Councilman Update

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

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


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


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.



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