Public commenters urged Cleveland City Council to tend to vacant and blighted homes that affect the quality of life, health and safety of Clevelanders. One residents also raised concerns about the poor conditions at the Stella Walsh Recreation Center in Slavic Village.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Gennifer Harding-Gosnell. Read more about the meeting, which was covered by Documenters Charlestine Pride and Preeya Shankar.

Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.

Blighted and vacant homes

Slavic Village resident Lynda Lewis asks officials to respond to resident complaints about a blighted home in her neighborhood where squatters live.

Slavic Village resident Lynda Lewis spoke on behalf of the Forest City block club, which has operated in the neighborhood for 75 years. Lewis detailed efforts to get the city to respond to health, housing and safety issues at home occupied by squatters that residents had complained about for years. Residents have called police, the health department and building and housing officials about problems and dangers at the property.

As of today we have no answers, no action to remove these squatters from this house that they should have never been in in the first place. How can the city let this happen and bring fear into an otherwise surviving community.”

Lynda Lewis, Ward 12

Watch Lewis’ full comment.

Fairfax resident Vernon Kittrells talks about the health impacts of vacant and blighted homes.

Fairfax resident Vernon Kittrells talked about the health impact of vacant and distressed properties on the city’s East Side, where they are most concentrated. Kittrells, who lives on E. 85th Street, said the visible signs of neglect in the neighborhood environment give the impression that the area is uncared for and that residents don’t have control over the conditions.

A street with empty, overgrown lights, abandoned houses, undermines the quality of life in the neighborhood, destroys community pride and engagement, and discourages new investment. All of this takes a toll on the physical and emotional well-being of the neighborhood residents.”

Vernon Kittrells, Fairfax resident

Watch Kittrells’ full comment.

Recreation center conditions

Sonya Sanders questions Cleveland officials about the poor conditions and programming at the Stella Walsh Recreation Center in Slavic Village. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Cleveland resident Sonya Sanders come to council to ask questions about run down conditions she described at the Stella Walsh Recreation Center in Slavic Village neighborhood where her toddler plays. Sanders said paint was peeling, pieces of the ceiling were caving in and the electrical sockets don’t have covers in addition to the potholes in the parking lot the size of a duck pond.

When was the last inspection? Who’s keeping up the maintenance, and who was telling the kids to come to a swim lesson? They already have to know how to swim. Who is responsible for the wall sockets not being covered? ..Why is our rec center the only center with no good programming? Why is the volleyball net hung up with electrical stitching cord?”

Sonya Sanders, Ward 3

Watch Sanders’ full comment.

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