For decades, Shaker Heights residents considered The Van Aken District as a rapid transit station, a couple of shopping plazas and one behemoth of an intersection. Earlier this summer, however, city officials prompted dozens of residents to consider the possibilities of a different, livelier use of the area. A new downtown is coming to Shaker Heights, complete with restaurants, retail, transit-oriented development, walkability, green space and cultural elements similar to those characterizing other successful communities in Northeast Ohio. This forward vision for the Van Aken District excites residents, perhaps because city officials and developers have given them a say in how the area will look.
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