to be occupied by convenience services like beauty shops and cash advance places, or business services such as delivery/courier and/or security services.
Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre have a relatively mature industrial base with over 4.1 million square feet of floor area. As of January, 2008, there were 225 industrial establishments in the Study Area. Most of the industries are concentrated in the Lower Big Creek Valley and are relatively buffered from other land uses, primarily residential uses.
Similar to the retail/commercial and office inventory, industrial businesses were grouped by their primary use (based on their NAICS code) into eight major categories including a classification for vacant industrial buildings, see Figure 8.2.
Light Industry was the largest industrial category, comprising almost one-third (32.6%) of the entire industrial inventory. Light industry has both the largest overall floor area and largest number of firms. Typical land uses in this category include research and development activities, printers and publishers (such as the Union Gospel Press on Brookpark Road) and processing and packaging of finished or semi-finished products (such as Tradex International, Inc. which manufactures latex/vinyl gloves).
Heavy Industry accounted for the second largest floor area of the industrial inventory at 18.6%. More resource intensive than light industry, these businesses occupy a combined 769,400 square feet of floor area. Most all of the Study Area’s heavy industries are located along Bradley Road, the oldest of the area’s industrial corridors.
Warehouse, Distribution, and Wholesale businesses occupied the third largest amount of floor area (17.5%) within the Study Area at 721,469 square feet. Approximately 42 firms were identified as warehousing, distribution or wholesale enterprises, and were located primarily along Brookpark Road and within Hinckley Industrial Parkway. Warehouse, Distribution and Wholesale industries often have complimentary and interchangeable industrial uses (assembly, packaging, storage, etc…) as light industry, and when combined, accounted for half of the entire industrial inventory.
Industrial Offices/Service/Contractors made up just over 10% of the Study Area’s industrial inventory. While approximately 55 firms were identified, general contractors typically use much less space (an average of 8,000-9,000 square feet of floor area), than other industrial land uses. In total, 437,830 square feet were occupied by industrial offices/services/ contractors.
Approximately 26 industrial businesses/properties were identified as Vacant as of January, 2008, and another three businesses, totaling 14,440 square feet, were included in the inventory, but their specific use was Unidentified. The Study Area’s industrial vacancy rate was 11.2%. The sizes of vacant industrial space ranged in size from 1,400 square feet to 130,000 square feet and were found throughout the Study Area.
Numerous Trucking and Outdoor Storage companies were identified as industrial tenants within the Study Area. Because of the Study Area’s proximity to major interstates and interchanges, there are a significant number of trucking businesses located within the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods. Approximately 16 trucking companies occupied 194,950 square feet of building floor area, while another 178,169 square feet was being used as outdoor automobile storage.
Conclusions of Market Assessment
Overall, during the time of this inventory, it is clear that consumer confidence is down and has been greatly influenced by a number of economic factors. Consumer confidence has been greatly impacted by the sharp rise in gasoline prices during the summer of 2008, the housing foreclosure crisis and the rising cost of commodities, continued layoffs and rising unemployment and uncertainty about the future. Consumers have also felt the pressure of substantially higher food prices and the reality that house price declines will likely continue into the future, further compromising their wealth.
Retail development opportunities will face significant constraints, with opportunities limited to specific niches.
Medical Office use will likely maintain its role as the dominant use and primary driving force in downtown development, especially as the population ages.
Community Services and Facilities
Community services are services typically funded by taxes and other public funding and performed for the benefit of the public, while community facilitates are the buildings and spaces where many of these services take place. Community services and facilities encompass a variety of purposes: some services and facilities protect public health and safety while others contribute to a community’s cultural life, social fabric and the well-being of its residents. Important community services include police and fire protection, garbage collection, and infrastructure installation and maintenance. Quasi-public community facilities such as parks, recreation venues, schools, hospitals, libraries, and places of worship are essential to sustaining existing residents and businesses as well as attracting new ones.
Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre enjoy many quality community facilities and services that are provided by the City of Cleveland, the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation and Civic Associations, as well as other quasi-public agencies and organizations. This section highlights many of the community services and facilities available to the neighborhoods’ citizens.
Cleveland Division of Police
Established in 1866, the Cleveland Division of Police currently employs more than 2,344 men and women, representing the second largest police force in the State of Ohio. There are currently 1,913 full time employees and 431 part time employees, consisting mainly of school crossing guards
There are five districts across the City of Cleveland. Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre are both within District 2, located at 3481 Fulton Road, northwest of the Study Area in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The District 2 station was built in 1953, and employs roughly 219 police officers.
Aside from protection from criminal and disruptive behavior, the Cleveland police force seeks to actively engage the community. The Community Relations Unit of the Bureau of Community Policing works to improve the quality of life for Clevelanders by fostering positive relations within the community, coordinating and administering education programs, and conducting training programs, interactive meetings and informational classes. Community policing promotes organizational strategies that foster partnerships and problem-solving techniques to eliminate those conditions in a community that can contribute to crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.
The Cleveland Division of Police, Community Policing department has several programs to increase education, outreach, and communication between citizens and officers. Community Education Programs include programs for both adults and children, such as:
- Senior Power: programs to increase knowledge and awareness among older persons in the areas of crime prevention, fire hazards, and emergency services. Other collaborators include the Division of Fire and the Department of Aging.
- Brown Bag Safety Seminars: presentations on personal, office, home and automobile safety conducted during employee lunch hours.
- Auxiliary Police: trained and uniformed volunteers commit to a minimum of 20 hours a month to assist police officers in a variety of ways (discussed in greater detail below).
- Citizen's Police Academy: residents learn about topics such as legal issues, police officer training and preparedness, internet crimes against children.
- Neighborhood Watch Program: provides residents the opportunity to work with police in establishing community crime prevention programs.
- Safe & Smart Program: teaches basic crime prevention techniques to residents.
- Police Community Presentations and Information: officers are available to distribute information and ensure positive police/resident interaction at community events including festivals and crime prevention fairs.
- Building Security Surveys: officers meet with property owners and residents to survey, review, and suggest improvements in security
- Adult School Crossing Guard Unit: part-time employees are hired, sworn-in and assigned to crossing guard posts.
- Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.): uniformed police officers teach 5th graders in the Cleveland Municipal School District how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
- Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program: police officers present a video and teach elementary school age students about the dangers of firearms and what to do if they find a gun.
- Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.): covers topics such as resisting peer pressure, resolving conflicts, and understanding the impact of gangs and gang violence.
- Seat Belt Safety/Bicycle Safety: police officers present a video of crash-test dummies “Vince and Larry” to teach 3rd grade students about the importance of wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets.
- Law Enforcement Explorer Program: cooperative effort with the Boy Scouts of America directed towards young men and women who have completed the 8th grade, are at least 14 years old (but under 21), and are interested in law enforcement careers.
- What To Do When You are Stopped by The Police: addresses police-resident interaction and is geared primarily towards young adults.
- Child Accident Prevention Program (CAPP): teaches traffic and home safety tips including calling 911, fire safety, and poison, bicycle and pedestrian safety. All Cleveland Recreation Centers offer the program during the summer.
Auxiliary police programs provide residents the opportunity to take an active role in keeping their neighborhood safe. Auxiliary volunteers act as the eyes and ears for the Police Stations, supplying information about community happenings and alerting the police if matters cannot be resolved within the community. Auxiliary volunteers act as a back-up to the police by completing more routine activities involved with safety and surveillance, such as community patrolling and filling out tow reports so that police officers can concentrate on more pressing matters.
There are two auxiliary police bases in the area, one in each neighborhood. The Old Brooklyn Auxiliary was started approximately 30 years ago and is currently operating out of Corpus Christi Church at 4850 Peal Road. The Brooklyn Centre Auxiliary Station is located at 1700 Denison Avenue.
The activities of auxiliary police stations vary depending on the number and ability of the volunteers. The collective activities of the Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn auxiliary police stations include:
- Survey community businesses and church parking lots. If volunteers notice something out of place, they will investigate and call the property owner/manager to examine the situation before involving the police.
- Manage lesser offenses so police officers and cars are not diverted from more important matters.
- Distribute information including announcements from Homeland Security, Cleveland Police, Fire, and Councilpersons to block club leaders, business owners, and churches.
- Attend the monthly District 2 Community Relations Council, in which the Commander brings together representatives from the City of Cleveland, Old Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Centre.
- Help coordinate the Annual Safety Summit along with the OBCDC. Classes and presentations are offered regarding various safety issues. Class leaders include representatives from the Sheriff, the Cleveland Police, and the rape crisis center.
- Coordinate the Annual Crime Fair. The Fair provides a positive introduction between neighborhood youth and safety officers.
Cleveland Division of Fire
The Cleveland Division of Fire currently employs 889 full-time employees. There are 27 fire stations throughout the city of Cleveland, two of which are located in the Study Area, on Pearl Road. Fire Station #20 is located in Brooklyn Centre at 3765 Pearl Road, north of Denison Avenue. This station has an engine company and a ladder company and houses 10 firefighters. Fire Station #42 is located in Old Brooklyn at 4665 Pearl Road, just south of Biddulph Road. #42 has an engine company and a ladder company, and houses eight firefighters.
The Cleveland Division of Fire is organized into five programs: Fire Administration; Operations; Special Services; Prevention and Education; and Communi-cations and Training. The fire prevention and education program provides the most interaction with the community. Within this program, several services are offered, some of which include:
- Smoke Detector Program: provides free smoke alarms, batteries, and installation. All elderly and low income city residents qualify.
- Fire Safety Education: fire education specialists are available to speak at schools, day care centers, senior centers, and employment centers.
- Juvenile Fire Setters Program: teaches and counsels Cleveland youth who have had incidences of setting fires- no matter how small.
- Prevention and Education Program: fire professionals conduct building inspections; review plans for building construction; and ensure safety at public assemblies.
Community Block Clubs and Civic Associations
There are currently 163 Block Clubs in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. Like Auxiliary Police, Block Club activities and effectiveness are also highly dependent on the availability and ability of their volunteers. Block Clubs primarily conduct neighborhood watch programs, mediate neighborhood disputes, and address concerns such as abandoned cars, unkempt lawns, and safety issues. In many ways, Block Clubs offer the first line of communication when something is amiss in the neighborhood. Because of their small scale, Block Clubs are able to monitor situations on a much more intimate level and can help disseminate information coming from the top, such as Homeland Security and the Cleveland Police.
Many Block Clubs organize community-building events such as block parties or picnics to create a cohesive neighborhood fabric and increase resident interaction and engagement. Also, many Block Clubs in the area work to strengthen community ties with police by taking meals to the District 2 police officers on holidays, washing the police cruisers and landscaping around the District 2 Station.
The goals and activities of Civic Associations are largely aligned with those of block clubs: to improve their neighborhoods through volunteer work by its members. However, Civic Associations work on a neighborhood-level, rather than a block or street level, and often tackle broader quality of life issues such as environmental quality or job access. Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre have three Civic Associations: the South Hills Neighborhood Association serves the South Hills area in Old Brooklyn; the Brooklyn Centre Community Association serves all of Brooklyn Centre and the Southwest Citizen Area Council serves the eastern portion of Brooklyn Centre, east of Pearl Road between Riverside Cemetery and the Big Creek valley.
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
The Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) serves as an advocate for the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre communities: it works to promote, maintain, and enhance the quality of life throughout the neighborhoods by “uniting and empowering residents, business leaders and government to develop and revitalize the community.”
The OBCDC focuses on four strategies to meet its mission:
- Community Building: ensure active and effective communication with service area residents, businesses and institutions regarding plans and actions of OBCDC and its partners.
- Retention and Preservation: work to preserve and maintain the historical characteristics of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
- Economic Development: function as the business resource center for the neighborhoods, recruiting businesses, listing available space, and working with existing businesses to retain and improve the area's economic base.
- Revitalization: manage the available real estate stock in the service area to include redevelopment of critical properties, restoration, renovation, and leasing of properties.
The OBCDC administers a number of City programs and provides assistance to both residents and businesses.
Residential programs include:
- Paint Refund Program
- Home Weatherization Assistance Program
- Repair A Home
- Cleveland Action to Support Housing
- Senior Housing Assistance Program
- Elderly Home Repair Program
- Furnace Inspection & Repair
- Home Enhancement Loan Program
- Cleveland Fix-Up Fund
Commercial services include:
- Commercial storefront program
- Code compliance
- Real estate development project facilitation.
- Available Neighborhood Retail Spaces - A project of the Retail Commercial Support Initiative administered by the Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition (CNDC)
- Commercial district planning and revitalization program: Old Brooklyn Re$tore Cleveland
- Business technical assistance
- Local design and review compliance
City Owned Recreation Facilities
According to the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), “parks and recreation resources protect our environment, preserve wildlife habitat, strengthen local economies, attract new businesses, contribute to the local tax base, increase property values, and improve the physical and mental health of citizens of all ages.” Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre have an abundance of recreation and park space areas that serve as cornerstones of the community, enhancing both the physical and the spiritual fabric of the neighborhoods. According to the City of Cleveland’s land use inventory for the 2020 Plan, there are over 400 acres of parks and public open space in the two neighborhoods, which is 9% of the Study Area’s total land area.
Estabrook Recreation Center
The Estabrook Recreation Center, located at 4125 Fulton Road, just south of the Brookside Park, is one of only 22 city-owned recreation centers. Estabrook was established in 1958, with approximately 33,400 square feet of building floor area, located on four acres. Estabrook offers free admission to all City residents. Amenities include:
- Weight room
- Indoor swimming pool
- Outdoor playground
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Meeting room
- Computer lab
Other activities and programs offered at Estabrook include swimming lessons, aquatic aerobics, lifeguard training, and karate. Team sports offered include basketball, water polo and boxing. Social activities such as chess matches, arts and crafts and pottery are also available.
City Owned Parks
The City of Cleveland also owns and maintains a number of parks throughout the neighborhoods. In Brooklyn Centre, there are two city-owned parks.
- W.C. Reed Playfield: The 15-acre park is located at W. 15th and Denison Avenue and includes playfields for team sports. It has 2 tennis courts, 4 full basketball courts, 2 baseball fields as well as 2 volleyball courts.
- Calgary Park: Located at W. 23rd St, south of Denison Avenue on the north rim of the Lower Big Creek Valley. Calgary is 5.2 acres and offers a playground, a basketball court, and a baseball field. This park has wonderful views of the Lower Big Creek Valley and offers a key linkage between the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood and the Valley.
Old Brooklyn has five city-owned parks:
- Archmere Park: Located at W.41st and Archmere Avenue, this 4-acre park serves the southwest portion of Old Brooklyn. Archmere has 4 tennis courts, a playground, 2 basketball courts and a rock climbing structure that was added in 2006.
- Goudreau Park: Located at W. 14th, south of Cook Avenue, Goudreau serves the southeastern populations of Old Brooklyn. Goudreau is 4.6 acres in size and has a playground.
- Harmody Park and Treadway Creek Trail: Located on Plymouth Road and South Hills Boulevard, Harmody Park offers scenic views of Treadway Creek Valley, a tributary of Lower Big Creek. The 20-acre park has 2 tennis courts, a playground and a baseball field. The Treadway Creek Trail opened to the public in 2008. The city of Cleveland acquired a grant through the Clean Ohio Fund to design and construct the greenway to link Harmody Park and surrounding neighborhoods to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and to the Lower Big Creek Valley. The Department of Parks restored and preserved 21 acres of riparian corridor, wooded ravine and open space and constructed a 2/3-mile asphalt multi-purpose trail.
- Henritze Park: Located at Henritze Avenue and W.37th, Henritze is considered a “pocket park”, with just under a quarter-acre of land devoted to the park. The park and playground serve the dense Memphis Avenue neighborhood.
- Loew Park: Located at 4711 West 32nd, in south-central Old Brooklyn, Loew Park is the largest city-owned park in the two neighborhoods, encompassing over 23 acres of land. It has an outdoor pool, a playground, 6 baseball fields and a soccer field.
Established in 1917, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District is the oldest park district in Ohio and is funded by residents of Cuyahoga County. The Cleveland Metroparks’ mission involves conserving important natural resources and enhancing the quality of life of northeast Ohio residents by providing safe, high-quality outdoor education and recreation. While the majority of the park district’s 16 reservations are located in the suburban communities in Cuyahoga County, there are two Metroparks facilities in the neighborhoods - the Zoo and Brookside Reservation - located side by side in the Lower Big Creek Valley. Two other Metropark facilities – the Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation and the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail are located just outside of the Study Area. Residents of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre are fortunate to be so near these four major greenspace areas.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is situated in the heart of the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods at 3900 Wildlife Way. The Zoo’s origins began when Jeptha Wade donated 73 acres and 14 deer to the city of Cleveland in 1883. In 1968, Cleveland transferred ownership of the Zoo to the Cleveland Metroparks.
The mission of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is to improve the future of wildlife by exhibiting animals and plants and providing education and conservation programs that encourage respect and stewardship of the natural world and a better understanding of our place within it. Spanning 168 acres, it has the largest collection of primate species in North America with 3,000 animals representing more than 600 species.
Not only does the Zoo protect and conserve wildlife but it is also a catalyst for economic, social and educational enrichment, with an estimated 1.2 million visitors in 2008. That same year, the Zoo had an estimated $85 million economic impact to the local economy.
The Zoo’s educational and outreach programs are meant to augment environmental awareness and enrich standard curriculums. Some of these programs include:
- An Unfair Trade: educates participants about the impacts of wildlife trade, including specific information on endangered species, biodiversity, and forms of wildlife trade.
- WILD about Math and Literacy: introduces new methods of teaching math and literacy to grades K-8 comprised of four mini-segments, taking place in different areas of the Zoo and addressing Ohio Academic Content Standards.
- Preschool Discovery Days: increases student awareness of the natural world through storytelling, craft making, game playing, and small animal interactions.
- Habitats: provides students with the opportunity to investigate the components of a habitat and explores how they can make a difference for the future for wildlife.
- Fur, Feathers and Scales: teaches students the differences among mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish, and explores how they can make a difference for the future for wildlife.
- Vet bags: provides veterinary bags stocked with tools of the trade so students can have a hands-on experience while participating in role-playing as "zookeepers," "veterinarians," and others.
Brookside Park Reservation
The Metroparks’ Brookside Park Reservation is located at Fulton Road and Denison Avenue, immediately west of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Originally purchased in 1894 by the Cleveland Park District, Brookside was one of Cleveland’s oldest and largest municipal parks, comprising 111 acres. The Metroparks purchased it in the early 1990’s and set aside roughly 30 acres for Zoo expansion. Together, Brookside Park and the Metroparks Zoo comprise one of the largest tracks of contiguous greenspace in the city of Cleveland. Heavily wooded, Brookside Reservation offers a connecting trail to the Zoo as well as 5 baseball fields - 3 of which have lighting and 1 of which has historical value— a field used for flag football, picnic areas, and a park station.
Metroparks Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation and the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail
The Metroparks’ Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail converge at the eastern edge of Old Brooklyn. The Canal Reservation consists of 320 acres along the Cuyahoga River and the Ohio and Erie Canal. Although the Canal Reservation is located in the city of Cuyahoga Heights, it provides residents of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre fishing opportunities, scenic beauty, picnicking, hiking trails, and a 7.2-mile all-purpose trail. The Canalway Visitor Center located off of E. 49th Street is the Metropark’s newest visitor center, which opened in 1999, and provides interpretive graphics about the industrial valley.
The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail likewise skirts the eastern edges of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre and currently ends at the Harvard Road Trail, although a short, isolated segment has also been constructed behind Steelyard Commons. With the addition of the Treadway Creek Trail, the neighborhoods have a direct connection to the Towpath Trail, which connects to the Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation to the east, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the south and eventually to Lake Erie to the north.
Benjamin Franklin Community Garden
Although the Benjamin Franklin Community Garden is not strictly a recreational venue, the designated Cleveland Landmark provides many of the same quality of life services that parks and openspace do. The Garden was started in 1922 as an educational garden for school children from all over Cleveland and is still owned by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Today, the entire Ben Franklin garden site encompasses three different programs: a demonstration garden operated through the Master Gardening Program at OSU Extension; an educational garden for the students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary; and a community garden for residents. The community garden occupies the vast majority of the 5.5-acre site, with about 200 plots at 25 feet by 20 feet each. The community garden is operated by a gardening committee and is part of the Summer Sprout program through OSU Extension. For $30, a gardener can get the plot and water from the gardening committee, and seeds and seedlings from OSU Extension. Each gardener is encouraged to donate produce, which the gardening assistants deliver to area food backs, homeless shelters, and senior centers. In 2007, over 6,000 pounds of produce were donated.
Cemeteries, though not usually included in a park space inventory, can double as green space venues for residents. There are four cemeteries in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre including Lutheran Cemetery, Brainard/Broadview Cemetery, Riverside Cemetery and Brooklyn Heights Cemetery.
Riverside Cemetery was established in 1876 at 3607 Pearl Road, just south of I-71. It has nearly 90 acres of Greenspace. There are many opportunities to explore Riverside Cemetery, with guided tours, paved walkways and cemetery maps indicating where notable people are buried.
Brooklyn Heights Cemetery main gate is located at 4700 Broadview Road, but extends west all the way to State Road. Established in 1902, the cemetery is 65.9 within Old Brooklyn. Like Riverside, Brooklyn Heights Cemetery offers nearby residents the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with a number of pathways throughout the cemetery.
The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) developed a set of standards intended to serve as guidelines for use at the local level for the minimum amount of parkland needed based on park function and service areas.
The standards include a recommended service area (e.g. how far people were expected to travel to the park) and number of acres based on population for each park classification (which includes mini-parks, neighborhood parks, community parks and natural resource parks). Using these standards and recommendations, it is possible to perform a rough evaluation of the amount and location of the existing parks and recreation facilities in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre.
It is important to note, however, that since physical, social and economic factors in a community are dynamic, each community is encouraged to evaluate its current conditions and develop its own criteria to determine the most appropriate type, quantity, and quality of recreational facilities for its residents.
Because of their size and types of amenities, some parks in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre can serve more than one purpose and therefore fall into more than one classification. Table 8.3 classifies the local parks based on the NRPA definitions and indicates the NRPA recommendations for number of acres per 1,000 people and groups of the local parks based on the NRPA definitions, as well as the recommended standard for service areas.
Based on the classifications above and since the larger parks provide some of the amenities also associated with small parks and serve the immediately surrounding houses, there is not a statistical deficit of parkland in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre, except in the Community Park category when evaluated by the recommended amount of parkland. However, when evaluated according to location and distributions, which looks at the distance people typically travel to visit each type of park, there are some areas of the neighborhoods that do not have sufficient access to local parks.
The City of Cleveland has adopted a goal in their 2020 Plan that all residents should be within a ¼ -mile of a playground. Map 8.9 highlights those parks and school facilities that have playgrounds and shows the ¼-mile radius service area for each. Using this technique it is easy to determine the general areas of the neighborhoods where playgrounds are lacking.
There are two areas in particular that are underserved. One is the very northwest corner of Brooklyn Centre, which is separated from Brookside Reservation and the Zoo due to I-71 and the railroad tracks. The other area where there is an insufficient number of playgrounds is the eastern portion of Old Brooklyn.
Ridge Road Transfer Station
The Ridge Road Transfer Station provides a valuable service to all Cleveland residents, and is located at 3727 Ridge Road just west of Brooklyn Centre. The Ridge Road Transfer Station is owned and operated by the City of Cleveland and allows Cleveland residents up to four free trips per year to safely dispose of household items that are not included in curb-side pick-up. , Hours of operation are 9am to 3pm weekdays for residential drop-off. Built in 2000, the transfer station has a daily capacity of 3,000 tons of material, and employs 18 people.
Schools are oftentimes the cornerstone of a good community. There are 12 schools in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods: five public schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, three charter schools and four privately operated schools. According to the 2000 Census, 87% of the students living in the neighborhoods attended public schools at that time. A review of current enrollment (2008-2009) for each of the schools in the neighborhoods (which likely include children from outside the neighborhoods) also indicates the high percentage of children in the public schools (see Table 8.4).
According to the CMSD 2009 Budget Review Report , the number of children enrolled in the Charter Schools is increasing each year. In contrast, many private schools have experienced declining enrollment at locations within the City, and some have closed in recent years, (See Tables 19-22 in Appendix A). Many of the public and private school buildings are substantial structures that contribute to the architectural and cultural heritage of the communities.
Some of this change is likely attributable to the ratings each school receives from the State. The Ohio Department of Education rates the success of each school district and school by a number of factors including standards met; percent proficiency in reading, writing, math, science and social studies from grades 4-11; as well as attendance rates and graduation rates. All of these factors determine the “designation” that is assigned to each school district and individual school. Designation levels include “Excellent with Distinction”, “Excellent”, “Effective”, “Continuous Improvement”, “Academic Watch”, and “Academic Emergency”.
In 2008, the CMSD as a whole received an “Academic Watch” designation. For the neighborhood schools, only one (Charles Mooney) received the “Academic Watch” designation; the other four all received the “Continuous Improvement” designation. Two of the charter schools received higher designations, including “Effective” for the Old Brooklyn Community Middle School, and “Excellent” for the Old Brooklyn Community Elementary School.
CMSD Public Schools
In a review of the various public schools in the neighborhoods it is clear that three schools have been very stable in their enrollment over the last few years, while enrollments at Charles A. Mooney and Rhodes High School have fluctuated by as much as 50%. Figure 8.3 illustrates the changes in enrollment for each of the public schools between 2000 and 2008.
Benjamin Franklin Elementary, built in 1923, has had relatively stable enrollment since 2000. During the 2007-2008 school year, there were 46 full-time teachers at the school. As mentioned earlier, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District owns the 5.5-acre Benjamin Franklin community garden behind Ben Franklin School. Along with the community garden plots, the school has a learning garden specifically for students where they can learn about horticulture and gardening.
Charles A Mooney School’s enrollment has been declining over the past decade, although it had a two-year increase in enrollment in 2003-2004. Charles A Mooney was established in 1964 and employed 48 full-time teachers in 2008.
Denison Elementary has had stable enrollment as well. It was built in 1972 and employed 38 full-time teachers in 2008.
James Ford Rhodes High School, built in 1932, is the only high school in the area and by far has the largest enrollment, at 1,409 students. Enrollment over the past ten years has been trending upward, although it dropped from 2007 to 2008. There were 89 full-time teachers at the school in 2008. During the past year, Rhodes High has been under construction. Due to this construction, the 9th graders have been housed in the former William Rainey Harper Elementary School, which closed several years ago. Located on 5515 Ira Ave, the Harper building is located just south of Rhodes High.
William Cullen Bryant Elementary has seen an increase in enrollment since 2005. It was established in 1930 and employed full-time 32 teachers in 2008. William C Bryant is adjacent to Loew Park, which is considered a Community Park with a swimming pool, playground and sports fields.
Community or Charter Schools
As noted above, the charter schools, or community schools as they are sometimes called, earned higher State designations than the public schools in the area. As defined by Constellation Schools, an organization which runs a number of these schools throughout the region, community schools are privately operated public schools that are publicly financed. Unlike private schools, community schools are accountable to the state for the academic performance of their students. They have some flexibility in selecting a curriculum and establishing performance standards for teachers and students. At this time, the charter schools have less than half of the number of students in each of the schools when compared to the public elementary and middle schools in the neighborhoods.
Constellation Schools, which run the Old Brooklyn Community Elementary and Middle Schools, limits class size to roughly 20 students to ensure that every student receives individualized attention. The Old Brooklyn Community Elementary School employs 13 full-time teachers and has a total of 13 classrooms. The Middle School employs 9 full-time teachers and likewise has 13 classrooms. The two Old Brooklyn Community Schools share a building at 4430 State Road.
The Horizon Science Academy - Denison Middle School (HSADMS) is a charter school with a special emphasis on Math, Science and Technology. Horizon, like Constellation, operates several charter schools throughout the region. Horizon-Denison school is adjacent to the W.C. Reed Playfield and is the largest charter school in the area, with over 280 students.
There are four private schools within Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre and all are associated with religious organizations. Our Lady of Good Counsel Elementary, St Leo Elementary, and St Mary Byzantine Elementary are run by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. St Mark Lutheran Elementary is operated by the Lutheran Schools of Northeast Ohio. Enrollment over the past three years has declined by an average of 7.6% among the four private schools.
Pre-Schools and Day Care
Pre-school and child care centers are another important community facility for families. More and more families with young children are single parent households in which that parent must support the family, or household where both parents work. Quality and convenient child care services are essential for these families. Brooklyn Center has two child care centers: Archwood Head Start and Love's Childcare Enrichment Center. The pre-school and child care centers in Old Brooklyn include:
- Cleveland Child Care
- Dynamic Creations
- Faith Christian School and Day Care
- Pearl Road Head Start
- St. Mary's Byzantine Child Care
- Toddle Tots Day Nursery
- Unity's Can-Do- Camp
- Charles A. Mooney Elem Preschool
- Our Lady of Good Counsel Head Start
- Ready Set Grow Preschool
- St. Leo's Preschool
- William C. Bryant Elementary Preschool
Health Care Amenities
Establish in 1839, MetroHealth Hospitals provide multiple services for thousands of residents living in the Greater Cleveland area. The current MetroHealth Center medical campus is located just north of the Study Area, east of Pearl Road, between Sackett Avenue and Southpoint Drive. MetroHealth not only represents an asset to the neighborhoods in terms of available and convenient health care and wellness outreach, but it is a major employment center as well.
MetroHealth Hospital works collaboratively within the communities that it serves, building partnerships with community and regional development organizations and health providers. MetroHealth has worked very closely with the OBCDC over the years, utilizing opportunities for joint advertising, sponsorship, and community events.
MetroHealth Hospital has several community-outreach health programs, including the award-winning “Bringing Education, Advocacy, and Support Together” (BREAST) program in which breast cancer education and screening are brought directly to neighborhoods where there are high concentrations of uninsured and underinsured minority women. Additionally, the Amigas Latinas program trains Hispanic volunteers to bring breast health education, guidance and support to members of the Hispanic community.
MetroHealth has an out-patient facility at the Memphis-Futon Shopping Center which collaborates with the property owners and merchants. Such collaborations have included a health fair with other merchants where MetroHealth conducted health screenings.
The Senior Health & Wellness Center
In 2007 MetroHealth opened its Senior Health and Wellness Centre in the former Deaconess Hospital building located at 4229 Pearl Road in “downtown” Old Brooklyn. The former Deaconess Hospital was built in 1930 and encompasses 382,637 square feet of medical and office space. The Center employs and estimated 750 people, and features a 144-bed long-term care unit with six specialized areas and a 14-bed hospice unit supported by comprehensive end-of-life care. All doctors, dentists, nurses, and therapists at the Center are experts in maintaining and improving the physical, emotional, and social well-being of the senior population.
The Senior Health & Wellness Center offers the following medical and social services for seniors:
- Primary and specialty outpatient services to address the health care needs of aging adults
- Home and community-based nursing and personal care services
- A Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) for frail adults who live alone or with family members
- An indoor resource center, coordinated by the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, which offers easy access to a wide range of organizations providing services to adults.
By increasing healthcare outreach in the community, MetroHealth Hospital and its Senior Health and Wellness Centre have strengthened their operations, provided preventative healthcare, and have engendered a more sustainable future in the community.
The Cleveland Public Library System recently received a "5 STAR" rating from Library Journal, one of only five libraries nationwide to receive this distinction within in the division. All Cleveland Public Libraries are meant to be places of learning and inspiration for all people and all ages.
There are two branches of the Cleveland Public Library in the Study Area: the Brooklyn Branch is located at 3706 Pearl Road in Brooklyn Centre and the South Brooklyn Branch is located at 4303 Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Branch, located across from Riverside Cemetery, was established in 1919. It is a relatively compact library, with just 5,900 square feet. The Brooklyn Branch offers events and programs such as story and play time, computer classes such as database instruction, email basics and job application guidance.
The South Brooklyn Branch opened in 1905 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie. The branch was originally located on the corner of Pearl and Devonshire. It moved to Henritze Avenue in 1937, and then to a newly constructed building (its current location) on the northern apex of the State-Pearl Triangle in 1979. It has 10,200 square feet and offers six computers for public use as well as tax assistance and budgeting and credit advice for women.
Art House is a nonprofit art center located in Brooklyn Centre. The organization was founded in 1999 by local artists and residents with “the belief that the arts enrich lives and help create better communities.” The facility is 3,000 square feet and located at 3119 Denison Avenue. The mission of Art House is to nurture involvement in the arts and culture, and provide opportunities for people to create, learn, and communicate ideas that will strengthen both the arts community and the greater community. Art House offers visual and creative arts classes for people of all ages and skill levels. Programs include:
- Adult studio art classes and workshops
- Children's studio art classes and summer art camps
- ArtHouse Self-Employed Artists' Network: provides professional development opportunities for artists and arts educators. Promotes the work of regional artists, fosters best practices, and acts as a liaison between art and business.
- Family open studio
- StudioGo: outreach art programming which include field trips, short term and long term programs, and festival activities for schools, groups and organizations
- Urban Bright: Arts-in-education programming directed towards schools
Places of Worship
There are numerous places of worship in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. Places of worship not only offer the opportunity for mental and spiritual renewal for residents, but are also instrumental in building strong community connections between diverse individuals and organizations. Churches, Temples and Mosques also offer many critical services to community member through coordinated volunteer work such as soup kitchens and community beautification. There are 48 churches in the two neighborhoods.
Churches in Brooklyn Center
- Archwood United Church of Christ: Archwood Ave
- Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist: Archwood Ave
- Good News Ministries Church: West 36th
- Iglesia Pentecostal Roca Dero: Denison Ave
- Rivers of Living Waters Apostolic Church: Denison Ave
- St. Barbara Church: Denison Ave
- United Free Will Baptist Church: Willowdale Ave
Churches in Old Brooklyn
- Alive International Church: State Rd
- Broadview Baptist Church: Broadview Rd
- Brooklyn Heights United Church: W Schaaf Rd
- Brooklyn Presbyterian Church: Pearl Road
- Brooklyn Seventh-Day Adventist: State Rd
- Cleveland Free Will Baptist: W 11th St
- Cleveland Korean Presbyterian: Pearl Rd
- Corpus Christi Church: Northcliff Ave
- Free Apostolic Church-Pentecostal: Pearl Rd
- Galilean Baptist Church: W 11th St
- Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church: Memphis Ave
- Grace Church Christian & Missionary Alliance: Broadview Rd
- Holy Ghost Assembly: Pearl Rd
- Holy of Holies Tabernacle: Cypress Ave
- Hungarian Bethany Baptist Church: Stickney Ave
- Institute-Divine Metaphysical: Pearl Rd
- Jehovah's Witnesses: State Rd
- New Hope Assembly of God: State Rd
- Our Lady of Good Counsel: Pearl Rd
- Palace of Praise: Pearl Road
- Pearl Road United Methodist: Pearl Rd
- Pearlbrook Church of God: Pearl Rd
- Rock of Ages Free Will Baptist: Stickney Ave
- St. James Lutheran Church: Broadview Rd
- St. John Orthodox Church: Ridge Rd
- St. Leo the Great Catholic Church: Broadview Rd
- St. Luke's United Church-Christ: Pearl Rd
- St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic: State Rd
- St. Mark Lutheran Church: Pearl Road
- Swedenborgian Church: Broadview Rd
- Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church: Pearl Rd
- West Side Independent Baptist: Cypress Ave
Due to population migration, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland announced in March 2009 that a number of Catholic Churches throughout the City of Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs will either close or merge. In Old Brooklyn, Corpus Christi parish is to merge with Our Lady of Good Counsel. All services will be held at the Our Lady of Good Counsel once the merger is completed. In Brooklyn Centre, St. Barbara is to close.
If these changes occur as planned, both Corpus Christi and St. Barbara Church are interesting and distinguishable structures that help define and enhance the fabric of both communities. Other churches have been redeveloped into office space, community programs or non-profit community-oriented activity. The Cleveland Restoration Society has a Sacred Landmarks Assistance Program that provides technical assistance and support that focuses on property maintenance for architecturally significant religious properties. The CRS is currently working with the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and various neighborhood development corporations to explore the potential for adaptive reuse of a number of religious landmarks and churches.