After 60 Minutes: Cleveland’s Cinema Park

60 Minutes recently swooped into Cleveland with a heartbreaking story about homeowners dealing with foreclosure — and about the city’s efforts to deal with this tremendous problem.

The segment made its focal point a failed developed called Cinema Park. This neighborhood, like so many across the United States, got started with high hopes right before the recession began. And now, it is eerie, half empty, a startling reminder of how much has changed in this country over such a short time.

Cinema Park is a particularly sad case because the development, on the city’s east side, was home to mainly upwardly mobile black families. And as the video from 60 Minutes makes clear, many of their fortunes have suffered as well.

A very good Rust Wire friend recently visited this development, snapped a few pictures and made some observations. We are reprinting them here, with some words from the photographer, courtesy of the blog Bridget Callahan is Your Best Friend and its namesake.

The land used to be a drive in theater, thus the name. There were a dozen houses, and people living in six of them, and the rest all empty plots. It was very gray and cold, and the sky looked like a down comforter spinning in an industrial dryer. One woman called out to us from her bedroom window, in a pink bathrobe. I could only catch half of what she was saying, but it made me feel weird, being there only to take photos of how tragic her street looked like. She was fine with it, presumably having dealt with reporters already for a while. Just don’t break into any of them, she said. No problem. We understood each other, that this was just a reality of living in this city. They were boarded up tight anyways, Playmobil houses that just weren’t ready to be shipped yet. The sidewalks started and ended in odd places, and there were several missing driveways. At the end of the street was a very nice large park with lots of benches, more benches than there were actual people living there. It was a park with expectations.

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