What I'm working on...
I have a few major things I want to make happen. Some are things I've been working on over the years that need to get finished. Others are new initiatives that need to get implemented.
Revenue Enhancement - We need to replace state funds that have been cut, and revenue lost as home values and property taxes were reduced. We can no longer act as a bedroom community relying on property taxes and income taxes that can't support the level of services we expect and deserve. Our new retail centers will bring revenue over time, but until we see those benefits, and even after those new dollars start flowing, we have to create new income.
So I will be chairing a committee to pull together what we know and what we expect in terms of our financial position for years to come, and to identify and develop new, and sometimes innovative, ways to bring more dollars to the city.
Home-Based Businesses were a mainstay of South Euclid, especially Ward 4, in its heyday, and I want to support those people who want to work out of their homes. Our current codes are too limiting, and I believe we can find ways both to use more of their homes and garages as offices, studios and workshops, while still keeping a quiet, residential character for our neighborhoods.
Recreational programming for youth and all ages in our public spaces. Since we can't afford to built a rec center, I want to work on getting programming into our ward's new park spaces to keep our residents healthy and engaged.
I'd like to expand our urban agriculture opportunities, especially with a plan to plant more fruit trees and expand the roster of community gardens. This could easily tie in to expanding youth activities in our city.
I want to monitor the completion of our new retail centers and library to be sure they are done in ways that best serve our citizens and manage any problems that might arise.
Remember the Langerdale Retention Basin? It used to be a big cement-bottomed valley behind the Friendship Circle on Green Road, until a few years ago when we converted it to a functioning wetland and prairie habitat. This is what it looked like in late summer 2012. It's fun to watch it grow each year, starting with early spring when it looks pretty bleak, but turning greener every day until it bursts into amazing color. The big green gate at the greenspace across from Notre Dame is never locked (it's closed to keep the deer out, which of course is a losing proposition) so go enjoy the overlook deck and watch the birds.
What have I done for you lately?
Here's a highlight reel of things I've accomplished, initiated, or supported during my time in office. There's a LOT more, but these are the biggies:
• After years of trying we got Cedar Center going. It's not all we'd hoped, but we still have a way to go. Meanwhile, it's a great addition to our city.
• When faced with the Oakwood development, I led the fight to make what could have been just another retail center into the first "green" center in the region, and we got a new
21-acre park, too.
• As we work with the county library on the new Green Road branch, I've pushed for them to save the trees, especially the historic giant elm, and do so in a way that allows for plenty of parking that can be hidden from the street. I've also helped the neighbors to be sure that there will be fencing to protect their properties.
• The Green Neighborhoods initiative has brought community gardens and renovated housing to our neighborhoods, plus a new park at Colony and Halsey.
• I've helped countless constituents solve problems with water bills, utility issues, city services, finding programs to help with home improvement, mediated conflicts between neighbors, get financial help from the city to pay for problems we may have caused them, and been there to listen, when that's all that was needed.
• As chair of Council's Utilities committee I've helped residents throughout the city with issues regarding all kinds of utility service issues.
• I've hosted two ward meetings every year, and forums on energy, health care and other subjects our residents need to know about.
Quality of Life:
• I started the annual Big Bexley Campout to bring more families to the park and make it a more vibrant place.
• I sponsored the no-idling ordinance that's working to reduce childhood asthma.
• I made it possible for homeowners to save money on water by installing rain barrels and helped many reduce their water and sewer bills.
• I organized the first "Spruce up Day" with volunteers helping homeowners mow, rake and clean up their yards and add new landscaping, and even painted the garage for an elderly lady who needed the help.
• I helped build both the first Playground of Possibilities and the second replacement playground.
• I personally designed and painted the new art for the girls and boys bathrooms at Bexley Park so that visitors would enjoy their time with us more.
• I sponsored girls softball teams for the past few summers, giving girls an equal chance to excel at sports and learn teamwork.
• I've served on the Tree Commission since 1993, and helped to organize Arbor Day celebrations every year since then.
• I've held design forums bringing residents together to share their hopes and ideas for how to use vacant lots, what they wanted to have at new greenspaces, and how they envisioned our city's future.