PHOTO BY DEBORAH ROSE SADLON
Tuesday, March 21, 2023; Lakeview Community Center, 1290 W. 25th Street: A plan called Lakeview Connects hopes to establish links between the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Lakeview Terrace community and the surrounding Ohio City neighborhood.
PHOTO BY BRUCE CHECEFSKY
Tuesday, March 7, 2023; Lakeview Connects meeting, Malachi Center Social Hall, 2416 Superior Viaduct: Arthur Schmidt, a project manager and senior planner with OHM Advisors, reviews results from stakeholders in a working group and interviews with community residents.
by Bruce Checefsky
(April 2023, Plain Press) “This project is very near and dear to my heart,” said Matt Giles, Principal at OHM Advisors, a private company providing architecture, engineering, planning, urban design and landscape architecture, surveying, and construction engineering. Giles is a lifelong Cleveland resident. “It aligns very closely with my interest.”
Giles explained to the fifty or so attendees at the Malachi Center Social Hall in Ohio City, there for the overview of Lakeview Connects, a project to improve linkages between areas south of the Shoreway and Lakeview to reduce its physical isolation. Lakeview Connects differs from the Lakeview Terrace Master Plan. The Master Plan of Lakeview Terrace involved rehabbing the apartment buildings and modernization of the community center.
Ohio City Inc (OCI) commissioned the $103,000 Lakeview Connects study. The Gund Foundation and Cleveland Foundation made the project possible.
“How do we connect Lakeview Terrace with the rest of Ohio City?” Giles asked, projecting a slide that showed a Connectivity Analysis Study Area.
Giles said Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), which owns and manages the property, has a long-range plan to de-concentrate centers of poverty throughout the Greater Cleveland area, including Lakeview Terrace, a message not meant to have people leave but blur the lines between Lakeview Terrace and the surrounding community.
“There are better ways to integrate the immediate Lakeview Terrace neighborhood with the surrounding neighborhood,” Giles said, “while improving safety, access, connectivity, and inclusive redevelopment.”
An assessment of sidewalk areas showed non-existing or damaged sidewalks, limiting pedestrian infrastructure. Another map showed existing community assets in the Ohio City neighborhood near Lakeview Terrace. OMH determined that residents of Lakeview Terrace like where they lived, with the proximity to buses, schools, and services, but need help getting to destinations.
The air quality is an issue and has been for many years. Traffic along the Shoreway and trucks from Whiskey Island and south of the river from Ontario Stone have caused a density of dust and particles to rise around Lakeview Terrace as delivery trucks make their way to 1-90 and the Cleveland Inner Belt, added Giles. OCI monitors air quality for an accurate reading on various levels.
Arthur Schmidt, a project manager and senior planner with OHM Advisors, reviewed results from stakeholders in their working group along with earlier interviews with Ohio City community residents and used that information to create an outline of community objectives, including equity, inclusion, and access.
“We talked about opportunities for minority-owned and local businesses from a land use perspective,” said Schmidt. “Preserving existing industry, adding office and light industry, continuing to provide affordable housing and create market-rate housing, and even louder from the community were more restaurants and retail, and a celebration of the community through arts and culture.”
Safety was a key issue, along with pollution and environmental impacts and access to the riverfront from the community. Schmidt said results from the survey informed the next steps in the process, which include taking ideas and suggestions back to OHM to provide solutions and recommendations. Giles added that he would like to see all Ohio City neighbors have access to the river and the Flats West Bank through Lakeview Terrace.
CMHA is the seventh largest public housing authority in the United States, with 60 affordable housing developments and over 10,000 units.
There are 44 residential buildings of three types at Lakeview Terrace, some with views of the lake. The housing complex included the first community center in a public housing project and was innovative for its decorative arts, made possible by the Treasury Relief Art Project in 1935.
“Sometimes I feel like when we say stuff, they are not taking it in or listening to us,” said Lakeview resident Samantha Gallo, referring to meetings held by OCI and their advisors, often held in the community room at Lakeview Terrace. “We want more interaction with the community, like parks and public spaces.”
While Giles and OHM Advisors have reached out asking residents about their needs, it is not always what you think, according to Erle Potts, a resident who has lived at Lakeview Terrace for ten years.
“They ask us questions about what we need,” said Potts. “They always talk about restaurants and bars, and once you get to W25th Street and Detroit Ave towards Lorain Ave, that is an alcoholic avenue. We could use more children and younger adult-friendly activities.”
Potts said residents of Lakeview Terrace need maintenance issues resolved that are the responsibility of CMHA, including renovation and repair of individual units.
At the center of the air quality issue is dust kicked up by trucks leaving Ontario Stone Corporation, making their way to 1-90 and the Cleveland Inner Belt. Ontario Stone operates a storage area south of the Cuyahoga River, where the crushed stone gets delivered to various construction companies in the Northern Ohio region. Dust blows toward Lakeview Terrace, causing residents to close their windows and wear masks during the worst of it.
A report by the American Lung Association found Cleveland ranked as the 27th most polluted city in the nation for particle pollution and ozone.
“The levels of ozone and particle pollution in Cleveland can harm the health of all of our residents, but particularly at risk are children, older adults, pregnant people, and those living with chronic disease. Both ozone and particle pollution can cause premature death and other serious health effects, such as asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm. Particle pollution can also cause lung cancer,” said Ken Fletcher, Director of Advocacy for the Lung Association, in the report issued in April 2022.
Marc Barricelli, vice president of Ontario Stone Corp, said his company has been in business since 1960 and has owned the property where they operate since the 1970s. His grandfather was an Italian immigrant who came to Cleveland during the Great Depression. He expanded the family trucking business and recognized the need for limestone for building and construction.
“We wholesale limestone. Any construction project completed in Cleveland and the surrounding area has our limestone in it,” he said. “This plan [Lakeview Connects] will affect our business. For many years industry, residential, and entertainment have not worked together. We are all neighbors and need a solution. I am not some obscure, nameless individual from several states away. I am here to find an equitable solution.”
Barricelli said most businesses in a residential area face challenges, but there is no reason to be adversarial like it was in the 1980s. Elevating the Willow Avenue Bridge has been suggested as a possible solution to reduce truck traffic near Lakeview Terrace. Most of the discussions have been worth considering, but some ideas are unacceptable to him.
“When discussing the Willow Avenue Bridge as a solution, elevating it means using a lot more land to make it work properly and to code,” he said, suggesting it could interrupt his business.
“I do not favor anything that goes directly in the middle of my land. If something should happen to us, it is not a hole easily filled.”
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