CH council approves Noble development

On May 20, Cleveland Heights City Council approved TWG’s affordable apartment development, Nobility Court (once known as Noble Station).

Since the community first learned about the development, it has been shrouded with controversy and opposition. This May 20 council meeting was no different. A packed room (the usual early opposers and first-time resident attendees) brought opposition statements, emotions, and disappointment on many levels and [for many] reasons. The intentional and orchestrated effort implemented to shut down this project came too late. Each council member's voting decision was made, after countless meetings, presentations, and discussions since 2023.

Intentionally, from the start, the project and process excluded engaging the community. Beginning in the fall of 2023, I and others attended meeting after meeting (city council, review board), speaking up, and speaking out. We were adamantly opposed. The council listened and voted to oppose the plan.  

TWG returned, requesting an opportunity to do better, to make it right. City council approved, and I supported it, to the dismay of many. I had willingly participated in the focus group to provide input and be a part of the process. We have come a long way to get here and, being a part of the focus group, my mind and perspective changed.  

My initial concerns still exist and can’t be addressed by TWG—blighted and dilapidated apartment buildings up and down Noble Road; the need for amenities, restaurants, a pharmacy, other businesses; a needed facelift for existing businesses; support of infill housing that will increase property values; and [increased] safety for the area. Despite this, I support the project. I see it as a start; a segue to more to come. 

There is a crisis in this country for affordable housing. This is a start for Cleveland Heights to address this problem; but it can’t be only in the city’s Noble area that affordable housing exists. As developers come to our city and want to build, the city and council must request and require mixed-income housing, as this project is, throughout the city. Cleveland Heights can no longer continue to be a tale of two cities. 

To the city administration, the mayor, and city council: The momentum you have created for a better community on the north side of Cleveland Heights must continue—not just talk, but action. You have heard our voices—our needs and wants—loud and clear.  Transparency and communication are necessary and needed. Put action behind the plan by creating an inclusive and equitable city that we all desire to see. 

To Cleveland Heights residents: Let’s be strategic in this needed effort to become a destination community. We need to show up—not at the 11th hour, expecting our voices to be heard—but from the beginning. Attend meetings and become engaged. Be informed, research, and ask questions. We must hold the city and council accountable. There is much work to do to regain trust. This can’t happen if we aren’t at the table initially.

Tonya Horn

Tonya Horn is a DEI practitioner and a longtime resident of the Noble neighborhood. Her advocacy in Cleveland Heights began with her involvement with Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM).  

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:46 AM, 05.29.2024