It goes without saying that Fall is here. Please be proactive, any streetlights out, which there shouldn’t be with the installation of the new LED’s, please call it in to CPP. If there are potholes on your street please these into 3-1-1 and by all means, if you see a water leak in the street or at a hydrant please call this in to (216) 664-3060. If we all do our part then we will be better prepared for the cold weather ahead.
Work on the East 185th Street /Marcela Road Storm Sewer Project is now shifting into high gear. Work on access shafts at East Park and Pawnee at East 185th Street has started. The contractor, with the concurrence of my office, has begun their 24-hour around the clock tunnel boring operation. This $15 million project is critical in addressing the widespread basement flooding problem we have been experiencing in the East 185th Street corridor and adjacent streets. Watch for detours. The Water Pollution Control will be making another presentation on this project at the next East 185th Street Neighborhood Association meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 beginning at 6:00 PM at the Lithuanian Village Hall, rear entrance, located at 877 East 185th Street.
On Thursday, October 17, Cuyahoga County Executive, Armond Budish, and through the County’s Department of Public Works, announced through a news conference in Lakewood, a Lakefront Initiative, whereas the county, in partnership with local municipalities including the Northeast Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), put forth a proposal to link the lakefront from Lakewood to the City of Euclid. This would be accomplished through a series of walkways, bike paths and shoreline erosion efforts. There are three areas along the lakefront that they are looking at start this initiative; one being in Lakewood and two other locations in Cleveland Ward 8. One stretch would be between the Easterly Sewage Treatment Plant at East 140th Street east to Euclid Beach Park and the second from Wildwood Park east to East 185th Street at the Hospice property.
We all know the major problem we are experiencing with shoreline erosion and the high lake level. Could this address that problem and provide additional public access so as to create connectivity along our lakefront? Possibly, yes. However, there is a great deal of planning that must take place and the cost is in the tens of millions when you think of the size and scope of linking lakefront neighborhoods. Therefore, I have asked the County’s Department of Public Works that as soon as they are ready to present to our community to please work through my office to set up a public presentation, which would then be held at the Collinwood Recreation Center. It took our neighbor, the City of Euclid, fourteen years to do their section and they are far from done. Stay tuned for future updates.
I am sure everyone has heard by now that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has announced publicly their Long Term School Plan. This would include the closure and consolidation of ten schools, preK-8’s and high schools. If you recall with Issue 4 in 2014, voters were asked to go to the polls to support this issue, we were promised the rebuilding of elementary schools and that Glenville and Collinwood High schools would NOT be closed. Lo’ and behold, five years later, they are now breaking their promise to the community and announced that they will close Iowa-Maple Elementary in the East Glenville community and our very own Collinwood High School, an historic landmark at Ivanhoe/East 152 Street/St Clair Avenue.
I don’t have to tell anyone the anger and distress that this is causing on the northeast side of the city and our own community. Iowa-Maple Elementary serves the St Clair Avenue corridor and the area around Eddy Road. It is the only elementary school servicing that part of East Glenville. By the closure of this school children will have to travel a much greater distance to get to a school. This is unacceptable. Iowa-Maple needs to be rebuilt as promised.
Collinwood High School is a whole other story. It was once the largest public high school in the State of Ohio and a symbol of technical and vocational excellence for decades. Through one bad decision after another by CMSD Leadership those programs were removed and as a result the student population continued to drop year after year. The community, parents and one councilman after another asked for those programs to be reinstalled in Collinwood. What was CMSD’s response from one CEO to another, “we are working on it.” Well twenty years have passed, and the partnership with GE NELA Park disintegrated and they even lost the once proud jrROTC program due to the lack of interest by Administrators (not the students).
On Friday, October 18, 2019 CMSD apprised me of their decision. I was devastated; for, I am a proud Collinwood graduate and a member of their Hall of Fame. I made it clear that the fight was on. Everyone should understand that this is not just about education for our students but also about economic development and neighborhood stability. The closure of Collinwood would devastate an already fragile Five Points Business District, a hub, and would adversely affect housing values in the Collinwood / Nottingham Villages area, the Euclid-Green neighborhood and even North Shore Collinwood, for many students who live in this neighborhood go to Collinwood, as well. The closure of our high school will also have an adverse effect on the six “preK-8 schools” that ring Collinwood High School. Students would have to travel an additional 2.2 miles just from Collinwood to Glenville High School, the site of the merged high school.
The Greater Collinwood community is almost as large as the City of Euclid, twice the size of the City of East Cleveland and larger than the entire Glenville neighborhood. How could you close a high school with an Olympic sized swimming pool, free standing gymnasium, a 1,200 seat auditorium and other amenities? In addition, the entire roof was replaced on the school and the exterior brick was cleaned and tuck pointed along with the installation of new windows through the building. This renovation cost well over a $1 million. So much for looking out for the taxpayers! In fact, the estimated demolition cost for Collinwood would be in excess of $1.2 million. Talk about bad planning.
What do we want? Leave Collinwood open and place the curriculum and programs in the building we have asked for repeatedly.
This fight is not over. The School Board meets on November 6 at East Tech HS, where final recommendations will be presented and again on November 19 at Lincoln West HS where they will vote on the final recommendations. Students, parents and residents need to let their voice be heard before it is too late.
If there are any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. 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