My Statement on the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook Development Agreement

I strongly believe that, as public representatives, we have a responsibility to make every decision through a lens of environmental sustainability, because we must do everything we can to ensure a livable world for generations to come.

In an urban-suburban context, environmental sustainability demands many things from us, and not all of them align perfectly. Yes, we need to protect and enhance ecologically valuable green spaces. And we also need do what we can to build density to prepare for a growing population in the coming decades and to increase walkability and lessen our dependence on cars. And we must do all of this while providing a good quality of life for our community—even as we shift how we define what that looks like.

Another issue that is important to me is our local economy, because in an increasingly unstable global economy, growing and diversifying our local economy is vital for ensuring that our community is secure and resilient in the face of larger economic fluctuations.

This is not a perfect development agreement. No agreement checks everything on everyone’s wish list. But in the public sphere, particularly in a city as diverse as ours, governance requires thoughtful and discerning compromise. We need to weigh many different community needs. We need to embrace opportunities for collaboration. We need to advocate for our city’s values. And we must do all of this while being mindful of the boundaries of what is currently possible. Because if we do this well, we will expand what’s possible for Cleveland Heights in the future.

One of the reasons I believe this project will be good for Cleveland Heights is because of the firm that Flaherty & Collins chose to design it. City Architecture is a part of our community. Its owners live right here in Cleveland Heights. The architect leading the work lives just down the street from site and also helped update some of our city’s codes so as to allow more environmentally responsible practices on residential and commercial properties. City Architecture has engaged in several community conversations about the project, has revised plans based on what our residents and business owners have told them, and continues to be open and responsive to community input and priorities.

And I want to add that the preliminary design plans and revisions going forward are stronger because of advocates pushing for more green community spaces. I am grateful to our local activists for their vision, dedication, and perseverance.

This development agreement does not tie our city’s hands and render us powerless. It allows us to move forward with a project that, if done well—and I believe that with City Architecture and community engagement, it WILL be done well—it will meet our needs, uphold our values, and help us reach larger city goals.