SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Building a community network in the Moreland neighborhood will continue with the help of a consulting firm that has provided “boots in the field” and made great strides in recent years.
The Board approved a fifth annual contract with Kay Coaching at its January 24 meeting for $65,000.
The city’s Department of Economic Development neighborhood and housing specialist Colin Compton said community engagement has nearly tripled since 2017.
From a contact list of 79 residents at the time, approximately 235 people have now signed up and are attending events, conversations and gatherings, as well as regular updates on what’s happening in the neighborhood. and how they can participate.
“The network continues to grow in complexity, growing from a small group of resident stewards focused primarily on Neighbor Night to deeper levels of involvement in Moreland and beyond,” Compton noted in a memo to the board, adding that there are now up to 18 districts. gatherings per month.
Compton believes the neighborhood is more resilient, as evidenced by the community network’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping residents connected and providing mutual support and resources during times of isolation.
“This in turn has created ongoing and expanding points of contact with city departments, proactive and collaborative work to respond to and support residents’ ideas and concerns, and new spaces for conversation between residents and the city. “, Compton said.
Residents also believe the public perception of Moreland is changing both inside and outside the neighborhood, he added.
“Using this approach, city staff will take on more day-to-day network maintenance, help identify and work with residents to determine what tasks they can take on, and spend time connecting city partners. and institutions to these learning opportunities,” said Compton.
Vice Mayor Sean Malone said the program could serve as a model for the rest of the city.
In what could serve as a model beyond the city, the council authorized a request for $25,000 from the Ohio History Connection’s certified local government grant program to restore “urgent headstones” in the cemetery. of Warrensville West, nestled in the northwest corner of the Shaker Town Center.
It is possibly the second oldest known cemetery in Cuyahoga County, dating to 1811.
The city received an $18,500 state grant last year to create a historic preservation master plan. Both apps require a 40% cash match.
Using previous work, Mannik Smith Group consultants created an inventory of 170 headstones visible in the cemetery, identifying more than 50 headstones that were “at risk of deteriorating to the point of no return” in terms of restoration. , planners told the council.
“They are considered a public hazard or at risk of further harm and require immediate action to be preserved,” the council’s memo said. The city is seeking funds for “headstone restoration services, including resetting stones, treating biological growth, removing troublesome plantings and roots, repairing previous temporary repairs, and cleaning as needed.” “.
If awarded in the spring, the city will have nearly $42,000 to work with, also adding about $1,700 in in-kind services.
“Staff confirmed that almost all of the damage to the headstones was from the Stone Age and very little from vandalism,” the memo adds. “We have not been able to get in touch with the descendants of those buried in the cemetery, as the last burial here was in the 1950s, which makes such outreach difficult.”
The city has also received an application for a new liquor license just up the street in the historic Kingsbury Building for Motiv, a coffee and wine project and shop on the corner of Lee Road and Van Aken Boulevard.
The owner would be Magna Family of Brands LLC, which operates Magna Wine Boutiques in Bedford and Cuyahoga Falls.
No objections were filed by city departments and the proposal is currently undergoing a zoning review, Mayor David Weiss and the city’s director of legal affairs, William Ondrey Gruber, told council.
The “D-5” liquor license requested would allow on-site consumption of wine, beer, spirits and mixed drinks until 2:30 a.m.
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