I truly believe that to have a successful city, you must have strong neighborhoods. One of the signs of this is to have a good network of local development corporations that work with the community. The Collinwood area happens to have two of them; the one representing North Shore Collinwood being the Northeast Shores Development Corporation. This has been around for decades and I remember stopping in their offices in the 90’s when they were actually housed in a building next to Euclid General Hospital. Board members, and executive directors, come and go but I’ve been a fairly loyal member. However, Wednesday’s Quarterly Membership meeting was the first I’ve been to in a year. Instead of at the Collinwood Rec Center, they decided to put it across the street at Euclid Beach Park. That’s where I went a little before 6:00 to the pavilion to see what was going on.
I knew some of the people already, such as Councilman Michael Polensek’s aide Mary Louise Daley, but the vast majority were new faces. Even the new Board president, a guy named Scott, I never met before. However, I wound up staying there for over an hour and a half, and not just because of the hot dogs. They just appointed a new Director and I got to chat with some of the staff for the first time in years. None lives in the neighborhood. However, one young lady did just buy a house in Old Brooklyn which at least is in the city. As for the business development specialist, he lives in the same area of Cleveland Heights where my mother grew up. As for the new director, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
Actually, a lot of positive things are still taking place here. Work is still going on regarding the new Euclid Beach Pier. As for the La Salle Theater on East 185th Street, they are in the process of getting more funding for the renovation project there. Also, we’re going to get one of the big white Cleveland signs like the one that everyone has been taking photos with at Edgewater Park. Considering the terrible events last month at Mr. Car, this meeting put things all back into perspective. While my neighborhood is not one of those targeted in that new Cleveland State Univeristy study commissioned by Mayor Jackson for investment, it still on the cusp of becoming one happening place. Chatting with some of the people there, I met a lady who moved here from Shaker. She told me that a realtor told her that the area where she moved to was getting a lot of money coming in renovating those lakefront properties. Also, like many of the other former Heights’ residents who moved into North Shore Collinwood over the past few decades, she loves the lower taxes from what she was formerly paying.
I hope the Corporation starts renovating their new offices on East 185th St. soon so they can move back there. I also will try to attend more meetings to see what is going on.
Photographs by James Valentino