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Old 04-07-2021, 06:22 AM
 
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My wife is originally from Northeast Ohio, and we have discussed moving from the East Coast to NE Ohio in the next few years. We visited her parents for Easter this past week and looked at a few neighborhoods for potential relocation spots. The area we both liked was Lakewood. We were there on a Tuesday afternoon, and it just seemed so full of life. Kids were walking home from school, people dining outdoors, walking dogs, running, etc. We talked to one of her friends in real estate in the area, and he mentioned that houses sell in days often above the asking price. In my opinion, all of this points to a vibrant neighborhood that we would be happy to call home.

My questions come from the fact that we mentioned Lakewood to her parents, and they said it's not a great area; and I've also read a lot of posts on this forum that Lakewood is on the decline. What am I missing? What I saw in my short afternoon was anything but a community in decline. I noticed the population has been shrinking for the past few decades; why is this the case? I noticed that there had been some recent crime in the area, but it seems to be more towards Cleveland's border.

I would appreciate any thoughts and also any opinions on what the future holds for Lakewood, both in the near and long term.
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
10,122 posts, read 9,697,446 times
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You're missing nothing. People are certainly free to dislike lakewood or not want to live there, but the idea that it's a bad area or in any way "on the decline" is ridiculous. As a general rule, I hate to say it, but suburban boomers around Cleveland 3/4 times are terrible sources of any type of information and their advice is to be largely ignored.
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Old 04-07-2021, 08:17 AM
 
Location: CA / OR ==> Cleveland Heights, OH
141 posts, read 87,084 times
Reputation: 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by js204898 View Post
My wife is originally from Northeast Ohio, and we have discussed moving from the East Coast to NE Ohio in the next few years. We visited her parents for Easter this past week and looked at a few neighborhoods for potential relocation spots. The area we both liked was Lakewood. We were there on a Tuesday afternoon, and it just seemed so full of life. Kids were walking home from school, people dining outdoors, walking dogs, running, etc. We talked to one of her friends in real estate in the area, and he mentioned that houses sell in days often above the asking price. In my opinion, all of this points to a vibrant neighborhood that we would be happy to call home.
We’re from the opposite coast (PNW) and have been actively scouting CLE area towns/neighborhoods for the past 3 weeks for home purchase. So disclaimer...I’m not a local (yet).

Your observations are 100% consistent with mine. There is a vibrancy in Lakewood that we really haven’t seen matched in any other area locally. It is all those things you mention above, and probably other things I haven’t put my finger on. By Tues afternoon, do you mean yesterday? Yeah, we were there also, spent time at the lake, walked around pedestrian friendly Detroit Ave. Very “happening’” vibe, people out and about, good moods, outdoor cafes hopping, bike riding, etc. Wife and I originally had ruled out the West side as it’s a long drive to family on the PA border. We simply had to put it back on our target list, as it’s too much of a gem to pass up. Makes us feel younger...lol.

I use SpotCrime app to check on safety. Honestly, I don’t see much of anything crime related west of Gold Coast. I assume any crime stats are skewed by CLE border area. I am not an expert; I just refer to the stats.

Also very nice to have that cool temp and breeze yesterday. Almost 80-deg in Shaker Hts, 66-deg when we pulled in to Lakewood Park.

Just a headsup, do some diligence on the train noise (and your proximity) if you house hunt there. Complete non-issue for some, bigger issue for others...

Anyhow, I’m sure Lakewood isn’t for everyone, and not sure if we’ll even end up there, but just wanted to second your observations as a fellow newbie.

Good luck!

Last edited by SlideRules99; 04-07-2021 at 08:27 AM..
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:00 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideRules99 View Post
We’re from the opposite coast (PNW) and have been actively scouting CLE area towns/neighborhoods for the past 3 weeks for home purchase. So disclaimer...I’m not a local (yet).

Your observations are 100% consistent with mine. There is a vibrancy in Lakewood that we really haven’t seen matched in any other area locally. It is all those things you mention above, and probably other things I haven’t put my finger on. By Tues afternoon, do you mean yesterday? Yeah, we were there also, spent time at the lake, walked around pedestrian friendly Detroit Ave. Very “happening’” vibe, people out and about, good moods, outdoor cafes hopping, bike riding, etc.
Phew, I felt like I was crazy! All the negativity I heard directly contradicted what I saw.
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH USA / formerly Chicago for 20 years
3,989 posts, read 6,454,505 times
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Lakewood did appear to be on the decline in the 1990s-2000s, IMO, but has been on an upswing the past ten years or so. When I lived there (1980-1995) I felt Lakewood was underrated/underappreciated as I watched more and more people with some money leave for suburbs further out (Westlake, Avon, etc.). Now this trend is reversing as people are starting to appreciate dense, walkable areas once again, and the rents and house prices in Lakewood are reflecting that. Gentrification in Lakewood is a spillover from west side Cleveland neighborhoods that have been gentrifying (Tremont, Ohio City, Gordon Square, etc.). Although Lakewood property prices have been rising, people who are finding themselves priced out of key west side Cleveland neighborhoods find they can get more space for the money in Lakewood.

Lakewood now has a hip/trendy vibe that largely reflects the newcomers moving in -- people who want to be "where the action is".

The "high crime" section of Lakewood is the eastern third of the city, more or less... although it's not "bad" in an absolute sense. East End neighborhoods like Birdtown have been seeing much rejuvenation/revitalization lately, and it appears that will continue to be the case. There recently have been a couple shootings, including one in Madison Park (next to Birdtown), but those are isolated incidents. Rashes of car break-ins have occurred, but thieves appear to be going after the low-hanging fruit -- car doors unlocked, valuables in plain sight, etc. But that's been occurring in more distant suburbs (North Olmsted, Strongsville) as well. One has to take normal precautions everywhere these days.

As for population declines, I'd venture much of it is due to smaller household sizes in general.

I personally love Lakewood and would like to return, but am unable to find an affordable situation that suits me right now. I think you'll love it there.

Last edited by andrew61; 04-07-2021 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:24 AM
 
10,031 posts, read 6,988,395 times
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I don't think a community with a 13.5 percent YOY increase in home values can be classified as in decline.

https://www.zillow.com/lakewood-oh/home-values/

Persons considering Lakewood certainly should consider the city's proximity to some of the better Cleveland Metroparks -- Rocky River Reservation, Edgewater, and Huntington. The latter two have the premier Cuyahoga County Lake Erie beaches, certainly on the west side.

https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/...er-reservation

https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/...on-reservation

Also check out Wendy Park, soon to be connected to two of the best hiking/biking trails in northeast Ohio.

https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/...ion/wendy-park

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/...petition-dates

https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/...dy-park-bridge

https://www.ideastream.org/news/inst...-bridge-begins

Important, exciting completions of long-planned aspirational improvements for Clevelanders to celebrate post-COVID.

Lakewood is less than 15 minutes from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Buying a zoo membership offers seniors an awesome, affordable hiking opportunity. The zoo offers free admission to Cuyahoga County residents on Mondays.

Any person considering relocating to Greater Cleveland should check out the region's great metroparks, and not just in the immediate county. E.g., someone considering Lakewood should check out Lorain County Metro Parks, perhaps especially Lorain's Lakeview Park, one of Greater Cleveland's best Lake Erie beaches, half an hour from Lakewood.

https://www.loraincountymetroparks.com/

https://www.loraincountymetroparks.com/lakeview-park

Beck Center and Lakewood Public Library are two of Lakewood's more important amenities.

https://www.beckcenter.org/education-programs?

https://www.lakewoodpubliclibrary.org/

Use Google transit to check out Lakewood's mass transit options, which include the Red Line rail rapid and the Cleveland State bus rapid. The Red Line's Triskett and West 117th-Madison Red Line stations serve Lakewood; check the stations for connecting bus routes.

55-A-B-C: Cleveland State Line | Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Prospective Lakewood residents also should check out Crocker Park in Westlake, about a 15-minute drive.

https://www.crockerpark.com/

For persons who are amusement park fans, Lakewood also is only one hour from Cedar Point, making day trips to the roller coaster capital of the world a breeze compared to most east side locations.

I also would encourage anyone checking out Lakewood to dine at Pier W. Try to get a window seat with a lake or Cleveland skyline view. Many consider the Pier W brunch the best in Greater Cleveland.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaura...wood_Ohio.html

Last edited by WRnative; 04-07-2021 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 04-07-2021, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
3,302 posts, read 4,386,467 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew61 View Post
Lakewood did appear to be on the decline in the 1990s-2000s, IMO, but has been on an upswing the past ten years or so. When I lived there (1980-1995) I felt Lakewood was underrated/underappreciated as I watched more and more people with some money leave for suburbs further out (Westlake, Avon, etc.). Now this trend is reversing as people are starting to appreciate dense, walkable areas once again, and the rents and house prices in Lakewood are reflecting that. Gentrification in Lakewood is a spillover from west side Cleveland neighborhoods that have been gentrifying (Tremont, Ohio City, Gordon Square, etc.). Although Lakewood property prices have been rising, people who are finding themselves priced out of key west side Cleveland neighborhoods find they can get more space for the money in Lakewood.

Lakewood now has a hip/trendy vibe that largely reflects the newcomers moving in -- people who want to be "where the action is".

The "high crime" section of Lakewood is the eastern third of the city, more or less... although it's not "bad" in an absolute sense. East End neighborhoods like Birdtown have been seeing much rejuvenation/revitalization lately, and it appears that will continue to be the case. There recently have been a couple shootings, including one in Madison Park (next to Birdtown), but those are isolated incidents. Rashes of car break-ins have occurred, but thieves appear to be going after the low-hanging fruit -- car doors unlocked, valuables in plain sight, etc. But that's been occurring in more distant suburbs (North Olmsted, Strongsville) as well. One has to take normal precautions everywhere these days.

As for population declines, I'd venture much of it is due to smaller household sizes in general.

I personally love Lakewood and would like to return, but am unable to find an affordable situation that suits me right now. I think you'll love it there.
I disagree that Lakewood is an area that people are turning to because they're priced out of city neighborhoods. I actually think it's the opposite, especially in the areas of Cleveland south of Lakewood such as West Park and Kamm's Corners. A lot of people are moving to those spots because they want the more urban/suburban inner-ring suburb feel, but can't afford Lakewood. It's also becoming increasingly unaffordable. Prices are skyrocketing, and flippers are buying up houses left and right, rehabbing them, and reselling them for double or more (and they sell quickly). You really can't find anything in Lakewood these days for less than $200k that doesn't need a ton of work, even in Birdtown, which was historically the city's lowest income neighborhood.

I think a lot of people moving to Lakewood are the kids of the people who moved out to suburbs like Westlake and Bay Village. They want the urban amenities, without the crime and blight that can come with city neighborhoods. There's also quite a few newcomers like you mentioned. The vibe is a mix of young/hipster, yuppie, and the older working class people still holding on to their properties.

As others have said, there really aren't any parts of Lakewood that I would call dangerous or declining. Even Birdtown is seeing a lot of renovations, new high end infill housing, and there are a lot of great businesses along Madison Ave. over there. I'd say that section of town is getting more and more hipster, although there are still a lot of low-income rentals.
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Old 04-08-2021, 06:33 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,328 times
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Thank you for all the thoughtful responses. Perhaps one day I can offer others advice on Lakewood as well!
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:14 AM
 
134 posts, read 61,215 times
Reputation: 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideRules99 View Post
We’re from the opposite coast (PNW) and have been actively scouting CLE area towns/neighborhoods for the past 3 weeks for home purchase. So disclaimer...I’m not a local (yet).

Your observations are 100% consistent with mine. There is a vibrancy in Lakewood that we really haven’t seen matched in any other area locally. It is all those things you mention above, and probably other things I haven’t put my finger on. By Tues afternoon, do you mean yesterday? Yeah, we were there also, spent time at the lake, walked around pedestrian friendly Detroit Ave. Very “happening’” vibe, people out and about, good moods, outdoor cafes hopping, bike riding, etc. Wife and I originally had ruled out the West side as it’s a long drive to family on the PA border. We simply had to put it back on our target list, as it’s too much of a gem to pass up. Makes us feel younger...lol.

I use SpotCrime app to check on safety. Honestly, I don’t see much of anything crime related west of Gold Coast. I assume any crime stats are skewed by CLE border area. I am not an expert; I just refer to the stats.

Also very nice to have that cool temp and breeze yesterday. Almost 80-deg in Shaker Hts, 66-deg when we pulled in to Lakewood Park.

Just a headsup, do some diligence on the train noise (and your proximity) if you house hunt there. Complete non-issue for some, bigger issue for others...

Anyhow, I’m sure Lakewood isn’t for everyone, and not sure if we’ll even end up there, but just wanted to second your observations as a fellow newbie.

Good luck!
Given that you have family on the PA border, have you considered Shaker Heights? It is an historic Garden City with low crime and pleasant to bike ride and walk. The architecture is some of the most beautiful in the country with easy access to medical care, the arts (Art Museum and Symphony), schools, 2 Whole Foods, etc.
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:47 PM
 
Location: CA / OR ==> Cleveland Heights, OH
141 posts, read 87,084 times
Reputation: 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by ship4u View Post
Given that you have family on the PA border, have you considered Shaker Heights? It is an historic Garden City with low crime and pleasant to bike ride and walk. The architecture is some of the most beautiful in the country with easy access to medical care, the arts (Art Museum and Symphony), schools, 2 Whole Foods, etc.
Yes, absolutely, SH is in our search area as well. Great neighborhoods...spending quite a bit of time there, actually.

We do like the lake proximity and overall vibe in Lakewood, though. We have it highest on our target list, in spite of the extra 20-30-min drive time.

Thanks!
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