The North Coventry Triangle
For many area residents, Coventry Village is the hip place for great nightlife, unique stores, fabulous restaurants, and interesting, historical places to live and work. Unfortunately, the North Coventry area of the neighborhood does not conjure up these positive thoughts.
The North Coventry triangle extends into East Cleveland, bordered on the north by Forest Hills Park, on the east by the Community Center, and on the south by Mayfield Road and the prosperity of Coventry Village. This neighborhood has many vacant homes and apartment buildings. Property values are depressed, and there is an increased level of crime activity. The area north of Mayfield Road has long been a source of concern for the City of Cleveland Heights.
At the March 18 meeting, City Council began to implement a plan of action for the North Coventry neighborhood. With a unanimous vote of Council, five blighted properties were declared public nuisances. In the coming weeks, those properties will be demolished and replaced with green spaces. This is only the first round of demolitions, as additional rounds will be forthcoming.
Demolition of vacant housing is nothing new in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis. What is unique about this project is that it is being implemented because of collaboration between the City of Cleveland Heights, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and the City of East Cleveland. This collaboration is supported by grants from former County Prosecutor Bill Mason’s office and another grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s office. The County Prosecutors office awarded Cleveland Heights $100,000 and East Cleveland $1 million from Delinquent Tax Assessment Collections, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office awarded Cleveland Heights an additional $100,000 and East Cleveland $1 million from settlement money from the banks as the result of predatory lending practices.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is acting as the repository for the combined $2.2 million dollars. In addition, they are currently in the process of identifying problem properties on the East Cleveland side of North Coventry and will carry out the demolitions. Most of the properties that will be coming down are multifamily homes and large apartment buildings. I believe that this project will have a transformative effect for this neighborhood.
With the amenities of Coventry Village just South of Mayfield Road, the close proximity to University Circle and the beauty of Forest Hills Park, North Coventry, in the near future, should be able to attract and retain good neighbors. I hope that this summer will be a defining point in expanding the vibrancy and success of Coventry Village to the benefit all of Cleveland Heights.
Jason Stein is a member of Cleveland Heights City Council, a Heights High graduate and a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident. He can be reached at 440-253-9613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.