WELCOME TO TREMONT
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Cleveland State University partnered on a project to prepare neighborhood themed articles. This work was performed by CSU journalism students to complement 2016 Host Committee efforts to provide content and background information to visiting media for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Editorial review was provided by CSU faculty and Neighborhood Progress staff. For more information, please contact Jeff Kipp, Director of Neighborhood Marketing for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
By Carissa Woytach
Formerly belonging to several other cities, including City of Ohio (the original Ohio City) and Brooklyn Township before Cleveland annexed it 1867, Tremont is approximately three miles south of the center of Downtown.
The community was called University Heights, named after the short-lived run of Cleveland University located here from 1851 to 1853, before transitioning to Lincoln Heights, named for the two Union Army camps located in the area during the Civil War. Tremont adopted its present name in 1910 after the neighborhood Tremont School.
Through its name changes, Tremont was home to several different groups of immigrants because of its industrial employment opportunities and proximity to Downtown. Its settlement history includes the Irish and Germans in the 1860s, Polish in the 1890s, Greeks and Syrians in the 1900s, Ukrainians in the 1950s, and Puerto Ricans in the 1960s.
Home to more churches than any other neighborhood in the city, Tremont has approximately 20 different places of worship from various ethnic backgrounds across its 185 acres. Immigrants who lived in the city, especially those from Eastern Europe, built several historic churches from multiple denominations including Greek, Russian and Roman Orthodox, Zionist and Lutheran.
The 70s and 80s brought an economic decline and subsequent rush of artists into the area because of its ethnic diversity, historical buildings and cheap housing. Tremont West Development Corporation, created in 1979, established itself to revitalize the city, rehabilitate housing and grow the community’s economic worth and wealth.
Starting in the 1990s, the area’s popularity grew again as it transitioned into an arts district and dining destination. It is now home to an array of locally owned restaurants, stores and gallery spaces.
To showcase its residents’ art, Walkabout Tremont — formerly the monthly ArtWalk, which ran from 1993 to 2015 — invites local businesses to act as impromptu gallery spaces, adorning their walls with works from painting to screen printing.
Tremont prides itself on being an accessible and bike-friendly destination, with dedicated bike lanes on many of its major streets, including West 14th Street and Willey Avenue.
It also thrives on providing its residents with affordable and easily accessible arts programming, including several festivals and markets held throughout the year. The summer is Tremont West’s busiest season, as it hosts Arts in August, Taste of Tremont, the annual Arts and Cultural Festival, a Greek Festival and a Polish Festival every year, as well as a weekly farmer’s market held in centrally located Lincoln Park, April 19 to Oct. 5.
By Carissa Woytach and Chris Murphy
Duck Island, a section of greater Tremont, is an up and coming neighborhood in the area. Tucked under the Carnegie Bridge between Tremont and Ohio City, this less-than-a mile-long neighborhood combines rich history with ultra-modern housing
and business developments.
Earning its name during Prohibition as an area where bootleggers would “duck” the police, the little-known sector is again gaining popularity — this time because of its focus on small business and eco-friendly housing.
The Duck Island Development Collaborative (DIDC), a private sector organization, leads the effort to enhance Duck Island for residents and future residents. Billing the location as “a traditional neighborhood that is perfectly situated for mixed-use, transit-orientated living,” DIDC hopes to create a walkable, bike-able area that will entice millennial buyers into this quickly growing housing market.
This is not the first time that development corporations have tried to entice buyers into the area. An effort in the 1990s, as greater Tremont began to grow, fell flat because Duck Island residents opposed anything resembling gentrification. The DIDC has worked to build strong bridges with current residents, partnering with the Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative in its planning.
Tremont West Development Corporation, Tremont’s resident CDC, founded in 1979, worked with business owners and residents in a three-day workshop to discuss the needs and existing problems within the community in 2013.
Residents voiced problems with neglected landscapes, vacant buildings and substandard housing, according a report by the Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.
To remedy some of these concerns, development plans include modern-style Town Homes on West 19th Street and Mercury Town Homes on West 17th Street — the renderings for which resemble an upscale take on the row houses seen in older parts of the city.
Matt Berges, owner of Berges Home Performance LLC, is a partner for the undertaking and has around 60 projects lined up across the neighborhood, mostly building and renovating single family homes while focusing on making them eco-friendly and self-sufficient.
Of the small businesses budding within the area, Forest City Brewery has reincarnated one of the city’s oldest beer gardens, working to combine Duck Island’s history with its new economic direction.
The original Forest City Brewery, located in Downtown Cleveland during its run from 1839 to 1880, has been reincarnated in a timber frame warehouse built in 1915 on Columbus Road on the west side of the neighborhood.
The new location, which houses a brewpub, beer hall and garden, celebrated its opening in June of 2016. It plans to be open regularly on Fridays, reserving Saturdays for special events.
By Carissa Woytach
Renovating a once-abandoned factory into apartments, dining and an athletic association, the Fairmont Creamery has
become a hub of activity in Tremont’s lesser-used western corner.
Historically, the original Fairmont Creamery opened in 1930 as part of the larger Fairmont Creamery Company out of Fairmont, Neb. Designed to accommodate large scale manufacturing and railcar delivery and export, the factory employed Tremont and Ohio City residents into the early 1980s. After the Fairmont Foods company sold, the building remained vacant for approximately 30 years, until a group of recent graduates from Oberlin College bought it and began renovations.
Ben Ezinga, Josh Rosen and Naomi Sabe founded the Sustainable Community Associates — the company that renovated Fairmont Creamery — and, after taking advantage of several state and federal tax credits and a loan from Goldman Sachs, completed the commercial/residential complex in 2015. Fairmont Creamery met eco-friendly standards and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The building opened at full occupancy in 2015. Of its 30 apartments, six are set aside for low-income families who make less than $35,000 a year. Besides its convenient location, within walking distance to the heart of Tremont and Ohio City, it also boasts underground parking, ample gardening space for residents and a roof deck with a view of the close-by central downtown skyline.
In addition to being home to these new Tremont residents, the Creamery also houses several storefronts and the Tremont Athletic Club (TAC). Stores and offices include Pandora Media; TWIST Creative, a design firm and advertising agency; Good to Go Café; Kelly Buck, an environmentally-conscious engineering and consulting firm; and Authentic Films, which produces videos, commercials and feature-length films.
The Tremont Athletic Club (TAC) is the only full-service fitness facility on the city’s near west side. Taking up two floors of the Creamery, the gym offers group classes, cardio and strength equipment, personal trainers and yoga classes. Many of the special events and classes that TAC offers are open to members and nonmembers alike.
Last October, Sustainable Community Associates took on another large-scale renovation project, purchasing the Ohio Awning building at the corner of Scranton and Auburn roads. Plans are to turn the newly named “Wagner” building into 55 apartments with commercial space in the basement. Sustainable Community Associates has also talked of building approximately a dozen townhouses on Auburn Road, east of Scranton.
All about the Arts
By Chris Murphy
Tremont will host a month-long series of free music, dance and theater performances this August featuring talent from both inside and outside the city.
Tremont’s annual Arts in August event, set in Lincoln Park, celebrates its 13th year by hosting a series of different
professional performances every weekend in the month of August.
“It’s an event that people have come to expect every single year,” says former Cleveland City Council Member Joe Cimperman. “It welcomes people from all backgrounds, ages, incomes and world views.”
Every event is completely free and open to the public.
The celebration begins the first Friday of August with a performance from Cleveland Public Theater’s Student Theater Enrichment Program (STEP).
STEP is an arts-based training program for teens from low-income families to write and put on their own plays all across the Cleveland area.
“I love seeing these young people perform,” says Michelle Davis, assistant director of Tremont West Development Corporation (CDC). “They’re so strong and passionate when they get on stage. It’s quite the show.”
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra will perform in partnership with Arts Renaissance Tremont (ART), a non-profit dedicated to providing world-class classical music for free to the community.
Arts in August will also present performances by the Inlet Dance Theater, Verb Ballet, Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and Cleveland Opera Theater.
“I think it’s a magical time in Tremont,” Davis notes. “People come, relax and enjoy the arts for the evening.”
Arts in August begins the first Friday in August and has performances every weekend throughout the month in Lincoln Park, West 14th Street and Starkweather Avenue.
A full list of performances and additional information is on the Tremont West Development Corporation website at www.tremontwest.org.
Arts in August is only one of Tremont’s diverse celebrations of art and culture throughout the year.
Just one month after Arts in August, Tremont will present the Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival, which highlights local artists’ work through a juried contest.
The festival also uses Lincoln Park to allow people the opportunity to sell jewelry, sculptures, photographs and any other artwork they have made, to the community.