Councilman Update

Collinwood Strong

We are Collinwood Strong.  I have always said that one should never underestimate the resilience and tenacity of the residents of Collinwood.  We prove that time and time again. The weekend of April 14, 2017 was no exception.  Our community was struck a devastating blow by the vicious murder of Trina Tomola and Michael Kuznik in their place of business, Mr. Cars II on East 185th Street on Good Friday, April 14.  I want to make this publicly clear that this was no random act of violence. This assassination of two long-time merchants and their pet dog was deliberate and calculated. We know this by the savagery of the shooting and what was taken from the business including cars.  You have to ask yourself as I did standing there in the middle of the night with the Homicide Unit and Janet & Randy Kuznik, Michael’s parents, along with their son, Collin, what type of human savages would commit such a horrific act, on Good Friday; my guess, only God knows. I have known this family for over thirty years and they did not deserve to leave this earth in such a manner.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 4:02 PM, 05.07.2017

April Showers

That old saying – “April showers will bring May flowers!” In Cleveland, the flowers are orange barrels and potholes due to this crazy winter we’ve had.  Please be proactive on your own street and if there is a road issue please report it to the Division of Streets at (216) 664-2510. 

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 5:26 PM, 04.11.2017

Springtime

As we transition into Spring, there are a lot of activities and initiatives underway.  Like flowers, come construction barrels. The biggest project is rebuilding of East 152 Street which has begun in earnest. This project, long overdue for the Greater Collinwood community, will run through all of this year and possibly into early 2018.  Included in the project is a new road surface and the repair and replacement of gas & water lines and sewer work. Please be careful driving the roadway and watch for detours during the course of this much needed project which runs from Waterloo Road south to the East Cleveland line.

Cleveland City Council is presently holding General Fund Budget Hearings.  I have a lot of questions with regard to the budget and city services and how the passage of Issue 32, the city income tax increase, will address those concerns. The Council has a lot of work to do and I look forward to being engaged over the next three weeks in this process. The budget we pass by April 1 MUST be a “real people’s” budget with an emphasis on “quality of life” issues.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 3:59 PM, 03.09.2017

Councilman Update

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “buckle up, hang on, we are in for a bumpy ride!” Well, folks, I think we are on an interesting ride both in this country and maybe locally. We have a new President and

As the old saying goes, “the proof will be in the pudding.” Locally, we are all watching as to what federal and /or state programs could be affected by the possibility of federal departments being eliminated/ combined or the reduction in funding for economic development initiatives and capital improvements. Only time will tell. I can assure you that this year will be very interesting and one we will not soon forget.

Just when you think you are prepared for “almost anything” we get the word on Sunday, January 22, that our dear friend, the Honorable Judge Raymond L. Pianka, of the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court, died suddenly. Just as we were not prepared for the death of our neighbor the Honorable Senator George V. Voinovich last summer, Judge Pianka’s death was a real blow to our neighborhoods. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife, Karen, and their family. Besides losing a personal friend we lost an advocate for housing code enforcement, not only on the prosecution side, but for restoration, preservation, and advocacy on behalf of our neighborhoods. May he rest in Peace.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:05 PM, 02.08.2017

Happy New Year – Welcome 2017

Welcome to 2017. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa Celebrations. I wish all in our community a healthy, prosperous and safe New Year.

A lot transpired in 2016 on the development front and I am looking forward to an even more prosperous 2017. The long-awaited resurfacing and rebuilding of East 152 Street will begin within the first quarter of the year and will take us through 2018. This project is critical to the Collinwood Village community. I ask for all of your patience as this major project proceeds throughout the year.  

Work has begun on the historic LaSalle Theatre.  I believe in this project so strongly that I committed partial funding from our Ward allocation dollars for this lynchpin project. Thank you to Northeast Shores Development Corporation (NSDC) for spearheading this restoration and we look forward to visiting this venue once again. Anyone wishing to donate to this non-profit endeavor should call NSDC at (216) 481-7660.

The new multi-million dollar Salvation Army Temple Corps at 17625 Grovewood is tentatively set to officially open Sunday, 19 March. As I have said before, the Salvation Army has made a major commitment to our community and I cannot say enough good things about them.  Please remember them when you think about financially supporting non-profit neighborhood groups who work on behalf of our children and the neediest amongst us.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 12:11 PM, 01.13.2017

Wintertime

The Presidential election is over with; thank goodness. Those of you who voted and exercised your constitutional right – THANK YOU.  Those who didn’t – don’t complain. For, this election demonstrated, once again, how every vote counts. Only time will tell how our new President and his Cabinet will address the growing concerns of everyday citizens.  I will pray for him and his family just as I do for President Obama and his family.  We can only hope that he will work on behalf of all the American citizens and their families.  

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 6:48 PM, 12.04.2016

November Winds

The winds of change are upon us.  Please make sure you get your home winterized and your furnace and/or heating systems checked before the severe cold sets in.  Every year we have families being affected by carbon monoxide poisoning do to malfunctioning heaters or blocked chimneys/stacks.  Preventative maintenance goes a long way to keeping your family safe and warm this winter. 

With the change in season always comes that special day – and it’s not Halloween –even though it just may be scarier; that is ELECTION DAY! The day of fate is NOVEMBER 8th. I, like many of you, am not happy by what I see, read and hear virtually every day about this Presidential election as well as the statewide races we are confronted with as concerned citizens. As I have said repeatedly, Democracy is neither free nor pretty at times. This election, certainly, at least in my lifetime, has exceeded in every negative way possible. It has truly become ugly and as a result many citizens have become disenchanted and I hear far too often about folks not wanting to vote or plain simply will not vote. 

All I can say, from someone who has been voting since I was legally able to, and what I have told my own children on more than one occasion, I vote not just for myself and my own family but also for my community and especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending this great country during all the wars and all the conflicts from the American Revolution to all the battles we still fight today, including attacks by terrorists and religious fanatics.  I am constantly reminded of that when I visit the various churches in our community and see the plaques and monuments to those who served and died in defense of this great nation. For the most part – they were just kids just out of high school or in some cases who quit school to enlist; some making the ultimate sacrifice and some coming home permanently disabled and not the same. 

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 7:00 PM, 11.07.2016

Councilman's Corner

It continues to be a great summer and as we enter Fall we look forward to the kick-off of even more developments in the community.There have been some very positive developments since my last column. First, MetroParks held its first public meeting in the community on September 22 at the Collinwood Recreation Center regarding the reconstruction of the historic Euclid Beach pier at the park. This capital project has been something I have lobbied for many years and now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a train) or the practically speaking the horizon. It is my personal opinion that once the pier is constructed, which will be handicapped accessible, that Euclid Beach Park will become a destination place for the greater Collinwood community and beyond. Those of us who grew up remembering the original pier – remember it as a place for fishing, site seeing and watching the sun sunset with loved ones. I cannot wait to take that walk once again for I am committed to seeing this project come to fruition. 

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 7:55 PM, 10.03.2016

Councilman’s Corner

What great weather we’ve been blessed with this summer.  My sincere thanks to all who have supported all the neighborhood events and activities.  We had a great turn out for the Mayor’s Night Out Against Crime at the Humphrey’s Sports Complex on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 and my many thanks to the neighborhood organizations who staff the booths and tents.  Holy Redeemer Feast of the Assumption held on August 7th was a great show of support  as well.  The Friday night concert series at Euclid Beach Park had record turnouts and the Cleveland Metroparks is already working on next year’s musical line-up.  Veterans Park has been completed at East 174th Street and Lakeshore Blvd. and I can say that it looks great and if you have the time, please visit the memorial stone, it’s truly inspiring.

My sincere appreciation is extended to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for their contributions towards this most worthy endeavor.  The historic LaSalle Theater groundbreaking took place on Tuesday, August 9th and many thanks to the Northeast Shores Development Corporation for championing this project and anyone wishing to donate to make sure that this project is a success, please contact NESDC at 216 481-7660. 

Between our local development corporations, Collinwood/Nottingham Village, St.Clair-Superior and Northeast Shores, we believe that we have identified all abandoned and foreclosed properties in Ward 8.  If you believe that we may missed a property on your street, please call your local CDC to report the address.  We are working with the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer on making sure that all of the abandoned/delinquent property tax homes are processed for foreclosure and ultimate sheriff sale and/or demolition.  Our goal in 2016-17, is to rid our community of as many of these properties as we can.

As always, I can be reached at my office at 216 664-4236

Email mpolensek@clevelandcitycouncil.org

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 5:03 PM, 09.09.2016

Councilman’s Corner

What a great Summer! The RNC went off without any major problems and Cleveland was seen nationally as a peace-loving and supportive city. My sincere congratulations to everyone involved in making Cleveland shine during the convention, especially to our Cleveland Police Department and other law enforcement officers from around the country. However, now that the convention is over I hope that the City’s Administration will take a more aggressive and proactive look at neighborhood concerns and issues.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 1:19 PM, 08.11.2016

Councilman’s Corner

It has been a fast and furious summer so far.  I wish to thank everyone who joined us on Sunday, June 12 for the official dedication of Veteran’s Park at East 174th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. It was truly a great day. I look forward to the final completion of the site and the installation of new signage. Also, congratulations to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church for their hard work for their annual Feast of St Anthony and Procession which was a great success with a large turnout. 

The Friday night attendance at the Euclid Beach MetroPark’s Concert series has been overwhelming with great entertainment. Make sure to put these concerts on your calendar; they run every Friday night through August 12 beginning at 5:30 PM. Look forward to seeing you there.

We passed legislation in Cleveland City Council authorizing additional funding for the historic LaSalle Theatre Arts & Media Project which we all hope will get started soon. This project is critical for the redevelopment of the East 185th Street corridor.  My sincere appreciation to my colleagues in City Council who supported my efforts and sponsorship of this legislation.

The Waterloo Arts Festival on Saturday, June 25 was well attended and we all look for bigger and better things taking place on Waterloo Road in the near future.  Please support the local businesses in this growing Arts & Entertainment District along with all of our other vital and unique businesses in the Greater Collinwood community. 

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 12:36 PM, 07.10.2016

Councilman's Corner

Good weather is finally here; at least I think so. With the good weather brings construction work which is about to begin on several key projects all of which will have an impact on our community. 

Demolition has begun on the concrete turrets of the destroyed pedestrian bridge over I-90 which was hit about three years ago by a truck. Construction of a new pedestrian bridge by ODOT will continue through the summer and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Final work will begin shortly on the new Veteran’s Park at East 174th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. The dedication of the park is set for Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM. The groundbreaking for the new Eastside Market at East 105th Street and St Clair is set for Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 PM. We are hoping this will be the impetus for additional enhancement and investment along the St Clair Corridor. Design work continues on the proposed new Oliver Hazard Perry School. Public meetings and updates will be forthcoming. 

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 5:10 PM, 05.05.2016

Councilman’s Corner

Wow! What a crazy winter! Cold, snow & ice and then rain with the warming trends. I cannot remember the weather being so crazy. Nonetheless, “it is what it is.”

Cleveland City Council and the City Administration has been in budget hearings for three weeks; first, Block Grant Hearings and then the last two weeks in the City’s General Fund Budget hearings. All of us are keenly aware of the issues that we are dealing with from diminishing property tax receipts due to the number of abandoned homes and buildings to our “so-called friends” in Columbus who had decimated the Local Government Fund and other sources of revenue which resulted in a loss of revenue to the city of Cleveland over the last five years of approximately $112 million. So, you can see, and hopefully understand the challenges we then face for this coming year and heading into 2017.

Nonetheless, under State Law the City of Cleveland MUST have a balanced budget. We will have that come April 1st. However, basic City services remain the number one concern of our citizens in our neighborhood and across the city. With revenue being tight, there MUST be greater accountability within the various departments and divisions. I am looking forward to the Mayor and his support team getting a better handle on basic city services and holding his directors, commissioners, and employees responsible for the jobs they do or don’t do. It is one thing not to have the revenue stream but it is another thing to see some city employees not working or being disciplined for questionable behavior. That is unacceptable.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 03.06.2016

Councilmans Corner

Greetings! I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season and a joyous New Year. In 2015 we had many challenges and many successes and I wish to thank all the neighborhood groups and organizations, above all our neighborhood activists, for their continued engagement on behalf of the Greater Collinwood area. As you have heard me say so often, people can and will make a difference if they take the time to become stake holders in their neighborhood. We have proven that on numerous occasions.

In 2015, the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District improvements were completed and we have moved onto the re-design and planned improvements for East 185th Street commercial corridor, working in partnership with Northeast Shores Development Corporation and the City of Euclid. In the Collinwood & Nottingham Villages and Glenville communities we embarked upon the St Clair Avenue project which is targeting the redevelopment of the corridor from East 55th Street to Nottingham Road. Discussions continued with the Cleveland MetroParks with regard to capital improvements and the issues pertaining to the beaches and swimming.  We have made significant progress and our goal is to see swimming at our beaches THIS SUMMER and to have a plan put forth for the reconstruction of the historic Euclid Beach pier.  Stay tuned.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 5:34 PM, 01.05.2016

Happy Holidays!

I hope all of you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving; for, we have many things to be thankful for in our community.  On that note, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland for their announcement and groundbreaking for the new $10 million House of Worship and Community Center for the Salvation Army Temple Corps at 17625 Grovewood Avenue. This facility, since it will serve Greater Collinwood and Glenville communities and the City of Euclid, could have gone elsewhere. However, the Salvation Army decided to rebuild this facility at their existing site because of the ongoing support from the community itself. Please remember the Salvation Army during this Holiday Season and all that they do for the least amongst us. They are a wonderful organization and I cannot say enough about what they mean to our community.

As we move into the Winter season, please pay special attention to your surroundings.  If you see any streetlights out or water running in the street please report these as soon as possible.  Last winter, due to the extreme cold, we experienced numerous incidents of water main breaks in our streets and frozen and/or burst pipes in residential homes. Winterize your homes; keep a furnace vent open in your basement and plug / seal any drafts that you can identify, and never use a direct flame to thaw frozen pipes. Doing these simple things will prevent much larger problems.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 5:18 PM, 12.06.2015

Councilman Polensek's Letter to Senator Portman concerning Water Quality

Dear Senator Portman:

As Councilman representing Cleveland’s 8th Ward I am writing to you on behalf of my constituents and the people of Cleveland in regards to the ongoing Lake Erie water quality issue on the northeast side of the City of Cleveland.

Yesterday was Labor Day, a national holiday and the traditional end of summer, when countless numbers of families come together to celebrate the greatness of the American worker. In our own community families flock to the lakefront to picnic and to, hopefully, enjoy the lake.

However, over this magnificent weekend, families and their children were not allowed to swim at Euclid Beach and Villa Angela Beach MetroParks, because of the high levels of ecoli.  It hasn’t rained now for well over a week and the water in Euclid Creek itself is “as clear as drinking water.”  I live on the Creek and can attest to that on a daily basis.  Something is terribly wrong in America when families cannot enjoy the amenities of the lake except “at their own risk” in 2015.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 5:41 PM, 10.12.2015

September Winds

Where did summer go? It seems like it just got here and already it’s September. I hope everyone enjoyed the Friday night Summer Concert Series at Euclid Beach MetroPark. The attendance was unreal and the crowds enjoyed themselves immensely! In fact, we haven’t seen crowds such as these since the days of the amusement park and no issues were reported! The only concern, I guess,  was – not enough food vendors; which we will work on collectively for next year.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 6:40 PM, 09.08.2015

Last Days of Summer

It is hard to believe that these are already the last days of summer.  Yet, there is still so much to be done and a lot of fun yet to be had!!! I see many of you out in the Ward at different events, ie our Summer Concert Series at Euclid Beach, having fun – as it should be, with your family. 

Having said that I hope everyone has seen that the MetroParks has announced and opened Villa Angela Beach for swimming. This is a victory for our community and I wish to thank all of the individuals, neighborhood organizations and community activists for expressing their thoughts and opinions on this matter.  My thanks to MetroParks for hearing us and realizing how passionately, we as a community, feel about our beloved lakefront.  We are blessed in Ward 8 with almost two miles of lakefront.  These parks, besides providing recreational opportunities to our residents and children, have an economic impact on our neighborhood. Closed beaches mean less investment and lost opportunities.

We want clean beaches and parks that benefit our citizens.  Our next goal is to see swimming available for summers to come at Euclid Beach and Villa Angela.  We are also looking forward to seeing the final design and construction timeline for the replacement of the historic Euclid Beach pier.  Only then will we have a true destination park in our community.  I am committed to seeing that pier reconstructed.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 7:10 PM, 08.09.2015

Summer 2015

Summer is finally here and with it comes a whole host of neighborhood events. Starting June 12 through August 21st we will have the Friday night concerts at Euclid Beach MetroPark from 5:30 – 8:30 PM.  My heartfelt thanks to MetroParks for partnering with us and sponsoring this summer concert series. Last year we had great attendance and a lot of fun!  Put these concerts on your calendar. I look forward to seeing everyone on our beautiful lakefront this summer. For additional Summer Events look at the Collinwood Observer as well as refer to your very own copy of the “Scoop on Summer” which is now available (see www.scooponsummer.org).

Our many thanks to MetroParks for the ongoing improvements to Euclid Beach, Villa Angela Beach and Wildwood Park. The new pedestrian bridge over Euclid Creek is nearly complete and what a great addition to the park.  I hope you can all see now why I lobbied so heavily over the past several years for MetroParks to take ownership of these vital parks in our community. More improvements are being planned for the near future.  My personal dream is to see these parks become an true destination place for our greater community.  Stay tuned for updates and more information regarding the Euclid Creek Reservation along the lakefront.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 12:53 PM, 05.31.2015

Councilman's Corner

Dear Friends: 

It is hard to believe that it is May already.  It’s still cold but we are all looking forward to all the activities for warm weather.

Thank you to all residents for turning in potholes to the Mayor’s action Line at (216) 664-2900 and to the Division of Streets to (216) 664-2510.  If there are road issues – please do not hesitate to call these in.  Don’t assume someone else has turned them in already.  Be proactive about this.

The Lakeshore Boulevard project, from Marcella Road east, is in the home stretch. I wish to thank everyone for their patience and tolerance during this period.  It was truly like root canal.  The project is definitely needed and there will be additional projects coming to address sewer, flooding and waterline breakage issues.

The construction is well under way on the new MetroParks Pedestrian Bridge, between Wildwood Marina and Villa Angela Beach, and the erection of the superstructure should be taking place during the week of April 27, weather permitting. We continue to have ongoing discussions with the MetroParks with regard to lifeguards at Euclid Beach.  These discussions are productive and I look forward to hearing some good news before the swimming season.

There is still no final agreement between the City of Cleveland and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with regard to their review of the Cleveland Police Department. I, like most citizens, are really hoping to see a strong Community Policing component in the final agreement. Citizens want more police visibility and a greater interaction with the Police Officers in our community and the whole of the City. We need to get back to basic community police where the citizens can look on the Police as protector and the police see the citizens as partners in combating criminal activity. Stay tuned for future updates.

Our neighborhood, like the City of Cleveland, is waiting to hear about the County’s demolition bond.  We have abandoned and derelict properties which need to be razed throughout our community and in the entire city.  The City’s demolition funds have been exhausted and are only being used for forthwith demolitions on severely fire damaged structures or where there is an eminent collapse condition.  The city is hoping to receive several million dollars to address these conditions.  I urge all our neighborhood activists to express their support to our County Councilman, Anthony Hairston, who’s already on board, and County Executive, Armond Budish.

I urge our neighbors to do what you can to clean up your yards and around your property.  It was a rough winter and there is a lot of debris around.  If everyone does their bit our neighborhoods can look better than they do now.

I look forward to seeing everybody at the many upcoming neighborhood events. Please feel free to call me at the office at (216) 664-4236 or email me at mpolensek@clevelandcitycouncil.org.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 4:11 PM, 05.18.2015

Councilman's Corner

My dear fellow Eskimos – OOPS! They’re warmer in Alaska than we are.  What a Winter!

I don’t have to tell you the ongoing problems which we have had with snow plowing, especially on our residential side streets and now pothole and street repair. We are all hoping that the City Administration is getting on top of the shortcomings in their Winter Snow Attack Plan, so that we don’t have to go through the ordeal we had the week after the Super Bowl and beyond. Please, if there is an issue with snow or ice on your street please call (216) 664-2510, which is the number the City wants all of us to use.  In addition, you can call the same number to report potholes and dangerous road conditions.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 7:53 PM, 03.06.2015

Councilman's Corner

First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR to all. I hope 2015 brings good health and good times to all Collinwood Observerfaithful readers.

On that note, we are very fortunate in Ward8 and in the greater Collinwood community to have the Observer.  We are one of the few wards in the city that have our own neighborhood newspaper. Please support the newspaper by reading it and contributing to it through ads and/or articles.  This is our neighborhood voice. Let’s promote our neighborhood!! My sincere thanks to the Observer staff for promoting the greater Collinwood community.

In 2014 we had many successes and 2015 looks to be an equally exciting year.  The Waterloo Streetscape Project will be completed and the Lakeshore Boulevard Relief Sewer will be completed with resurfacing of the roadway to follow. Engineering work will begin for the rebuilding of East 152 Street from Waterloo Road to the East Cleveland line and we should be seeing the design of the new pedestrian bridge to go over I-90 which will replace the one that was destroyed. Water Pollution Control is working on the engineering for the rehabilitation of Euclid Creek south of Lakeshore Boulevard to Villaview Road, which could get under way later this year.

The MetroParks will be presenting their final designs for the new Pedestrian Bridge over Euclid Creek which will link Villa Angela Beach to Wildwood Marina. Construction should begin before Summer. They will also be presenting the designs for the new Pier at Euclid Beach Park. We are still having discussions regarding our desire to have life guards stationed at Euclid Beach and Villa Angela Beach. We believe this is critical in light of the increased usage of the parks.  MetroParks needs to understand that this is an issue of safety and security for our children and the general community.

The City of Cleveland and the City of Euclid are working closely on a plan for the East 185th Street corridor called the “Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative.” This is the same type of planning we had to undertake prior to the Waterloo Streetscape project. The East 185th Street corridor is critical to both of our communities and our goal is to see a streetscape redevelopment project implemented sometime in the near future.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 10:04 PM, 02.05.2015

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes

It goes without saying that the Holiday Season is upon us and I wish to thank all of the organizations, individuals, and businesses who have been working to make our community a better place. My sincere thanks to the East 140th, East 156th and East 185th Street Neighborhood Associations for their continued involvement in Ward 8. To our local development corporations, Northeast Shores, Collinwood Nottingham and St Clair-Superior, thank you for your participation and vision. To our neighborhood churches and other groups for their outreach – not only to their congregation but to those in need in the Greater Collinwood and Glenville communities. Even though we as a community continue to deal with challenges and issues I am thankful that I live in this great ethnically, racially and spiritually diverse community that is truly cosmopolitan. 

We have many things to be thankful for this past year including improvements in our three lakefront MetroParks; with much more coming in the next two years. The Euclid Creek Tunnel project is in the homestretch with completion planned for 2015. The installation of new storm sewers to address the ongoing problems with basement flooding will also improve water quality along our entire lakefront. The acquisition and renovation of abandoned and vacant homes has been ongoing through our development corporations and will expand next year. The near completion of the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District along Waterloo Road and East 156 Street is redefining our neighborhood as the east side arts district. The recent reorganization of the Collinwood Nottingham Villages Development Corporation will refocus their mission to include prioritizing the St Clair and East 152 Street corridors. Then there is the growing partnership between our community and the City of Euclid for targeting redevelopment of the East 185th Street and East 200th Street corridors.

In 2014, we saw a more aggressive approach to public safety issue by our neighborhood groups and concerned residents. We all know that the biggest deterrent to criminal activity is an engaged citizenry. Our ward has always distinguished itself by being proactive and working with the 5th District Police Commander and his officers. I look forward to that continued partnership as we go into the new year with all of its challenges. We all know though that challenges present opportunities as well. Therefore, I am calling upon everyone who lives, works and plays in Ward 8 to become more engaged than ever before. This includes that fact that we must press the Jackson Administration and the City’s Department of Building & Housing to do a better job on enforcing the city’s basic building code specifically with regard to absentee landlords with abandoned, foreclosed and vacant properties. This is the number one complaint I hear at neighborhood meetings and there is a direct tie to criminal activity with many of these properties. Good landlords maintain their properties and tend not to rent to bad families. Be observant on your street call the Police or the B&H hotline or the animal warden etc. when there is an issue!  I like nosey neighbors who care enough to take action regarding their street and show up at the neighborhood meetings.

Bad weather is coming – make sure you and your home is ready.  Call in any street lights out, abandoned cars on the street, water leaks, etc to my office or the appropriate City departments.  I may always be reached at my office at (216) 664-4236 or my email at mpolensek@clevelandcitycouncil.org.

On that note I look forward to seeing all of you in the New Year; God willing. I wish you and your families a HAPPY, JOYOUS and SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!  GOD BLESS YOU and the WARD 8 COMMUNITY!

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 2:57 PM, 01.24.2015

Councilman's Corner: Holiday Greetings

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted in new Ward 8 for the support you gave me on Election Day, November 5th. To have received 98.5% of the votes cast in new ward 8, is very humbling. Furthermore, to have the third highest vote total in City Council says a lot about the support I have received from our community over all the years. As someone who was raised in this community and a proud product of Collinwood High School, I wish to say, once again, “Thank You;” and I will not let you down. No councilman in this city has ever had the kind of support I have had. I am honored to represent the present Ward 11 community and God willing, come January 1st, the new 8th Ward. I look forward to working with my colleagues Kevin Conwell, in new Ward 9, and Jeff Johnson, in new Ward 10.

Updates on neighborhood projects:

Lakeshore Boulevard resurfacing project is virtually complete from East 140th Street to East 174th Street, even though there are some sewer lids and other items that need to be resolved weather permitting. Work has begun in earnest by the Northeast Regional Sewer District on the historic pump house at East 174th Street Lakeshore Boulevard at Euclid Creek with the installation of new lines and underground connectors. Work at the Triangle continues in connection with this project. NEORSD will go out for re-bidding on the $10.5 million Lakeshore Boulevard Relief Sewer Project which should get underway sometime in early 2014. All of these projects, including the Euclid Creek Tunnel Project, are part of an historic effort to address flooded basements and to clean up Euclid Creek and our lake front beaches.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 3:40 PM, 12.12.2013

Councilman's Corner

It has been an interesting Summer especially dodging construction projects. However, we all know that these projects are critical to our community and I am glad that they are going strong.

I have been informed by the Northeast Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) that they should be getting their bids back in early November for the Lakeshore Boulevard Relief Sewer which will run from Euclid Creek to Rosecliff. This project is severely needed to help alleviate basement flooding both north and south of Lakeshore Boulevard. The Euclid Creek Tunnel Project is on schedule and the road closure at St Clair Avenue and Nottingham Road should be reopened by the beginning of November, if everything continues to go well.

The Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District Streetscape Project is also going strong even though this has caused great inconvenience and hardship to the businesses on Waterloo and the many motorists who use Waterloo Road. Please continue to support the business in the District and use extreme caution when driving in the area. The Lakeshore Boulevard resurfacing project is well underway. Once again, drive with great caution through the roadway and detours.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 10:22 AM, 10.11.2013

Councilman's Corner

I wish to thank all the residents who attended East 185th Street Block Watch Meeting on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 with regard to the severe basement flooding we experienced in the community following the July 20th Storm event. We had a great turnout and my sincere thanks to the Department of Public Utilities and the Northeast Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) officials who came to the meeting and made presentations and took questions from concerned residents. 

We learned a lot and I appreciate the projects that have been completed to date and the new capital improvements in the works designed to help alleviate such problems in the future. However, we also learned that should we get another such storm, between 4”-6” of rain, there is no doubt that the local sewer system cannot take that massive flow and therefore, we will experience flooding once again. I urge all residents to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure you are covered for storm-related sewer back-up damages into your basement. This is the only way to really safeguard your home and personal belongings in the future.

I want to thank everyone for their patience and support for the Waterloo Road Streetscape Project which is now underway. This $5.5 million project is designed to reinvent the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District. This project has been in the works for a long time and will recreate that historic village concept that we have advocated for years. In addition, the rebuilding of Lakeshore Boulevard, from East 146th Street to East 171 Street, will begin again shortly since NEORSD has completed the necessary underground work in that area.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 12:58 PM, 09.12.2013

Councilman's Corner: Monsoon hits Collinwood-- Where do we go from here?

What a storm! Residents of Ward 11 know now what it is to experience a Monsoon Rain! In the wee morning hours of Saturday, July 20th, our community along with the City of Euclid and western Lake County, were hit with a monumental rain and wind storm which left hundreds of basements contaminated with storm and sanitary back-up. The weather service estimated that anywhere between 4”-6” of rain fell within less than an hour, which is unprecedented!

The City of Cleveland’s Division of Water Pollution Control indicated that there is no residential sewer system in the City that could have taken that volume of water in such a short period of time. In fact, Euclid Creek crested before 6:00 AM and completely engulfed the new wetland project in Wildwood Lakefront Park.

Besides the obvious damage to people’s homes and possessions, is ‘where do we go from here?’  “We are finding that many homeowner’s insurance policies do not or will not cover severe basement flooding as a result of a sewer / storm system back-up unless you had a rider/endorsement on your policy specifically covering ‘back-up of sewers or drains’,” according to Furlong Insurance on East 185th Street. As a result, an overwhelming number of families are left to fend for themselves and face massive repairs and replacement costs.  That is why on July 24th Cuyahoga County declared a “State of Emergency” at the request of the City of Cleveland and the City of Euclid.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 11:01 AM, 08.09.2013

Councilman's Corner

A lot of good things have transpired since my last writing. As I am sure you have heard, on April 22, Cleveland City Council passed two pieces of critical legislation, unanimously; one authorizing the City to take back the lakefront parks from the State along with Villa Angela Beach and the second was to enter into a 99-year Lease with the Cleveland MetroParks to operate Euclid Beach, Villa Angela Beach and Wildwood Park, along with other lakefront properties, as a part of the MetroParks’ System. Also, the Wildwood Wetlands Project is virtually complete and we are all looking forward to a great summer along our lakefront parks.   

This is great news for our neighborhood and it has been something which I have lobbied and worked for for several years.  We are on the verge of not only connecting the entire lakefront but connecting our neighborhood to the Euclid Creek Reservation with a defined bike path, thereby adding another critical link to the “Emerald Necklace.”

MetroParks’ administration should be well in-place by July 1, 2013. No doubt it will take time to get a handle on maintenance and capital repairs.  However, MetroParks has assured me that Safety and Security issues are the immediate Top Priority. This is great news and we all look forward to working with an outstanding partner such as the MetroParks System.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 2:42 PM, 05.08.2013

Councilman's Corner

Dear Friends:

This summer looks to be a very busy one for various projects and initiatives in the community.

Work has begun in earnest on the Euclid Creek Tunnel Project and also the rebuilding of portions of Lakeshore Boulevard from East 140 Street to East 185th Street. With this project there will continue to be traffic restrictions due to its size and scope which include the construction of new sewers, junction boxes, and the relocation of utilities and assorted other improvements. This will also include the repaving of Lakeshore Boulevard to address road surface issues. All this is meant to address not only the pollution problems in Euclid Creek and Lake Erie but also to address ongoing basement flooding problems. The scope of this project will also affect St. Clair Avenue sometime next year. 

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 9:09 PM, 06.08.2012

ODOT agrees to replace I-90 noise walls

I am pleased to announce that after a great deal of discussions and negotiations the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has agreed to replace the deteriorated and failing existing I-90 noise walls between East 140th Street and East 185th Street, both north and south sides. This is great news for the community and I wish to personally thank ODOT District 12 Deputy Director, Mr. Myron Pakush, for his commitment to our community. He saw firsthand how bad the existing walls have become and agreed that they needed to be replaced. The project is set to go out to bid in June with construction to begin later this year with completion scheduled for late summer 2013. This is another example of the fact that when we as a community join together we can and will make a difference whether it be local or dealing with the State.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:27 PM, 05.03.2012

From Councilman Polensek:

As of this writing, City Council has heard nothing back from the Administration as it pertains to the ongoing issue of suburban residents using the new Collinwood Recreation Center at no cost. I was absolutely amazed by the feedback I received in support of my Resolution in City Council recommending that there be a fee structure put in place for admission at the new facility by suburban residents or a reciprocation agreement with each surrounding suburb, thereby, permitting Cleveland residents and their children to use their facilities and complexes. There is no doubt that this issue has hit upon a very sore subject with our residents who have had no recreation facility to call their own for so long and were denied access to other suburban facilities unless they paid often exorbitant fees. Please stay tuned for future updates on this pressing matter.

I am sure that everyone has noticed that the much needed Euclid Creek Tunnel Project is well under way at this time. Please watch and drive with caution as you drive past or through each of the construction work zones. We all know there will be times when there will be lane closures on Lakeshore Boulevard along with St Clair Avenue, and as with any major construction project there will be inconveniences. However, this project is vital to the long term economic development of our area, and more importantly the environmental protection of our creek and lakefront.

You might have read lately that there is an effort underway on the Federal level to secure funding to expand the demolition of abandoned and foreclosed properties. If there is an abandoned house next door to you or on your street please contact the City’s Building & Housing Hotline at (216) 664-2207 and report the property. Make sure you have a correct address. There should be no home or structure unsecured in our ward without the proper city department being notified. The hotline number is designed for residents to be proactive on behalf of the community. If we all do our part – the City will have a better inventory as to what is abandoned and what needs to be inspected, secured and possibly razed. 

Finally, Spring is already here and Summer is not far off. Please help improve the look of our neighborhood. Start with your own yard. Take the initiative to clean up and remove wintertime debris. Remember, a street or a neighborhood is only as good as the people who live there. Be a responsible and caring neighbor in our community.

You may reach me at my office by calling (216) 664-4236.  If we miss your call, leave a message and make sure you leave your name and a phone number so that I can get back with you. Feel free to email me as well at  council11@clevelandcitycouncil.org.

 Have a BLESSED EASTER.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 12:45 PM, 04.03.2012

SCHOOL GUARDS NEEDED

Ward 11 has many schools, many different opportunities for an education of our children in the community. Our goal is always to try to keep them safe.  One way to do this is by providing schol guards at the busy intersections to help our students move to and from their school environment. 

We have several positions now open in the community where a School Guard would be quite beneficial.  If you are interested in helping to fill these posts please feel free to contact the Councilman's office at (216) 664-4236. If you are a reliable, on- time and responsible adult who can work well with children, mobile enough to be able to cross the students at busy intersections, and can act as the community eyes and ears for any additional needs of these students, then you may qualify to become a School Guard in the Ward 11 community. We also prefer that you are a resident of the Ward.

School Guards are paid employees of the City of Cleveland and eligible for health insurance. Prosepctive guards are asked to call the Councilman's office so that we can begin the process of getting you tested and trained to get out to yourt post as soon as possible, especially since school has already begun. 

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 3:46 PM, 09.15.2011

Letter from Councilman Polensek

As you can see, the $198 Million Euclid Creek Tunnel Project has begun in earnest in the Ward 11 community.  There are several sites in the neighborhood where construction is already underway; those being on the north side of Lakeshore Boulevard at the Easterly Waste Water Treatment Plant at East 140th, Triangle Park at East 174th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard and soon to be the northwest corner of Nottingham Road and St. Clair Avenue. One future construction site will be at the northern end of East 156 Street in Beulah Park.

 At each of these sites a vertical shaft will be drilled to a depth of approximately 200’ for ventilation and equipment access for the underground tunnel which will link the storm sewers in the neighborhood from St Clair Avenue underground to the staging site in the Village of Bratenahl, south of I-90. You can see this massive site as you are driving the East Shoreway, east bound just past Eddy Road and before the Lakeshore Boulevard exit. This is the main construction site where the tunnel boring machine will be assembled and eventually begin to carve out the immense 18,000 foot long / 24 foot diameter underground tunnel, which is intended to capture and hold 50 million gallons of heavily polluted and combined storm and waste water, referred to as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO’s), which will be treated and then released at the Easterly Waste Water Treatment Plant.

cont.

 

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 5:31 PM, 08.08.2011