WELCOME TO ST. CLAIR – SUPERIOR
By Abby Burton
The St. Clair-Superior neighborhood extends from East 30th Street on the west to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the east, south to Superior and Payne avenues and north to Lake Erie.Known for its recent growth, the neighborhood faced tough financial times when industries like tire, steel and other manufacturers moved out of the United States and into other countries.
Today, St.Clair-Superior is home to different gear, tire and other types of manufacturing as the area is beginning to recover from its economic downturn at the end of the 20th century.
The neighborhood is now developing a reputation for industrialization and population diversity. St. Clair-Superior is home to industries like PMI, a company that manufactures cables for marine science; All Ohio Threaded Rod, a manufacturer of industrial threaded products, and others.
St. Clair-Superior is also home to Ohio Technical College at 1374 E. 51st St., an 800,000-square-foot campus that houses one of the leading information technology schools in the nation.
St. Clair-Superior has begun its regrowth through projects like Upcycle, an enterprise that repurposes used materials; Hub 55, a new building housing a brewery, café, and market area, and festivals and other events held by different groups in Asia Town.
The population, about 7,200 people according to the most recent records, is 76 percent African-American, 17.7 percent white, 5.6 percent Hispanic, less than 1 percent Asian and 2.7 percent other ethnicities. The St. Clair area has the largest population of Slovenians outside of Slovenia.
By Abby Burton
Hub 55, located at 1361 E. 55th St., is home to Café 55, Goldhorn Brewery and an indoor/outdoor year-round food market. Hub 55, created by VIP Restoration and the St.Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC), is a 42,000-
square-foot facility on East 55th Street at St. Clair Avenue.
Hub 55 began as an effort to put an end to the food drought, or a shortage of fresh foods available in the neighborhood. The increased poverty in Cleveland following the demise of heavy industrialization in the 1970s, topped with the housing market crash in 2008, exacerbated the food drought. No new stores had entered the neighborhood since 2008, and only a Dave’s Market, a chain, which Andrea Bruno, housing manager of SCSDC, identified as moving into food deserts, is on Payne Avenue.
To help remedy this situation, the U.S. Health and Human Services agency provided $800,000 through a Healthy Food Financing grant to assist in combating the fresh food shortage in the area.
SCSDC also received $735,000 from the Kresge Foundation, a private, national foundation that provides grants for arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development, according to its website.
Rick Semersky, owner of Sterle’s Country House, a Slovenian restaurant located on East 55th Street, and the staff of the SCSDC opened Hub 55 as a multi-purpose building to begin bringing food businesses to this area.
Café 55 offers an assortment of coffees and drinks along with fresh, grab-and-go foods, a breakfast menu and a bakery. Also available is a “make your own lunch bowl” menu with gluten-free and vegan options.
Included in Hub 55, the Goldhorn Brewery will be able to brew more than 1,500 barrels of beer a year and will have 12 different beers on tap at one time. As the first microbrewery in the area, Goldhorn has limited production and only serves its product locally. It offers no table service, but will be more casual, with food orders being placed at the bar and picked up at a pickup window. Small plates designed around healthy choices and sharing, rather than traditional bar food, will be offered at this establishment.
The brewery, expected to open in June 2016, will have eight beers brewed and on tap by that time. These beers include a pilsner, Hefeweizen, pale ale, IPA bock and a Belgian style.
The indoor/outdoor market functions six days a week year-round, and includes fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, breads and other commodities to provide variety in the food offerings available nearby.
By Abby Burton
Asia Town extends from East 18th Street to East 40th Street and from St. Clair Avenue to Perkins Avenue. In this area, 39 percent of the population identifies as Asian, which makes Cleveland’s Asia Town the largest concentration of Asian Americans in the state of Ohio.
The majority of these residents are Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese, according to the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC). Unlike many parts of the city, the housing market crash did not affect Asia Town because most residents had purchased their homes outright when then immigrated to Cleveland.
Asia Town has grown exponentially during the past 10 years. It has three strictly Asian grocery stores and about 20 Asian-owned businesses in the St. Clair-Superior area.
Some of these businesses are restaurants like Li Wah, a Chinese restaurant; Wonton Gourmet, a Hong Kong-style barbeque restaurant; Korean House; Superior Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant; and Map of Thailand. Other Asian businesses include KOKO Bakery, which serves all natural, no trans-fat, no preservatives baked goods, and the Asia Teahouse and Food House, which sells Asian teas and other goods not sold at traditional U.S. grocery stores.
Night Market Cleveland, a monthly summer event taking place in Asia Town at East 21st Street and Rockwell Avenue, finds its roots in an Asian tradition called ghost markets.
Ghost markets occurred when groups of artists, entertainers and restaurant owners would come together and set up a market when the sun went down and be gone the next day when the sun came up, Andrea Bruno, housing manager of the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, explains. The SCSDC and Campus District Inc. co-sponsor Night Market Cleveland.
The first Night Market took place in June 2015 and attracted about 10,000 people. During Night Market, about 100 vendors come together to sell things like purses, candles and soaps.
Performers from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s music and performance group also participate in the Night Market. This entertainment can include jazz bands, opera singers, instrument players and even orchestras that typically play at the museum. Local bands will also play music for the crowd.
Performers for Night Markets are being identified for this summer. About 100 vendors participate in each Night Market, but the vendors may not be the same for all of the dates. This year, plans include Night Markets in June, July, August and September, all of which will occur on the last Friday of the month, beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 11 p.m.
“The Night Market was so popular, we had to add more,” Bruno explains. “This summer there will be at least four different Night Market events.”
Asia Town is also celebrating the Year of the Monkey, according to the traditional Chinese zodiac calendar. To identify with this cultural tradition, the SCSDC has asked local artists to create fiberglass monkey sculptures to display in front of local businesses during summer 2016. In fall 2016, the SCSDC will auction these sculptures, and artists will begin their creations for next year’s calendar.
By Abby Burton
Upcycling is a well-known craft activity taking place in the St. Clair-Superior area. Upcycling is taking old materials that would usually be thrown into the trash and making them into something new and handy. The St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC) introduced upcycling as a way to make household items without spending a lot of
money, a bonus for residents who live in the high poverty area.
The SCSDC opened an Upcyle shop at 6419 St. Clair Ave. that sells different items such as fabrics, wood, papers and buttons that can be used to upcycle. The location also has a crafting area in the center of the store that groups of people can use for crafting parties.
“We have seen upcycling really take off in this area,” says Andrea Bruno, housing manager of the SCSDC. “People have begun making things for their yards and homes out of things they find in the trash, and I think that’s pretty cool.”
The community is full of historical architecture, according to Bruno, and the staff wanted to bring the people together to make the best of what they have.
The SCSDC is also making the most of the green space where houses have been torn down by bringing in sheep and llamas to occupy the empty spaces and keep the ever-growing grass under control. No exact count is available on the number of animals in the neighborhood because the handlers move them around to different areas, but according to SCSDC staff, the animals attract some residents to come out and see the positives of their community.
“We use them as a way to ‘mow’ the grass in vacant areas so it looks kept up with and nice,” Bruno explains. “The community members seem to enjoy just watching them, and some even come with food and feed them.”