HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours.  May your year be filled with peace, happiness and prosperity, as we enter the “20’s.” 

This past year has been met with many challenges and successes. Let me walk you through an overview of 2019.

-        The Greater Collinwood Development Corporation continues to grow its footprint and make positive strides in the northeast side of the city in an effort to create a uniform approach to neighborhood development activities.

-        A series of meetings were held with ODOT over the I-90 Bridge work and the construction impact on residents and our commercial business districts, especially the East 185th Street corridor. We appreciated the improvements but made it clear to ODOT that they need to think of the impact of road construction as we move toward the reconstruction of the East 152 Street I-90 bridge which will begin in Spring 2020. We hope they have learned from the previous construction cycle not to make the same mistakes.

-        We began in earnest, meetings and discussions pertaining to the Marcella Road / East 185th Street Sewer Project.  This $15 million endeavor was a long time coming but is designed to address the severe basement flooding we have experienced in the northeast portion of our community.  Work will proceed until late 2020 weather permitting.

-        On another closely related project, the Euclid Creek Tunnel Project went “operational” and the city turned responsibility of the Euclid Creek channel, between Lakeshore Boulevard and Villaview, over the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) for future enhancements and improvements.

-        The Division of Water completed the installation of new water lines and hydrants along East 157th Street, East 158th Street and East 160th Street off Waterloo Road.  

-        The Advisory Committee for the historic Longfellow Elementary School stepped up discussions and meetings.  The City took possession of the vacant property from CMSD and in turn sold it to Vesta Corporation, out of Connecticut, to be converted into Senior housing. This project is critical to the East 140th Street corridor.  We are looking to get “shovels in the ground” in the Spring of 2020 on this critical project.

-        I met with Governor Mike DeWine early in the year on a whole host of topics bringing him up to speed on those issues I felt were important to our community.  I look forward to a continued working relationship with him on issues that affect our community.

-        The City opened a new City Animal Care & Control facility which was a project near and dear to me. We have to provide the best shelter we can for our furry and not-so furry friends.

-        We celebrated the 100th Anniversaries of our beloved St Jerome’s Catholic Church on Lakeshore Boulevard and the historic Collinwood Slovenian Home on Holmes Avenue. We wish them another hundred years of service to the Collinwood community.

-        We dedicated the new pier at Euclid Beach Metropark to an overflow crowd and continued the summer concert series every Friday evening with record-setting crowds and a good time had by all. Our partners, the Cleveland MetroParks, took over control of the Wildwood Marina and made substantial improvements to the concession stands.

-        The new East Side Market opened at east 105th Street and St Clair Avenue to address the “Food Desert” that existed in the Glenville community.  We wish them well.

-        Chain Reaction on Fox TV 8 came to Collinwood.  Thanks to the efforts of GCDC, community activists and local businesses. We hope to see several new businesses open up as a result of this initiative.

-        Walgreen’s new version of itself opened on Lakeshore Boulevard next to Dave’s Supermarket.

-        The Department of Public Works, with the Office of Capital Projects, rebuilt Coit Road, East 168th Street and East 156th Street, besides the resurfacing of several residential streets in the ward.

-        Mark J. Tromba Pool & Playground in the Collinwood Village community was completely rebuilt and rededicated with family, friends and residents in attendance. The $1.2 million project, which included a new art piece, was dedicated to the spirit of the community.

-        We saw the long abandoned “Gold Building” on Waterloo Road/ East 156th Street purchased and renovation begun.  A new gallery has opened with more to come. We also saw the opening of Pop Life, at the former KeyBank building. There is a new vibe taking hold in the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District.

-        We tore down numerous abandoned, condemned structures throughout the Ward in partnership with the Cuyahoga County LandBank.  This process will only intensify throughout the new year.

-        When CMSD announced in November they would close our historic Collinwood High School, they found out how passionate the greater community felt about this landmark and its impact on the lives of so many.  As a result the community rose up and convinced CMSD to delay any decision on this closing and to give Collinwood High School and the community a new chance on life. In 2020, we will know how serious CMSD is about re-imaging CHS for future student populations. Watch for future announcements and community meetings pertaining to this important endeavor.

I could go on, but I hope you get the point that a lot has gone on in our community this past year.  In 2020, not only do I expect the progress to continue but I foresee challenges, as well, not only in our own community but city-wide. Concerns over inadequate police staffing; CPP rates and reliability; the level and quality of city services; public education; and, still the number of abandoned & condemned structures, will take a lot of our time and energy in this new year.  However, you know my attitude by now, we never give up or give in Ward 8. We stay committed and focused. Join with us in this process.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two large looming issues; City Council and the Census.  The first should be the Reduction of City Council from the present seventeen (17) members to nine (9) along with a pay reduction. These issues should be on the March Primary, to be held on Tuesday, March 17th. Watch for future announcements on these issues which, if passed, will greatly impact the Ward 8 community, and the city, overall.

The 2020 CENSUS IS COMING!!  April 1st is CENSUS DAY. The Census is mandated by the Constitution and impacts Congressional Representation and Federal funding to our local communities.  Furthermore, it impacts the Ohio House of Representatives’ districts and City of Cleveland Ward boundaries.  Compliance with the Census is critical.  When these forms come to your home in March – return them immediately, please. I cannot stress enough the importance of compliance with the Census.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! As always feel free to contact at my office at (216) 664-4236 or via email at mpolensek@clevelandcitycouncil.org.


Michael D. Polensek

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 5:13 PM, 01.12.2020