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What Happens When Your Neighborhood Begins To Decline?

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A major grocery store, which has had a presence in the neighborhood I grew up in since my earliest memories of the 90’s, recently closed  its doors and I couldn’t help but wonder what’s next for the area? I can remember the trips on the bus with my mother growing up as we made our way to one of the many grocery stores in the Northern Lights Shopping Center, a center that was once the staple of my community. From the local Kroger, Big Bear, Aldi, and Save-A-Lot markets, accessing fresh food through Cleveland Avenue was fairly easy for families like mine who relied on public transit for mobility. Fast forward 20 years later and all but one of the four markets in the shopping center have gone through the process of putting up the “store closing” banner and announcing that their doors will no longer be open to the community.

Driving up the Cleveland Avenue corridor today, I can’t help but notice the changes that have occurred throughout the years, some for good and some for bad. Investment plans have been announced in the greater Linden area and the new rapid transit line that runs through my former community has promise, but will it be enough to save the area from further decline? There’s hope, as the City of Cleveland’s bus rapid transit line (BRT) has claimed to generate over $6.3 billion of economic development since opening in 2008, but that unfortunately isn’t guaranteed. Data to measure what impact these investments will have on Linden will surely be interesting as they are released, but one thing is for sure; the loss of yet another business will impact the community.