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Policies & Strategies
Link: Preservation Printabe Version (PDF)


In light of the fact that a sense of history and the architectural character of an area’s buildings, monuments and public spaces are an important part of what makes urban neighborhoods, and older cities, attractive to residents and businesses, Cleveland’s overriding goal in this area of activity should be to
foster preservation of historically and architecturally significant buildings and districts in the city of Cleveland.The Connecting Cleveland 2020 Plan therefore puts forth a comprehensive set of economic development policies, each addressing a specific issue—along with specific strategies—aimed at making the most of these unique assets:

  1. Marketing. Capitalize on the presence of architecturally and historically significant buildings in promoting and marketing Cleveland’s older neighborhoods as competitive places to live and visit.

    • Make improvements to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission website to highlight locally designated buildings and historic districts. Include design guidelines, an improved list of individual landmarks and historic districts with photographs, and use examples from Cleveland to illustrate various architectural styles. Complete the file on important architects in Cleveland’s history, and continue distribution and development of brochures describing the city’s historic districts.

    • Support the efforts of the Ohio Canal Corridor organization to tell the story of the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.

    • Develop brochures highlighting the distinctive character of individual neighborhoods and their historic architecture, and bring material and ideas to in-flight magazines, out-of-town papers, and publications aimed at young, mobile, creative individuals and other sought-after housing markets.

  2. Economic Re-Use. Identify and pursue opportunities for economically viable re-use of significant structures threatened by neglect and possible demolition.

    • Complete National Register nominations for other areas of the city that qualify for National Register status. The National Register designation provides historic tax credit for major rehabilitation.

  3. Design Standards. Establish design review standards that are effective and reasonable in protecting historic structures and in ensuring that new development complements the character of historic districts.

    • Issue complete citywide design guidelines for historic properties, developed by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, both in printed form and on the internet at the City’s website. These guidelines will address residential, commercial and religious properties that have been designated locally or are located within locally designated historic districts. They will also outline the process for seeking approval from the Landmarks Commission and the Design Review committees.

  4. Designation. Protect historic buildings and districts through designation as local landmarks and through listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

    • Designate additional local historic districts and properties eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Projected Cleveland Landmark historic districts include Gordon Square, Franklin- West Clinton, and Lorain Avenue Variety Theater Historic Districts.

    • Complete National Register nominations for additional areas that are eligible for listing.

    • Update the Landmarks Commission ordinance to reflect changes in law regarding notification of property owners and the county recorder.

    • Update zoning maps to include designated local landmarks in addition to the local historic districts currently indicated on the zoning map.

  5. Education. Increase public awareness of the history and architecture of Cleveland and its neighborhoods, and of the value of historic preservation.

    • Work with organizations like the Cleveland Restoration Society, Cleveland media, the Cleveland Visitors & Convention Bureau, CityProwl, and Cool Cleveland to organize neighborhood and historic architecture walks, and Lolly the Trolley motor tours, featuring open houses, knowledgeable speakers and docents drawn from Ursuline College, local architecture firms specializing in historic restoration, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, and the Kent State University Northeast Ohio Design Collaborative.

    • Where possible, schedule neighborhood walks to coincide with community street festivals, art fairs, outdoor (or indoor) concerts and cultural events organized around historic anniversaries and figures important to a neighborhood and its identity.

    • Collaborate with local entities, including neighborhood-based community development corporations (CDCs), to develop brochures highlighting the distinctive character of individual neighborhoods and their historic architecture, and bring material and ideas to in-flight magazines, out-of-town papers, and publications aimed at young, mobile, creative individuals and other sought-after housing markets.

    • Work with the local print and electronic media to explore the benefits of preserving, restoring or finding creative re-uses for vintage or historic structures—both in Cleveland and elsewhere around the country where such efforts have paid off.

    • Encourage property owners to investigate the history of their neighborhood and building, especially through use of the resources listed in the Cleveland Public Library’s "A Checklist for Property Research in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County."

  6. Technical Assistance. Provide property owners with technical assistance in maintaining and rehabilitating historic buildings.

    • Continue to provide technical assistance through Landmarks Commission staff to property owners, design review committee members, and the Landmarks Commission itself regarding Certificates of Appropriateness.

  7. Preventative Maintenance. Adopt and enforce laws that require preventative maintenance of historic buildings and structures.

    • Expand use of the minimum maintenance provisions of the Landmarks Commission ordinance.

    • Review the condition of local landmarks, and of properties within historic districts.

    • Work with design review committees on strategies to deal with problem properties.

  8. Funding. Retain and expand funding for historic preservation at all levels of government, including tax credits for rehabilitation.

    • Pursue additional funding opportunities available through grants, the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service.

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