Northsiders celebrate Noble resurfacing
Noble Neighbors celebrated the re-opening of Noble Road on Sept. 20 with a whimsical gathering. Residents wore orange clothes and shared orange-colored snacks—carrots, cheese crackers, and cone-shaped candy corn—to bid farewell to the orange barrels that had characterized their summertime travels. Signs thanking the project crews were waved in front of a newly out-of-commission road-closed sign, and thank-you signs were taped to orange barrels and machinery. Residents were joined in enjoying the smell of the new asphalt by Rich Orosz and others from the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works, Investigator Quintero Mack of the Cleveland Heights Police Department and Cleveland Heights City Council Member Carol Roe.
The project began in 2014, shortly after CH City Council members met with about 200 concerned neighbors at the Cleveland Heights Police Academy. At that meeting, facilitated by City Manager Tanisha Briley, six of the seven council members listened for two hours as Noble area residents described challenges and concerns. One concern was the poor condition of Noble Road.
Within a week of the meeting, Briley and Cleveland Heights Public Works Director Alex Mannarino attended a Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works meeting with officials from other cities. At that meeting, the county signaled a change in funding policy. County officials were looking for projects that were shovel-ready, that they could fund immediately, instead of waiting for the funding that was scheduled years later. Briley and Mannarino took advantage of the offer, citing Noble Road as a shovel-ready project and filling out the paperwork that day. The Noble Road resurfacing project was moved up by years.
Noble Neighbors has noted that the resurfacing of Noble Road is significant beyond its contribution to smooth automobile travel. In the organization’s view, the resurfacing project signals Noble’s readiness for economic development projects, and fits with the knowledge and momentum that FutureHeights and Noble Neighbors gained from workshops they hosted about the Triangle District—the mixed-use area bounded by Noble, Warrensville Center and Mayfield roads—a gateway to Cleveland Heights.
Anticipating new development in the Triangle District, Briley and Mannarino have scheduled for 2018 the resurfacing of the single block of Warrensville Center Road that is north of Mayfield Road. This will complete road repairs for the entire district.
Other preparations for planning and development are already in motion by the city of Cleveland Heights. Piles of surplus materials, asphalt and concrete, as well as impounded cars, have been removed from the large city-owned service yard on the site of the former dairy in the Triangle District. Trees will be planted along the fence line on Noble Road, to mask the service yard while city officials determine its future.
Melissa Yasinow, chair of CH City Council’s Municipal Services Committee, considers the economic development of the Triangle District as critical for the city. Accordingly, her committee has placed a high priority on evaluating how the city uses the large parcels it owns in the district. The committee is considering whether there are better uses for these properties, and weighing how city services could be maintained if some of the properties were developed for other purposes.
Noble Neighbors has expressed its appreciation for the way city officials are responding to its requests for resources that will support development, some of it soon. The organization notes that first impressions of Cleveland Heights are formed daily by commuters westbound on Mayfield Road toward University Circle. Noble Neighbors sees a rebuilt Triangle District as a place that could contribute to a new narrative for the whole city.
For more about Noble Neighbors, visit www.nobleneighbors.com.
Brenda H. May
Brenda H. May is one of the leaders of Noble Neighbors.