Earl M. Leiken

Shaker Heights is a city with a national reputation for excellence and a rich heritage dating back more than 100 years.

Ours is one of the most beautiful, family-friendly communities in Ohio – or anywhere. It has magnificent homes, miles of sidewalks and tree-lined streets, families and children walking, biking and running, and a light rail system connecting residents to downtown Cleveland.

Shaker Heights has been identified as the 17th most-highly educated place in America, as determined by NerdWallet, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data on the educational levels of residents in more than 2,000 places. Shaker’s ranking was based on the high percentage of residents with doctorate and professional degrees. This engaged and diverse population participates actively in the life of the community, lakes and bike trails, arts organizations, and nationally recognized school system.

Each summer, more than 100 block parties take place in neighborhoods throughout the city. Some are carefully planned with activities and parades and others are just informal gatherings where everyone brings food to share. Whether it is a block party, a progressive dinner organized by neighbors throughout the year, or an impromptu Friday night gathering on a front lawn, Shaker residents value their sense of connectedness and community.

This is an exciting time to live in Shaker Heights as we focus on the redevelopment of commercial and retail districts. Roadwork to reconfigure the Warrensville/Chagrin intersection will be completed this year, the first step in creating a new downtown, the Van Aken District, a mixed-use, walkable neighborhood designed around access to transit and offering transportation into downtown and University Circle.

This new district will beckon residents to walk, bike and linger making it a new center of activity in Shaker Heights. A series of six pop-up Beer Gardens held on alternate Fridays brought large crowds of eager residents to the site of future development. The community turned up in large numbers to mingle under the evening skies, purchasing dinner from food trucks, eating at picnic tables, and enjoying Shaker camaraderie.

Also in Shaker, an entrepreneurial spirit is being nurtured at a shared workspace called LaunchHouse and among thriving home-based businesses, a number of which made the move into Shaker offices and storefronts. Several new independent businesses have become beloved neighborhood shops. Juma Gallery and Coffee House, Cleveland Running Co., Lucy’s Sweet Surrender and Simply Delicious Pies are just some of our unique retail establishments.

Homebuyers are moving to Shaker from across the country and state, as well as from within Shaker Heights. We’ve welcomed international families eager to become a part of a globally minded community and the International Baccalaureate Programme in the Shaker schools. We’ve also noticed more millennials choosing Shaker Heights. Here they find a walkable, cosmopolitan environment with a top-notch public school system.

Shaker Heights continues to be a vibrant community where residents work, live and play. It is a place where neighbors know each other and enjoy a rare quality of life. I invite you to visit us. You might just decide to stay.

Earl M. Leiken is mayor of the city of Shaker Heights.

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