February 15, 2006

Crocker Park: Ohio Suburb Creates Large-Scale Mixed-Use Development

The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes an in-depth look at Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio, "a sprawling, $480 million development that combines retail, residential and office spaces"12 miles from Cleveland.

"I call it My Complex," said a 26-year-old Cleveland native who recently returned from living in Washington, D.C. "I can walk to Trader Joe's, there's a dry cleaning service, and there's a gym that's open to residents 24 hours a day, so I can get a good one-hour workout in even if I don't get home until 8. . . . It's like a little mini-Georgetown outside my window."

Another in the community said he can attract his friends to visit, since theyall can easily head out on foot to a choice of restaurants or bars. "There's a lot going on, and I can be close to everything," a 31-year-old internal medicine resident told the Plain Dealer.

This sort of lifestyle holds great appeal to young professionals who like some aspects of smaller communities (such as affordability and better chance of knowing your neighbors) but not car-dependent, no-nightlife, subdivision living.

These are the types of people a rejuvenated downtown Framingham could appeal to -- IF the downtown could be transformed to include pedestrian-friendly streetscapes throughout, and walkable shopping and entertainment destinations.

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