By Sue Botos
It was a case of good news, bad news last week as the city’s application for funds to develop a new master plan was accepted by the county. But a bid to fund a park at the corner of Shoreland Avenue and Wooster Road got a thumbs-down.
Mayor Pam Bobst told City Council at its Feb. 8 legislative session that the city has received a $60,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development to update its master plan. The city applied for the funding in October to fulfill the city charter mandate calling for review of the plan every 10 years. The last master plan was approved in 2005.
“This is a guiding document that does not gather dust,” Bobst told West Life. “We refer to it a lot,” she added, remarking that the document is not only consulted by the city boards and commissions, but by outside interests, some of which may be interested in business opportunities. “It sends a message of how we view our future.”
Reflecting on the 10 years since the last revamp of the city road map, Bobst said that much has been accomplished, driven by the private sector, during a stretch of tough economic times. “We continued to see (progress) without economic abatements or incentives,” she stated.
Bobst commented on the engagement of residents and business owners with projects such as the Linda Street improvements and the Detroit Road studies. This stakeholder involvement will continue to play an important part in the development of the new plan, which will be facilitated by a work group of land use officials, residents and business owners as, well as by representatives of the Cuyahoga County Department of Development.
Center Ridge Road and other major city corridors will be focus areas for the new plan, and Bobst pointed out that work has already begun on a joint venture with Fairview Park to improve Center Ridge traffic flow. The information gathered from the previous years’ Detroit Road traffic studies will also be “folded into the plan,” according to Bobst.
The plan must be approved by both the city planning commission and City Council before it can be put in place. Bobst pointed out that this is a “planning and guiding” document, not a set of rules. “It’s where we will go, where we want to be and how we will get there,” Bobst stated.
The news was not as good about a county Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) the city also applied for in October. The maximum $150,000 in funds would have been used to convert the empty lot at the corner of Shoreland and Wooster to a “passive park.”
While disappointed in the outcome, Bobst noted that projects involving infrastructure improvements usually score higher in the county’s point system.
Stating that county Councilman Dave Greenspan will supply the scores to the city, Bobst said that if the park project’s numbers were high enough, it could remain in the running for funds if other proposals fall through. She added that Greenspan is currently sponsoring legislation for an alternative grant program, using funds raised from the Horseshoe Casino, to support economic development. In addition, she said that the city would work closely with area homeowners and businesses on funding ideas.
The land under consideration was purchased by the city several years ago for $154,000. When an auto repair shop on the property closed soon after, a grant from the Cuyahoga County Land Bank was secured to raze the building.
Once part of the 93-acre estate of brewery owner Leonard Schlather, city officials hope to create a city historic site and neighborhood gathering space on the lot.