Support Cedar Lee businesses during construction

I hope Cleveland Heights residents will join me in supporting our Cedar Lee businesses over the next few months. While the new streetscape construction is exciting, and will create a more attractive, safe and inviting district, construction activities will certainly disrupt “business as usual.” It will be dusty and traffic may be inconvenienced. However, I am confident the result will be worth it for our city.

Let’s work together to ensure the businesses that have continually invested in one of our best mixed-use districts are healthy when the ribbon is cut on the new street. Make sure to visit the Cedar Lee website (www.cedarlee.org) to see where parking is available, and consider using back streets into the district to minimize frustration and traffic. Please be patient.

I believe “shopping local” is a luxury, and we should rally around our local enterprises. This is especially true during a massive undertaking like the streetscape. Don’t forget to financially support the restaurants, shops, theaters, grocery store, mechanics, bars, brewery, drugstore, art galleries (what a list!) and all the other amazing amenities that are here.

I have heard and read comments asking “Is it worth it?” or stating “This is for the businesses.”

First, I submit [that] it is absolutely worth it to invest in our city’s infrastructure and that public investments often yield economic returns. Don’t believe me? Check out the Euclid Corridor Healthline. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s substantial investment of $200 million has resulted in over $4.3 billion in development activity. That is a more than 2,000-percent return on investment! The Cedar Lee streetscape’s budget is approximately $3 million. Can you imagine the same return? It would be over $60 million. That is impressive, and, let’s be honest, needed for our community.

Second, the notion that “this is for the businesses” is true, sort of. Yes, it will improve the quality of the district, optimistically bringing in new people to spend time and money. However, last I checked, the street and sidewalks don’t close during off-hours. The public right-of-way is exactly that—public. I am hopeful the new design will elevate the physical spaces to be more reflective of the people who frequent the district and the services that are available here.

We must invest in our community to remain competitive in our region. Investments like the Cedar Lee streetscape not only improve our spaces and places, but also demonstrate that the city is investing in its future. Please join me in supporting that commitment by ensuring all the businesses are here when the streetscape is complete. Like us, they deserve to celebrate and enjoy a healthy district that is uniquely Cleveland Heights. See you in Cedar Lee.

Alex Pesta

Alex Pesta and his wife chose to raise their three children in Cleveland Heights, and love the choices that places like Cedar Lee offer. Pesta is an architect and city planner who focuses his work on the revitalization of our urban areas.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 9:46 AM, 06.28.2016