Happy Summer and Happy 4th of July!!
As I wrote in the last Observer about our crazy weather, what more can I say? It should be clear to all of us that our weather patterns are changing and with that comes a whole host of concerns and issues. The lake level has never been higher and it is affecting piers and abutments at our parks. In addition, the entire lakefront, including our community, is experiencing severe shoreline erosion. Some communities along the lakefront have completely lost their beaches. We are fortunate so far at Euclid Beach and Villa Angela, but all of us can see that we have lost at least 25 feet of open beach at the two parks this year alone. At this point there are no quick fixes and this high water will be with us for some time.
Speaking of the parks, our Friday Night, Euclid Beach Live Concerts, which run from 6:00 – 8:30 PM, are shaping up to be another great success. The weather has been perfect and we have had record crowds. The only problem we have experienced is with the availability of parking. Therefore, I want to point out that there is additional parking behind the Collinwood Recreation Center in the Humphreys Sports Complex; you can enter off of Grovewood Avenue at East 164th Street. There are approximately 200 additional spots there with a walkway leading up to the recreation center. Parking is also available at Wildwood Park. Please be aware that CMHA has announced that anyone parking at the Beachcrest Apartments located at 16700/16800 Lakeshore Boulevard will be ticketed and/or towed. The same holds true at the Euclid Beach highrises at East 159 Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. I guess having parking issues is a good problem to have. It is so nice to see so many of our residents coming to enjoy these concerts which run through August 2nd. Don’t forget that the restaurant at Wildwood is now open along with the concession stand at Euclid Beach. Thanks, once again, to our partners at MetroParks for helping to put our lakefront back on the map.
As I reported previously, on Friday, May 8th, the development project of the historic former Henry W. Longfellow Elementary School on East 140th Street at Darley Avenue, was awarded historic tax credit funding from the State of Ohio. We still have a few more hurdles to jump over before we finish the design work and begin to see this project become a reality but we are moving forward. This project is personal to me, for my grandparents lived on Darley as I did for a short time as a child. I don’t have to tell anyone what impact these abandoned structures have on our community. We are working diligently with the Greater Collinwood Dev. Corp. (GCDC) to save those structures with “good bones” and put them back into productive use. In Ward 8, we take a surgical approach to removing abandoned structures; whether it be a building or a home. I myself hate to see properties come down but I know that at some point we have no other choice due to their deteriorated and hazard condition which poses a threat to surrounding neighbors and/or businesses. Just recently, the derelict apartment building at 316 East 156 Street was taken down. It sat vacant and vandalized since 2007. The owners refused to repair the property and the city eventually had no other choice except to remove the blight from the community.
I want to say again, that if there is an abandoned structure that someone may be interested in, please contact Peggy Kearsey at GCDC at (216) 383-9772. She might be able to assist in identifying the current status of the property. The Cuyahoga County LandBank is another good source of information for abandoned properties and vacant lots. They can be reached at (216) 698-8853. In addition, the City of Cleveland LandBank also has a large number of vacant lots in their inventory and can be reached at (216) 664-4126. Our goal is to save every structure that can be saved and to rid our neighborhood of those which have become a symbol of decay and pose a threat to public health and safety.
As has been reported in the media, the Cleveland Metropolitan School district has been reevaluating K-8 elementary schools for potential closure and /or relocation. Two K-8 in Glenville neighborhood are earmarked to be closed, one being Iowa-Maple, which concerns me and the surround neighbors, greatly. We all know, unfortunately, the impact of vacant and abandoned schools on the greater community. I will keep the community apprised as we move forward. Come fall, CMSD will be holding community meetings with regard to the status of the high schools city-wide. I don’t have to tell anyone the concerns I have about Collinwood and Glenville high schools; for their enrollment figures have dropped significantly over the years with each school hovering around only 300 students. Collinwood High School, as we all know, was once the largest high school in the State of Ohio. A lot has happened since then and I am, like most alumni, waiting to hear what CMSD’s plans are for these two, once-great institutions. Stay tuned as we move toward the fall.
Preliminary work with Dominion Energy / East Ohio has begun on the East 185th Street / Marcella Road storm sewer project. Some gas lines have to be relocated along the roadway prior to the implementation of the sewer line. With this extremely wet weather we have experienced, it is more important than ever before that we get this project finished along with other projects being contemplated for the area to address basement flooding. Please drive carefully in the construction zone area.
Talking about wet weather, the City’s Division of Park Maintenance and the grass cutting program city-wide, for abandoned an vacant properties has been backed –up severely, due to the rain. If there is a vacant property on your street with high grass please call the Mayor’s Action Line at (216) 664-2900. Right now there is an eight-week rotation for grass cutting city-wide due to the sheer number of properties which the city is now having to cut. This has become a major problem as we try to address the appearance of our communities city-wide. The Administration has to come up with a better game plan in dealing with abandoned properties the cutting of grass at other city owned property. It is clear to me that we need more crews and more equipment to deal with this growing problem.
As I have reported at neighborhood meetings, Walgreens has notified us that they are closing the store at 15609 Lakeshore Boulevard and relocating across the street at 16100 Lakeshore Boulevard, the former Popeye’s. This will be a small retail store and pharmacy. This is a result of changing shopping habits, more people shopping on line, and the fact that their retail sales have dropped as a result of increased competition. Their lease is up at their present location, as well. I myself, believe that it is not a good move on their part. Regardless, at this point we are trying to work with them on the appearance of the new store and what will happen with their current location. I will keep the community informed as we move forward.
I look forward to seeing everyone at all the summer events. Be alert and stay safe. As always, I may be reached at my office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (216) 664-4236.
Michael D. Polensek