By Sue Botos
The windows of Market restaurant may look the same as they did when the trendy eatery was the city service garage. But the view has changed quite a bit. “Linda has become the coolest street in Cuyahoga County,” economic development Director Kory Koran told a recent gathering of business owners at Market.
But its use as a detour for the Lake Road and Detroit Road projects have taken a toll on the narrow street, which has only a 40-foot right of way instead of the standard 60 feet.
The city is now asking for input from Linda Street business owners, which will result in a public-private partnership for the purpose of sprucing up the area, possibly mirroring the streetscape work done on Old Detroit Road last year. The facelift will be part of an improvement project slated for spring.
“The genesis of this is to honor all of you for your investment,” Mayor Pam Bobst told the group. She also thanked them for their patience during the work on neighboring roads.
City engineer Mike Mackay explained that there are two major pieces to the upcoming project: street improvement and water line work. Because of the recent agreement entered into by the city, the Cleveland Division of Water will pick up the $400,000 cost of cleaning and relining the two water lines running through the street. He added that resurfacing, new curbs, sidewalks, driveway aprons and stamped concrete crosswalks are also in the plans.
Mackay assured business owners that the upheaval would not be as extensive as that experienced by Lake Road business owners, because the work does not involve sewers or replacement of the water lines, only maintenance work. He said, however, that there would be some disruptions. “Expect some inconvenience, one-way traffic and driveway ‘outages,’” Mackay stated. He added that once the project is awarded to a contractor, he would meet to discuss the quickest possible timeline.
He added that workers will usually be on the job four days a week for 10 hours a day, with Fridays off. He said Fridays would only be used as a make-up day if needed.
The project would be bid in February or March, according to Mackay, and is projected for 90 days. “Old Detroit was half this size, and it took 120 days. We’re really trying to crunch this schedule,” he said. Mackay noted that the work is expected to begin in March or April, depending upon the weather.
Bobst noted that several property owners had approached her with concerns over newly installed driveway aprons. “Please share your specific needs. We heard your concerns and we understand,” she said, adding that every attempt would be made not to disturb the recent work.
Koran told the group that the city had secured a $350,000 grant from the county, which will fund the street work. Initially, the grant was rejected by one point. After requesting the city’s score summary from the county, a mistake was discovered, and the city was granted its funding. County Councilman David Greenspan, who attended the meeting with the merchants, credited Bobst and city officials for “taking a proactive stance” in finding the mistake.
Koran echoed Mackay’s promise that the work would be completed in a timely manner. “It has to be 100 percent completed by next year, with no extensions.”
The building department’s Kate Straub added that the county storefront renovation program can play a big part in the street’s facelift. Since none of the Linda Street businesses are chains, they can receive funding for projects visible from the street, such as signage, exterior paint, awnings and ADA improvements.
Bobst also ran through the costs of several items purchased in the public-private partnership for Old Detroit Road. “If there are things you are interested in seeing down there, let us know,” she said, offering city labor to install such features as bike racks, benches and planters.
“Think about it and share your ideas,” said Bobst, adding that input should be given to the city by Jan. 11, in time for a late-February project bid.