Since first moving to Lakewood in 1999, the Rohrs family has fallen in love with Lakewood over and over again. After relocating to the New York City area for a few years for a job, the family chose to come back to Lakewood, because Lakewood is home. A few of the things the family loves the most about Lakewood are the Lakewood City Schools, the arts, the parks and the small-town “Mayberry” feel.
“My husband and I bought our first home in Lakewood when we were expecting our first child, Declan,” says Jenny Barnett Rohrs, whose son is now 19 and a graduate of Lakewood High School. They also have a daughter, Bailey, 15, who is a freshman at the high school. “At the time, we were living in Ohio City, and we knew we wanted to come to Lakewood because we had heard that they had a great school system.”
The Rohrs kids went to school in Lakewood until 2016, when Jeff Rohrs had a job opportunity that took them to New York City. So, for two and a half years, they lived in New York City and nearby New Jersey. When they had the chance to come back, it was in the middle of Declan’s senior year.
“We threw a Hail Mary pass, found a house, and got him re-enrolled in school,” she says. “It was during Christmas break, and we came back so he could start in January of 2019 to finish his senior year with all of his friends that he had started school with, some of them since pre-K, when he was 3 years old.”
For the Rohrs family, Lakewood checks all the boxes of what they want in a community.
“A beautiful park, a beautiful community that is very accepting, truly diverse, a great school system and it is a walkable neighborhood to boot,” Rohrs says, adding the family has hosted two foreign exchange students in the community and both were able to walk home after school. “Nothing held a candle to Lakewood City Schools. The size of the school gives our children the opportunity to take diverse, interesting classes, and it has an amazing mix of kids, regarding race and religion and socioeconomic status. We were blown away. Leaving our little Lakewood bubble gave us a perspective of how amazing this school system is, and we could not wait to come home.”
The city is also known for the unique house designs and front porches.
“Two houses ago, we had what would be considered a traditional Lakewood front porch with a front porch swing, and you could see all of your neighbors,” Rohrs says. “We have moved into houses closer to the lake. All of those things — the Lakewood front porches and the interesting architecture, those are the things that really appealed to us when we were new homebuyers and when we had small children. As our interests and needs have changed, and our circumstances have changed, we have been able to find a house and a place in Lakewood, consistently…Truthfully, I hope to grow old here. I hope I never have to leave Lakewood.”
The Rohrs family is also musical and artistically minded, and they have taken advantage of Lakewood’s culture and community spaces.
Both children were in Lakewood High School’s marching band, and the family typically attended “Sounds of the Season,” a performing arts program at Lakewood High School.
“We usually have a subscription to Playhouse Square, and we enjoy Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood and the Cleveland Museum of Art,” Rohrs says.
They also love being a part of the community events, as well as having access to parks. Living so close to Lake Erie, the family loves backyard birding and recently took up the hobby of beekeeping. When dining out, the family go-to spots include Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar and Aladdin’s Eatery.
“We love Lakewood Park,” Rohrs says. “There is also an entrance to Cleveland Metroparks right here in Lakewood at Rocky River, so we feel like we have a secret back door into the park.”
“This community is so tight-knit, and its ability to do (community events like) ‘Meet the Trucks’ and ‘Taste of Lakewood,’ have been great,” she adds. “Having those kinds of things makes you feel like you fit in from day one. Lakewood really is a magical place. You get all of the best (things that give it a) small-town, homey feel.
“We’re a little further out now, we’re on Edgewater versus being one street off of Detroit, but it’s easy to find your way around to places, and one of things that’s so great about having such a densely populated city is that there are little pockets of neighborhoods everywhere. So, if you want to find a little place to hole up for a cup of coffee, there are many places throughout the city of Lakewood where you can find a park, a coffee shop, a nice little place to hang out. Of course, now, we’re very restricted with COVID-19 and distancing, but it’s never stopped people from getting out and having a jog, taking a bike ride, having a walk, so we’re really lucky.”