Spring is officially here. So the calendar tells me.

Thanks to all the residents who have been turning in the potholes and bad road conditions. Please continue to call those in to (216) 664-2510.  I have received calls into my office by motorists indicating that their tires and /or cars have been damaged because of the bad road conditions.  I you are a victim you must file a police report, take a picture of the hole in question, if you can.  However, you need to file a Moral claim with the City (216- 664-2800) to see if there is any form of reimbursement. As I have learned, this time of the year, drive with caution and be careful.  With the freeze and thaw cycle we have experienced, potholes can appear within days. Drive carefully.

My continued thanks to all residents who continue to be our eyes and ears of our neighborhood in turning in obvious service concerns and complaints.  What has distinguished our community, time and time again, is that we are proactive. If we continue to do that, then streets will be repaired properly, there will be no streetlights out, and abandoned vehicles will be removed from our streets and vacant lots.  All you need to do is drive the city and you can see what neighborhoods are proactive and which ones are not. Let’s continue to set a high standard in Ward 8.

On Monday, March 26, the City’s Budget was officially passed.  As I indicated in previous columns, time will tell this year whether the commitments and promises which were made with the passage of the City’s income tax (Issue 32) in November 2016 will really materialize. It’s no secret – many of our residents and this Councilman have not been happy with the delivery of basic city services, specifically building & housing code enforcement and the deployment of basic Cleveland Police patrols in our neighborhoods.  Our residents, for the most part, are engaged and look out for one another. However, there is no substitute for “men and women in blue” patrolling our neighborhoods. Cleveland voters were promised a significant ramp up in the number of Cleveland Police officers patrolling our streets and filling critical vacancies in the homicide unit and other investigative units.

It is one thing to stop crimes before they happen, which should be our daily goal.  However, once a crime has taken place it is paramount that there is follow up and thorough investigation.  We are seeing more and more cases, unfortunately, where that has not happened. That is unacceptable by any standard and the Safety Director, Chief of Police and the Command staff must be held accountable. It seems from most observers that the rank and file patrol officers always pay the price for the lack of management and oversight – this must be corrected.

Stay tuned for future updates on services and plans. On that note, on April 4 the Collinwood Homeowner’s and Tenants Association met to discuss the $1.5 million improvements earmarked for Mark Tromba Pool & Playground. This project has been in the works for some time and I am finally glad to see it in the development stage.  Work will begin later this year and run into 2019.  Another key project is the reconstruction of the historic Euclid Beach pier.  Construction equipment and materials are starting to be delivered to the site.  MetroParks awarded the pier contract to Nerone & Sons. We all cannot wait for the pier to be enjoyed once again by all of us in the neighborhood.

As I reported last month, various agencies, including the city, are planning to intensify efforts in 2018 to identify abandoned and condemned properties which need to be razed. However, just because a property is condemned or abandoned, it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to come down.  Many of these properties can be put back into productive use if they there are structurally sound. If there are no buyers or interested individuals then the legal entities have no other choice than to take them down due to obvious liability issues.  If there is an abandoned house on your street, and you or a friend or family member might be interested in, contact one of our development corporations who might be able to assist you in acquiring the property. In Ward 8 our approach has been surgical and strategic demolitions and I believe it has worked to our advantage. For, we are beginning to see property values stabilize.

Getting back to the issue of service and specially road conditions, there has been a great deal of discussion in City Council as to how roads are identified for resurfacing. The Administration hired a consultant that supposedly rated all of the streets in the city. They came up with a point system.  However, we continue to ask why the streets on the southeast side of the City continue to get the lionshare of the residential street resurfacing funds. I have my own theory, and it doesn’t jive with their rating system, if you get my drift. Councilmembers Anthony Hairston (Ward 10) and Kevin Conwell (Ward 9) along with myself will continue to lobby for fairness and equity in how streets are identified for resurfacing. Our residents pay taxes like everyone else and we expect to get our fair share of resurfacing dollars in our communities.  I do not agree with the present system for it works against communities and councilmembers that have played by the rules over the years.

My sincere appreciation to the Collinwood Nottingham Historical Society who presented a commemoration of the 110th Anniversary of the historic Collinwood School Fire on March 4th and 5th.  The commemoration at Memorial Elementary School on Monday, March 5th was both dignified and memorable and involved the students of the school thanks to the Principal and Staff at Memorial. Thank you also to the Chief of Fire, Angelo Cavillo, and his Command Staff of CFD along with Engine Company #31 and Ladder Company #31 members. We are proud extremely proud of our Cleveland Fire Department.

As always, I may be reached at my office at (216) 664-4236 or via email at mpolensek@clevelandcitycouncil.org.  Look forward to seeing you around the community.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 3:25 PM, 04.04.2018