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Old 03-31-2010, 08:32 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,910 times
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Hi everyone!
We a still looking for a place to move in Cleveland. Initially we thought about Beachwood, Solon, Pepper Pike, Orange - they have good school, safe areas BUT - lack of apartments for rent (or too expensive). So, now we are looking into some other areas and Shaker Heights is one of them (we found couple of interesting places) but we have no idea about crime and overall safety and livability in Shaker Heights. Seems like they don't have as good of a school system as Beachwood or Solon (may be I am wrong), so if you have any knowledge or experience about Shaker Heights your input is of great value! Essentially I am planning to work at Cleveland Clinic and my wife would like to find a job somewhere locally in the area close to home. We are also looking for a good schools and safe neighborhood.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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Yes, Shaker Heights is probably fine. Just try to stay north of Van Aken and east of Moreland.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Thanks, but what's wrong with other area? Just curious...
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:17 AM
 
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Nothing, necessarily. The areas south of Van Aken (except for the Sussex area south of Van Aken and east of Lynnfield) is geographically close to Cleveland, at least some of the blocks consist of a higher proportion of rental housing, and the area is relatively more African American (that alone being enough to poison the impressions of many people on this site). Property values in those areas south/west of Van Aken are indeed lower, and they seem to have been harder hit by and to be suffering more from foreclosures, etc., etc. - but for someone looking to rent these don't seem like prohibitive problems.* I don't get the sense there's any hard evidence of more crime/disorder - the city police would be the place to go to ask for real information about that, since I'd not trust the impressions of web board posters. While it is certainly possible it is higher than other parts of Shaker, given the greater turnover in renter-heavy areas, etc., bear in mind that higher doesn't mean high. It also definitely seems like some of the blocks heavy with double-houses and other rental properties are nicer than others.

It *is* worth pointing out that some of the "wrong side" of Van Aken neighborhoods are quite beautiful. The whole extent of Lomond and the side-streets just off of it is actually really pretty - a windy tree-lined street of attractive and well-maintained houses. The Lomond school has a big nice park setting around it. Etc. And I mentioned already how nice the Sussex area is (the Sussex school building, also, is surrounded by big nice and busy playgrounds).

Another "wrong side of Van Aken" neighborhood of some note is Ludlow, far to the west, which is actually partly in Cleveland and partly in Shaker Heights. This was one of the earliest neighborhoods to take affirmative efforts toward peaceful racial integration and was recently the subject of a television documentary.

Chagrin Boulevard, the street, is however pretty unpleasant -- ugly rental housing in comparatively less-good repair, etc. For whatever its worth, a lot of main thoroughfares through residential neighborhoods in the region seem to suffer from this disease of being, for lack of a better word, blighted even while the neighborhoods adjacent are fine. (Cedar, Lee, Warrensville, etc. have areas with the same phenomenon)

As for Shaker Schools, you'll find a split of opinion here. The testing-based 'grades' aren't as high as some more homogeneous, more exurban, districts (though they aren't bad, either). But the schools are well-funded, and looking at other metrics (like percent of National Merit Scholars, college placements, etc.) the schools seem to serve their high-achieving students as well as any and far better than most. Part of the split comes from the fact that the testing-based metrics reward a district far more for lacking academically struggling students (and the easiest way to do that is to be an exclusionary-zoned, outer-suburban district with no poverty and therefore few students likely to enter school at the bottom) than they reward having a band of very high achieving students. So a school that turned out 100% mediocre middle-of-the-road students would end up doing "well" on its report card. The state report card data is useful, but to assess a district or a school you really need to look beyond the big letter grade on the top of the page.

*To amend "seem to" - yes, the neighborhoods south of Van Aken were hit harder by foreclosures, per this report commissioned by the city.

Last edited by CALarrick; 04-01-2010 at 07:58 AM..
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the other areas were hell-holes or anything. The houses are really quite beautiful, but it's closer to the not as nice areas of Shaker. Think of them as sort of the insulating layer. As such, the there are A LOT of houses for sale (and foreclosures, according to that link) which is not desirable for resale value, aesthetics, etc etc.

Yes, the schools are well-funded since the property taxes are about 3%. The real question is why aren't the Cleveland/University Heights schools as good (they're tax rates are similar or even higher than Shaker!).
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:51 AM
 
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And I certainly didn't mean to indicate that *you* were saying that. Unfortunately, that "insulating layer" phenomenon, though sad, is real. And foreclosures are a problem for all the reasons you list. You mention 'not as nice areas' and Moreland, which is very close to the city line and geographically and physically (and in house style, etc.) connected more to Cleveland than to the rest of Shaker, is indeed a poor neighborhood with a lot of doubles, etc. Too bad, actually, because the housing stock there has a lot to underlying quality, too, in a more frame-house front-porch way than is typical of the Van Swearingen Shaker development itself.


And yes, Shaker does seem to have done better with its schools than CHUH under somewhat similar circumstances, for whatever reason. Leave it to education researchers to try to crack that one...
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:50 PM
 
3,283 posts, read 5,789,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALarrick View Post
And yes, Shaker does seem to have done better with its schools than CHUH under somewhat similar circumstances, for whatever reason. Leave it to education researchers to try to crack that one...
SH has more favorable demographics. Nothing more.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
3,844 posts, read 8,543,037 times
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In regards to Shaker schools, Shaker and Solon had the most National Merit Scholar nominees for the entire Cleveland region:

Shaker Heights, Solon lead Greater Cleveland with most National Merit Scholar semifinalists | cleveland.com
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:05 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,675 times
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I found this comment interesting from a previous post..."The areas south of Van Aken (except for the Sussex area south of Van Aken and east of Lynnfield) is geographically close to Cleveland, at least some of the blocks consist of a higher proportion of rental housing, and the area is relatively more African American (that alone being enough to poison the impressions of many people on this site). " My question...what kind of site is this?? I'm offended...being African American.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:37 AM
 
50 posts, read 158,468 times
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Hi -- I was making perhaps too blanket a statement, but in past threads on this site I've indeed picked up pronounced whiffs of racism, frequently in discussions of the "Heights" communities. You need only browse through the threads to make your own conclusions about that. Hence, my remark that the racial composition of a neighborhood might be perceived by some here as "enough" to write it off (unfairly) as doomed to chaos and decay.

Last edited by CALarrick; 04-14-2010 at 09:55 AM..
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