Cleveland Entrepreneurs Put Dent in Black Joblessness
(The Grio) — Dave Parker ignored the naysayers. Parker, a 35-year-old entrepreneur, knew he had a good business idea that would work – an idea that would bring a dozen or more jobs to Cleveland. He wasn’t about to let anybody deter him from investing in an upscale downtown nightspot. His Xecutive UltraLounge, which hogs a chunk of Prospect Avenue, opened to raves Friday night. Parker looks at this nightspot as playing a role in the city’s revival. “I see the city moving in a positive direction – business-wise, especially in the downtown area,” said Parker, who also owns DLP Enterprise, a maintenance company. “I saw a great opportunity, and I wanted to reinvest in the city of Cleveland.” Such optimism reflects the spirit of this city. While outsiders might talk about urban decay, many people who call Cleveland home speak of opportunity here. The locals’ optimism can run headfirst into statistics that suggest despair might be a better gauge of the city’s economic mood. Since the 2000 census, Cleveland has lost 17.1 percent of its population. A good portion of the 81,588 people who left the city found refuge in suburbia. Among those who remain in the city, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the unemployment rate at 9.3 percent, a tick or two higher than the statewide figure.