Valleyview Homes

In Cleveland, several public housing projects (Cedar-Central, Outhwaite, Lakeview Terrace) preceded the development of Valleyview Homes Estates. However, Valleyview was among the first (along with Woodhill and Carver Park) to actually be built and overseen by the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). Completed in 1940 on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga Valley in southeastern Tremont (then known as South Side), Valleyview was comprised of two-story brick buildings containing a total of 582 apartments . The project cost nearly $3.5 million and featured playgrounds, a community center, and craft shops. Local artists commissioned by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created numerous murals and other pieces of art, which were placed in various spots throughout Valleyview.

Despite the 1949 passage of a city ordinance banning racial discrimination in public housing, Valleyview—like virtually all public housing on the west side of Cleveland—remained segregated for decades. Integration was finally achieved in the early 1970s. By this time, however, federal limits on the percentage of a family's income that could be collected was no longer enough to pay for maintenance. CMHA thus became more dependent on federal money; but the government provided only 90 percent of funds required for maintenance and less than half of other expenses. At Valleyview, upkeep fell and arson, drug dealing and physical deterioration increased. More and more residents left. By 1978, police officers refused to enter Valleyview without two-person patrols.

By the 1980s, Valleyview clearly was on its last legs. The death knell was Clark Freeway, the highway that had caused so much controversy two decades previous when County Engineer Albert Porter sought to run it through Shaker Lakes. That effort failed, but by 1990 the Ohio Department of Transportation had successfully run Clark Freeway—now the Troy Lee James Freeway (I-490)— through South Tremont. The massive Clark Fields park was carved in two and most of the original Valleyview Homes were razed. In 2004, buoyed by a $19.6 million Hope VI grant, the remaining units structures were torn down, and construction began on Tremont Pointe, a mixed public/private development.

Perhaps the greatest living legacy of Valleyview Homes is its collection of WPA art. Several of Valleyview’s sculptures and murals are on display at Tremont Pointe. Others can be viewed at Cleveland State University and CMHA’s headquarters on Kinsman Road.

Images

Map