Cedar Taylor merchants study streetscape improvements

The Cedar Taylor Business District is taking a proactive role in creating the next great neighborhood commercial district in the Heights.

In 2013, after several years of planning, the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. CTDA's first initiative has been to undertake a streetscape study to identify a range of initiatives aimed at creating a more cohesive neighborhood district.

CTDA comprises residents, business owners and property owners who have a vested interest in the Cedar Taylor neighborhood that spans both Cleveland Heights and University Heights. Its mission is broadly defined as "initiating activities that will foster a supportive and engaging environment for both commercial and residential stakeholders."

CTDA was awarded funds from the City of Cleveland Heights Community Development Block Grant, and the group engaged local planner Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris to develop the streetscape study.

Bandy-Zalatoris presented a set of preliminary concepts to neighborhood stakeholders on March 18, which explored a wide range of topics, including traffic pattern changes, parking, and streetscape improvements such as plantings, signage, public art and lighting.

“One of the greatest assets of this district,” said Bandy-Zalatoris, “is that so much of it is intact. It has an authentic feel and is populated with a good mix of independent businesses, with very few vacancies.”

The feedback from those in attendance was positive, and CTDA has many new ideas to consider.

“Initially, one of the biggest impact projects would be a better approach to traffic management,” said Bandy-Zalatoris. “A dedicated left-turn lane, bike lanes, and pulling parking back from the intersection would simplify the traffic pattern and create a lane of continuous traffic going through the district.”

CTDA plans to finalize the study by the end of April and then present it to both cities for feedback in May. Bandy-Zalatoris will assist CTDA in incorporating feedback from local stakeholders and prioritizing both short- and long-term initiatives. CTDA plans to fund the improvements from a variety of sources: donations from businesses and property owners, donations from local residents, funds from the municipal governments and grants from local organizations.

“The merchants here are very proactive,” said Bandy-Zalatoris. “They are very excited about working together to make positive change.”

For more information about the streetscape study or CTDA, contact Kevin Smith at smithkp@gmail.com.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is president of the board of directors of the Cedar Taylor Development Association and a board member of FutureHeights.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.01.2014