The unique piece that separates Shaker Heights from other communities is we do have diversity. We have those that live in mansions and we have those who are working their hardest for upward mobility.
Twenty-three years ago, that was my wife and I. Shaker Heights, the way it’s designed, kind of allowed my wife and I the opportunity to move in on the lower end and then move up over time. In other cities, you may not have that same opportunity.
The one unique thing about Shaker is that it’s a residential community. The focus is on families. That’s why the property taxes are so high in Shaker because we don’t have industry and we don’t have a lot of shops and stores. The biggest draw is really the community.
We’ve been in the new house now going on 17 years. You get a lot for what you pay. It’s a great school district. It’s a walking community. There are tons of parks. The area we live in is called the Lomond community. There’s just something about that area where you walk out your door and people will just wave. — as told to James Bigley II
On the weekends, Langford frequents this intimate cafe, art gallery and contemporary boutique where an ever-rotating collection of work from local artists and artisans is on display alongside contemporary clothing. “Sometimes they’ll have shows,” says Langford. “My daughter, being a creative person, likes to go and see what they have for sale to get some ideas.” 20100 Chagrin Blvd., 216-295-1717, jumagallery.com
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
The 20-acre green space offers 1,760 feet of trails, gardens and marshland, making it a popular destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts looking for a brief escape from city living. “You can walk through, hear the birds, see frogs, watch the chipmunks,” says Langford. “Sometimes you’ll see a family of deer just hanging out in the park.” 2600 S. Park Blvd., 216-321-5935, shakerlakes.org
For the occasional date night, Langford and his wife come to this hot spot for Wednesday night jazz, line dancing and heaping portions of good ol’ soul food such as grilled jumbo shrimp layered on a grit cake and topped with a jalapeno cream sauce. “The grits are fried on the outside and then when you break through them, they’re soft,” says Langford. 20126 Chagrin Blvd., 216-991-6787
With an indoor ice arena and outdoor 50-meter swimming pool, Thornton Park is a popular gathering place year-round. The real kicker comes during the Memorial Day parade when more than 300 Shaker Heights High School students, including Langford’s trumpet-playing son Kyle, march here from City Hall. “The Memorial Day parade is huge because it brings together the city and the schools,” says Langford. “After the parade, they end up going to the swimming pool.” 3301 Warrensville Center Road, shakeronline.com
Van Aken District
This $100 million mixed-use apartment, office and retail complex serves as an upscale modern hub where families can dine, shop and find entertainment. Twice a week, Langford brings his kids to Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. “For some time there, we were going to other places like Cleveland Heights,” says Langford. “This is bringing us back.” 3441 Tuttle Ave., thevanakendistrict.com
2018 Total Home Sales: 308
2018 Median Home Sale Price: $261,000
Education Ranking: 18
Safety Ranking: 45