Housing for the 21st Century
Lakewood’s great building boom over a century ago was to develop a community for workforce housing. And our wonderful and beautiful Lakewood houses have provided well for Lakewood residents. As we move into this new century, we need to re-think how our homes and apartment buildings can meet the needs of our time. Very important to keeping Lakewood as a community of choice is an impactful exterior maintenance program and holding landlords accountable for their 2-family houses and apartment buildings. As goes Lakewood’s housing stock, so does the city as a whole.
As chair of the Lakewood Alive housing committee I served with the city administration to help coordinate a strategy for bringing old and vacant properties into new life and assist in the implementation of a long overdue exterior maintenance program. Our committee assisted the city in the assessment of our housing stock and connected home owners with resources to help them maintain and keep their homes.
Infrastructure & Environment
As old as Lakewood’s homes is the public infrastructure. Our streets, sidewalks, and sewers have lasted well beyond their original design. Regular maintenance is important, but we a sustainable strategy to transform all of our public infrastructure to meet the demands of today and within the bounds of a budget that Lakewood can afford. Coordinating the rebuilding of sewers with the reconstruction of streets, sidewalks, and replanting of trees is vital to keeping our city beautiful.
As chair of the Downtown Lakewood design committee and a member of the Detroit Avenue Streetscape Enhancement Project steering committee, I served to guide the community meetings and ensure that the vision of Lakewood’s residents was reflected in the final implemented design. While serving on the facilities committees for both St. Luke the Evangelist Parish and Lakewood Catholic Academy I have helped manage and improve the physical facilities to ensure that they continue to serve our community for years to come.
The two largest employers in the city are the Lakewood City Schools and Lakewood Hospital. And while as a community our schools are being transformed by our support, we are in transition with the way health services are provided in the city. But those two employers are only a part of Lakewood’s commercial economy. The strength of local businesses is more vital now than ever before. Growing our local retail and service businesses is key to maintaining a diverse commercial economy able to be sustained as the model for these businesses change. Keeping our community attractive to employers is important to a healthy and sustainable economic model.
While serving nine years on the boards for Lakewood Alive and Lakewood Community Progress, Inc., whose chief mission is the economic growth and sustainability of Lakewood, I helped to align community leaders and local businesses to maintain and grow our local economy including seeding the birth of the Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance. Locating my own business here in Lakewood is vitally important to me as well as being a both a member and supporter of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.
Strengthening Community Assets
Our people, our houses, our parks, and our local businesses are all part of what make Lakewood a community of choice for so many people in northeast Ohio. As an urban environment, Lakewood has assets that other communities envy. Our dense and diverse population (in every way!) enjoy the walkable neighborhoods with close proximity to recreation, dining, and retail that encourages active living and healthy lifestyles. A healthy Lakewood requires that we maintain and strengthen these assets. We need to invest in Lakewood’s parks to connect them with each other and other assets like Lake Erie and the Metroparks with bicycle lanes and walking trails. We need to ensure that residents of every age have a place close to where they live where they can be active.
I have served as a community leader in many of Lakewood’s planning process including Lakewood Civic Vision 2012, the Clifton Boulevard Streetscape Enhancement, the West 117th Corridor Plan, and the Detroit Avenue Streetscape Enhancement Project. As an architect and active leader of the Urban Land Institute, I wanted to make sure that my talents and skills helped to impact the community where I live and raise my family.
I have three projects I would like to see implemented to improve the assets in our community: Kaufman Park, Wagar Park, and Rails to Trails. The Friends of Kaufman Park with the help of Bryan Evans have developed a long term plan to make Kaufman Park more accessible and usable for Lakewood and I intend to help move that project forward. Wagar Park at the corner of Hilliard & Madison has been neglected for a long time. I intend to start a community effort to redesign the park including removing rarely utilized tennis courts and creating a new soccer field and upgrading the playground. We are seeing how the Metroparks and RTA are coordinating the Red Line Greenway to allow for simultaneous use of the rapid railway and an active bikeway. Lakewood is bisected by a rail line and I would like to see a greenway added to that right-of-way for use by Lakewood residents that connects to the Metroparks trail.
Security & Safety
Ensuring the safety of every Lakewood resident and all its visitors is probably the most important function of City Hall. We are blessed in Lakewood with the best local police and fire personnel in the area. As a community, we have to continue to invest in our police and fire departments to make sure we retain the best officers and give them all the tools they need to keep Lakewood safe and secure.
As a building owner and landlord in Lakewood, I often work with the police and fire departments to ensure that my residents are safe including coordination with police efforts and regular fire inspections.