Grow our population and attract the next generation of new residents by investing in improved quality of life.
The population in Cleveland Heights has been declining for about 60 years now. And this has many negative consequences, including a diminishing tax base, an ever-greater strain on taxpayers to bear the cost of maintaining our infrastructure and public services; vacant properties that make neighborhoods less safe and pull down surrounding home values; fewer consumers for our local businesses, shrinking our local economy; and the risk of losing our status as an “entitlement city,” which is why we receive more in Community Development Block Grant funds than many other cities as well as why we are receiving so much more than our neighbors from the American Rescue Plan.
We need to start building our population back up.
But we can’t get there by focusing on wooing people to come through marketing schemes alone. We get there by making this a great place to live for the people who are here now, with the understanding that when we focus on quality of life, the people will come. (After all, the best marketing is word of mouth.)
What do we mean by quality of life? There’s a lot to it, and it can’t be done all at once. We need people—in our community and our government—committed to building it, piece-by-piece, including (but not limited to):
- A robust, diverse local economy, offering a wide range of jobs (that will increase our city’s income tax revenue) as well as almost anything our residents may need in goods and services
- Plentiful outdoor spaces, offering activities such as well-maintained hiking and biking trails; parks with quality playgrounds, gathering spaces, and exercise stations; and recreational facilities for all our residents’ activities
- Safe streets for all, ensuring that everyone who travels our streets—not just cars but also bikes, pedestrians, strollers, wheelchairs and scooters—feels secure and at ease on our roadways
- Efficient, effective, and responsive public services, including snow and ice removal, garbage and recycling pickup, street and sidewalk maintenance, tree planting and maintenance, and sewer and storm water management
- Walkability: working toward the goal of making everywhere in Cleveland Heights not only a safe, pleasant, engaging place to walk but also offering nearby destinations—parks, businesses, and public amenities—that we can walk to in a reasonable time
- Affordability: maximizing every public dollar spent to reduce individuals’ tax burden while never sacrificing our commitment to delivering the best possible public services and investing in the common good
How I Will Improve Quality of Life for Our Residents
This is a diverse breadth of indicators, so it can’t be in one fell swoop. As a council member, I will continually look for opportunities to introduce legislation and originate programs that will put in place building blocks to work toward a vision of Cleveland Heights that is secure, livable, and engaging as well as offers what our residents need for a full, healthy, prosperous life.