Boulevard Neighbors to host housing forum
A new organization calling itself Boulevard Neighbors will present a forum for neighborhood residents on issues related to housing. The event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., at Beth El - the Heights Synagogue, 3246 Desota Ave. The area served by Boulevard Neighbors is bounded by Mayfield Road on the north, Cumberland Road on the west, Berkeley Road and a short stretch of Euclid Heights Boulevard on the south, and South Taylor Road on the east.
The new group formed in response to several shootings that occurred near Beechwood Avenue in October. The violent incidents caused residents from the neighborhood to meet with Cleveland Heights police officers at a Meet Your Police event in November, and again with various city officials and city council members at City Hall in December.
Following up on those meetings, several neighbors gathered at the home of Paul Greenberg and Karen Smith in April and agreed that an organization of people living in the area would be of great benefit.
There was formerly a Boulevard Neighbors group active in the same area, and the new group hopes to revive the spirit as well as the name of the former organization. After a few planning meetings, the new Boulevard Neighbors decided to participate in the neighborhood leadership workshops sponsored this past spring and summer by FutureHeights as part of its Community Capacity-Building Program.
In addition, the group arranged to use Beth El Synagogue as a central location for its larger meetings, the first two of which were held there in June and July. Those meetings were held to introduce the new organization to residents of the Boulevard neighborhood, and to identify the issues of greatest concern, which include safety and housing issues. Now the organization intends to present events providing useful information on those and other topics, starting with the Sept. 17 forum on housing issues.
Rick Wagner, housing director for the City of Cleveland Heights, will attend the forum to discuss city housing inspections and enforcement. Keith Kiefer of Keller Williams will then discuss market conditions, factors that affect property values and how a neighborhood organization can help boost sales. Both speakers will respond to questions as well.
Boulevard Neighbors welcomes all residents of the area to attend the forum, and the group has created a website, www.boulevardneighbors.org, where residents of the area can sign up to receive e-mail messages about future events and announcements.
Jeff Coryell is a member of the Cleveland Heights City Council and former board member of FutureHeights and Reaching Heights.