City Stories

Down Tha Way: Inside Cleveland Housing Projects

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Cleveland Projects:

Short Story of Cleveland Down The Way

Ranging from Cedar and 30th, in the neighborhood officially known as Central, home to the majority of the Cleveland projects, to 105th in the Fairfax neighborhood, which is centered around Cedar and Quincy streets, are the main areas within the Cleveland Down The Way community.

In probably, Ohio’s most active community, meaning much street and illicit activity occurs within the boundaries of the neighborhood, has been beefs and neighborhood wars that date back decades as a community filled with public housing projects has become the heart of the streets of Cleveland.

With neighborhoods like the Cedar Estates (known strictly as 30th or Dirty 30), Unwin, Cedar and 33rd, Longwood (rebuilt into the Arbor Pointe complex, but still referred as Longwood), Case Court and the CPG/Compound of the large Outhwaite housing project, as well the former high rise of King Kennedy and Bundy Drive’s Delaney Village, there should be no surprise of the amount of activity within the area.

From Longwood against Case Court to further into the Fairfax neighborhood with Cedar against Quincy, all conflicts have created such a reputation within the neighborhoods.  As former gangs of the King Kennedy Outlaws and the Brick City Outlaws faded away, the new generation have become truly neighborhood based with a proud stance for the community, which often leads to conflicts with groups who reside on the other side of the street.

cleveland down the way cleveland projects

The Case Court section of the Outhwaite housing project.  One of the first Cleveland projects as over the years became one of the most reputable with two separate sections, the Case Court and the Compound.

Across 40th Street from Outhwaite’s Case Court is the newly rebuilt Longwood housing complex, in which is officially known as Arbor Pointe.  Longwood has often been a rival of a few complexes of the Cleveland Down The Way neighborhood.  Built in the 1950s, as part of urban renewal, the reputation of the Longwood complex has lasted for decades, even after the city rebuilt the complex.

cleveland projects

Once known as Dirty 30, the Cedar Estates is one of the last original Cleveland projects centered around 30th and Cedar.  It should be noted that section between Central Avenue and Community College Drive, which was an addition to the original Cedar Estates being built decades after, has been gentrified into a new mixed income complex.

cleveland down the way

Cedar Avenue, along with Quincy Avenue expanding from 71st to 105th, has changed dramatically.  With Fairfax’s close location to one of the country’s largest hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic, the expansion of the hospital has wiped out homes and businesses along Cedar Avenue and 105th Street.

Originally, the Central neighborhood was home to various European immigrants that resided around the major corridors in the area, whether 30th, Woodland, or later 55th.  The community would later transform into a predominantly African American neighborhood, starting around the 1940s as the former immigrants and descendants of a variety of European groups fled the area for other East Side communities, ones that were closer to the suburbs, or within the actual suburbs of Cleveland.

The neighborhood of Central would later become solely a community of public housing projects, as the majority of Cleveland public housing complexes are located in the Central, or Down the Way, neighborhood.

Beginning in the 1930s, the city created the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority which would later build its first public housing complexes, the Outhwaite Homes and Cedar Estates in the Central neighborhood, as well Lakeview Terrace on the West Side around W. 25th and Detroit.

Following Outhwaite and the Cedar Estates, the Central neighborhood, or Down The Way, became home to the Longwood, Friendly Inn (Unwin), King Kennedy, and later Delaney Village housing complexes, which made it the most populated area in the city of Cleveland.

Fairfax, which expands from 71st to 105th between Carnegie and Woodland, is an extension to the Central neighborhood as black families have been in the area since the 1940s and 1950s, even became the former home to the late soul singer of Bobby Womack as his family were one of the first to reside in the community, along Quincy Avenue.  

Today, gentrification is slowly creeping into the neighborhoods, especially Fairfax, as Cleveland Clinic’s expansion has removed dozens of homes and businesses and relocated hundreds of people.  In the Central neighborhood, housing projects like Outhwaite and the original section of Cedar Estates are still up, but with the recent rebuild of the housing projects around 30th and Central into the Sankofa Village apartments only time will tell what the future of the Down The Way community will be.




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*Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.