Dear Friends and Neighbors
I hope this letter, finds you and your family well. I know how much of a struggle it has been. There are programs and resources available out there, though. Don’t feel ashamed to have to use them.
First, I wish to, once again, acknowledge for this MEMORIAL DAY just past, all those veterans who “gave their all” in service to this Country. It was because of their service and sacrifice, that we, today, enjoy the freedoms as outlined by our Constitution and its Amendments. Remember all of our Veterans who have passed from our presence.
To our 2020 GRADUATES, CONGRATULATIONS! You have worked hard to achieve this goal. This will certainly be a time in your life you will never forget, and we have gotten very creative in our ways to help you celebrate, as well. Best of everything as you set off on future journeys into further education or a career.
As I reported in the last Collinwood Observer, these are times which none of us have ever experienced. The toll on our country, state and our city has been unprecedented. Even during the worst days of WWII, according the “Old Timers” in the neighborhood, have we ever experienced anything like we have been through in these last two and half months.
As I write this article, it is almost inconceivable that we are approaching 100,000 Americans who have lost their lives due to this Covid-19 pandemic. Think about that for a moment. We recorded our first death due to the virus in late February. Who could have ever imagined the impact that this invisible killer would reap upon the American society?
We have not been able to meet in person either. I miss all of our neighborhood gatherings. As we move into June, it is still questionable as to how many neighborhood groups and organizations will resume with their meetings. We will try to keep you as informed as we can. Pay attention to news broadcasts, email blasts, Facebook and, of course, the Collinwood Observer for neighborhood news.
We have just been informed, that the Collinwood Recreation Center will be reopening come July 6 after staff can be retrained and the center sanitized. Face masks will be required while inside the Recreation Center and because the total number of individuals entering the facility will be strictly enforced, one must be pre-registered for any of the programs offered and MUST check in upon entering. Outdoor pools will be CLOSED all Summer. All City playgrounds, including the Basketball courts, will also be CLOSED until further notice.
In addition, I have also been alerted to the fact that while the Cleveland MetroParks are OPEN, all programs at the parks have been cancelled through the end of September. The always popular Euclid Beach LIVE Concerts have also been cancelled for this year. The use of the pavilions at all the parks and the pier at Euclid Beach are also off limits. Regarding, the beach areas, THERE WILL BE NO LIFEGUARDS on duty at Villa Angela Beach at this time; swimming is at your own risk. The lake levels are also at an all time high and the beaches have been eroded, which also makes these areas even more dangerous. Please be careful if you go down to the beach. All of this, though, is subject to change.
It goes without saying, our neighborhood businesses, and small businesses city wide, have been devastated by the mandated closures. I urge all to please support those neighborhood businesses who are open and those just starting to re-open. If there was ever a time to show loyalty to the businesses in the Greater Collinwood community, that time is now.
We are hearing that up to 40% or more of small businesses may never re-open. Many have failed already. As I write this article, the dominoes are falling each day. Some of these businesses have been neighborhood fixtures for decades and yet, cannot sustain the loss of income they have experienced. We have all heard the stories about the difficulty they have experienced in getting financial assistance, whether it be from the Federal or State governments. In addition, my office receives a call each day from those still waiting to receive their first unemployment check. Getting through to the Unemployment Bureau is a chore and many are discouraged. Keep trying, they are overwhelmed, too.
As a result, not only are businesses imploding but residents, some who have never experienced such financial difficulties, and are faced with the inability to pay bills and household expenses. There is help out there, ie. The Help Center at the Cleveland FoodBank (216-738-2067)
At the end of the day, we are all hoping and praying that the Federal government, in partnership with the State governments can ramp up testing, treatments and contact tracing to a point that allows us to get our economy back on its feet and citizens can get the help and treatments they need.
As a result of all the issues that families and individuals have been confronted with, many have failed to return their 2020 CENSUS FORMS. I cannot stress enough the importance of compliance with the 2020 Census and how this will impact the State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland as well as, our own Ward. If you think we have financial problems in Cuyahoga County and the City now, just wait; federal dollars to counties and cities is tied to Census figures. The fewer residents report, the fewer federal dollars are allocated to provide critical services, operations and programs. Please, if you have not returned your Census forms, please do so immediately. Afterall, it is a constitutional law. Please see https://2020Census.gov/
Finally, as we move into this summer, please continue to maintain social distancing, wear face masks where required, and follow personal hygiene recommendations. Above all, please look out for one another. This crisis has shown us the best and the worst in America and has exposed all the shortcomings in our supply chains. If we all do our part, God willing, we will get through this and just maybe come out a much better and caring society. I look forward to the day we can all gather as a community, once again.
I may be reached via phone at (216) 664-4236. Just leave a message and either I or my Executive Administrative Assistant, Mary Louise, will get back with you. We check emails constantly so please feel free to send us a message at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care. Stay well.
Michael D. Polensek
Councilman, Ward 8