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POLL: Does Solon Lack a Sense of Community?

Data gathered by a survey of residents suggests that Solon may be a transient community without a strong sense of community. Do you agree?

We all know what Solon has. . . .

But despite those great aspects, does Solon lack something important: A sense of community?

Yes, it's a nebulous thing not easily quantifiable, and the answer will be different for every resident. But data gathered in the 2012 Community Survey as part of the city's master plan process suggest that Solon may be viewed as a transient place lacking that sense of home and togetherness that goes into the word community.

Last week, the citizens master plan committee discussed data that seemed to suggest that Solon may be regarded by resident's as a transient place in their lives, more as a stop along the way rather than home.

Said Planning Director Rob Frankland to the committee: "I think the people in this room would like to have more of a sense of community than we have."

The question is, Solon, do you agree? Head down and take our polls, and then debate and discuss in the comments!

But first, some data from the survey that suggests a lack of community:

1. Schools are great, but what else?

By far, residents said the quality of was the main reason why they moved here.

But 34 percent of those survey said they were considering moving away from Solon in the next five years. The most common answer was because they said they wanted to downsize their home.

Are these two related? Very likely, the survey suggests.

Since most residents move here because of the schools, once the kids graduate residents may not feel incentive to stay. These empty-nesters are then living in a too-large home and looking to move, often away from Solon.

More evidence of this trend: In 2001, 43 percent said they were interested or knew someone interested in living in senior housing in Solon. This year, only 20 percent responded that way.

2. Where is "downtown" Solon?

Downtown areas can be a unifying place that connects residents together. Solon doesn't have a place like that.

You hear it all the time: Residents wish Solon had a downtown like Chagrin Falls or Hudson. Nor is there a public square like Twinsburg.

When asked what Solon's biggest weaknesses were, some residents said that Solon lacked a town center and that's its downtown area had a poor appearance.

What is the center of town? Is it ? The ? The ? Veterans park?

3. Do you want to be buried in Solon?

Here's an interesting piece of data: most residents surveyed said that Solon did not need more cemetary space.

What does this mean? Most people want to be buried near their loved ones, among their families, in a place they consider home. It suggests that people who live in Solon now don't necessarily want to be buried in Solon.

Follow Solon Patch on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for our daily newsletter. Want to contact the editor? E-mail Chris Mazzolini at chrism@patch.com.

Solon Resident May 08, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I'd like those Solon residents who are reading this particular article state a couple comments on what they believe Solon may be missing to help all of us feel more like a commnuity. This day and age compared to a time without the electronics, cable, social networking, and busy work/school schedules have passed. What innovative ideas are out there? It's not just more retail and places to eat, is it? Is it expanding parks and wellness initiatives? I think a possible idea may be seeing if a diverse community group gather with a few Solon adminsitrators, along with representatives of our community, and even school system. Thoughts?
Solon Resident May 08, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I'd like those Solon residents who are reading this particular article state a couple comments on what they believe Solon may be missing to help all of us feel more like a community. This day and age compared to a time without the electronics, cable, social networking, and busy work/school schedules have passed. What innovative ideas are out there? It's not just more retail and places to eat, is it? Is it expanding parks and wellness initiatives? I think a possible idea may be seeing if a diverse community group gathers with a few Solon administrators, along with representatives of our community, and even school system. Thoughts?
Chris Mazzolini (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I, too, would love to hear people's thoughts about this. If you think Solon is a great "community," tell us why. If you think Solon needs to work on that, tell us that too. I think one of the hallmarks of a great community is that it's able to talk publicly about what's good about the community and also what needs to be improved. So, is Solon is a good "community"? And why do you feel that way?
Elliot Ness May 09, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Chagrin Falls has community. People that move there tend to stay. Solon was never a great community. People move in for the Schools, not the community as a whole. Solon is strange. Its not a huge area but any attractions are far apart. In Chagrin many people live in the town and are always walking around. Whole familys getting ice cream and enjoying the area. Solon is strip centers and ugly. Think of all the buildings that have no style. CVS, and then more eyesores all the way down 43. It might as well be North Ridgeville. Who walks to Mustard Seed?
Laurie Torres May 09, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I think it would be great to tie the community and all its centers together with better biking and walking paths. I think Solon is lovely and there are beautiful people here. I love the cultural diversity and am so proud that my children are being raised in a diverse city. Nonetheless, when I hear friends talk I often hear that the vary diversity that makes it great is also a barrier. I think having culture fairs that educate everyone on our differences and similarities would be awesome. We are so lucky to have such diversity we should capitalize on it more. Solon Home Days should have a celebrate Solon Cultures feel to it rather than just be a big amusement fair. No matter what the town looks like a sense of community comes from people having a connection to one another. That begins with a beautiful understanding of all our neighbors. But what do I know I am just a liberal with rose colored glasses. I also think Solon needs to come together for a cause. This is an affluent community that should seek through a "Solon Cause" to bring the community together. Doing good for others has always been a good way to bring people together. And there I go again with the liberal rose colored glassed thing.
Chris Mazzolini (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Hi Laurie: Thanks for those great thoughts. I think you're right about diversity in that it is great because it brings different people together, but sometimes I think it can be a barrier because people are uncomfortable, fear offending others, etc. Anyway, thanks for sharing!
Iris Greene May 09, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Moved to Solon when my kids were in High School in 1988. Chose it for the home values. There was community as long as your kids were involved in school activities. No sense of community for empty nesters until you are a Senior and then have the opportunity to enjoy the Senior Center. If the new Giant Eagle space is designed like Eton in Woodmere, where there are places to walk, sit, mingle, eat and enjoy beautiful gardens, that would be a wonderful community space - but I doubt that is being planned. Solon is just not designed well and that has been a problem all along.
Chris Mazzolini (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hi Iris: Thanks for your thoughts. The question is then: What can Solon do to instill a sense of community for those who don't have kids in the schools?
Suzi Castiglione May 16, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Solon has a lot of positive, but is still missing a lot. What events are well-attended in Solon. The answer will always be sports. It tapers off greatly from there. Music/theater at SHS is wonderful and do have a following! I've lived in 4 states and seen varying degrees of community-minded places. I've been involved with Relay for Life....they don't have near the teams, sponsors or attendees as you will see in neighboring communities. When I moved to Solon in the late 90's there was a Strawberry Festival and an Art Festival in the Community Park. I was surprised to see so few people were there. At Solon Center for the Arts we had to cancel an event a year ago because we could not get enough attendees. If you go to Solon Home Days you'll find a ton of teenagers and then many adults are from outside of Solon. Recreation sports....so few parents volunteered to help coach so the teens who are officiating are also coaching. These are issues...I don't have the solution. Maybe it has something to do with technology and how we communicate less face-to-face, maybe there are a lot of people who move in and our of Solon, maybe it is apathy....I don't know. I only know that our family gets involved in so many areas. We enjoy Earth Day, Kiwanis Breakfasts, Home Days, Local Organizations, PTA, Arts Center events, sports, theater and music events and civic gatherings. We find that it is a way to teach our children some things and also a way to spend time with family and friends.
Andrew G. June 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Chris, I think Iris answered that question, and you even touch on it in your article. The lack of a 'downtown' hurts the city. I've only lived in Solon for 3 years and I think of 'downtown' as the intersection of SOM & Aurora, but unfortunately it's pretty ugly and aged. The old gas station on the Northeast Corner desperately needs to be replaced. Like Iris said, if Solon could redevelop that area (the new Giant Eagle should help), it would help create an identity for Solon, and give residents a place to walk, eat, drink and mingle.

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