Jan 17, 2024 - News

New Glenville development to honor Civil Rights martyr

A conceptual rendering of a townhome development

A conceptual rendering of the townhomes on Lakeview Road. Rendering: LDA Architects/Cleveland Planning Commission

A new housing development in Glenville plans to honor a dark moment in Cleveland's Civil Rights history.

Driving the news: The Cleveland Planning Commission earlier this month granted preliminary approval to a residential project on a vacant Lakeview Road site formerly occupied by Stephen E. Howe Elementary School.

Why it matters: On Apr. 7, 1964, 27-year-old Rev. Bruce Klunder, one of the founders of Cleveland's Congress on Racial Equity (CORE), laid down behind a bulldozer to protest the construction of a racially segregated school there.

  • The driver, unaware of Klunder's presence, backed up and crushed him.

Context: While Howe and other schools on Cleveland's predominantly Black east side were ultimately built, Klunder's death is seen as a moment that "helped unify the Black community to fight against injustice," per Cleveland Historical.

Between the lines: The Planning Commission's approval was contingent upon the integration of that history into the final project design.

  • Jesse Sweigart of Cleveland's LDA Architects, who presented the project, said the Ohio History Center has expressed interest in installing one of its historical markers on the site.

Details: The 68-unit development would include two phases, with 46 townhomes between Lakeview Road and Linn Drive followed by 16 single-family homes on adjacent parcels.

  • A new private roadway, tentatively called Howe Drive, would connect Lakeview to Linn.

What's next: In addition to featuring the Civil Rights story in the site's public space, the Planning Commission asked the architects to improve pedestrian connectivity and to make the townhomes' front porches "more special" in recognition of Glenville's "porch culture."

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