What’s Lakewood Becoming? Crocker Park?

We need to do a better job of preserving our city's history.

Seriously? WTF.

I don’t like this strip mall appeal on Detroit Avenue.

Drug Mart. McDonald’s. Quaker Steak. Five Guys. CVS Pharmacy (it may be an act of terrorism to tear down a church).


There are so many buildings in Lakewood that have apartments above and retail below. Why can’t we embrace and encourage that?

I love Lakewood’s old architecture. It’s beautiful. I love our parks. I love our history.

I am not a big fan of new things. Lakewood is cool. Detroit Avenue has a cool feel.

Crocker Park is a fake community, based solely on spending money. In some way, Crocker Park wants to be us. And, we want to be like them?

It doesn’t make sense. 

I feel like this area is becoming gentrified. And I am not down with it. It’s like Rocky River, moving east.

It’s not a good idea.

What would happen if the Victorian homes in San Francisco were torn down and replaced by Five Guys and the like? 

Bad idea, right?

We need to leave something a little bit better for the next generation — something that shows what was here before us.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Colin McEwen June 27, 2012 at 07:07 PM
You know, someone asked me if the photo was meant to be a knock on LakewoodAlive. The answer: Absolutely not. It was also not my intention to tie in the work of Downtown Lakewood with the content of this blog. I'd also like to add that this is a blog post. Anyone can contribute to Lakewood Patch. Everyone's encouraged to share their opinions.
Peter Grossetti June 27, 2012 at 07:28 PM
From Mr. Brownstone: "The author needs to spend some time as an actual homeowner who pays property taxes and has a vested interest in the school system before whining about what businesses are planting roots in Lakewood." From Mr. Hammersmith: "Renters don't Directly pay property taxes. Therefore they should'nt complain when a tax-paying business wants to operate in their city." IMO ... that sounds like someone is questioning a renters worth! I hear this: "unless you are a home/business/property owner, your voice does not matter."
Evan Hammersmith June 27, 2012 at 08:12 PM
@ Peter, you're simply a trouble maker. you invent controversy for entertainment. That's all I figure. Renters are FINE. I depend on 2 of them to live and take care of my rental in Lakewood. Property owners have a bigger vested interest than renters, because we foot the bill. Renters do in part indirectly because rents cover taxes as well. But to extrapolate from my and Jim's comments that renters are worthless is your own dreaming. I swear, you're like the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson of Lakewood Patch.
Peter Grossetti June 27, 2012 at 08:27 PM
All I'm trying to is that a person's "worth" goes way beyond dollars and cents ... which you seem to only focus on ... as in when you say something like: "Property owners have a bigger vested interest than renters, because we foot the bill." ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE (regradless of their station in life"). "renters are worthless" = your words; not mine! I don't see that in any of my posts.
Evan Hammersmith June 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
@Peter. The more i continue this argument the dumber I feel. You have no argument, so you invent one and defend it. I have more intelligent arguments with my 4 year old, so I'll stick with that.
Brandon Scullion June 27, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Great point! Beyond that fact, though Crocker Park has a bit of an elitist feel to me, they have done a super job as "mixed use" development goes, one that could be imitated and should be imitated in other cities. It may not be my cup of tea as a lifestyle but it certainly is for a lot of others and who can disapprove of a Trader Joes. And to the author, Christophe, don't let these responses to your post get you down. What is the point of having an opinion if you can't share it. Also, feel free to respond to your critics.
Brandon Scullion June 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Mcdonalds and CVS are the only two chain stores that I know of which are or will locate the place of a demolished building. Everything else is fitting in to existing structures and making a positive difference. Perhaps this should be for another blog but I think Quaker State has THE WORST wings out there.
Brandon Scullion June 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I wonder if anybody got the point that this person actually loves Lakewood and would prefer it retain as much of it's original charm as possible. All I see are personal attacks against a person who simply wanted to share his thoughts. Even if you disagree, perhaps showing a little more restraint in the future would be a better route to take.
Christin Sorensen June 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Exactly! Madison is often forgotten, but it is really cool here! So many small businesses to check out. This weekend we are having a luau/summer sale with a group of businesses, www.mamalakewood.com for more info.
Colin McEwen June 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Kelly Flamos June 28, 2012 at 06:24 AM
detroit theater - a desirable and VIABLE building torn down a month ago
Kelly Flamos June 28, 2012 at 06:27 AM
is crocker park a city?
Kelly Flamos June 28, 2012 at 06:32 AM
word! Madison Avenue is still intact. Let's support the locally-owned businesses there (plug - mahall's, barrocco, sullivans, annies closet, lakewood hardware, elmwood bakery, future no future, minds eye, zappatellis and so many more!)
ian king June 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Lakewood was and is an interesting inner city suburb. The reality however needs to be confronted and accepted by every citizen in Lakewood. 1. Friends of my rent, but pay Lakewood an income tax on their incomes. So, it doesn't matter if someone is a renter or property owner. If you work, you end up paying some tax to Lakewood. If you work and own property, you just pay more! 2. Lakewood, like all of NE Ohio is experiencing a tax decline due to less residents/less businesses. This is a harsh reality. We all agree it would be great to have more mom and pop shops, but unless the locals support them, they can't survive economically just on uniqueness, beautiful architecture and coolness! 3. There is nothing wrong with big boxes if they contribute back to a community. The citizens of Lakewood need to hold these companies/corporations accountable for charity giving, etc. It really is up to Lakewood to decide how they want to make these chains contribute to our community. If they do, great - support them. If they don't, use sites like this to inform and don't support them! 4. I agree with the comment that Lakewood is very lucky to have any kind of development in this depression with lots of unemployment and foreclosures. 5. Finally, Lakewood cannot support two main avenues of businesses - Madison and Detroit. Serious long term planning needs to start about centralizing our retail districts. Population is declining, and close to 20% of residents are in/near poverty level.
Michael Rice June 28, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Disagree, Lakewood can and has been supporting two main avenues of business for a long time and will continue to do so. We should talk about the eye sore on Hilliard and Madision and why that building isn't being demolished. I heard the Clinic wanted the space, but they had issues with either the landlord or the city. The current building isn't viable or desirable. Lakewood is a unique community and needs tax dollars from ALL businesses to thrive and continue to prosper. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Resident have many options to shop in different neighboring communties so it best the city does what it can to attract these business. While I have always been old fashioned and I am proud Lakewood had very few franchise or big box stores I know that sometimes communties need this revenue to grow. As long as they keep with-in the architecture of the city, I am ok with this happening to some level.
Evan Hammersmith June 28, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Viable as what? a theater? nope. If it was, a cinema group would have purchased and operated it profitably. Viable as a McDonalds? nope. costs too high, or McD's would have renovated and occupied it as such.
ian king June 28, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Brian, I agree with you that big box stores can be ok - on a limited basis in a city the size of Lakewood. So far, city officials have done well with requiring architecture/streetscapes that reflect the image of Lakewood's historical roots and current streetscape. Regarding two main avenues of business, it would be great, but there are not enough residents anymore to support two shopping districts. Both Madison and Detroit have areas full of empty storefronts and run down properties - where businesses used to be. With declining population, how can these large areas of no retail be sustainable? Also, for a lot of residents with no cars, it can take hours to shop on Madison or Detroit when you are at the mercy of RTA. And now, no Route 55 service for Lakewood on the weekend! Check out Richard Florida's THE RISE OF THE CREATIVE CLASS, about the future of cities. Also, It will be difficult but Lakewood could create a great 10 block so area of walkable shopping, outdoor cafes, street plants/flowers, gaslight light poles, etc. Think 10 years from now when gas if over $6.00 - walkability and convenience will key. Lakewood could have a great downtown again, a destination for the region, if it could create a dense retail downtown. The days of too spread out/unwalkable retail blocks, and intermittent retail shops with then blocks of empty storefronts, are just not sustainable for the future of a city that wants to prosper, and not just survive.
ian king June 28, 2012 at 05:15 PM
forgot to add - google DAN BURDEN. he is a nationally recognized expert on making cities more sustainable, liveable and walkable, and evolve into want to live there/want to work there destinations. in his career he has consulted with over 3000 cities to help improve their visual attractiveness with limited economic resources. maybe Lakewood should have him visit! his website is: www.walklive.org and also check out the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute - a recognized leader in helping cities rethink their future from a sustainable/smart growth perspective and strategy.
Evan Hammersmith June 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
as long as Lakewood has cold winters, people will be driving.
Theresa Ferline-Carr June 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Brian, I agree that Lakewood has been supporting the two man avenues of business. I do feel that Madison gets the short end of the stick though. I am a small business owner, Tess' Tender Touch Gift Shop on Detroit Avenue. I can speak from experience. I had to move my business from Madison Avenue, where rent was affordable, to Detroit Avenue two years ago. My business grew over 300% with that move. I would love to find a way to drive more people/shoppers to Madison Avenue. That being said, we love being on Detroit, and we are seeing a lot of shoppers from neighboring communities who come to Lakewood for the quaint and unique shops that Lakwood has to offer. As a small business, we reap in the benefits of having large chain stores such as CVS, McDonalds and others to attract people. We could not afford to market ourselves in such a large way and we feel that we benefit from what the large stores have to offer us! I have been a resident of Lakewood for all of my 46 years and love this community. I feel that the large structures that have come in to our city have kept the unique structure at heart and are increasing the beauty of our city!
ian king June 28, 2012 at 08:09 PM
not quite true. if you ride RTA - lines 22, 26, 55 and 78 in particular- , you will find a lot of Lakewood citizens - school kids, teenagers, college students, retirees, elderly - use public transit all winter long. In fact, even though sidewalks are to be clear of snow/ice, a few years ago when we had a lot of winter snow, that became a huge problem for a lot of Lakewood citizens, as a lot of folks did not shovel their sidewalks. i predict that when gas prices become too expensive, many will turn to public transit and shop/live/relocate to cities that have a high walkability and dense retail shopping configurations. right now lakewood is pretty good as a walkable city, but could be a whole lot better. lots of cities have cold winters and encourage other modes of transit besides owning an expensive and polluting car: Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, Denver, Toronto, Columbus even, etc. - it is all about thinking growth/livability of a future Lakewood, and this cities ability to retain and gain back population in creative, smart, and sustainable strategies. If not, I am afraid as an inner ring suburb, the future will bypass Lakewood.
ian king June 28, 2012 at 08:18 PM
also, another option to encourage public transit, would be to provide a transit link to the madison and detroit shopping areas, we should encourage RTA to bring back the shuttle that was available less than 3 years ago and which they cancelled even though it had high ridership. or we could encourage Lakewood itself to provide an inner-city loop shuttle bus that would run from 8am to 8pm - on madison and detroit avenues - and call it the LAKEWOOD LOOP. again, thinking out of the box, with good advertising/PR, will only enhance Lakewood.
Evan Hammersmith June 28, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Ian, your visions of Lakewood are nice, and I wont be too critical. To me, the convenience of public transportation isnt what will make Lakewood an attractive city. For lakewood to be a destination city (beyond what it is now), there has to be long corridors of detroit or Madison where there are storefronts with stuff most ppl are interested in. Crocker is popular because if you want to shop for clothes, you have 18 stores to check out within a "city block" kind of distance. Lakewood has lots of unique shops and great restaurants peppered around the city, but I challenge you to tell me a 2 or 3 block stretch of stores that any one demographic of people want to check out in an afternoon. For the most part, they're far enough apart, that you need to drive or take a bus. Most people wont walk 6 blocks to go to a store. then walk another 4 blocks to get to a second store. I have no solution to this problem. What the city is doing is attracting new businesses, and as Lakewood becomes a destination place to eat, there should be places to shop. I'm not pessimistic about the future passing us by. Every inner ring suburb is developed out. Nobody has the space to rebuild an ideal layout with the exact right mix of retail. Lakewood is on the right track.
Brandon Scullion June 28, 2012 at 08:53 PM
My initial thought with regard to this comment is, do Crocker Park or Legacy Village shut down just because of a cold winter? No. They were designed to be dense communities that are walkable. Yes they may be more walkable than Lakewood is but that does not mean we are not a walkable community. It also doesn't speak to the fact that depending on where you live in Lakewood, you can absolutely be entirely self sufficient with just your two legs.
Steve June 28, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Back when I was a young pup, we had no problem going from Lincoln and Madison to all parts of Lakewood, both on foot and via bikes. We were a one car family and dad took it to work, 9:00am to 6:00pm. so if we needed to get someware, we had to improvise, which we always did. I see neighbors now driving their cars 1 block to get a loaf of bread. What does that tell me? In Canada, we had no problem walking 2-3 miles. We should not cater to those that choose to drive, but cater to those who have a healthier life style. Less polution too...
Steve June 28, 2012 at 09:24 PM
@Evan, And the horrors of winter. I have survived 60+ of them and I am still around. And I see you are too. I do have the option of moving to warmer climates, but I love all the change of seasons here.
Evan Hammersmith June 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM
with the exception of the rapid that I take to the airport on occasion, I hate public transportation. I find no advantage to taking a bus and spending 3x longer to get from A to B. Keeping my schedule is worth more than the extra 75 cents to drive my car. I'd much rather walk. That being said, on grocery day, I can't walk to 3 grocery stores. I need to DRIVE.
Brandon Scullion June 29, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Brandon Scullion June 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM
And if that is not viewable: "Urban living gains popularity, data show" "Younger people are increasingly shunning the suburbs in favor of urban living, according to some development experts. U.S. census data released yesterday show that population growth in Columbus now is keeping pace with growth in the suburbs. The population estimate for Columbus was 780,288 for 2011, a 1.1 percent increase from the previous year. Growth in most suburbs hovered around 1 percent as well. Large cities across the United States are seeing similar trends. Census data indicate that, in general, cities last year grew faster than suburbs, reflecting an urban renaissance accelerated by the Great Recession. That reverses a trend that goes back to the 1920s, when the automobile helped workers and their families move to newly created suburbs."
M-F Schreiber June 29, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Grace Apartments purchased by Discount Drug Mart soon to be razed to make way for parking spaces for DDM's proposed 24,790 sq ft facility. Tenants evicted. Buidling definitely not crumbling.


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