FreshWater Cleveland's series First Suburbs: A Closer Look, focuses on the Northeast Ohio First Suburb Consortium communities surrounding Cleveland. This series will highlight various First Suburbs member communities focusing on unheralded people and innovative programs that are making a difference, through FreshWater Cleveland’s solutions-based journalism lens.  

The mission of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium is to initiate and support policies and
practices that protect, maintain and redevelopment mature communities and foster regional
cooperation and collaboration. 

Our Mission


​​FreshWater Cleveland Series

City Spotlight 

Progress Update: Van Aken District

The award-winning first phase of the Van Aken District offers a dynamic mix of Class A office space, retail, and residential apartment units, all built around public space and easy access to public transit. The development creates a new gathering spot for residents from all over the region and offers the best of local and unique regional and national brands. This includes the Market Hall — the first dining experience of its kind in Northeast Ohio — and Shaker Rocks, which at 14,000 square feet is Ohio’s largest indoor climbing facility. The City also recently completed two multipurpose paths to help pedestrians and bicyclists more easily access the District from nearby neighborhoods.

Planning for the next phase of the Van Aken District is underway. It will feature an additional 100,000 SF Class A office building with flexible floor plans and first floor retail and amenity space. It will be the largest block of first generation office space on Cleveland’s east side. In addition, the City will work with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to renovate Warrensville Station, the transit station in the heart of the District. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency, the City will be able to implement additional improvements to the Station and surrounding area, including public art, lighting, benches, landscaping and other amenities.

For more information contact Economic Development Director Laura Englehart: 216-491-1334 or laura.englehart@shakeronline.com

Grant Program Supports Small Businesses Hard Hit by COVID-19

The City of Shaker Heights has worked diligently to support our community’s small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, we recognized the dramatic and, in some cases, devastating impact the crisis has had on businesses, especially minority-owned businesses. Recently, we partnered with the Shaker Heights Development Corporation, Citizens Bank, and the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association to help minority-owned businesses mitigate the effects of the pandemic with the Small Business Recovery Grant Program. This program provides one-time grants of between $500 and $1,500 for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 related expenses.


​By definition, a First Suburb is a community that was built or mostly built, near or in many cases
adjacent to central cities, before 1960. In Northeast Ohio, suburban development began around 1900
and progressed slowly until halted by the Great Depression and World War II.

​​​​     ​                                       Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium

Full membership meetings are held quarterly.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our full membership meetings will be held virtually as approved by Ohio Governor Dewine.  Contact Jennifer Kuzma for details at jkuzma@bedfordoh.gov.  

The History Of First Suburbs 

"​The City of Shaker Heights is proud to be a longtime member of the First Suburbs Consortium.  The opportunity to learn from and connect and collaborate with other first-ring cities is essential to the success of our City and region." 

                                                                                        Mayor David Weiss