The City Government and City Council work together to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors. We work to improve the amenities of our neighborhoods, parklands and recreation facilities; the continual upgrading of our vital infrastructure; to attract new businesses and drive residential and commercial economic development.
A great example of these efforts is the 28% decrease in violent crimes from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, burglary’s and breaking and entering’s are down nearly 50% and auto thefts are also down.
Due to new measures put in place and greater community outreach, our police department is doing great work every day. In 2018 the Chief of Police reassigned patrols to areas that had experienced higher rates of crime, increased police visibility throughout the city, increased foot patrols in our business districts.
Economic development has been a priority and these past couple of years a number of new programs have been implemented and development and redevelopment have been a focus.
The economic development toolbox has been enhanced with the addition of the Citywide Community Reinvestment Agreement (CRA), the approval to facilitate SBA Performance Grants and the Opportunity Zone designation of the Caledonia Park area. In 2018, the Council also gave approval to create a Community Reinvestment Corporation led by Future Heights.
Partially due to these tools new businesses have been established throughout the City. Ninety-five new businesses decided to make Cleveland Heights their home in 2017 and 2018 including the sale of the Rite Aid building to PawsCLE, Cilantro Taqueria in Coventry, Blank Canvas CLE on Lee Rd, Boss Dog Brewery on Lee Road and Stem Fluer on Mayfield (just to name a few).
Top of the Hill is an important development project for the City. Over the past two years 34 open meetings have been held including a series of community meetings. We continued to meet with residents to solicit input on the design and modifications have been made. The TOH will consist of 270 or so luxury apartments and up to 15,000 square feet of retail. We are excited that the business district is 100% behind this project. We expect to break ground in the 4th quarter barring any unforeseen circumstances.
The City conducted a market feasibility study in 2017 to create a redevelopment strategy for Severance Center. Because the City does not own the property and therefore does not control the site, the strategy includes engagement options with the current owners. Additionally the City is working to gain control of certain sites within the development such as Baker Square, which the City is in the process of purchasing.
In 2018 the City took ownership of a portion of the Taylor Tudor Buildings, due to tax default. We are working to gain ownership of the remainder and look at development options. The City completed its petition to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation will qualify for 20% federal tax credits and be eligible for competitive State rehab tax credits up to 25%. This effort by the City will help attract developers to this site.
The Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook site remains an exciting spot for development. The City selected a capable development partner with an excellent track record both locally and nationally. The development team is finalizing the market study that will better inform the project, and a Memorandum of Understanding is being negotiated as a first step towards redeveloping this site as a transformative mixed-use development in the heart of the Cedar Lee Commercial District.
In 2014, the City created an incentive program for the restoration of the College Club’s 112 year-old mansion to qualify for tax abatement. This incentive resulted in this sale in 2017. The project will consist of 14 high-end apartments and 13 townhouses with starting prices of $500,000.
Our housing staff continues to closely monitor tax delinquent properties for action with a priority put on those in nuisance status. Inspections continue and citations and further actions are given.
Since the passage of the foreclosure bond ordinance, the Housing Department has received 32 foreclosure bonds. Good news is that mortgage foreclosures were down to 147, the lowest since 2005.
The Housing department helped transfer 11 state forfeiture properties through the County Land Bank to our CDC partner.
The Housing Preservation Office (HPO) offers various programs to assist qualified Cleveland Heights homeowners/residents with violations and repairs to their homes. The loans and grants provided through HPO are publicly funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Two such programs are the Exterior Paint Grant and the Violation Repair Program for seniors. For those with lower incomes a short-term deferred/emergency loan is available if the homeowners meet the criteria.
The City of Cleveland Heights, in partnership with the County Board of Health, wants to make homes lead safe. With many homes built before 1978 lead-based paint is to be expected. Again, certain criteria must be met. Items that may be addressed through the City’s program include new windows and doors and painting and other repairs. Grants up to $9,000 are available with the homeowner making a minimum contribution of 10%. Children age five and younger is another requirement.
Preserving and enhancing our City’s infrastructure is vitally important. In 2017 beatification efforts along the Noble Road Corridor were completed along with the resurfacing of Warrensville Center Road. In 2018, the City completed road work and the streetscape of the Cedar Fairmount business district.
In 2017 replacement of the Meadowbrook water main, via an $818,000 award from the Cleveland Water Department, was completed. With a large grant, the City also replaced the water main on Selwyn Road.
The City implemented a software system and GIS to track all work on the sanitary and storm sewers in the City (over a four year period).
The City continues to invest $1.2 Million annually on resurfacing and maintaining our local roads.
We continue to work with other agencies including, but not limited to NOACA, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Public Works Commission, and Cuyahoga County to secure funding for major projects.
The $2.8 Million Mayfield Signalization project has progressed as planned and is expected to be completed soon.
One of the greatest assets to CH is our beautiful parks and recreation facilities. In our Rec Center all fitness equipment was upgraded. Barbara Boyd Park (formerly Caledonia Park) had the entire playground replaced and upgraded. Turtle Park also was improved in 2017 and the Cain Park Tennis Courts were resurfaced. Cumberland Pool had a number of facility improvements.
Cain Park continues to attract great shows and visitors from all over. Efforts continue to upgrade facilities and improve the experience for all who visit. Last year was Cain Parks 80th anniversary.
The Happy 5K, which launched four years ago has been a great success. A 10K has been added to it and last year there were more than 600 runners. $20,000 has been raised for the City’s youth scholarship since the beginning.
Both our Police and Fire Department continue to receive recognition, awards and grants from County, State and National entities. The PD, for the second year in a row, received the prestigious AAA Platinum Award for its efforts to protect walkers, bikers and for automobile traffic. CHFD received the highly competitive SAFER Grant, which pays for three firefighters/paramedics full salaries for three years.
Helping to make our city friendlier for visitors (local and non) is the addition of the Passport Parking app. It has been activated in all city-owned parking garages and large parking lots. It will soon be added to the smaller lots and all street meters.
We are proud of the efforts, and all of the behind the scenes work, of our city government. We will continue to work to make sure that Cleveland Heights is a desirable place to live, start a business, shop, dine and experience all of the great things we have to offer.
I passionately believe in the power of the democratic process to promote significant social change for the good of all citizens.Carol Roe
Friends of Carol Roe • 2412 Euclid Heights Blvd. Apt 401 • Cleveland Heights 44118