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Street Level

New book tells Cleveland's story, one resident at a time


Cleveland's gleaming development projects garner enough ink to fill one of the new condos going up downtown. However, it's the people living in the neighborhoods surrounding these headline-grabbing ventures who are the subject of a new book released by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
 
This is Where I Live: Cleveland People and Their Neighborhoods delivers what the title promises, showcasing 30 Cleveland communities and their residents. Written by local author Justin Glanville and former Cleveland planning director Bob Brown, the book provides a coffee table-friendly smattering of short stories, articles and interviews promoting city living.
 
Jeff Kipp, director of neighborhood marketing at the community development funding intermediary, says This is Where I Live's magnified focus on people makes it unique among the array of photo essays and books about Cleveland.
 
"As Neighborhood Progress has evolved, we've stayed engaged with residents thriving in our urban neighborhoods," says Kipp. "The book was written to honor those stories. This is not about tourism or the high-profile attractions Cleveland is known for."
 
With the organization setting the agenda for area revitalization, exposing the quality of life in Cleveland's neighborhoods can change outside perceptions of the city, Kipp says. Instead of interviewing local celebrities, author Glanville sat down with people like Judith Tecillo, whose Caribe Bake Shop serves up Cuban sandwiches to hungry patrons in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood.
 
"Stories are coming from the mouths of Cleveland residents and celebrating the people who call the city home," says Kipp. "The book shows the opportunities and challenges that mirror what we find when talking about Cleveland's neighborhoods in general."
 
The 127-page volume also feeds into the organizational mission of uplifting a population alongside the community. Ideally, promoting Cleveland's livability will draw dollars and eventually new inhabitants into underappreciated areas that deserve a boost.
 
"We want everyone on a level playing field without judgments of race or economics," Kipp says. "It's about making stronger neighborhoods where every resident has an opportunity to thrive."
 
This is Where I Live is available for sale through Neighborhood Progress’s LiveCLEVELAND! website as well as Mac's Backs, Appletree Books, Loganberry Books and Fireside Book Shop. Retail price is $24.95.

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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