For years, the Glenville neighborhood, just steps from the cultural attractions of University Circle, struggled with a reputation of being poor, rundown and just plain desolate.
When the Famicos Foundation
took over as community development corporation for the neighborhood in January 2014, the organization set out to do what it does best: “Create an engaged, vibrant, diverse, healthy neighborhood; where residents decide to stay, invest, and help shape a neighborhood of choice.”
In leading Glenville’s revitalization, Famicos developed a My Glenville Master Plan
in March 2015 to improve housing, spur economic development and create a place that engages its residents.
“We want a neighborhood we can call home,” explains Famicos executive director John Anoliefo. “There’s a perception [about Glenville] we want to debunk. The ultimate goal is the transformation of Glenville into a mixed income neighborhood of choice in Northeast Ohio.”
To begin implementing the master plan, Famicos is having a two-part fundraiser this Thursday, Oct. 27 at MOCA
, 11400 Euclid Ave.
From 4 to 7 p.m. Famicos officials and neighborhood representatives will present “Growing Glenville
” to go over plan implementation, hand out awards and encourage residents to get involved in the revitalization plan.
“We want as many people as possible to get our message,” says Anoliefo, “and the massage is: We need you - all hands on deck. When great people work together, great things happen.”
Then, from 7 to 11 p.m. Famicos will host the Solid Gold 70s Soul Ball
with DJ Knyce and a live band. “People will have fun,” Anoliefo says, adding that he hopes for a full house.
One of the main objectives of the Growing Glenville initiative is to get additional feedback from residents on what they want to see happen in the neighborhood. Anoliefo says they have spent the past year soliciting input from residents about what the neighborhood needs.
He concedes that while the neighborhood has gone through its hardships, it continues to be a stalwart home of lifelong residents. “Like most urban areas in the city, particularly in the Rust Belt, it needs a renaissance,” Anoliefo says. “But it’s still well-regarded. We have to retain the people who have weathered the storm,”
Anoliefo says the housing stock – many homes are boarded up, abandoned, or in disrepair – needs to be improved, but nonetheless includes classic architecture. “They are beautiful homes,” he says. “We still need to attract people who can take care of them because they are beautiful, but a bit large. The housing stock is second to none.”
Anoliefo also says they need to attract a good mix of people and this fundraiser is intended to do exactly that. “Solid Gold is kind of an intergenerational event that brings everyone together,” he explains. “We’ll have young professionals, long-time residents and first time residents. They can learn about Glenville, its assets and all Glenville has to offer.”
The event will also be an opportunity for Famicos staff to introduce themselves, the organization, and the master plan to the residents, Anoliefo says. “We need the people we are serving to tell us what they want,” he adds.
Famicos has already orchestrated some neighborhood activities to bring residents together. This past summer monthly Gather in Glenville
block parties along E. 105th
Street between Superior and Ashbury Avenues on Sunday afternoons offered food, music and a chance for residents to get to know one another.
“It’s a neighborhood of friendly people, a neighborhood where everyone’s welcome,” says Anoliefo. “There was a time when neighbors knew their neighbors, and this brings old and young together. People are beginning to talk to one another.”
The organization also began offering free legal services for those who need advice, as well as the summertime Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market
. Another program targets neighborhood youth -- paying better than minimum wage for mowing lawns.
Growing Glenville and the Solid Gold 70s Soul Ball will have heavy appetizers and drinks, as well as a 50-50 raffle and a silent auction. Tickets
are $150 for both events; $75 for young professionals; or $25 for just the Solid Gold Soul Ball. All proceeds will go toward implementation of the Glenville Master Plan.