Changing perceptions and reinventing South Collinwood

Much is going on in the city, in regards to new development and reinvestment. Most notably in areas such as Collinwood's own Waterloo neighborhood, University Circle, downtown, and quite a few west side areas. Optimism is seemingly climbing and respectability is returning to many different neighborhoods. Amidst all of this South Collinwood is often viewed as a second-class neighborhood outside of Collinwood, throughout the rest of the city, from my experience.

If you talk to people outside the neighborhood about the area south of the CSX tracks, many view it as some kind of war zone or crime haven. This couldn't be farther from the truth as Fifth District statistics prove that South Collinwood is the second lowest crime area on the northeast side(second only to North Collinwood). At the same time, one can almost see how outsiders could come to that conclusion considering how the news and the mainstream local media seem to portray the neighborhood with an imbalance of light being shed on bad news as opposed to the good. This can also be understood when noticing the amount of empty storefronts along St Clair, signifying a possible exodus of some kind, which normally leads people to ask the question, what's wrong that caused this?

This perception can be changed by educating folks on the good of South Collinwood. Remind people of the beautiful stadium near the Five Points intersection. Remind people of the beautiful newer school facilities that are Hannah Gibbons and East Clark as well as the one and only Job Corps Center, providing young adults with valuable skills so that they can excel. Inform them of the two businesses in the neighborhood serving fresh, locally grown produce: Cavotta's Garden Center and the Coit Road Farmers Market that sits on the border our neighborhood shares with East Cleveland. Tell them of the sidestreets lined with well-kept properties and people who still care about their neighborhood. Invite people to come and see what the neighborhood has to offer.

The city of Cleveland will not waste their time marketing our neighborhood to private businesses which would generate traffic in our neighborhood if there is no consumer or residential interest. Once this interest is sparked, the City may market this to the level of a Waterloo or Tremont, or University Circle, attracting small businesses of the private sector to build upon the current foundation, which could spawn 2nd or 3rd waves of businesses to piggyback off of the neighborhood's momentum and also create jobs for our residents. Our neighborhood could become one of destination as opposed to one of passing through. 

This is not something that could happen overnight but it starts with us. You are your neighborhood and your neighborhood is you. I encourage everyone that has access to the internet or the Collinwood or Nottingham Libraries to visit and click on Observation Deck on the left column, create a log-in and post your ideas about how we should advance our neighborhood. Or you can log in to the Member Center section on this same site and submit your response to the newspaper.

Dennis Freeman

Young adult male, interested in the advancement and sustainability of Collinwood and it's youth.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 5:19 PM, 05.03.2012