Free lot to become green space

The empty lot between Meadowbrook and Tullamore roads on Lee is often full during the day.

An empty lot on Lee Road will become green space until a new development project becomes available.

Situated between Meadowbrook and Tullamore roads, the empty lot was planned to be the site of the Terraces on Lee, a mixed use condominium and retail development, by Al Neyer, Inc. The project fell through when not enough condominiums were presold. The current housing slump and economic downturn makes finding a new developer unlikely in the near future.

Since the project's demise, the semi-paved lot has become free parking used by workers and retail patrons. Meanwhile, a new $6.2 million parking garage located behind the Cedar Lee Theater building, which the city had built to serve the new development, has remained underutilized since it opened in the fall of 2007. "Why would I pay to park in a far away garage, when the empty lot is much closer and is free?" said a free lot patron.

Cleveland Heights City Council voted to seed the lot with grass after considering other options according to Carl Czaga, director of public works. "The deciding factor," said Czaga, "was that Amtrust Bank could develop their new branch location on the half of the site that they own when their current lease at Lee and Washington expires. This possibility would prohibit the city from making the larger investment to pave the lot properly, restripe it and install meters."

Czaga said the city will shut down the lot in February 2009 and begin seeding as soon as weather permits. Costs for tear up and seeding were not available.

Short-term paid parking is available in the garage and in Lot #5 behind the Cedar Lee Theater building for $0.25 per half hour. Lot #5 also contains some permit parking. "We could explore permit parking within the garage if the demand were there," said Czaga. The city currently offers permit parking for $30 per month at the garages it owns on Coventry and at Surrey and Lennox in the Cedar Fairmount district.

Deanna Bremer Fisher has lived in the Heights for 15 years and is executive director of FutureHeights. 

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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 5:56 PM, 11.19.2008