CDC powerhouse: Detroit Shoreway and Cudell CDCs merge, focus on housing, development, fun

For several years, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) and Cudell Improvement, Inc. have worked together to promote the area, support resident projects, organize fun community events, and ensure quality affordable housing.

But as of July 1 there's a new Community Development Corporation (CDC) that brings the two groups together. Members of both groups voted to change their combined name to Northwest Neighborhoods CDC, with 91% of votes in favor of the merger.

Northwest Neighborhoods staff and community members at Ninja City in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood"Northwest Neighborhoods provides comprehensive community development services to more than 27,000 residents in its service area, which covers, the Detroit Shoreway, Cudell, and Edgewater neighborhoods and  is bounded by Lake Erie to the north, West 45th Street to the east, Interstate 90 to the south, and West 117th Street to the west.

The new Northwest Neighborhoods CDC will continue to do what they’ve been doing to improve and beautify the neighborhoods, says  executive director Adam Stalder, but the unified group will have more power to seek out resources and offer more to the neighborhood.

“We’ve merged all the staff and services together, so nothing is really changing,” he says. “For the community, not much changes except the name. We’ve been at this for three years, getting staffing right, providing services to the neighborhood.”

At the same time, Stalder, stresses the neighborhoods’ names will remain prominent. “We’re not going to rebrand anything,” he says. “Cudell, Edgewater, Detroit Shoreway—there’s a lot of pride in these neighborhoods and we’re not renaming them. It’s kind of just a legal thing.”

Stalder does say figuring out funding distribution might be challenging, especially with city funds. At the same time, he says Cudell was a smaller CDC and the merge will give everyone the resources they need.

Cudel Neighborhood“It takes a lot of back-office support to prop up the staff who are out doing work [in the neighborhood], so it just made sense at the time for Cudell to pay DSCDO to handle those services,” he says. “Having a combined staff allows our staff to be more focused on their work.”

For instance, economic development director Jessica Trivisonno will now focus on the entire Northwest Neighborhoods area, instead of just the Detroit Shoreway, as will marketing director Josh Jones Forbes.

In fact, Forbes says the organizations have been sharing staff for a couple of years now. Stalder adds the combined staff will streamline operations toward accomplishing goals for the neighborhood.

“It just allows for specialization, and ultimately everyone benefits from that,” he says. “Part of our three-year discussion has been making sure our core values align and affordability—making sure anyone who wants to live in these neighborhoods can.”

For instance, Forbes adds the staff is already surveying Cudell residents for their ideas about neighborhood pride and identity, to inform the CDC on ideas for future branding and signage projects.

Northwest Neighborhoods CDC’s real estate team, partnering with the Cleveland Public Library Walz branch, is currently moving ahead with its Karam Senior Living development on West 80th Street and Detroit Avenue.Northwest Neighborhoods CDC’s real estate team, partnering with the Cleveland Public Library Walz branch, is currently moving ahead with its Karam Senior Living development on West 80th Street and Detroit Avenue, which is meant to transform that corner into a community hub for those age 55 and older. The building with feature 51 units for households with at least one senior resident making at or below 60% of the Area Median Income. The development will be built on vacant land and also replace a distressed multi-family apartment building that is scheduled for demolition.

Stalder says another development project underway is CHN Housing Partners’ plan to build 60 new single-family houses through Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). He says the plan uses CHN’s Lease Purchase program, which offers a 15-year plan for home ownership.  

“We’re going to see a lot of change in the near future, and we want to make sure affordability is a priority,” Stalder says. “We need to be on top of it and make sure [the neighborhoods] don’t become some sort of gentrified area and no one is displaced in these opportunities.”

Stalder says Knez Homes also has ongoing market-rate housing projects in the neighborhood.

Additionally, Forbes says other development projects include the City of Cleveland's Healthy Homes initiative, with Northwest Neighborhoods CDC  coordinator Kena Chappell connecting residents to home repair resources. The initiative includes an in-house Senior Home Repair Assistance Program, which provides grants of up to $500.

Gordon Square in the Detroit Shoreway NeighborhoodAnd Forbes says they are assisting the Ward 15 Tree Canopy Steering Committee with planning for street tree plantings as part of the city's West 65th Street and Lake Avenue rehabilitation projects, funded by the Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant.

Of course, the Northwest Neighborhoods CDC also is involved in community celebrations and pride events. Tonight, Thursday Aug. 12, the Capitol Theatre will reopen to a sold-out showing of the “Wizard of Oz” before returning to its normal showings tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 13.

The CDC and Recess Creative is organizing about 10 pop-up recess games and COVID-19 vaccination clinics in both the Detroit Shoreway and Cudell neighborhoods. The next event is Saturday, Aug. 21 at Joseph M. Gallagher School, 6601 Franklin Blvd.

Last Sunday, Aug. 8, the organization held its annual Edgewater Sidewalk Fest, and plans are already underway for Wintertide in Gordon Square in December.  

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.