Bay residents leaving in search of condos
I was reviewing real estate ads on the Internet recently when I came across an ad for a house on Columbia Rd. in Bay Village. The ad caught my eye because that house was the first house that my wife, Bev, and I lived in when we moved to Bay in 1971.
Two years later, we bought our first house on Elmwood Rd., and, over time, owned homes on West Oviatt Rd. and Bates Dr. During our 33 years of living in Bay Village we lived in all four wards, and our children attended every public school in the city. In our son Scott's case, he actually may be the only person who ever attended all four elementary schools as well as the old middle school and the high school. In a bit of minor irony, Scott was on the Board of Education when the new middle school was approved and built and his name is included on the dedication plaque.
Six years ago Bev and I moved to a condo in Avon Lake. We did so after two years of searching for a viable alternative to our large "empty nest" on Bates. We wanted to stay in Bay Village, but we recognized that a condo or cluster home was what we needed, and the available alternatives in Bay did not meet the profile that we were looking for.
Our condo is less than a quarter of a mile from our previous home on Bates, but in terms of the feeling of "community," we might as well be living in another state. A mitigating factor in our feelings of isolation from old friends and neighbors is the fact that they are now coming to us!
Our particular condo association includes 65 units. We don't know everyone in the association, but of those that we do know, nine units are occupied by former Bay residents. In addition, Bev and I know of at least 15 other friends and former neighbors who have left Bay for condos or clusters in Avon Lake or Westlake.
The administration and city council in Bay Village has been struggling with the issue of alternative housing for at least ten years, and little, if anything, has been accomplished. Bay is largely built out, but there are possibilities that exist.
The problem is the need for zoning changes and initiatives to overcome community resistance and/or apathy. If no housing alternatives are developed, the drain of long-time residents will continue unabated, which helps to diminish a sense of community.
Tim Maloney is a former Bay Village resident.