MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — For the first time in 10 years, a set of new homes is going up on Jefferson Avenue in an area of Maple Heights with a history of redlining and disinvestment that prevented Black families from living anywhere else in the city in the 1940s.
Choosing to construct new homes in Presidents Row was intentional to encourage private investment in local housing stock and to address systematic racism.
“This feels good. This work is dedicated to righting a wrong and investing in an area that has not seen significant outside investment in a really long time. For decades Black families were told they could only live in Maple Heights if they lived in Presidents Row,” said Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell.
The two new homes are set on lots that are approximately 0.2 acres on Jefferson Avenue, adjacent to Broadway Avenue.
The homes are modular construction built in Vandalia, Ohio. Each home is made up of two sections that are trucked into Maple Heights, lifted by crane and set on their foundations.
First settled in the 20th Century, Presidents Row started out as a flat, wooded, 54-acre area that became developed with streets named after U.S. Presidents. Seeking to build homeownership, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) broke the city of Maple Heights into sections in 1940.
HOLC redlined Presidents Row, restricting Black families' access to capital and opportunity to purchase homes elsewhere in Maple Heights. Records indicated that during the 1930s, there was a system in place to change the racial makeup of the neighborhood, resulting in 23 of the 73 Black families in President’s Row moving out of the neighborhood.
Over the years, disinvestment in the area has led to homes being demolished and others left vacant. With the new homes going up, Blackwell hopes to spur economic activity in the area.
Each home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms in a 1,200 square-foot space with an attached garage. The homes are expected to hit the market soon, according to the city.