EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio – A small crowd gathered on the north side of Superior Road early Wednesday to witness the start of what two communities and Cuyahoga County hope to be the revitalization of the North Coventry neighborhood.
The neighborhood straddles East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights and is marked by boarded up, derelict properties that blight the occupied properties in the area.
The five simultaneous demolitions — spearheaded by both of the cities and theCuyahoga County Land Bank — were exciting but sad, said Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley.
“It’s a little sad to be honest with you,” the longtime Cleveland Heights resident said. “This used to be a very vibrant community.”
Kelley said he envisions the demolitions and the eventual economic revitalization in the neighborhood as the stepping-stone to returning the neighborhood to a place like it was for much of the last century.
“We want to change the neighborhood,” Kelley said. “We’re making this a safer community for East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights.”
Kelley says that by taking care of the abandoned and blighted properties, it makes the area less favorable for those who use the vacant properties as places to conduct illegal activity.
“Let those folks go somewhere else,” Kelley said.
According to Rick Wagner, manger of the Housing Programs Department for the city, there are about 63 properties targeted for demolitions in the two communities. The bulk of the properties demolished Wednesday were in East Cleveland.
“Working together with the Cuyahoga Land Bank and East Cleveland is a partnership that makes a commitment to the value of creative efforts to tackle the all important housing issues of Cuyahoga County,” Kelley said.
“This is an extremely important project,” said East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton. “We thank the Land Bank for helping revitalize East Cleveland.”
The estimated cost of the first phase of demolition is $1.1 million, earmarked from the Ohio Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward mortgage fraud settlement. This sum was matched by another $1 million earmarked for East Cleveland by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
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