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Old 02-11-2019, 02:30 PM
 
9,598 posts, read 6,338,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azureloves View Post
Hello Everyone!

My husband and I are newlyweds and recently moved to Cleveland from California. We are planning to purchase a home later this year. He works in Mentor, OH and I work in Warrensville Heights, OH. We are 30, African-american and want to live in a neighborhood that is safe, has good schools, is walk-able, diverse, and under 30min commute for both of us. (I would really love the small town feel with a community center, town square/shops, or library within walking distance, DH wants block parties lol) No kids yet as we plan to start a family after we buy a home. I've done a lot of reading on here and I feel that Shaker Heights would be a dream come true based on our preferences, but I do worry that the commute would be bad for my husband? Willoughby also seems to be a good fit but I am concerned about diversity. Also, DH jobs provides a relocation credit if we buy a home in Lake County but I haven't been able to find that charming neighborhood or street in Mentor so far. What do you all think? Also we would like to stay under $225K if that helps

Thanks so much!
In Lake County, check out the Willoughby South High School District, part of the Willoughby-Eastlake school district, of which Eastlake North is the second high school. However, I'm surprised that black students so underperform there, which may be a socio-economic issue.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/wi...Race_ethnicity

Mayfield High School would be a good option, but it's not in Lake County. Highland Hts. is part of that school district.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/cl...Race_ethnicity

Beachwood would be excellent, but it's not in Lake County, and house prices are higher. Ditto, the Orange School District. Beachwood has low real property tax rates and has a very large Jewish population.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/be...Race_ethnicity

In the Orange School District, check out Woodmere and Orange Villages (see the new Pinecrest mixed use development) for more diverse communities.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/pe...Race_ethnicity

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodmere,_Ohio

Less diverse high school districts would include Kirtland in Lake County and the West Geauga High School district in Geauga County.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/ch...ced_coursework

As you don't have kids yet, buying in Mentor or Willoughby (cute downtown) might make sense to get the relocation credit. As you familiarize yourself with the area, you can switch homes at a later point. Some of the older Mentor neighborhoods between Mentor Ave and Johnnycake Ridge and east of Great Lakes Mall perhaps would be a good bet, although I doubt that they are very diverse.

Shaker Hts. has among the highest real property tax rates in Greater Cleveland and Mentor among the lowest, perhaps a concern with the new federal $10,000 state and local tax deduction limit.

This thread should be helpful, especially post 3.

Compendium of threads & posts on Univ. Circle, Cleveland Hts., Shaker Ht., Univ. Hts., Beachwood area

Here's another likely helpful thread.

Any nice towns northeast of Cleveland?

Mentor has among the best recreational facilities in northeast Ohio and is close to Lake Erie beaches, Lake Metroparks, Holden Arboretum, etc. It's also the sixth largest retail center in Ohio.

If you're working for Amazon in Warrensville Hts., beware that Amazon is building a large distribution center in Euclid, adjacent to Lake County.

Join AAA and get the Lake County map at the AAA Mentor office. Also the Cleveland map and northeast Ohio map will prove very useful.

Good luck!!! Keep us informed about your discoveries, opinions, decisions.

Last edited by WRnative; 02-11-2019 at 02:47 PM..
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:41 PM
 
5 posts, read 2,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
In Lake County, check out the Willoughby South High School District, part of the Willoughby-Eastlake school district, of which Eastlake North is the second high school. However, I'm surprised that black students so underperform there, which may be a socio-economic issue.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/wi...Race_ethnicity

Mayfield High School would be a good option, but it's not in Lake County. Highland Hts. is part of that school district.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/cl...Race_ethnicity

Beachwood would be excellent, but it's not in Lake County, and house prices are higher. Ditto, the Orange School District. Beachwood has low real property tax rates and has a very large Jewish population.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/be...Race_ethnicity

In the Orange School District, check out Woodmere and Orange Villages (see the new Pinecrest mixed use development) for more diverse communities.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/pe...Race_ethnicity

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodmere,_Ohio

Less diverse high school districts would include Kirtland in Lake County and the West Geauga High School district in Geauga County.

https://www.greatschools.org/ohio/ch...ced_coursework

As you don't have kids yet, buying in Mentor or Willoughby (cute downtown) might make sense to get the relocation credit. As you familiarize yourself with the area, you can switch homes at a later point. Some of the older Mentor neighborhoods between Mentor Ave and Johnnycake Ridge and east of Great Lakes Mall perhaps would be a good bet, although I doubt that they are very diverse.

Shaker Hts. has among the highest real property tax rates in Greater Cleveland and Mentor among the lowest, perhaps a concern with the new federal $10,000 state and local tax deduction limit.

This thread should be helpful, especially post 3.

Compendium of threads & posts on Univ. Circle, Cleveland Hts., Shaker Ht., Univ. Hts., Beachwood area

Here's another likely helpful thread.

Any nice towns northeast of Cleveland?

Mentor has among the best recreational facilities in northeast Ohio and is close to Lake Erie beaches, Lake Metroparks, Holden Arboretum, etc. It's also the sixth largest retail center in Ohio.

If you're working for Amazon in Warrensville Hts., beware that Amazon is building a large distribution center in Euclid, adjacent to Lake County.

Join AAA and get the Lake County map at the AAA Mentor office. Also the Cleveland map and northeast Ohio map will prove very useful.

Good luck!!! Keep us informed about your discoveries, opinions, decisions.
This was very helpful! Thank you so much! I will definitely stop by AAA for the different maps as well as look into the other links and threads you provided with DH. I will be sure to keep everyone posted as we begin this journey!
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:31 AM
 
6,381 posts, read 7,508,670 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azureloves View Post
Also, we are in OH now, we're renting in Mayfield Heights at the moment and we've just started checking out a few areas on the weekends. We'll definitely have to see the Van Aken District though.
Oh that's a great position to be in; you can really do your due diligence!

When visiting Shaker, don't forget to checkout Shaker Square and Larchmere. The Van Aken district is getting better each week, but it's still a work in progress with ongoing construction and some businesses not yet open.

The Lake County moving credit is rally interesting. I wonder if you could negotiate it to extend to Cuyahoga? Regardless, unless it's a massive credit, I personally wouldn't let it weight too heavily in your decision process.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:32 AM
 
9,598 posts, read 6,338,560 times
Reputation: 5531
Default Big negative for Mentor?

Perhaps the biggest concern about Mentor for a prospective residence is the giant high school, one of the largest in Ohio.

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/s...tats/ohio/high

Back in the 1960s when the population of Mentor exploded (it was largely a nursery community before the building of routes 2 and I-90; Lake County residents previously traveled to downtown Cleveland's then magnificent retail center in the age before suburban malls on Mentor Ave., a journey that could take a couple hours or more during the holiday season), the decision to have one high school instead of two (and there was a great debate) was predicated on having a student body sufficiently large to compete for state championships, a goal largely accomplished. A couple Mentor grads received football scholarships this year to Ohio State. Over the years, I suspect athletic-minded families have migrated to Mentor.

It appears to me that Mentor has not done a good job of fostering academic excellence compared to, say Solon, which experienced a similar population explosion. Solon is another somewhat diverse community worth considering except for the commute from there to Mentor.

Interestingly, Mentor largely is modeled on Euclid -- marginal roads along a freeway supporting industrial parks; excellent civic recreation facilities; large, sports-minded high school; excellent city services. Mentor benefits from a much more modern, upscale housing stock, and its superb tax base.

Mentor put an immense emphasis on having a large tax base, resulting in the emphasis on commercial development to supplement an industrial base. This commercial base can result in traffic congestion, most especially during the holiday season.

If children are superb athletes or in other extracurricular activities, mega high schools certainly offer opportunities. Obviously, participation rates are much higher in smaller high schools, and those schools still compete for state championships in lower athletic divisions. E.g., Kirtland, a small school state athletic powerhouse with a very good academic reputation.

Kareem Hunt, signed yesterday by the Cleveland Browns, is a graduate of Willoughby South.

https://www.news5cleveland.com/brown...ck-kareem-hunt

Definitely check out Lake Metroparks Farmpark in the next few weeks. It's reportedly one of the best in the U.S. and a favorite of families with young children. Call ahead and be certain to visit when its excellent maple sugar bush will be operating; with global warming, sugar bush operations there sometimes, sadly, are halted by March, despite the maple sugaring days there are the first two weekends in March. Quilts 2019 began at the Farmpark on Feb. 8. More of the park is open on weekends, such as the farm equipment museum.

http://www.lakemetroparks.com/events...ts/quilts-2019

http://www.lakemetroparks.com/events...ents?parkID=26

Newborn animals will increase in numbers over the next month! The Farmpark preserves many endangered species of domesticated animals; my favorite are the Jacob sheep.

http://www.lakemetroparks.com/parks-trails/farmpark

https://www.jsba.org/history.htm

BTW, I spoke with someone this week who lives in Chagrin Falls and who commutes to Lake County on Chagrin River Road. She said SOM Center (route 91) has too many school buses. Chagrin River Road through Hunting Valley is a fun drive before leaves grow back on trees allowing you to see the grand estates of Cleveland's gentry! Chagrin River Road certainly is one of the more beautiful drives in Greater Cleveland.

Anyway check out commuting routes during commuting hours for any prospective house.

Last edited by WRnative; 02-12-2019 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:17 PM
 
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Default Maple sugaring pairing dinner; Debonne

Addition to prior post:

This sounds like a great event, especially if the sugar bush is operating. Hopefully, Debonne ice wine will be served with dessert! Debonne Vineyards is a fun location to visit in the summer.

Maple Sugaring Pairing Dinner | Lake Metroparks

Maple sugaring is a cultural mainstay of Greater Cleveland in late winter, early spring. Perhaps visit Burton for a pancake breakfast and check out the old sugar bush on the town square.

Burton, Ohio ? Pancake Town USA

https://www.northernohiotourism.com/Ohio_Pancakes.htm

If you want to take a road trip, visit Malabar Farms and its historic Big House (a unique piece of Hollywood Golden Age history) during its maple sugar events. Just discovered the Big House offers a unique Valentine's Day Bash; it also has barn dances in the summer!

Events

http://www.experience-ohio-amish-cou...yrup-tour.html
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:38 PM
 
227 posts, read 119,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azureloves View Post
This was very helpful! Thank you so much! I will definitely stop by AAA for the different maps as well as look into the other links and threads you provided with DH. I will be sure to keep everyone posted as we begin this journey!
Welcome! We also came from California and landed in the east suburbs looking for affordability, good schools and diversity. Ultimately, Shaker Heights is super ideal. Diverse, good schools, lots to do, beautiful neighborhoods and homes, easy access to the RTA, etc. Commute to Mentor wouldn't be bad either. However, WRNative is correct, taxes are very high.

Cleveland Heights is another similar choice, although again, taxes are high and schools may not be as great.

Solon should be considered. It's fairly diverse, taxes are lower and you have quick access to the express way.

Beachwood also is relatively diverse with good schools and relatively decent taxes, but housing is going to be a bit more expensive.

I've heard some unfortunate things concerning racism about Mentor, Willoughby, etc. Similar with the west suburbs.

Regardless, keep us informed and feel free to reach out!
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:54 AM
 
9,598 posts, read 6,338,560 times
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Originally Posted by HueysBack View Post
I've heard some unfortunate things concerning racism about Mentor, Willoughby, etc. Similar with the west suburbs.
I've never heard anything about racism in Mentor and Willoughby, certainly no news reports. I frequent the largest barber shop in Mentor and I've seen African American customers there. There are certain west side suburbs, such as Lakewood, were I would be surprised if there was much racism. The only suburb which has reported racist behavior by police is Euclid to my knowledge.

There are racists everywhere, and they likely are less challenged in less diverse communities, however.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to check with local black churches, the NAACP, etc., for a better perception of racism in any community. You also could ask school board offices to talk to African American students.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Beachwood, OH
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My suggestion would be to purchase something in Lake County, but close to the border (so I guess that's Willoughby). I'd have your primary focus being on the easiness of resale and in 4-5 years, when your first kid is getting ready for pre-K or Kindergarten, move at that point to a longer term home. Your incomes/budget may be higher, you'll have a better sense of the communities and also what's an acceptable commute and your job locations may change in the meantime.

Depending on the credit, it may even be a better option to continue to rent somewhere until you're ready to make a longer term school decision.

For what it's worth, given what you've shared thus far, I would look primarily at Mayfield Village. I think Shaker is probably too far to Mentor. Ultimately, I think your best option is Beachwood, and probably in the neighborhood south of Cedar, east of Green and west of Richmond, but as someone else mentioned, budget is going to be the possible issue there.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:41 AM
 
227 posts, read 119,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRnative View Post
I've never heard anything about racism in Mentor and Willoughby, certainly no news reports. I frequent the largest barber shop in Mentor and I've seen African American customers there. There are certain west side suburbs, such as Lakewood, were I would be surprised if there was much racism. The only suburb which has reported racist behavior by police is Euclid to my knowledge.

There are racists everywhere, and they likely are less challenged in less diverse communities, however.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to check with local black churches, the NAACP, etc., for a better perception of racism in any community. You also could ask school board offices to talk to African American students.
Not to derail this thread, but a few things here. I believe Mentor is one of the places the Shaker Heights High School football team encountered racism and verbal abuse. We also have friends who've moved to that area and stated similar sentiments. Not sure how seeing black folks at the barber shop discounts that in anyway?

Yes, Lakewood would likely be the single exception on the west side.

And yes, "There are racists everywhere, and they likely are less challenged in less diverse communities". Hence, my pointing them towards more diverse communities.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:59 AM
 
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A lot of the locations being suggested don't really match the "town square" setting they want. I don't see Mayfield, Solon, Mentor, Beachwood, etc. as having that sort of vibe at all.
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