At this time of the year, as we prepare for the Holidays I wanted to thank all the neighborhood groups, organizations, clubs and individuals who have worked on behalf of the community this past year. It goes without saying that the community is only as good as the people and organizations in it. As we approach 2019, it is more important than ever before to get involved in our community or the clubs that encompasses your street.
We all know that there have been major changes in our local development corporations this past year. We are moving forward, though, and doing our best to overcome bad decisions that were made by former Executive Staff members. Justice will be served on those individuals who took advantage of our neighborhood support and trust. Regardless of the actions of these individuals, our community is resilient and we must collectively refuse to allow their actions to define our community. Again, I urge, anyone who would like to become a stakeholder in our community and to get involved, to contact the Greater Collinwood Development Corporation, which now encompasses our entire Ward and part of Ward 10. They may be reached at (216) 383-9772.
This past year, we are thankful for many projects and initiatives that have either been completed or are in progress. The historic Euclid Beach Pier project, Phase I, is now complete and I will be working with our partners, Cleveland MetroParks on Phase II and beyond. If you haven’t been to the park lately, you need to see what a great addition this is to our community and the new arches which have been erected at the entrance and over the pier that have been designed to showcase the significance of the pier, the historic Euclid Beach Park and the park as it is now. My sincere thanks to the non-profit organization, Euclid Beach NOW and their President, Mr. John Frato, for helping to design these wonderful new arches.
Work will begin shortly on a new Mark Tromba Playground at Pomeroy Road in the Collinwood Village neighborhood, which will include a new water feature, additional parking and public art for the first time. The lights are already on at the new O.H. Perry Elementary School being constructed between Schenely and Harland Roads, just off East 185th Street. This project was a longtime coming and I want to thank the New Building Advisory Team members who played a critical role in the design of the building. We are also proud of the fact that the Library & Media Center will be named for George & Janet Voinovich, true community friends who felt so passionately about this school and special education.
Speaking of libraries, work has begun on the historic Carnegie inspired Collinwood Branch Library of the Cleveland Library System located on East 152 Street. The building is undergoing complete renovation to include work on the adjacent parking lot area. We are still waiting on word as to what enhancements and improvements will be done on the Memorial Nottingham Branch Library and Annex on Lakeshore Boulevard and when this work will start. Watch for future announcements.
My sincere appreciation to my colleagues in Council and the Administration and Public Utilities for the support and passage of legislation totaling approximately $14.0 million to install a new storm sewer down East 185th from Pawnee Avenue to Marcella Road and then down this roadway to Lakeshore Boulevard. This project will get started in the spring and is critical to addressing the ongoing basement flooding in the East 185th Street corridor and adjacent streets. This project must be completed before we begin Phase I of the East185th Street streetscape project.
We are continuing to work with the Cuyahoga County Landbank of riding our community of vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties which are an eyesore and a safety hazard. This work will continue throughout 2019 while at the same time we will be working with our development corporation and private individuals on saving those structures which can be placed back into productive use. Our goal is to make major dent in the backlog of demolitions and to see more homes rehabbed than ever before. If you are interested in a specific property, call the Development Corporation for possible help.
Public Safety remains a major concern city-wide as we move into 2019. I am pleased to report that Ward 8 continues to have the lowest crime rate in the 5th District despite some incidents over this past year. We continue to look to the CPD Administration as to when additional officers will be deployed in the 5th District and throughout the city. We have a good District Commander in Sammy Morris and the rest of the “Men and Women in Blue” who work hard everyday on our behalf. However, they need additional help. We the citizens of Cleveland were promised in 2016 with the passage of Issue 32 that there would be a significant ramp-up of patrol officers. That has not taken place to date. We are hoping in 2019 to hear and see a real game plan coming out of the Administration as how they are going to address these shortcomings in critical police personnel.
As we all know, though, Police alone are only a part of the solution to crime on the streets. We need citizens and concerned residents setting the tone on their own street and in the neighborhood. Let’s continue to look out for one another, report incidents of crime, and be the “eyes and ears” for our 5th District Officers. If we do our part, our community will remain a low crime area as compared to others sections of the east side. This is my hope for the New Year. Concerned citizens can and will make a difference.
As always, I may be reached at my office at (216) 664-4236 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of myself and my family, I wish all our residents, and those who work with our businesses and institutions in the community, a Happy Holiday Season; Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanzaa and a prosperous New Year, to all.
Michael D. Polensek