The following statement represents only the views or opinions of Neighbors in Action and does not represent or summarize those of other neighborhood groups.
TOPIC: Meeting between Neighbors in Action and Councilman Westbrook
(CLEVELAND) April 17, 2013 - Two representatives from Neighbors in Action and various other neighborhood groups met with Councilman Westbrook and Chris Warren (Chief of Regional Development for the City of Cleveland) last Thursday, April 11 to discuss the "Shoppes on Clifton" development project. The conversation also touched upon the fate of historic landmark Fifth Church of Christ Scientist.
Anita Brindza, executive director of Cudell Improvement, Inc. was also invited to attend but was not present.
The meeting was coordinated at the request of Neighbors in Action and took place at the Lake Avenue home of one of our representatives. Also attending were two individual Edgewater Drive homeowners as well as representatives from other groups, including City Beautiful, Clifton Area Residents Association, Lakewood Gold Coast Block Club, Edgewater Homeowners Association, and Papa Nick's Pizza. The executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization made a brief appearance but was unable to stay longer due to another commitment.
Both Mr. Warren and Councilman Westbrook rejected the petition request from Neighbors in Action urging neighborhood leaders to hold a community-wide meeting to discuss the proposed site plans. The Councilman also rejected the request for Neighbors in Action to have a seat at the table of "stakeholders"—a group the Councilman perceives as the voice and representation of the wider community. Two of those stakeholders were in attendance at the meeting and were quite vocal at times in opposition to some of the Councilman's statements
The unfortunate truth is Thursday night's meeting confirmed the very real disconnect between the Edgewater neighborhood on one hand and Councilman Westbrook and Cudell Improvement on the other. A great need for more transparency and communication from our neighborhood leaders is evident.
As a resident we encourage you to ask our neighborhood leaders the following:
Neighbors in Action is a strong proponent of development, that is, a good urban design promoting a pedestrian-friendly plan well suited for a historic district. This includes designing buildings close to Clifton Boulevard and parking in back, a clearly different view than the one expressed by the developer, Carnegie Companies, in a March 28 Fresh Water Cleveland interview,
"In today’s world, they prefer, if at all possible, to have parking in front," he says. "It maximizes visibility and reduces liability for the retailers. If parking is hidden from traffic sources... Things happen in hidden parking lots. It's been an issue in the past." Read Fresh Water Cleveland article
As for Fifth Church of Christ Scientist, Neighbors in Action recognize the multiple challenges associated with the neglected historic landmark. Although our group will continue to put forth information to potential investors (both locally and nationwide), we invite the City and the developer to present alternative uses for the land but emphasize that any such development that proposes to erase a historic landmark from the community's historical DNA should be replaced with a development of the highest value for the neighborhood now and for future generations.
At the moment, the proposed truck loading dock as shown on the "proposed site plan, dated 03/06/13," which would be located several feet from a "Welcome to Edgewater, a premier Cleveland neighborhood" sign, doesn't even come close to reaching that goal.
Decisions being made today will impact our neighborhood well into the future.
Remain engaged in the conversation and let our neighborhood leaders and the developers know you are watching.
ABOUT DEVELOPER CARNEGIE COMPANIES
(April 2, 2013) LoopNet Listings of Carnegie Companies' Retail Strip Centers
Includes tenants such as: Dollar General, Rent A Center, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Giant Eagle, Big Lots, Save-A-Lot, and more.
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(216) 664-4230 (Office); firstname.lastname@example.org
(216) 228-4383 (Office); email@example.com