By Marc Lefkowitz
Hotel Bruce: What are
the selling points and, conversely, where does Glenville need to
Miriam Rush (says before leaving room):
It would be nice to have a grocery store and amenities
like a florist that we could walk to. I like to patronize neighborhood-based
businesses. There's a Muslim restaurant on St. Clair and E. 103rd
and a great little diner called DJs that we go to. I like the fact
that we have the East Side Market, because a lot of people who shop
there don't have transportation. But, the blight on St. Clair is
horrible. There are a lot of vacant, boarded up buildings. I think
Glenville got some bad press and the perception is that it's not
safe, but I walk and feel very safe.
There's the bike path leading to the lake and a wonderful
community. Doan Brook is going to be restored this year. There's
controversy because some of the stonework on the bridges will be
affected. But, I remember when children drowned there - the restoration
should eliminate that and make it more natural. I'm excited that
Citirama's taking place in Glenville. There’s Heritage Lane
selling townhouses and reconfiguring 13 duplexes and nearby a project
is percolating on Superior.
HB: What would you
say is Glenville’s biggest community development challenge
DR: Commercial, which
is a lot harder than housing. It’s a much more complex equation
and it’s strictly market oriented. It’s either attracting
nationals or keeping locals.
The idea of creating main streets in exurbs, I can’t
think of kind way of describing that. But, the thing about the new
development in Hudson, they don’t want nationals. They tailored
it to locals. We need Steelyard Commons [ed.
note: This interview took place the week before Wal-Mart announced
its withdrawal from Steelyard Commons]. Part of retail‘s
complexity is the ripples.
HB: Back to what you
said about keeping locals, do you feel sort of conflicted about
DR: Does it mean that
retail areas nearby might need to think about how they re-tenant?
Possibly. But so be it. We already have to think about Cleveland
residents going to Target and Home Depot, which would help me to
support (their entry into the city).
HB: Would you feel
differently about Steelyard Commons if it considered its context
a little more? Is just mere presence good enough?
DR: That’s a
good question, but I think that they are trying to pay homage to
the Towpath Trail and have discussed building a steel museum. They
are trying to go beyond just the structures.
HB: How do we get people
in the Cleveland area to think about the city as a place that has
all of the elements of the new lifestyle center, if we build it
in downtown Cleveland, will they come?
DR: Detroit has no
department stores downtown…this outmigration has destroyed
central cities. New York and Chicago maintained a population, but
most cities don’t have that in-migration. Our downtown commercial
zones are no longer expanding into our neighborhoods. We’re
trying to recycle neighborhoods. We’re trying to change the
historic pattern of community development and people’s thinking
in order to attract them back. That’s what we’re in
the midst of.
HB: How do we do that in a climate
where the federal government is cutting funding for community development?
What affect will that have on bringing new jobs to the city?
DR: Look at SBA’s
proposed budget for your answer. The (Small) Business Information
Center got its funding cut for ’06, and what’s left
of the big programs like the business information and loan programs
for small and start up businesses?
HB: What will it take
to increase the opportunity for making development happen?
DR: We’re tying
to retool and strengthen facilitating the land—the land bank
helps with that. The second thing we can do is try to attract developers.
If developers and CDCs see themselves in competition, that’s
a misktake. We want to attract developers, and so how do we grease
the path to development?
Underlying all of that, how do we create things people
want? Development is not just housing structures. People buy a street,
a block, and a neighborhood. So, we have to market that and build
a product that we want. Are we maximizing our efforts in doing that?
You get into design issues, into green building and energy efficiency
and what is the competitive advantage of our product. If you’re
a community on the lake, you have to promote that asset. We have
to be smarter and understand that the stakes are higher.