Volume 5 - Issue 3 - Fall 2013

If Ohio City is an artisan neighborhood, then Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty of the Glass Bubble Project are its original artisans.

Established in 1998, the Glass Bubble Project pre-dates most of trendy bars and restaurants that have become the lifeblood of the West 25th nightlife corridor. Built around 1920, the building formerly housed Diamond Welding, and later became a band practice space. It wasn’t a particularly welcoming location, which was just fine for a couple of artists looking to set up shop. “When we got here,” said Chris, “the place was full of old tires.”

The entrepreneurs behind Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt, who opened their first location in the old Grog Shop on Coventry Road less than a year ago, will open their second location in Ohio City this fall.

Adrian and Cosmin Bota, Romanian-born brothers who grew up in Parma, both worked at the West Side Market as teenagers. They intend to source as many ingredients as possible from the market and other local vendors.

The Ohio City location is a slender, 1,100-square-foot storefront that’s sandwiched between Crop and Bonbon Cafe in the 2500 block of Lorain Avenue. Adrian Bota says the location, which will offer the same organic, self-serve frozen yogurt that’s available in the Coventry store, is perfect for the urban-oriented company.

When deciding what to do with property on its campus no longer needed for growth, Providence House CEO and President, Natalie Leek-Nelson, said the organization looked for a solution that would create an “empowered zone for kids that will be respectful to our children and the surrounding residents.”

The answer came in a unique partnership with St. Ignatius that allowed the two organizations to create a campus oriented towards kids’ well-being in Ohio City.

Tim Del Papa recently rennovated a historic home on West 26th Street. The following is a history of the building that shines light on family life in Ohio City  over 100 years ago.

Technically, it was a subdivision. Not the cul-de-sac, winding streets of the 21st  century, but land allotted for sale by former Ohio City Mayors Josiah Barber and Richard Lord. I bought the North half of the West half of Lot 95 in Barber and Lord’s subdivision. Funny, how the “legalese” of 1855 and 2013 are the same!

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s successful Ohio City Stages program, which debuted this summer with a series of free outdoor concerts at the Transformer Station at West 29th and Church, continues this fall with a new series of performances. 

“The Transformer Station will be a space for adventurous music as much as adventurous visual art,” says Tom Welsh, Associate Director of Music Programming at CMA. “This is the museum’s great strength and role to play – this is something different, I think, a pretty terrific series of first-class international artists.”

The concerts, which will be held inside the Transformer Station, are intimate, mostly solo performances with limited seating. They are intended to showcase artists that typically do not appear in Cleveland, especially ones whose work is not easily categorized. Tickets cost $20 ($18 for members) and concerts begin at 7:30 pm.

“If you build it, they will come.” That’s true of baseball but certainly true if the building involves LEGO, that is. This fall, the Near West Recreation League expands from athletics into Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL).  David Hovis, an Ohio City resident, father, & materials engineer (and my husband), is overseeing the program in addition to coaching. Spurred by his sons’ love of all things LEGO and his own passion for STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) activities, starting a Junior FLL seemed only natural. The initial response has been strong, with four teams of six children each. 

Ohio City's past is a vibrant quilt of history and quirk. After all, this is a place where a long-shuttered bank reemerged as the most elegant dining room in town, where a dismal array of dark storefronts now sells everything from cigars to popcorn and where the city's only modern hostel occupies a century building that was once home to the Victor Tea Company.

What might the year 2020 look like in this rapidly evolving neighborhood?

To answer that question, Ohio City Argus sat down with Ward 3 Councilperson Joe Cimperman, on whom the local history is not lost. The ongoing status of the neighborhood also looms large for this Clevelander who resides with his family on West 45th Street. His vision of the area follows an arc that doesn't simply amble down the frenetic entertainment district surrounding West 25th Street, but instead focuses on Ohio City's long standing tradition of caring for its people.

Joy Harlor opened the first all-local, year-round produce stand at the West Side Market in July to provide an alternative to arcade vendors who sell mostly non-local produce.

“We started tossing the idea around because it’s so frustrating to go to the market and have the repetitious experience of every [produce] stand being like the last one,” says Harlor, who also owns Le Petit Triangle at the corner of Fulton and Bridge Avenue. “Yeah, you can go there and get cheap produce – but it’s basically grocery store produce with the exception of The Basketeria and a few other local stands.”

Harlor, who sources many of the ingredients used in her restaurant from local farmers, took an entrepreneurial leap and implemented an idea that’s been discussed for years.

“There’s an abundance of local food sources and farmers markets, but we thought it would be great to have local produce at the market, which is a big deal in Cleveland.”

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