ELYRIA, Ohio -- As WKYC unzips the hidden gems in Northeast Ohio, up and coming cities are always on the radar.
Ohio’s 14th largest city is revamping and expanding, making the nearly 54,000 people who live there more passionate about the 44035.
►UNZIPPED EXPANDED | See every community we've featured on "Unzipped"
One of the newer, more creative spaces is Blank Slate.
“It’s the kind of place where you can have a baby shower at 10 a.m. and then a death metal show at 10 p.m.,” founder Eddy Marflak said.
It’s a cooperative art space, literally named for its concept.
“We have an art gallery right over there. We do film screening and discussions and we rent out the space."
It’s in downtown Elyria, too, which is becoming the place to be; it’s where Keith’s Comics has been for more than 20 years.
“This spot on the corner is great,” owner Bryan Branch said. “This is the closest thing I have to a bookstore, I think in downtown. I feel a lot of responsibility to keep it going."
The store has been up and down Broad Street and East Avenue, landing right across the street from Ely Square.
It’s not just the businesses that are thriving, Elyria has invested a lot of money in the parks and streets.
The people who live here seem to be behind the changes, too. Voters approved the school district’s wish to build a handful of new school buildings a couple years ago and the new, recently done Ely Stadium gives new pride to the city.
If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, try checking out the Roll Arena.
“We try to promote roller skating as a fitness activity,” owner Fred Smith said. “Our motto is where fun leads to fitness."
For 20 years, Smith and his wife had run the skating rink and times have changed.
“Kids today do much less physical activity,” Smith said. “People are more involved with their phones, games, screens."
To counter that, the arena offers good weekday and weekend deals as well as being one of the few kid-friendly activities in the area.
“With everything they're doing with Blank Slate and The Foundry, you walk in and there and think 'wow, this is Elyria.’”
The Foundry, one of the newer restaurants in the downtown area, has helped to kick start the development on Broad Street.
"We wanted to encompass the feeling of the history of Elyria,” said co-owner Rodney Johnson. "We were able to find a lot of memorabilia and old photos from Grafton, LaGrange, Elyria foundries from the 50s, 60s, 70s.”
Apparently, it’s only the beginning for the 44035.