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Sparkling and Blighted, Convention Cities Spotlight Ignored Urban Issues

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times

It was a sparkling scene of urban renaissance: Children scampered through the fountain in Public Square, spruced up at a cost of $50 million just in time for the Republican convention here. Electricians installed security cameras on the redesigned plaza as carpenters put the finishing touches on a new cafe.

Lex Horth, an amateur photographer from Gates Mills, an affluent village nearby, snapped photos and marveled at downtown’s newest jewel. “I haven’t come down here in 25 or 30 years because it was so derelict,” said Ms. Horth, 80, adding that she was blown away by “what Cleveland has done.”

Twenty minutes south, in a neighborhood called Slavic Village, Robert Smith and David Rajecki, both 58-year-old disabled factory workers, surveyed a vastly different scene. Historically a bustling center of Czech and Polish immigrant life, Slavic Village was sliding into decay even before it was devastated by the foreclosure crisis.

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