One road, three cities
A few years ago, my commute from the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood did a "180," from downtown to Mayfield Heights—a straight shot up Cedar Road.
I soon noticed a stark difference in conditions once you cross Green Road and enter Beachwood. I realize that Beachwood enjoys newer infrastructure and a tax base boosted by a robust business community; that said, much of the difference in conditions can be attributed to the example the city sets maintaining its own properties, and the standard it holds its residents to.
I realize that not every [Heights] property owner has the means to keep their property in tip-top shape, but I'm talking about the basics here. Uncut lawns; weeds (often several feet tall) along the curbs and sidewalk; bulk trash, including large pieces of furniture sitting out for weeks; cars parked on front lawns, etc.
Commercial areas are also poorly maintained, with weeds in front of the cellular phone store at Cedar and Lee roads; weeds visible from Cedar, behind the theater; weeds in front of the westernmost strip on the south side of Cedar Center; and weeds in front of the Speedway on Cedar and Green roads. [These] are just a few examples.
Response to complaints [made] via the city app are OK—but why do residents have to alert the city to overt abuses? And why do e-mails to city council members and other city officials go unaswered? I even sent notes to all three of the Cleveland Heights mayoral campaigns, and none responded.
This may seem to be a minor issue to many readers—and compared to other challenges the community faces, it probably is. That said, these shabby conditions are easily addressed, and [doing so] would convey that Cleveland Heights and University Heights are communities that residents take pride in, vs. what [the conditions] say today: We are cities without the means or the will to make our cities look their best.
Larry DeAngelis has lived in Cleveland Heights for 30 years. He and his wife, Christina, recently renewed their commitment to the city by building a new home in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood, on a lot that was formerly the site of a tennis court.