Young People Love Cleveland's Grit and Funk, or Something




The latest good news squeezed out of a depressing Census: Young smart people love us.

The number of college-educated young professionals who moved into the city rose by 49 percent since 2000, according to a recent crunch of the numbers. This means we beat out such allegedly desirable locales as Boston, Chicago, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

Reasons for the increase vary depending on who you ask, but grit and funk seem to be key indicators.

“Young people want to live in a cool, hip, funky district,” says councilman Matt Zone of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, which has seen considerable growth in funky residents.

“Young professionals don’t want things that are sanitized. They want the grittiness of the city,” says Councilman Joe Cimperman. He has noticed a striking increase in the number of people flocking to Tremont and Ohio City. “In Tremont, you don’t need an incentive program because so many people want to live there,” he says.

Ohio City Near West Development Corporation has started buying foreclosed homes to revamp and sell. “These are not ending up being $500,000 homes, but will be sold for about $150,000 — something a young couple can actually afford,” says Cimperman.

University Circle started a program in 2008 that offers up to $15,000 in down-payment assistance, as well as loans, grants, and other aid. So far, about 70 people have taken advantage.

“The major players — the art museum, Case, the hospitals — really sweetened the deal for their employees,” says Genna Petrolla, manager of Greater Circle Living, which partners with University Circle employers to prod workers to buy or rent in Hough, Fairfax, Buckeye, and other neighborhoods.
It’s unclear whether new residents are won over by incentives or they just love that plentiful Cleveland grittiness. — Maude Campbell

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