Summertime in Ward 8
Wow! Can you believe this past Spring? I don’t know about you but my yard is like a sponge and I am trying my best to keep on top of the grass cutting and the weeds that pop up all over. I am not complaining though when I look at the crazy and deadly weather in other parts of the nation. Cleveland’s weather looks good.
We have kicked things off already in a big way. I wish to thank all the neighborhood residents and dignitaries who attending the official grand opening of the new Euclid Beach pier on Wednesday, May 22 at 11:00 AM. What great turnout. The weather was good and the Cleveland MetroParks, once again, delivered on this long-awaited improvement to the historic Euclid Beach park.
As I mentioned previously, I was a teenager when the park closed and how we all came to miss that “magical place on the Lake.” It had been my dream and desire since I came to be the councilman of the North Shore Collinwood community, to see the pier rebuilt. We went through the ups and downs over the years with the State, when it was under their control. After a great deal of lobbying and negotiations, the Cleveland MetroParks, in partnership with the City, then took over the three historic parks in our neighborhood of Euclid Beach, Villa Angela and Wildwood and thus, filling in the missing link of the “Emerald Necklace”. From the very first day, I actively engaged MetroParks in making the pier a priority project for our community. On May 22, that dream became a reality. However, I can assure you, I am not done, yet. I want to see additional capital improvements made to Euclid Beach Park and Wildwood, while keeping Villa Angela as a swimming beach and a nature preserve, as it was intended to be.
We are so fortunate to have the Cleveland MetroParks as a community partner. My sincere thanks to the three Park Commissioners, Ms. Debbie Berry, Mr. Dan Moore and Mr. Bruce Rinker; CEO Brian Zimmerman; and, to Chief Judge of Cuyahoga County Probate Court, the Honorable Anthony Russo, who is the appointing authority for the MetroParks Board. They have become true believers and supporters of our community and I wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Talking about the lakefront, once again, we will kick off the Euclid Beach LIVE Concerts on Friday, May 31 and running throughout the summer until Friday, August 2 except for July 5, due to the Holiday weekend. The concerts run from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM and there will be more entertainment and food options than in the past including the opening of the Concession Stand at Euclid Beach and a new restaurant at Wildwood Marina, both operated by MetroParks personnel. Look forward to seeing you all at these concerts and the other music venues and parks this Summer.
On Thursday, May 23, we had another great day. We officially opened the new Eastside Market which sits at East 105th Street and St Clair Avenue. As some of you are aware, Ward 8 goes west into the east Glenville neighborhood. This fresh food market, owned by NEON Health Care and operated by the family who owns the Mazzulo Markets in the suburbs, will serve the Glenville, Collinwood and Bratenahl Village communities daily. I cannot begin to tell what an improvement this is for that part of the northeast side of the city. Glenville has long needed a first class grocery store and healthcare center and now they have the first of its kind in the community. I wish to thank Mayor Jackson and my Colleagues in City Council for their support for this long awaited project. As the old saying goes “if you don’t use it you will lose it.” Shop local; support our neighborhood businesses.
More good news. We learned on Friday, May 17, that the State of Ohio awarded historic tax credits for the redevelopment project at the historic Henry W. Longfellow elementary school site on East 140th Street. The building, which has been vacant for over ten years, has recently transferred to the Vesta Corporation out of Connecticut, who will transform the old school building, as well as the construction of an additional new building, into 93 state-of-the art senior and handicapped living apartments. We have a few more hurdles to overcome for this project to become a reality. However, we are seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel.” My hope is that additional financing can be secured shortly to ensure that this project can begin by the end of the year.
We all know the importance of education and how it has shaped all of our lives. Recently, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has announced that they plan on closing four (4) additional K-8 schools; two in Glenville, one in the Broadway area and one in the St Clair-Superior area, along with the relocation of Kenneth Clement Boys Academy on Woodworth Avenue near the East Cleveland line. Now, I hope you can understand, why this councilman, along with our community, fought so hard to get new elementary schools built in our neighborhoods.
My fear from the beginning of the rebuilding plan, as some neighborhood leaders know, was that at some point CMSD or the State would back out of the contract with the taxpayers who supported the new building construction plan. You would have thought I had a crystal ball, but I didn’t. I wish I had been wrong. I have been around for a long time and have seen the “bait and switch” before. This time the State of Ohio are the ones who pulled the plug on the new construction. Obviously, I am greatly concerned with what will happen with Iowa-Maple Elementary, especially since CMSD is now proposing that the school be closed because of the state’s unwillingness to fund a new school at the present site.
There will be ongoing city-wide discussions and meetings pertaining to the K-8 schools and we are now being told that CMSD will be presenting plans in early Fall for the high schools city-wide. I don’t have to tell you, we are greatly concerned about their proposals for the historic Collinwood and Glenville high schools. We have asked repeatedly about a technical and vocational curriculum being recreated at Collinwood. We will continue to push for this. At one time, Collinwood was at the pinnacle of the technical and vocational training in the city and we saw what happened once this curriculum was removed. Stay tuned for future CMSD meetings.
The contractor Nerone and Sons, will be staging shortly for the construction of the $15 million East 185th Street / Marcella Road storm sewer project. In addition, Dominion Energy will be replacing gas lines, starting May 28, along various intersections of East 185th Street and Marcella Road as well. We have been assured that traffic will remain open during all of the construction work. While driving in this area, please drive with caution and pay attention of the work zones. We want to make sure that all construction workers, drivers and pedestrians remain safe. These projects are critical in addressing the ongoing basement flooding issues in the community.
For all events taking place throughout the summer in Collinwood please refer to the Scoop on Summer Guide. You can access this online at www.collinwoodscoop.org or pick one up at the various meetings and events in the community.
Have a safe and happy summer. As always, I may be reached at my office at (216) 664-4236 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael D. Polensek
Councilman, Ward 8