We need to embrace sustainability
Cleveland Heights is the tree city and is walkable and bikeable. Those things define us, and they are three of the things that attracted me to move here.
The housing density, mix of land uses, and walkability of Cleveland Heights—not to mention our location among so many amenities—makes it a great place to live. We must preserve and enhance these land-use advantages while making the city greener and helping everyone transition to renewable energy sources.
Sustainability needs to be ingrained in the culture of the government. Everything we all do as a city or as individuals affects our sustainability.
Three of our city government buildings are already heated and cooled by solar power. Our Community Reinvestment Areas have incentives for green [LEED] buildings. Our sewer system will be rebuilt so that raw sewage is not released into freshwater streams. These policies make me proud of Cleveland Heights.
As a member of city council I have:
- Led the successful effort to modify the MetroHealth expansion to save some of the Millikin Woods.
- Advocated for newer, more environmentally friendly cars for our police department.
If elected mayor I would:
- Advocate to pass an ordinance banning the use of pesticides by the city.
- Develop a tree-canopy program to plant new trees on city-owned land and vacant lots.
- Ensure the forestry department is fully staffed and we have a regular pruning program for city trees, as well as offer residents training in proper pruning and care of trees.
- Maintain and enhance our walkability/bikeability to make it easier for residents to utilize these forms of transportation.
- Require all development agreements to honor sustainability goals of taking as few trees as possible and replacing those that are taken.
- Replace “gas guzzlers” with environmentally friendly vehicles, where possible.
- Consider setting up a sustainability committee, like Shaker Heights, to continually assess city practices.
- Prohibit unnecessary idling of any city vehicle.
- Consider establishing incentives for businesses to convert to renewable energy sources, as Foundation (formerly Motorcars) Honda did.
- Look at the juncture of the well-being and quality of life of the residents, economic impacts to the city and businesses, and land use and conservation.
- Look at the possibility of a circulator bus/vehicle to transport people between business districts.
Sustainability is a wholistic and long-term process. We need to embrace it.
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.