March 22, 2013 [Brian Byrne, cleveland.com]
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — City Council is collaborating with East Cleveland officials in an effort to rejuvenate the struggling North Coventry neighborhood.
Utilizing funding provided by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, the cities have embarked on an initiative to demolish blighting vacant homes in the hopes of attracting renters and investment to North Coventry.
North Coventry is bordered by Coventry Road to the west, Mayfield Road to the south and Superior Road, which runs northwest from Mayfield, forming the neighborhood’s triangle. It is split approximately in half by Avondale Road, with Cleveland Heights to the south and East Cleveland to the north.
According to Cleveland Heights City Councilman Jason Stein, who serves on council’s planning and development committee, North Coventry has been hit with particularly high foreclosure and vacancy rates, resulting in dilapidated homes, plummeting property values and attracting looters to the primarily multi-family dwelling neighborhood situated directly north of the Coventry Village commercial district.
“We all love Coventry (Village), and understand the importance of that commercial and residential area as an economic and cultural driver for our city. However, North Coventry…has not shared in the prosperity of the traditional Coventry (Village) area,” he said.
East Cleveland was awarded $1 million each from the land bank and prosecutor’s office, and Cleveland Heights $100,000 from both to clear problem vacant properties. On March 18, Cleveland Heights City Council took the first step to demolish five such homes – on Coventry, Eddington and Glenmont roads – and is expected to take action on a second round in the coming weeks.
“You cannot live in any of these homes, they have to come down. They are worthless at this point,” Stein said.
Stein said East Cleveland will be working with the land bank to target vacant properties for demolition, which are to include a number of shuttered apartment buildings on Superior Road just north of the Cleveland Heights Community Center sometime this summer.
The cleared properties will be converted to greenspace. Leveraging the neighborhood’s proximity to Coventry Village, University Circle and Forest Hill Park, the cities look for the improvements to spur interest in potential renters and investment into the remaining viable properties.
“I think it will send the right message to the neighbors living there now, and the right message to (renters and investors) considering North Coventry,” Stein said.
Contact Byrne at 216-986-5867 and @BByrneSunNews on Twitter.