Westown celebrates annual meeting

(Plain Press, April 2019)    Westown Community Development Corporation held its annual meeting on Thursday, March 7that the Eastman Branch of the Cleveland Public Library at W. 116thand Lorain Avenue. Board President Patrick Clovin used a power point presentation to highlight some of the organization’s activities in its service area which includes all of City Council Ward 11. Guest speaker John Hildebrandt talked about the history of Cedar Point. Ward 11 Councilwoman Dona Brady was joined by Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley in presenting several awards.

Accomplishments Clovin highlighted included the cleanup of 105 vacant lots, 934 hours of clean-up and grass cutting, five branding events, code enforcement efforts and graffiti removal.

Cloven also noted some development projects, planned or underway, in the service area including: a $1.3 million investment in the Variety Village that includes a parking area for the Variety Theater and surrounding businesses; a $10 million investment by Weston Inc., in development of the former Midland Steel site on Madison Avenue; a $1.2 million investment by Dollar General in a new store at 12415 Bellaire; and investment in the restoration of the Stefan Decker building at 11918 Lorain Avenue.

Cloven shared some details on the projects via the Power Point presentation:

The Variety Village area project includes a grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to make the parking area more environmentally friendly. The area is to include 95 parking spaces with entrances and exits on W. 119thStreet. As for the restoration of the Variety Theater, Cloven said Westown is currently working on finalizing funding for the $15 million theater restoration project.

The Midland Steel site involves the planned development of the 22-acre site at W. 106thand Madison. When the development is complete the businesses located on the site are expected to generate 100 new jobs, generate $1.4 million in property taxes and $875,000 in income taxes, according to the presentation at the meeting.

The new Dollar General store will feature ceramic tiles by local artist Angelica Pozo.

Other activities in the neighborhood mentioned at the meeting included partnering with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank in the purchase and rehab of several homes in the neighborhood; reopening of the Dairy Queen at 3538 W. 105th; opening of West of Venus, a vintage home and clothing shop, at 10024 Lorain Avenue; and expansion of Cleveland Mofongo restaurant at 11621 Lorain Avenue.

Cloven noted that Westown had leveraged a $5,000 grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture to raise a total of $25,000 that helped to present a number of Westown Arts and Cultural programs including Summer Concerts, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Westown Winter Frolic, Library Appreciation Day and Cudell Commons Holiday Tree Dedication.

Councilwoman Dona Brady and Council President Kevin Kelley presented an award to Architect Daryl Mapson for donating design work to the efforts to restore Brookfield Park. Brady said that Mapson’s donation of his design services made the project affordable. She said she has allocated Parks and Recreation funds amounting to $75,000 per year for the past two years to the restoration of the park on W. 125thSouth of I-71. Park improvements include a new pavilion. Brady said the project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Councilwoman Brady and Council President Kelley presented Annabel Khouri and Eric Stoffer of Bay Branch Farm the 2019 Neighborhood Builders Award for their sustainable urban farm at 3612 W. 114thStreet.

Other awards on display at the meeting included the Lorain Station Holiday Winow Display awards with Therese Tahsler of Izzo’s Café at 10042 Lorain Avenue taking first place; Barb and Mike Radocaj of West of Venus at 10024 Lorain taking second place; and Judy Schindler of Schindler’s Fabrics at 9933 Lorain taking third place. Also, twenty residents from homes throughout the service area were honored with Bright and Beautiful Home Awards.

Kevin Kelly award
Thursday, March 7, 2019; Westown Community Development Corporation Annual Meeting, Cleveland Public Library Eastman Branch, 11602 Lorain Avenue: (L-R): Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, Annabel Khouri, Eric Stoffer and Ward 11 Councilwoman Dona Brady. Khouri and Stoffer received the Neighborhood Builders Award for the work to create a neighborhood farm on W. 114thStreet.

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