Slavic Village

Incorporating Active Living into Community Development Through Partnerships

This article describes the work of the Slavic Village Partnership, which received an Active Living by Design (ALbD) grant to expand green spaces and improve infrastructure. The goal of the collaboration, headed by Slavic Village Development, was to create a robust, family-friendly neighborhood that promoted healthy living by its residents.

The Slavic Village neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio has suffered from significant job loss and foreclosure in the past decade. Residents have low levels of daily activity and high levels of obesity. The Slavic Village Partnership set out to create bike lanes, develop neighborhood green spaces, encourage daily exercise, improve physical education in schools and develop municipal policies in support of active living.

Key Findings:

  • Over 600 children are involved with Safe Routes to School by participating in walking school buses, walking with their class during school or taking walking safety courses.
  • The Morgana Run Trail was completed, becoming the first rails-to-trails project in Ohio.
  • Multiple green spaces were reclaimed and improved by the Slavic Village Partnership.
  • The Cleveland City Council passed legislation to support bike parking, bike trails and improved pedestrian options.
  • The partnership between Slavic Village Partnership and many community players, including universities, public health departments and medical centers, proved key to achieving project aims.

The Slavic Village Partnership was able to make active living improvements through the collaborative effort of local organizations. Challenges included providing enough time for projects, working with community residents during a time of economic turbulence, managing projects through staff turnover and leveraging local resources to expand projects.