In addition to OB Photos and OB Featured Business, Old Brooklyn Blogs is bringing readers another periodic feature called OB People. In OB People, we'll spotlight interesting residents, community leaders, business owners, and other stakeholders in Old Brooklyn.
Our inaugural interview focuses on Jeff Kipp, a Treadway Avenue resident. Jeff serves as the executive director of the Living in Cleveland Center, a nonprofit organization that celebrates Cleveland's neighborhoods and the plethora of exciting living opportunities within each of them.
What brought your family to Old Brooklyn?
I am a native northeast Ohioan and had a great upbringing in the suburbs. However, after returning to Cleveland from the University of Dayton, I knew I was looking for a different environment to live in.
While renting a house with friends in Lakewood I began checking out my options in the City of Cleveland. I was attracted to the density of urban neighborhoods and the proximity to the City’s entertainment venues. I knew I wanted to buy a single family home and I wanted it to be in an area that I could be comfortable in for years to come.
All of my self-guided tours throughout the City landed me back in Old Brooklyn, so I decided to concentrate my home search there. Ultimately I purchased a home on Treadway Avenue and have since gotten married to Tricia and we have added two little girls into our family (and neighborhood). Through my professional experiences, I have come to see and experience fantastic neighborhood development throughout Cleveland’s neighborhoods and many new residential opportunities for my family. But I must honestly admit, we would be very pleased to stay rooted right here in Old Brooklyn.
What do you like best about living in Old Brooklyn?
At work, I am often confronted with the old “City vs. Suburbs” argument. Old Brooklyn, and many City neighborhoods for that matter, blends the best of these two worlds. I grew up in Solon, which epitomizes the perception of suburban living - pleasant neighbors, nice houses, manicured lawns, and a range of available amenities. Old Brooklyn presents the exact same lifestyle opportunity, but with a much more diverse and eclectic set of offerings (OK, maybe the yards are a little smaller, here). I really like the population density that this City neighborhood offers. We still have a private lawn and garden, but we also have built-in proximity to so many more amenities and opportunities within the City.
Tricia and I always prefer to spend our social time in the City - at sports venues, new restaurants, museums, parks, bars, Playhouse Square, etc….I could go on….It just makes sense to live close to these amenities. Why would we want to live 30-45 minutes away from where we want to be?
Being a City resident, I personally feel a strong link to other City neighborhoods as well. Cleveland’s neighborhoods each have their own unique personality, but ultimately, they are all an integral part of the City. So while I live in Old Brooklyn, I still consider Tremont, Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Downtown and other neighborhoods my own. I believe this is an experience and feeling that is not readily available in the ‘burbs, where a resident’s identity is often defined solely by the subdivision they live in.
What do you think is Old Brooklyn's greatest asset?
Personally, I love Old Brooklyn’s connectedness to the City and the region. Living in the South Hills neighborhood, I am just minutes from the Jennings Freeway and I-480. This allows me to get downtown in 5-10 minutes, which makes for an incredibly easy commute to work! That freeway accessibility also allows us to easily reach distant suburbs in respectable time. Tremont is minutes to the north and the West Side Market is an easy drive up West 25th Street. Even closer is Steelyard Commons, the City’s largest shopping destination, which just happens to be conveniently located right next door to Old Brooklyn. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t take full advantage of that. Not a week (or day for that matter) goes by without my wife or me stopping by Starbucks and Target to pick up some “essentials”.
What is your favorite neighborhood spot?
I am going to go with the obvious answer here. We live minutes from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and certainly take full advantage of that. Our family pass to the Zoo is purchased religiously every year. We literally treat the Zoo like it’s our own neighborhood park. Having a three year old who loves animals, why would we not frequent this neighborhood gem? Taking the kids for a walk through the Zoo’s acres of greenspace makes for a perfect outing. We constantly solicit friends and family to join us. There is an open invitation for them to call us if they’re going to the zoo. We do our best to stop over and walk around with them. And then of course we always joke that we can be home before they reach their cars in the parking lot.
What do you say is Old Brooklyn's best kept secret?
Let me start by saying I hope this is not a secret. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail has long been an asset to the region. This walking/running/biking path has been used by millions as a recreational outlet, as it extends from Cleveland all the way down to Canton. I must admit I had heard about it but never actually experienced it. I always thought it was just something that other people took advantage of.
Well now it’s connected directly to Old Brooklyn’s Harmody Park! That means that us City-dwellers, those choosing to live in the shadows of skyscrapers and sports stadiums, have direct access to a 70-mile recreational pathway surrounded by parks and protected from traffic. Words can’t describe how fantastic this is for Cleveland and specifically for Old Brooklyn.
Efforts are in place to connect this trail to other neighborhoods and ultimately to Lake Erie. But for now, it is a comforting feeling to know that our neighborhood already has an asset like the Towpath Trail Connector. Being in the business of promoting Cleveland and its neighborhoods, I believe this is certainly one of the most important assets for Old Brooklyn.
Where in the neighborhood will others find you?
Gabe's Family Restaurant
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Dina's Filling Station
Hudec Dental on Broadview (twice a year!)
Would you like to be featured in OB People? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.