On 31 October by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
Looking through the initial results of our survey, it was interesting—though not so surprising—that Goodyear Heights residents would like to see the kind of amenities that are often found in many lively, active neighborhoods. These include things like grocery stores, coffee shops and cafes, farmer’s markets, and other retail outlets. In short, the comments seemed to indicate that people were looking for places to gather and socialize. That’s typical for a healthy neighborhood. Most people prefer to know who their neighbors are, enjoy at least some level of social interaction, and have a feeling of belonging to a “community.” Gathering places like restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, parks and public squares, and retail stores play an important role in bringing people together and shaping that sense of community and identity.

These kinds of businesses are also important in enhancing Goodyear Heights’ attractiveness as a walkable community. The neighborhood was built before the era where everyone had a car—and it was designed to have the most-needed services within easy walking distance. For example, around 1920, the commercial area around Goodyear Boulevard and Pioneer St. included a grocery, butcher shop, sundry store (think of a drug store without the pharmacy), a real estate office, barber shop, and more. Later, as America became infatuated with the automobile, these kinds of retail services became more centralized (think of the old Acme at Six Corners) and as time went on, moved even further out from the central parts of the city—which is why the closest Acme is now in Tallmadge.

Today, more people would like the convenience of a neighborhood grocery; not a huge mega-store, but something more modest that offers a decent selection of basic foods at a reasonable price. For the older members of the audience, think of an old Lawson’s store on steroids. Combined with a weekly Farmer’s Market in a central location for produce and other specialty items, this would be helpful for the neighborhood. If you’ve ever been to the Mustard Seed Market in Highland Square, you can see how a grocery operation of modest size has become a popular neighborhood gathering place. The store itself is not that big at all, but the public gathering spaces and café on the second floor has almost become the “neighborhood living room.”

There are a few places to eat and drink in the neighborhood, and a few (like Julian’s) attract some customers from other parts of the city. It would be nice to see more of this, and also have some of these businesses try to build a stronger bond with the surrounding neighborhood areas. It’s also critical that neighborhood residents patronize their local businesses, to ensure they remain healthy and viable. Everyone has a role to play.


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