Mayor, City Council Invite Citizens to Share Ideas for Lakewood’s Downtown DevelopmentAugust 11, 2015
“What’s your vision for 5.7 acres of valuable Lakewood property in the heart of its downtown district?” That’s the question that economic development experts ask in a series of visioning workshops starting on Aug. 19. Open to the public, the workshops will teach citizens how to think like developers and offer them opportunities to design uses for the land currently occupied by Lakewood Hospital.
“Though no decisions have yet been made about how or where health care will continue to be provided to our citizens in the future, we must continue to move forward to build our city,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers. “There has been a lot of conversation about the consequences of losing Lakewood Hospital. But the fact is that the City owns nearly 6 acres of very valuable land that is in high demand for many interesting uses. We need to focus on future gains from investing in that property and we want to know what our citizens envision on that land.”
Lakewood Director of Planning and Development Dru Siley will present design concepts at the workshops (see the Lakewood Hospital Redevelopment Concepts here).
Each concept explores various options—from mostly commercial/business, to retail/mixed use, to housing and a boutique hotel. “Every idea will be on the table,” said Siley. “We are looking for these workshops to shape guiding principles for property development. For example: Should we maintain the Curtis Block or the look of the 1917 hospital structure? How much green space should we maintain? What kind of diversity of property should there be? We will rely on these guiding principles to focus our early stage ideas for development of the property.”
The City of Lakewood and Lakewood City Council will co-host the community visioning workshops, which will take place in the community room at University of Akron Lakewood branch. The first session is slated to take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 19; additional meetings will be announced soon.
Currently, Lakewood City Council is considering a proposal that would modify the Cleveland Clinic’s letter of intent and create a new family medical health center and 24/7 emergency room on the corner of Belle and Detroit avenues. The proposed change to the project would allow the City of Lakewood to redevelop the 5.7 acres of land on the east side of Belle.
In January, the Lakewood Hospital Association and the Cleveland Clinic submitted a letter of intent describing their proposal and vision of healthcare delivery in Lakewood. Since that time, City Council and the administration have been working diligently, in good faith and with all deliberate speed, to understand and assess the proposal. These efforts have included more than 30 meetings by City Council. Those meetings involved representatives of LHA, the Cleveland Clinic, LHA’s consultant Subsidium Healthcare, the Lakewood Hospital Foundation, human service organizations and other community organizations and members of the public. Additionally, City Council has sought out analysis by outside counsel of the existing definitive agreement and lease relating to Lakewood Hospital.
While it continues to conduct due diligence, City Council has not introduced, considered or adopted any legislation that would carry the terms of this proposal or any proposal regarding the future of Lakewood Hospital into effect.
Huron Consulting Group, an independent national consulting firm hired by the City of Lakewood to assist the City in its due diligence is expected to report new findings to Lakewood City Council this month.