Hart puts forth her vision for CH
When we moved here in 2005, we looked for a walkable, bikeable town, with a diverse population and restaurants, shops, parks, trees, and mass transit. We found all of that in Cleveland Heights.
We still have all of that, but other forces have hurt our city. The mortgage foreclosure crisis impacted the north end, particularly harshly. Currently, non-local investors snap up properties online and flip or rent them without repair. The unconstitutional funding of schools causes increased taxes, driving some residents out, and creating declining population and higher taxes for those of us who stay. We have a 100-year-old sewer system that the EPA is requiring us to repair.
These are all challenges we face now and challenges that we will face into the future.
But the bones of greatness are still here, and I would build on those bones.
First, housing enforcement must be a keystone to not just fight blight, but to prevent it. Vacant lots should have infill housing or gardens.
Second, I would move forward more quickly with areas designated by the master plan for development to increase the tax base, advising developers of our values, like sustainability, prevailing wage, public input, and local hiring, before they put pen to paper designing a development. Development also gives an opportunity to include apprenticeships for residents to learn job skills.
Third, I would place top priority on developing the Noble triangle and redeveloping Severance. Noble development could jump-start that corridor. And Severance is a blight. It must be a top priority to redevelop it using development tools and negotiations.
One possibility for Severance is to build on the expanded Metro Health, and add medical offices, physical therapy facilities, and a training facility for health care professionals, along with retail and housing, including first-floor housing for seniors.
Finally, there has been an increase in gunfire in our city. This is not acceptable. As mayor, I will work closely with the residents, [the police] chief and officers to curb this activity, alleviating citizen concerns and ensuring resident safety.
I will continue to enhance what we have and step it up further. I want a vibrant community where all residents have equal access to city services, a city that is even more walkable and bikeable, more diverse and inclusive, that ensures developers incorporate our values of sustainability and public input, and is a place where everyone feels safe.
Melody Joy Hart is a current Cleveland Heights City Council member who is running for mayor. She has more than 35 years of experience in finance, and has held senior leadership positions in the private sector.