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Importance of Communication Stressed at Block Captain Meeting

Lakewood's block club program helps keep residents, city officials informed.

There are 23 ways to communicate.

That was part of the message Mayor Mike Summers expressed Tuesday night at the block captain's meeting, one of the more successful channels of communication for the city. The program's latest meeting, organized by Mike Tuttle, focused primarily on home maintenance and nuisance issues.

The neighborhood officers representing wards in Lakewood were in attendance. Officer Matt Wintrick is new to Ward 3, taking over for Kevin Fischer, who was recently promoted. Lieutenant Gary M. Sprague was introduced – he is assuming the role of Lieutenant Brian Joyce, who recently retired. Sprague will head the neighborhood policing efforts and work with Mike Tuttle on the block clubs.

Michael Fleenor of the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) started the meeting with a presentation that outlined the services offered by the Cleveland Restoration Society and provided advice on subjects such as roof maintenance, wood cladding, window repair and porch repair. The CRS is also happy to recommend a contractor suited for an older home and offers free technical advice.

Summers thanked everyone for their leadership – "it’s important” he said – then opened the floor for questions, which included the use of outdoor fireplaces, parking, speeding and loud cars, traffic lights and patterns on Detroit Avenue near Mars, and recycling.

Summers stressed the importance of effective communication and said that his administration was using a variety of channels to get information out. He recommended the city’s website (http://onelakewood.com/) and mentioned that the city is also using Facebook and other social media to broadcast messages.

One of the tools on the city’s site that Summers recommended is the “Report a Problem” tool, which can be used to report problems ranging from tall grass and weeds to graffiti. Summers also stressed the importance of reporting problems or nuisance properties to the city. “We want to know, and we may already know, about the nuisance property," he said. "But your information can help us solve the problem.”

Waterbury resident Marianne Monahan shared her frustrations and suggestions for the east end of Lakewood. She said that businesses and residences, particularly corner properties need to take extra measures to improve curb appeal. Monahan said she has heard some people have a negative perception of the east end of Lakewood, and she would like to see that change. She suggested that better promotion of events on the east end might help change the perception.

Frank N. April 27, 2011 at 06:06 PM
It's encouraging to read Mayor Summer's comments about wanting to know about Nuisance Properties. But the reality of it all is that our building department does a lackluster job of following-up on complaints. I swear, if I didn't know better , that some of our inspectors are afraid to do their job. I just don't think they care about this city as I would guess many don't live in the city. When they do attempt to do their job, our building inspectors don't even follow the housing code when someone does make a repair. They follow the "it's good enough" philosophy and move on to the next hassle in their daily routine. The " Report a Problem" form on the city web site requires the name of the complainant. Just another way of discouraging complaints as I'm sure it only would invite a problem between neighbors if your name is associated with the complaint. I know of a friend who signed her letter that complained about a property in her neighborhood, only to be hassled by the owner of the property that was subject of the complaint. Meanwhile, our neighborhoods are becoming nasty looking and our property values are declining. Frank N.
Hilary Schickler April 28, 2011 at 02:58 PM
LakewoodAlive was also at the meeting to make sure folks know about their housing outreach program. The program is designed to connect homeowners with available resources to help maintain their homes. Given the late hour, three resources were discussed; foreclosure prevention, the paint rebate program and contractor evaluations. If you would like more information about what may be available to you, please feel free to contact me at 216.521.1554 or hschickler@lakewoodalive.com Hilary Schickler LakewoodAlive housing outreach director

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