Department of Planning and Development

Community Vision Update 2012

Community Vision Update 2012 Process – ALL ARE WELCOME

On April 6, 1993 the Lakewood Community Vision was published.  This report was the result of 400 hours of work contributed by members of the Planning Commission, city officials and 80 community volunteers.  While it has been nearly 20 years since this report was completed, it is still relevant and many of the principals are unchanged.  The strategies and action items are in need of updating though.  Many of the priorities are as important today as they were in 1993.  More recently in 2005, the Grow Lakewood Report was published.  This report as well holds many observations about Lakewood that are as true today as they were 6 years ago.

In January 2012, City Council requested that the Planning Commission and the Department of Planning and Development begin to evaluate the Community Vision. Through public hearing of the Commission in February and March it was determined that the Vision still has a valid content but is due for and update and directed the Planning Department to develop a community engagement plan to begin that work.

While the history of Lakewood, our zoning, our proximity to the Lake, Downtown and the airport, and in many ways the characteristics of our residents have remained the same, the ways that we access information, purchase goods and do business has changed significantly.   Lakewood is well positioned to succeed over our next 100 years and to do so we must take stock of where we are today, what we have accomplished to this point since these goals were set out 19 years ago, and detail what we need to do to reach our collective goals.

When we can visualize the result – and outline a picture of our community – and write it down, we are more likely to be successful in achieving that VISION.

Upcoming Community Vision Workshops

All Are Welcome

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in these workshops. You can sign up to participate by sending us an email by clicking below:

[ Get Community Vision Updates » ]

Community Vision Committee Update
December 2012

At the December 12th Community Vision meeting representatives of all six (6) committees presented the first draft of the Community Vision Update including vision statements, goals, and objectives in each subject area. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the visioning process.

Special thanks to Hannah Belsito, Lou McMahon, Mike Molinski, Carl Orban, Jim Ptacek, and Cary White for being our panelists.

Check out the complete presentation here

Community Vision Subcommittee Updates
October 2012

In October, the community vision sub-committees paired off for three sessions at University of Akron Lakewood. Together the combined committees began to give shape to the Vision Update by creating living outlines based on the comments of the previous 13 Community Vision sessions. Over the next few months we will be working behind the scenes to add narrative to these living outlines, as we do please continue to send us your comments, suggestions, and Look Book submissions.

October 16, 2012 – Safety and Commercial Development
Safety Outline
Commercial Development Outline
October 23, 2012 – – Mobility and Education & Culture
Mobility Outline
Education & Culture Outline
October 24, 2012 – – Housing and Community Wellness
Housing Outline
Community Wellness Outline

Lakewood Look Book

In August 2012 a handful of Community Vision Participants were asked to share a glimpse of Lakewood. These brief snapshots of daily life are meant to inform the community vision process by reporting on relevant personal experiences.

All community members are encouraged to participate in expanding the Look Book by submitting a photograph and write up of less than 100 words to .

Lakewood Look Book

Lakewood Look Book

Community Vision Subcommittee Updates
September 2012

Community Wellness (Lakewood Library – September 27, 2012)

Community Wellness Photo

Louis L. McMahon shared his extensive experience with environmental issues relating to water law, and brownfield redevelopment at the September Community Wellness meeting. Two points were critical to the discussion. First, that brownfield is not necessarily a bad term, merely something that the next developer will have to deal with. Second, that there is a need for greater education about what types of alternative stormwater management strategies are available to homeowners in Lakewood. Lou McMahon’s full presentation can be viewed here.

Housing (University of Akron Lakewood – September 26, 2012)

Housing Photo

Residential rehabber and Lakewoodite of 7 years Jen Morrow spoke to the Housing Committee in September. Morrow explained the strategy for renovating and selling some of Lakewood’s worst homes in just three months. Morrow says the reason her properties move so quickly is because she meets the needs of young professionals by providing houses with modern amenities and historic charm.

Mobility (University of Akron Lakewood – September 25, 2012)

Mobility Photo

The Mobility Committee sat down with Mike Schipper of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in September to share his insight on public transportation in Lakewood. The discussion began with an overview of RTA’s funding, decision making process, and upcoming projects. The conversation went on to cover a broad range of mobility related topics from ways to incentivize transit use to specific reccomendations for Lakewood. Schipper urged the group to remember that “multi-modal is not every mode on every route – it is a couple of modes on each route.”

Education & Culture (University of Akron Lakewood –
September 19, 2012)

Education & Culture Photo

Nelson Beckford joined the Education and Culture Committee last month to lend his perspective on educational and cultural opportunities in the region based on his ongoing work at the Cleveland Foundation. Themes to come out of the evening included the need to build on existing assets, engage diverse partners, and better understand where Lakewood fits in the region with regard to educational offerings.

Commercial Development (University of Akron Lakewood –
September 18, 2012)

Commercial Development Photo

Mark and Kelley Jablonski of Centermark Development came to the September Commercial Development meeting to share their insights on commercial activity in Lakewood. The Jablonskis walked through their observations and predictions for each of the city’s commercial corridors. They recommended that an emphasis be placed on the Madison Corridor as well as the preservation of independent shops along Detroit Ave.

Safety (Lakewood Library – September 12, 2012)

Safety Photo

At the September meeting of the Safety Committee Jeff Verespej of Ohio City Inc spoke on the three components of Ohio City’s safety strategy including: vibrancy, the special improvement district, and Ohio City Shines (a canvasing effort by residents and the Cleveland Building Department). The question period which followed emphasized the importance of communication between residents and safety forces as well as the benefits of knowing one’s neighbors

September Community Vision Meetings

September 12th Safety   Library Multipurpose Room, 15425 Detroit
Jeffrey T. Verespej, a double alumnus of Case Western Reserve University (BA ’07, MBA ’11), is the Director of Operations and Advocacy for Ohio City Incorporated. In that role he manages the Market District Improvement Corporation, the third special improvement district within the City of Cleveland, assists all new and existing businesses, and manages infrastructure projects. Before joining the Ohio City Incorporated staff, he was Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at CWRU, and prior to that, he worked within the Public Affairs department of University Circle Incorporated. Mr. Verespej is also the founder and president of the CWRU Cleveland Alumni Chapter, which serves the 30,000-plus alumni in northeast Ohio. Professionally and personally he is dedicated to transforming the trajectory of the City of Cleveland and its residents. He and wife reside in Ohio City.

September 18th Commercial Development   University of Akron Lakewood, 1415 Warren
Mark and Kelly Jablonski are the principals of CenterMark Development LLC – a retail development company focused on construction and rehabilitation of shopping centers and free-standing stores in Ohio with an emphasis on urban locations. Both began their careers in banking as commercial real estate lenders financing catalytic projects such as Tower City Center, Eton Collection, Steelyard Commons, and Crocker Park, as well as notable neighborhood projects such as The Pointe at Gateway, The Buckeye Building on E. 4th Street, and The Lorenzo Carter Building in the Warehouse District. From banking Mark turned to real estate before going on to co-found Great Lakes Resources, a consulting firm that assisted community development corporations and municipalities in Greater Cleveland with their real estate needs. The company also began developing retail projects for its own account. Mark has developed 15 projects in the last 10 years ranging in size from 3,500 SF to 75,000 SF. Kelly left banking to join a boutique consulting firm, Your CFO Resource, where she provided capital sourcing and underwriting services primarily to non-profit organizations in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. In 2008, Mark and Kelly launched CenterMark Development. In their combined 36 years in real estate, the duo has been involved in over $1 Billion in projects.

September 19th Education and Culture   University of Akron Lakewood, 1415 Warren
Nelson Beckford reviews proposals across a broad range of program areas as part of the foundation’s community-responsive grantmaking and manages the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program. He has a wide range of management experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit arenas, including serving as assistant director for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization prior to joining the foundation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cleveland State University, holds certificates in Organizational Development from Baldwin Wallace College and Operational Excellence from Case Western Reserve University. He expects to graduate with a master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Development from Cleveland State University in May 2013. Nelson lives in the Ohio City neighborhood with his wife, son, and a polydactyl cat named Hemmingway.

September 25th Mobility   University of Akron Lakewood, 1415 Warren
Michael J. Schipper, P.E. is Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Deputy General Manager for Engineering and Project Management. He is responsible for the planning, design, and construction elements totaling $185 million of GCRTA’s $409 million 2012 – 2016 Capital Improvement Program, which includes all rail stations, track rehabilitation, bus garages, transit centers, bridges, and other facilities. He is responsible for managing and directing GCRTA’s $45 million program of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 projects, and was instrumental in progressing the $200 million Euclid Corridor Transportation Project (ECTP) from preliminary engineering into final design, construction and operation. He has Civil Engineering degrees from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the states of Ohio and Texas. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Engineering Society. He is a Past President and former Board Member of the Cleveland Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has been a Lakewood resident since 2000.

September 26th   Housing     University of Akron Lakewood, 1415 Warren
Jen Morrow has been involved in various aspects of real estate for over 30 years, primarily as a real estate paralegal. In 1997, while living in Dallas, Texas, Jen began to restore homes in the Winnetka Heights Historic District. After a visit to Lakewood, Jen and her family relocated and, in 2011, founded Lakewood Living Homes, a company focused on rehabilitation and restoration of Lakewood homes. Lakewood Living Homes is on track to sell over $1,000,000 in solidly-updated vintage Lakewood homes by the end of 2012.

September 27th Community Wellness Library Auditorium, 15425 Detroit
Louis L. McMahon is a partner at McMahon DeGulis LLP, Ohio’s largest environmental law firm. Lou has extensive experience with environmental issues relating to water law, the Great Lakes, brownfields redevelopment, and other environmental regulatory and legislative matters. Among other things, Lou has counseled a major metropolitan sewer district in the development a long term control plan that incorporates green infrastructure. This pioneering program is one of the largest in the country, in dollars and in relation to the size of the community. A resident of Lakewood, Lou has been active in several Lakewood initiatives and activities and was a founder of the Lakewood Lakefront Coalition.

Community Vision Subcommittee Updates
June 25 & 27, 2012

Housing (University of Akron Lakewood - June 27th 2012)

The Housing Subcommittee discussed several of Lakewood’s unique qualities that factor in to the city’s housing, such as the close proximity of our commercial and residential districts, the concentration of first-time home buyers, and the number of rental properties. Fostering good stewardship among homeowners was determined as essential to maintaining the city’s housing stock, including encouraging quality renovations and repairs that will both look better and last longer. The subcommittee identified the need for housing options such as one-floor properties for an aging population. Lastly, the group sees an opportunity to use education and outreach to proactively address housing, by informing homeowners on how to care for old homes, and providing resources to do so.

Mobility (Lakewood Library – June 27th 2012)

Transportation, particularly cycling, is a hot topic in Lakewood right now. The Mobility Subcommittee had a frank discussion on the state of transportation in Lakewood beginning with an exhaustive list of the many ways people move through Lakewood. From this discussion it became apparent that the four most significant themes in mobility are access, options, safety and convenience. Drawing from this the subcommittee crafted the following draft vision statement: “To provide safe convenient passage to all people through a variety of options.” Over the coming months the subcommittee will focus on polishing their vision statement and identifying specific goals.

Safety (University of Akron Lakewood - June 27th 2012)

The Safety Subcommittee, joined by representatives of the police and fire departments, discussed the perception and reality of crime in Lakewood and ways to make the city feel safer. The subcommittee was very positive about the responsiveness and visibility of the Lakewood Police, and the presence of neighborhood offices. By using information and education, such as the city-run Citizens’ Academy and programs in public schools, the group believes we can increase our emergency preparedness and prevent crimes of opportunity. The physical environment was also identified as an important determinant of perceptions of safety, and building design, lighting, and property maintenance should reflect this.

Education and Culture (Lakewood Library – June 27th 2012)

The subcommittee discussed a range of cultural and educational opportunities available in Lakewood from k-12 schools to arts venues and job readiness training. The group seeks to better understand what cultural and educational resources exist, how those resources are being used, and how we as a community can build on those existing resources. The subcommittee also discussed the role of the Community Vision broadly as well as the value of education. At the end of the first session the subcommittee has put forth the following draft vision statement: “Enhancing accessibility to community based educational opportunities and cultural activities that provide lifelong learning.”

Community Wellness (University of Akron Lakewood - June 25th 2012)

The Community Wellness Subcommittee seeks to address the health of the community as a whole incorporating physical health, recreation opportunities, and environmental concerns. Many draft vision statements were proposed but the discussion centered on ensuring equitable access to healthy living to all residents. This includes food access, encouragement of active lifestyles and support of community based solutions to environmental challenges. Moving forward the committee is interested to learn about more about the ongoing Lakewood Human Services Summit. 

Commercial Development (University of Akron Lakewood - June 25th 2012)

Commercial Development is the largest subcommittee with thirty two (32) residents in attendance at the first meeting. Two key talking points came out of that meeting. First is concern for the diversity of services offered in Lakewood. A healthy balance of businesses is necessary to meet resident needs and ensure economic sustainability in our community. Second, Lakewood should be proactive in the area of commercial development through resident engagement, and high standards to support quality development.

Subcommittee Community Vision Workshops

Monday June 25th, 6:00 – 7:15
University of Akron Lakewood – Community Room
Facilitator – Dru Siley, Bryce Sylvester

Commercial Development
-Retention & Attraction, Redevelopment and Infrastructure

Christopher Bindel (Citizens Advisory Committee Member)
Kristen  Bindel
Patrick  Metzger (Planning Commission Member)
Ken Brand
Christina Moore
Kyle Krewson (Board of Zoning Appeals Member)
Marvin  Ronaldson
Margaret Brinich
Dan Wyman
Monique Smith (City Council Member)
Gaynel  Mellino

Monday June 25th, 7:15 – 8:30
University of Akron Lakewood – Community Room
Facilitator – Dru Siley, Bryce Sylvester

Community Wellness
-Environment, Health and Activity

Brian Powers (City Council President)
Megan  Krewson
Curt Brosky
Jennifer Overstreet (Citizens Advisory Committee Chair)
Suzanne Metelko
Joe Beno (Public Works Director)
Sean Mott
Alex Mott
Lou McMahon
Chris Perry
Colin McEwen
Mark Stockman (Planning Commission Chair)

Wednesday June 27th, 6:00 – 7:15
University of Akron Lakewood – Community Room
Facilitator – Dru Siley

-Safety Forces, Feeling Safe, Crime

Richard Sicha (Heritage Advisory Board Chair)
Christina Gill McCallum
Mary Matthien
Gabe  Jurasez
Richard Meixner
Carl Orban  (Arch. Board of Review Member)
Jennifer Pae (Finance Director)
Shawn  Juris (City Council Member)
Jake Marx (Citizens Advisory Committee Member)
Cindy Marx
Marianne T.  Monahan
Tom Monahan

Wednesday June 27th, 6:00 – 7:15
Main Library– Multipurpose Room
Facilitator – Bryce Sylvester

Education & Culture
-Access, Facilities and Technology
Tamara Karel (Planning Commission Member)
Ken Haber
Gennie Bielawski
Nick Muttvic
Stephen Erkelenz
Ruth Anne Gillett (Planning Commission Member)
Paul R Beegan
Jack Curtis
Kevin Butler (Law Director)
Patty Ryan
JT Neuffer
Ryan Nowlin (City Council Member)

Wednesday June 27th, 7:15 – 8:30
University of Akron Lakewood – Community Room
Facilitator – Dru Siley

-Stewardship, Options, Quality
Kevin  Brown
Ian  Andrews
Tom  Bullock (City Council Member)
Bryan Evans
Scott Duennes
Hannah Belsito (Planning Commission Member)
Robert Greytak (Planning Commission Member)
John Hrlec
M L Madigan (City Council Member)
Rick Uldricks
Sean McDermott

Wednesday June 27th, 7:15 – 8:30
Main Library– Multipurpose Room
Facilitator – Bryce Sylvester

-Options, Ease of Movement, Services

Val Mechenbier
Marcia  Moll (Heritage Advisory Board Member)
Cindy  Einhouse
Ann Stahlheber
Michael Molinski (Arch. Board of Review Chair)
Ahmie Yeung
Garvin Yeung
Steve Fought
Sue Gregg
Troy Bratz
David Anderson (City Council Member)
Peter Grossetti

Community Vision Workshop #1 - May 14, 2012

Community Vision Workshop #1 Presentation

Community Vision Workshop #1-Summary of Community Comments