This week, a local show called the Sound of Applause did an on location special on a stretch of road in my neighborhood called the Waterloo Arts District. Home of the Beachland Ballroom, this area is trying to be the East Side equivalent to Gordon Square and in the past few years things have been starting to take off. http://www.ideastream.org/applause/entry/66100#embed-code As a former Trustee of ArtCollinwood (now called Waterloo Arts) I am quite familiar with what’s going on there and am acquainted with the Beachland’s owner, Cindy Barber. All this is good and, if their gamble pays off, then what happens along what was even in my Childhood a run-down area will potentially jump start the entire Collinwood area. However, many people I know who have been long time residents who decided not to move away, feel that much more needs to be done in other parts of the community. After all, North Collinwood is not just one street and a lakefront. As a lifelong resident of the East 185 St. area which I do take an issue with what was until recently the local development corporation’s ‘benign neglect’ of this once very important commercial corridor. While some restaurants have flourished, including most recently the Standard, and I’m glad something is being done with the LaSalle Theater, there are still too many vacant storefronts. Only recently has there been a concerted effort to come up with a comprehensive plan for the area and it’s been long coming.
Last year, I did a piece for Yahoo on my part of North Collinwood; which by the way was never historically part of Collinwood, which showed how different the area east of Nottingham Rd. is from places like Waterloo. This entire corner of the city of Cleveland has so many assets that I’m glad people are not writing it off. Yet, much more can be done.
Photographs taken by James Valentino.