President Obama pays a visit to the West Side Market.

News Archive

Quietly tucked away in the northeast corner of our neighborhood sits one of the most storied churches in all of Ohio. St. John’s, built in 1836, is the oldest church in Cuyahoga County, and one of the oldest in the state. For the past 177 years, St. John’s has been a spiritual home to mayors, senators, ambassadors, and captains of industry – but its real significance is for serving as a home to those without power, prestige, or prominence. St. John’s – through its abolitionist parishioners and the citizens of Ohio City – became known as Station Hope, a temporary refuge for those seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. Yet, this national landmark has sat empty for too long.

Ohio City will once again be transformed on Wednesday nights this July as the Cleveland Museum of Art launches a free summer arts series. CMA Ohio City Stages, presented by Charter One, will bring acclaimed global music artists to a stage on the blocks surrounding The Transformer Station.

In addition to the diverse, award-winning musicians, films by contemporary artists will be shown on the Transformer Station lawn at West 29th and Church. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the event.

CMA Ohio City Stages has been spearheaded by Bellwether, a project of CMA’s Contemporary Arts Society.

The Brews + Prose reading series at Market Garden Brewery on West 25th Street ain’t exactly your typical author reading. While most readings take place in quiet libraries or bookstore basements, this one is held in Ohio City’s hottest new bar, bringing together great literature and craft beer.

“There’s a gap between the hushed, almost church-like readings of universities and libraries and the places you can enjoy yourself and have a glass of beer,” says Dave Lucas, a poet and Lyndhurst resident who spearheaded the event with Market Garden Brewery to celebrate talented Cleveland authors.

“We want to remind people that literature is fun,” he adds. “Readings shouldn’t be the broccoli of literary life, yet you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality.”

Wine connoisseur? Perhaps. Lover of Ohio City? Absolutely.

Joy Valentine has managed the well-established Market Avenue Wine Bar for over 15 years. “Since August 1st, 1995,” she recollects.

Like so many local business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs, Joy is also an Ohio City resident of 14 years.

Originally from Fairview Park, she attended Laurel School growing up. After deciding that her Jewelry and Metal Design major at Kent State University was going to be more of a hobby, rather than a career, Joy switched directions and focused on bartending school instead.

Before finding her calling in the wine industry, she impressively held eleven different jobs at once, which included delivering newspapers, venturing into the catering business, painting and working at Blossom Music Center.

Joy knew nothing about wine before starting her management position at Market Avenue Wine Bar; everything she knows, she has learned on the fly.

If you find 28 year old manager and bartender Michael Smith behind the bar when you’re at Momocho you’re in luck. You don’t have to talk to him long to realize that not only is he friendly and welcoming, but he is also quite the character. A West Side native, he grew up and went to school in Sheffield Lake, then attended the Cleveland Institute for Medical Massage and has been working at Momocho for four years now.

Whether it was kismet or good luck, he found his current position on a Craigslist listing for a manager. “It was kind of a fluke,” he says, later stat-ing that finding his job at Momocho is one of his best memories in Ohio City. “I was broke and looking for a job and I saw a listing for a bartender and man-ager and I applied.”

Anne Tyler first started working in the service industry when she responded to a post from Momo-cho restaurant on Craigslist looking for a busser. She had recently returned to Cleveland from spending a year abroad in Korea after graduating from Ohio University. Anne used her English degree to teach English as a second language there, then spent sev-eral months traveling before returning home. After coming home without any money, she took the job at Momocho as a busser and worked her way up to being a server and bartender. A native of Lakewood, she soon became interested in living in Ohio City. For the past two years, she has been a local resident.

Have you worked at SOHO since they first opened?

SOHO opened on November 17th, just over a year ago, and I came a few weeks later. I still work at Momocho a couple of nights a week as a hostess.

How did you find out about the job at SOHO?

The West Side Market kicked off a weekend-long celebration of its Centennial birthday on Friday,
November 2nd.

That afternoon, a group of third and fourth graders from Urban Community School gathered on the balcony to lead the crowd in a chorus of “Happy Birthday.” Then they helped to blow out the candles on a cake decorated by Market vendor Cake Royale with a historic postcard of the West Side Market.

As cheers of celebration went up from the crowd, people lined up to get a piece of cake donated by
Grandma Frieda’s and Reinecher’s Bakery.

On Saturday, November 3rd, the Market closed early to get ready for the Centennial Gala. Fifteen local and national chefs and nearly 1,000 guests helped to raise $175,000 for the West Side Market Capital Fund.

High priority improvements will be targeted for the first phase of the capital campaign in 2013, including upgrading the public restrooms and repairing the coolers.

Joel and Molly Wimbiscus bought their Vic-torian home on Clinton Avenue in 2006 because they loved the old pine floors and views of Lake Erie. Yet they soon found out that the cold winds whipping off of the lake in December made the entire house whistle like a tea kettle.

“It was horrific,” says Joel Wimbiscus, who works as a Project Manager for LAND Studio. “We could have the furnace at 68 and it would be 58 in our bedroom. There was nothing between the plaster and the outside walls. We had a back room on the first floor, but we couldn’t use it four to five months out of the year.”

It’s hard not to notice the attractive bike racks that have been popping
up around Ohio City lately. Much more than simply utilitarian places to hitch your ride, these racks are at once urban sculptures and retail signage for local businesses. They were designed by Rust Belt Welding, two Cleveland entrepreneurs who are making a living doing what they love.

“We wanted to do creative, bicycle-related projects, and we knew there was a need for more bike racks because we’d ride around town and say, ‘I wish there was one here,’” says Grant Smrekar, who created Rust Belt Welding with his friend Lou Erste four years ago in order to build bike frames, something that remains the core of their business. “We wanted there to be an artistic quality to these projects, and for the bike racks to represent the place they’re at.”

As a member of the Ohio City Neighborhood, the Saint Ignatius High School community is committed to one simple and positive action: building relationships. By getting to know the neighborhood residents, Saint Ignatius students’ life experiences are enriched through meeting people from many different backgrounds. One service initiative in particular that helps create such relationships is the Saint Bernard Movers. One of more than 20 initiatives of the Christian Action Team (CAT), Saint Bernard Movers assist neighbors, friends of the Labre Ministry to the Homeless in transition, and others identified through partnership agencies by coordinating pick ups and drop offs of donated furniture and other items.