Millikin neighbors petition for school reuse

Jason Stein of Cleveland Heights addresses the school board regarding the closed Millikin School.

At the May 4 meeting of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education, citizens submitted a petition with 420 signatures, urging the board to act quickly on revitalizing the Millikin Elementary School campus. Millikin, on Crest Road in the Severance neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, has been unused since its closing in 2006. Neighbors have cited acts of vandalism around the empty school and the school's increasingly unkempt condition as contributors to neighborhood decline. 

Jason Stein, area resident and recent candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council, spoke on behalf of the petitioners. He commended the board for its outreach to the nonprofit community, which led to an agreement between the schools and The Cleveland Music Settlement for the reuse of the also shuttered Coventry Elementary School. Stein urged that the same “positive energy and thoughtfulness” be applied to Millikin.

The Millikin petition was crafted by a group of citizens acting on their own. “We had to do something,” said Liza Wolf. “It has been four years and nothing is happening.” She urged the board to bring an educational institution into Millikin to help revitalize the area.

In 2007, the board of education placed Millikin up for public auction. The highest bid was from Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, a well-regarded private school with two campuses already operating nearby. The board chose to reject all bids and instead wait a little longer for an offer that would reflect the campus’s true market value.

Douglas Heuer, district superintendent, has stated that Millikin’s reuse is a priority for the school district. A long-term facilities plan was to be on the board’s agenda for its June 1 meeting.

Esther Feldman is a longtime Cleveland Heights resident and activist.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 1:06 PM, 05.18.2010