Slavic Village Better Block
The great thing about using kids’ finger paint for our street treatments at Better Block is that clean-up is easy. A good rain washes it away. The bad thing about using kids’ finger paint is that a good rain will wash it all away. This is why Better Block and community members from the Slavic Village neighborhood in Cleveland painted the Slavic Village Better Block street mural not once, not twice, but three times in three days.
The street mural was part of the Slavic Village Better Block, which was funded by the Cleveland Foundation. The Slavic Village Better Block was meant to create a vibrant node and gathering place just off Fleet Avenue, Cleveland’s first Complete Street. The Complete Street along Fleet had given the community bike lanes, better sidewalks, street lights, and more, but what it lacked was activity and places for people to gather.
In surveys of the community during the kick-off for the project, community members listed gathering places as the biggest need in the community. So, for the Slavic Village Better Block, we took 65th Street, a side street off Fleet Avenue and re-imagined it as a lively, vibrant gathering place for the community. Today, Slavic Village Development utilizes the bandshell, long tables and benches, cafe sets, and more other pieces remaining after the Better Block event at their own pop-up events. Future events would also benefit from workshops that brought together property owners with would-be pop-up vendors, and businesses, as well as representatives from the city to understand how everyone working together can make Slavic Village a truly vibrant community.