Opinion: Why You Should Stop Going to Crocker Park

The first thing one sees when they go to Crocker Park’s website is a graphic that reads “Experience the best… offices, apartments, events, activities, shops, restaurants.”  Being just 20 minutes from campus and Downtown Cleveland, Crocker Park has everything you need: housing, food, entertainment, and jobs; to never go back to the city ever again!  So why would you ever want to go back? 

Lifestyle centers or outdoor malls like Crocker Park have been popping up all over the nation and serve as an urban oasis in the suburbs. It sucks businesses and commerce out of the major urban center and spaces it out to Westlake. These malls are contributing to the closing of malls in Downtown Cleveland, siphoning money out of the city and buildings going empty. People who go to these malls never have to interact with the city and that hurts the municipality more than anything. 

“The irony of urban outdoor malls is that they are designed, typically, to resemble walkable community centers because that’s what people want but yet they exist, typically, in areas designed to be car oriented. The people who want them built put so much time, effort, and money into creating these walkable community areas instead of investing in actual improvement for the greater good of the community in the city of Cleveland.” said CSU Alumni Elias Palmer.

Most lifestyle centers are built relatively far away from the urban core, in terms of public transportation. The RTA does run to Crocker Park – it’s over an hour trip from campus – but most people take their individual vehicle and spend a lifetime trying to find parking because most people are forced to take their personal vehicle due to the suburban nature of the mall. 

These lifestyle centers are appealing to the individual. They provide walkable environments, restaurants, maybe a little quasi-greenspace, and shops that typically you can’t find outside of these lifestyle centers – like an Apple store. It is a consumerism paradise where the only party that suffers is the urban center it is “stealing” wealth from. From Crocker Park in Westlake to Easton Mall in Columbus, people across America are struggling to find parking in the “geography of nowhere” where outdoor malls, strip malls and lifestyle centers rob traditional and charming urban centers of their business and population base. They are a huge player of urban sprawl without growth and it is my opinion that land needs to stop being developed for these types of urban oasises.

Disclaimer: This article in no way reflects the views of The Cauldron and its staff. It only reflects the views of the columnist.