Sometimes North Royalton gets forgotten in the shuffle. Tucked between interstates 71 and 77, the suburb can be overshadowed by Strongsville’s retail bustle to the west and Parma’s ethnic hustle to the north. But its just-off-the-main-drag lifestyle is part of the appeal.
On a sunny day in Memorial Park, a young boy in a tie-dye T-shirt climbs to the top of a tall slide and wobbles over, zooming down into his mother’s arms at the bottom. Located behind city hall, the park has a small lake with a fountain and cement paths that wind through a more than 70-acre complex that includes the high school, middle school, football stadium, ball diamonds, tennis courts and more.
It’s exactly the secure environment Elena Denisyuk was looking for when she moved here in February with her husband, Julian, mother and three children. They had lived in a small Parma house off of a main road where the neighbors were constantly shifting. They looked in Brecksville but found North Royalton to be more affordable. They finally landed on a late ‘90s two-story colonial in the Ashley Woods development. It was built in the midst of a North Royalton boom between 1990 and 2000, when the city’s population jumped by 23 percent.
“I like the trees, I like the house, I like the neighbors’ house,” she says. “Everything looks peaceful and private when you enter it.”
With two teenage girls in high school and a son about to start preschool, finding great schools meant a lot to Elena. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report gave North Royalton High School a silver medal, while the marching band — gospel in this city —- received the superior rating for the 26th year.
While big-box retail and national chains are nearby, Elena likes neighborhood spots such as Mastro’s The 3 Spot and its clam chowder. Locals also flock to the Jump Yard to bounce around on fun inflatables and Mr. Divot’s Miniature Golf for old-school miniature golf. New additions bring families out for activities at the library, to take a dip at the YMCA’s eight-lane pool or to lead their pup through the dog agility course at Aukerman Park.
For Elena, North Royalton is shaping up to be the safe, stable environment she sought out. She has already met some neighbor kids her son, Alexander, can play with and is happy to come home to a place she could stay a while.
“You just feel it,” she says. “It’s cozy and it’s nice.”
2016 Total Home Sales: 383
2016 Median Home Sale Price: $170,000
Education Ranking: 18
Safety Ranking: 10