In Cleveland, they’re building a gay neighborhood from scratch

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Restaurants, cooking classes and gardening are key parts of the effort to create an L.G.B.T.Q. district that can help lift the area’s economy.

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio – If you’re building an entertainment center in sports-mad Northeast Ohio, it makes sense to go heavy on athletics. That was clear when the Fieldhouse, a 30,000-square-foot complex opened last weekend in this suburb that shares a border with Cleveland.

Thousands of people showed up to climb an outdoor climbing wall, sign up for fitness classes and wander around a gymnasium where youth and adult sports leagues compete.

But there were signs of a detour from the sports handbook: On Saturday night, the gym hosted a show headlined by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Monét X Change and Trinity the Tuck.

A few hours earlier, about 25 people of all ages gathered in a small community garden a few blocks away to pull radishes and other vegetables from the ground to help put the garden to sleep before winter. Overseen by Food Strong, a local nonprofit that promotes better nutrition, the garden is where the Fieldhouse’s three restaurants will get some of their vegetables this spring.

During a break from tearing, Chelsea Brennan, 55, a transgender woman who did electrical installation at the Fieldhouse, said being able to hang out with other L.G.B.T.Q. people are one of the reasons she plans to move to Lakewood from a small town an hour south.

“Finally, I feel like I’m part of a community instead of being an outcast,” she said.

The Fieldhouse is just the first phase of a much larger effort by private developers and local governments to build a complex of businesses and services that cater to L.G.B.T.Q. people – and attract them to visit or settle here. In effect, they aim to form the focal point of a whole new gay neighborhood at a time when many traditional gay enclaves—from Chelsea in Manhattan to the Castro in San Francisco—have lost much of that identity to gentrification and assimilation.

Unlike the deliberately segregated urban neighborhoods that flourished in the years following the 1969 Stonewall uprising, this one is based on what its developers believe locals need and want to support in this solidly working-class city. That means amenities that are affordable and appeal to families, with an emphasis on food.

The entire development, called Studio West 117, is slated for completion in 2025 at an estimated cost of $100 million in private and public funds. Straddling Lakewood and Cleveland, it will include a hotel, shops and health clinic, much of it on the former site of a concert hall where Nine Inch Nails played its first concerts. Studio West’s partners include the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, which will provide fresh vegetables and pantry items to people in need, and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, which offers services to seniors and youth.

The developers — Daniel Budish (gay and 36) and Betsy Figgie (straight and 51), both presidents of separate tax credit consulting firms — are betting the project will help boost the economy of Cleveland, one of the nation’s poorest big cities.

They also want this gay neighborhood, as they call it, to provide a home for an L.G.B.T.Q. communities that have long been dispersed.

“The best and most significant way to generate resources for our community is through foot traffic that supports small businesses,” said Mr. Budish, son of Armond Budish, the leader of Cuyahoga County, home of Lakewood and Cleveland. “Having seen the way there are neighborhoods that actively attract gay support, it was important to me, given my skills, to do big projects that benefit our community.”

He and Ms. Figgie say they have so far personally invested more than $6 million combined in Studio West 117. Another $12 million has come from various sources, including money from the state of Ohio and the federal Small Business Administration, and tax incentives from the City of Lakewood, a community where Pride flags are prevalent.

It is too early to say whether the area can sustain an entertainment center large enough to support a neighborhood. The project will have competition for gay dollars from Columbus, where L.G.B.T.Q. the scene is bigger and, thanks to Ohio State University, younger — a reason many Clevelanders don’t think about driving two hours to see its drag shows or attend one of the nation’s largest Pride parades.

Still, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb sounded optimistic that the Fieldhouse could be a real boon for his city.

“A lot of the talk has been about this being a first-in-the-nation queer urban development that generates jobs and revenue and prioritizes positive social change and a commitment to social justice,” he said in an interview. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Daniel B. Hess and Alex Bitterman — husband and wife and editors of the 2021 book “The Life and Afterlife of Gay Neighborhoods” — said what’s happening in Cleveland looks markedly different from the places gay ancestors created, not that they would have been disappointed.

“Those people were pioneers, and they built gay neighborhoods out of absolute necessity to survive and to preserve their own unique subcultural identity,” said Dr. Bitterman, professor of architecture at Alfred State College in Western New York. “They did it with the long-term hope that people wouldn’t have to run away to Manhattan or the Castro to be accepted, that they could eventually live in places like Cleveland and be who they are, where they are.”

Dr. Hess, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University at Buffalo, said the L.G.B.T.Q. millennials and Gen Zers seek to support activities and areas that welcome people regardless of sexual orientation and gender. So it’s no surprise, he said, that plans for a new gay neighborhood would start with gardening and other community center-style events and food showcases.

The three restaurants set to open last weekend weren’t quite ready, but that didn’t stop Fieldhouse from looking at their menus. On an outdoor patio that opened onto a dining room, visitors scarfed down burgers topped with goat cheese from the area’s Mackenzie Creamery ($13, fries included).

Families shared wood-fired pizzas, including a pepperoni number called the Flirten ($12), from pizzeria Eat Me! (The other locations are a gastro pub called Muze and a rooftop bar, Trellis.)

Saturday afternoon in the Fieldhouse’s intimate demonstration kitchen, Theo Croffoot-Suede, a 15-year-old transgender boy, watched as drag queen Plenty O’Smiles iced cookies. Theo grabbed his piping bag and squeezed as he slowly filled a pumpkin-shaped cookie with orange frosting, careful to stay within a white outline.

An avid home baker of éclairs, Theo said he traveled from Columbus with his mother, Kim Croffoot-Suede, to decorate cookies because it sounded like “a really good way to cross baking and being with people who care about me .”

“Being transgender has made me realize how important it is to feel like you have a community,” he said, adding: “I like going to places where there are people who believe I am a human person.”

Earlier in the day, the group made their way from the community garden to the same kitchen for a salsa-making class taught by Chelsea Huizing, the Fieldhouse’s assistant general manager. Mrs. Huizing, who is pansexual and goes by Ox, showed the students how to safely chop peppers and explained why chives, but not kale, would be great for salsa.

As the class ended, Joe Makse, 38, who is bisexual, packed a plastic container with his handmade sweet and spicy salsa, a blend of peaches, cabbage, tomato, garlic, onion and fresh lemon balm. “I like to expand my horizons when it comes to cooking,” he said.

Each student was given a paper copy of the recipe, which calls for canned corn and tomatoes — the assumption being that not everyone in the class might be able to afford or even find fresh vegetables, said Sara Continenza, Food Strong’s executive director, who described herself as “a direct ally.”

This is no small consideration: Ms. Huizing, 36, said it’s important that the Fieldhouse attracts people who work with workers, meaning there can’t be sticker shock when learning a culinary skill or enjoying a meal.

“Are there any L.G.B.T.Q. people in Cleveland who can spend $50 a night on dinner? Sure, but not in my circles,” she said. “I want people to think, ‘I can pay my bills.'”

Dr. Hess said he was glad that “this world of food and sustainability and community gardens” was happening in the Midwest “instead of Miami or West Hollywood, where it would have been lost in the shuffle.”

He added, “It can make a difference in a city like Cleveland.”

The cost of living in Cleveland, OH is 2% higher than the state average and 6% lower than the national average. Cleveland, OH housing is 18% cheaper than the US average, while utilities are about 4% cheaper.

Is Cleveland Ohio a good place to move to?

Thinking of moving to Cleveland? The North Shore is a great Midwestern city to call home, thanks to its wide variety of outdoor activities, world-class theater district, renowned healthcare system and more. To see also : Anti-LGBTQ education laws, including ‘don’t say gay’, went into effect.

What do I need to know before moving to Cleveland? Read these 20 things and feel like a local before you even set foot in CLE:

  • Boats, beaches and cycling abound! …
  • The weather can be indecisive. …
  • The architecture is something to admire. …
  • Cleveland is a hard-nosed sports town. …
  • We have a Kardashian…
  • Cleveland was built on rock and roll. …
  • Foodies flock to us.

Is it a good idea to move to Cleveland?

CLE is surprisingly affordable for a city next to a large watershed with a cost of living that lands 11% below the national average. This may interest you : Gay Palestinian Man Brutally Murdered While Waiting For Asylum – Israel News. Rent prices are also 11% below the Ohio average, and a recent study concluded that Cleveland is the fifth most affordable city for renters in the United States!

Why you should move to Cleveland Ohio?

Cleveland is home to many great museums, the list includes the Museum of Art, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of History and many more! These museums make great day trips for city residents and visitors alike, and are a great reason to settle in a city as big as Cleveland.

Is Cleveland Ohio good to live?

Living in Cleveland offers residents an urban-suburban mix, and most residents rent their homes. In Cleveland there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and parks. Many families live in Cleveland, and residents tend to be liberal.

Is Cleveland worth living in?

Located in the midwestern United States on Lake Erie, Cleveland is a great place to live for anyone who wants a diverse urban area to settle down. Without having to go overboard financially to afford a big city lifestyle. Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are quite livable.

Is it expensive to live in Cleveland Ohio?

Cleveland housing costs are 18% lower than the national average and utility prices are 2% lower than the national average. Transport costs such as bus fares and gas prices are 3% lower than the national average. On the same subject : The Biden administration is meeting with Florida LGBTQ students on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.. Cleveland has grocery prices that are 3% higher than the national average.

Is rent expensive in Cleveland?

Rental prices. On October 22, 2022, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Cleveland, OH is $1,250. This is a decrease of 11% compared to the previous year.

How much does it cost to live in Cleveland?

Cleveland, OH, USA Cost of Living Summary: Family of four estimated monthly cost is $3,828 without rent. A single person’s estimated monthly cost is $1,071 without rent. Cleveland is 25.49% cheaper than New York (without rent).

Is Cleveland OH a good place to live?

Located in the midwestern United States on Lake Erie, Cleveland is a great place to live for anyone who wants a diverse urban area to settle down. Without having to go overboard financially to afford a big city lifestyle. Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are quite livable.

Is Cleveland affordable to live?

Although Cleveland ranks as one of the least expensive cities in the country to live in, grocery costs tend to be higher than you might expect. The costs are 96.1 out of the national average of 100.

What it’s like to live in Cleveland?

In Cleveland, you can have a very high quality of life at a fairly low price. The cost of living here is 27.4% lower than the national average, meaning housing, groceries, transportation, utilities, and entertainment are all significantly lower than you’ll find elsewhere around the country.

Is Cleveland a good place to live?

Located in the midwestern United States on Lake Erie, Cleveland is a great place to live for anyone who wants a diverse urban area to settle down. Without having to go overboard financially to afford a big city lifestyle. Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are quite livable.

Is Cleveland a livable city?

Move here if you want to ⦠In fact, Livability recently highlighted Cleveland as one of the top 10 places for job seekers thanks to the combination of job openings, economic growth and low cost of living.

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What does the name Cleveland mean?

As you will see, they don’t quite. Cleveland in England gets its name from the Old English clif meaning slope and land meaning country. The area’s name means “rocky land” in reference to the Cleveland Hills, which bore the same etymology.

What legacy is Cleveland? The name Cleveland belongs to the early history of Great Britain, its origin lies with the Anglo-Saxons. It is the product of them having lived in Cleveley or Cleveland-Port, villages in the parish of Ormesby, association of Guisborough in Yorkshire, both generally in the Cleveland Vale (hilly district) of Yorkshire.

Is Cleveland a real name?

Cleveland is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: Annette Cleveland, member of the Washington State Senate since 2013. Cleaveland (whaling family), American whaling family of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

What’s another name for Cleveland?

“C-town” or “C-land” â Used by many performers and locals to refer to Cleveland. “City of Champions” â In reference to Cleveland’s golden age of sports victories in the 1940s and 1950s. “City of Light” “The CLE” or simply “CLE” â From the IATA code for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Is Cleveland a name?

Cleveland as a boy’s name is pronounced KLEEV-land. It is of Old English origin and the meaning of Cleveland is “land of rocks; hilly area”. Place name.

Is Cleveland an English name?

While it originated in England, the Cleveland surname is now most prevalent in the United States, according to surname distribution data from Forebears.

What does the name Cleveland mean?

As you will see, they don’t quite. Cleveland in England gets its name from the Old English clif meaning slope and land meaning country. The area’s name means “cliff-land”, referring to the Cleveland Hills, which bore the same etymology.

What kind of name is Cleveland?

The Cleveland surname most often originated as a name for someone who came from the Cleveland district of Yorkshire, England, a corruption of “cliff lane”, which described the steep, hilly terrain of the region, from the Old English cliff meaning “bank , slope” and land meaning “land”.

How common is the last name Cleveland?

PlaceOccurrenceFrequency
United States41,5951:8,714
Canada1,6221:22,716
England1,0381:53,678
Australia3711:72,765

What does Cleveland name mean?

Meaning: land of rocks; hilly area. Cleveland as a boy’s name is pronounced KLEEV-land. It is of Old English origin and the meaning of Cleveland is “land of rocks; hilly area”. Place name.

What ethnicity is the name Cleveland?

English: residential name from any of several places in Devon Essex or North Yorkshire formed from genitive plural (clifa) of Old English clif ‘bank slope’ land ‘land’. Americanized form (and a rare Norwegian variant) of Norwegian Kleveland or its variant Kleiveland and also of Kleven or its variant Kleiven.

Where did Cleveland name come from?

The CSA is the most populous in Ohio and the 17th largest in the nation with a 2020 population of 3.63 million, while the MSA ranks the 34th largest with 2.09 million. Cleveland was founded in 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River by General Moses Cleaveland, after whom the city was named.

Why is Cleveland named that?

Cleveland was established on July 22, 1796 by surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company when they laid out Connecticut’s Western Reserve for townships and a capital city. They named the new settlement “Cleaveland” after their leader, General Moses Cleaveland, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

Were the Cleveland Indians named after an Indian?

That legacy of racist language and iconography lived on after Sockalexis. In 1915, a baseball team from Cleveland was called the Indians—a name that the team and its fans claim was chosen to honor Sockalexis and native peoples in general, but which in reality had far more complicated, racist origins.

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Where do rich live in Cleveland?

Cleveland’s wealthiest family, the Lerners, live in Hunting Valley, as do many socialites and CEOs. While the West Side has its fair share of business people, it is also home to many professional athletes who are drawn to new mini-mansions in Westlake.

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Is rent expensive in Ohio?

Ohio (OH) has the 44th highest rent in the country out of 56 states and territories. Fair Market Rent in Ohio ranges from $734 for a 2 bedroom apartment in Adams County, OH to $1,081 for a 2 bedroom unit in the Union County, OH HUD Metro FMR Area.

How much does it cost to live comfortably in Ohio? How much you need to live comfortably in Ohio: $31,220 to $46,000 a year. Using these calculations, we can see that a single adult would need to earn at least $31,220 per year, or $15.61/hour, to live comfortably in Ohio. A living wage for a family of four, on the other hand, is $46,000 per year or $23.29/hour.

Is it expensive to live in Ohio?

The cost of living in Ohio is 9% lower than the national average. Housing is 23% lower than the national average, while utilities are 8% lower. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are about 1% lower than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs 1% less.

How much does it cost for one person to live in Ohio?

The cost of living in Ohio is surprisingly affordable thanks to cheap housing costs and low food prices. A single adult must earn at least $31,220 to live comfortably in Ohio. From Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie to Cincinnati in the south, the Buckeye State is a diverse and exciting place to live!

Is living in Ohio cheap?

Ohio Affordability The cost of living in Ohio’s major cities is 42-70% lower than in San Francisco and New York City. Ohio ranks No. 3 in Moody’s Housing Affordability Index, which measures the combination of higher median income and lower home prices that provide a good quality of life (2020, Q3).

What is the average monthly cost of living in Ohio?

StateAverage annual salary (all occupations)Average monthly rent
North Carolina$53,100$1,008.92
North Dakota$53,380$853.83
Ohio$53,170$865.17
Oklahoma$48,360$847.92

Is Ohio a good state to live?

If you want to live in a state with a lot of friendly people, where the cost of living is low and housing prices are high, moving to Ohio is right for you. Ohio is a moderately tax-friendly state and guarantees access to reputable healthcare facilities, making it a great place to raise a family.

What is the average monthly cost of living in Ohio?

StateAverage annual salary (all occupations)Average monthly rent
North Carolina$53,100$1,008.92
North Dakota$53,380$853.83
Ohio$53,170$865.17
Oklahoma$48,360$847.92

Is Ohio an expensive state to live in?

Ohio is the No. 1 most affordable state according to the 2020 U.S. News ranking. The cost of living in Ohio’s major cities is 42-70% lower than in San Francisco and New York City. Ohio ranks no.

What is the US average cost of living?

Again, the cost of living varies considerably from place to place, but we can use some average figures. The average monthly cost of living for a single person in the United States is $3,189, which is $38,266 per year. The average price for a family of four is $7,095 per month, which is $85,139 per year.

Is Ohio a cheap place to live?

Ohio is the No. 1 most affordable state according to the 2020 U.S. News ranking. The cost of living in Ohio’s major cities is 42-70% lower than in San Francisco and New York City.

Is it cheap living in Ohio?

Ohio is one of the cheapest places to live in the United States. Ohio’s largest cities such as Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland are far more affordable than other Midwestern cities such as Chicago. You can find a nice apartment in all the cities we’ve mentioned above for under $1,000, no problem.

Which US state is cheapest to live in?

Mississippi is the cheapest place to live in the United States, with the cost of living 16.7% lower than the national average. It also has the cheapest transportation on our countdown. Now, 4.5% unemployment was a record low for Mississippi in early 2022, but it is quite high compared to the national average.

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