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Friday, May 2, 2008

Non-profit touts lemon development as the best housing project in Cleveland?

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 5:39 AM

They look pretty on the outside, but the construction quality might be best described as Early 21st Century Scab.
Three years ago, we introduced you to the Villages of Central, a massive, publicly-subsidized development featuring hundreds of new homes in one of Cleveland’s poorest neighborhoods. The houses were affordable and charming, with cozy porches and freshly-painted shutters. Just one problem: They were falling apart. Porch steps were sinking, walls were cracking, and driveways slanting, despite being built just a few years before. Residents feared the homes were deteriorating so fast they’d never be able to sell them. Scores signed petitions complaining of shoddy construction and tried to solicit Mayor Frank Jackson’s help. But the mayor, who was close to the developer, repeatedly ignored their calls… Now, a city booster group is trying to erase all those details. A website for the non-profit Living in Cleveland Center calls the development a “neighborhood gem,” and labels it “the most successful selling project in the City of Cleveland.” “Why? Because of what people get for their buck — new homes surrounded by other new homes, all constructed on newly paved streets and in a location minutes from all of Cleveland’s finest amenities.” It’s hardly a surprising sell. The booster group’s secretary, Andrea Lewis, works for Cleveland’s department of community development. Her job is to make sure houses sell — even if buys are screwed in the process. – Lisa Rab

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