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Lakefront Residents Form Overlook Park Neighborhood Association

Starting with just six members, the organization now boasts 167 members.

The idea that the Heideloff mansion on Edgewater Drive could be demolished initially prompted a group of residents along the lakefront to form a neighborhood association.

But that was just the beginning.

Starting with just six members late last year, the Overlook Park Neighborhood Association now has 167 members out of about 260 residents in the neighborhood it encompasses.

The association includes the streets stretching from Nicholson to Belle avenues and is bordered by Lake Avenue and Lake Erie to the north.

Gaynel Mellino, a resident of Edgewater Drive and president of the organization, said the idea of the neighborhood association came about because of the possibility that the Heideloff estate could be demolished.

But the scope of the association quickly evolved. 

“There were a lot of people in the neighborhood that were upset about losing another mansion,” Mellino said. “I started thinking we could do something else with the property, like maybe creating a club or a bed and breakfast.

“Then I stumbled across an article in the Huffington Post about forming neighborhood associations,” she added. “It got me thinking — it just seemed like the next right thing to do.” 

The organization’s website will also offer a quarterly newsletter, directory, block watch and social functions.

Neighbors’ participation in the association is voluntary, and open to all of the residents in the neighborhood. The dues are $50 per year.

“We want to make it a more cohesive neighborhood,” Mellino said. “It’s been a process.”

“This is totally Lakewood.”

The website posts several key points in the organization’s mission statement. They include:

  • To promote the general welfare of the Neighborhood;
  • To encourage social functions among members of the Neighborhood;
  • To establish and maintain an open line of communication and liaison among the Neighborhood, government agencies and other neighborhoods;
  • To promote safety in the Neighborhood;
  • To give special attention to public improvements and all that is related to the betterment of the Neighborhood and the convenience and comfort of the residents;
  • To promote beautification of the Neighborhood.

“The purpose behind our neighborhood association is to come together as one Identity and increase Communication, Social Interaction and Long Term Planning within our borders,” according to the organization’s website.

“Together, we share a bond that is essential any day and age — community.”

Bryce Sylvester, city planner for Lakewood, said that some in the organization have approached city officials about posting customized street signs, which would likely be paid for by the organization.

“The idea is no different than the identities of Birdtown, Downtown Lakewood or Clifton Park,” he said.

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said supports the residents in their effort.

“I think anytime neighbors are trying together to help each other out, to keep others informed about what’s going on in the neighborhood, and work to build community, then that’s a good thing,” he said.

ian king January 31, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Perhaps there are some additional benefits emerging from the creation of this association for its neighborhood, but the reality seems clear that the impetus was to persuade the city powers to designate an otherwise rather common, inappropriately called "mansion", Historical Landmark Status - that being the Heideloff house. It seems they should have created a lottery pool and purchased this house if they were so concerned about it being demolished. To grant such a lackluster architectural house that the Heideloff is Historic Landmark Status will truly be viewed as a mockery of such status - not only in Lakewood, but nationally as well.
Love Lakewood January 31, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Perhaps Ian should take a look inside the Heideloff house before commenting. Has he seen another staircase in Lakewood that is as grand?
john February 01, 2013 at 08:58 PM
A grand staircase does not make a home historically significant. As far as turning it into a club or a bed & breakfast just look down the road at The Clifton Club. If the park residents get their way in the lawsuit that place will surely be available.
Tin Idol February 02, 2013 at 02:49 AM
There is however a maxim from "political science" which states that an "organized minority" will always be able to subjugate an "unorganized majority"; it is when the "perception" arises that the masses are organizing that the organized minority" begins to start freaking out. ..and the presence of an "organized majority" is not an essential element... it is only the "perception" ("correct" or "incorrect") that causes the "political elite" to watch their backsides This organization is a good thing, because it was only a short time ago that many decent homes were being labeled as "blighted" by those who thought they could "pull a fast one" The Mayor at that time even thought she was smarter than Jimmy Malone of Oldies 105 Lanigan & Malone and did nothing but embarrass herself
DLSJR February 02, 2013 at 05:25 PM
All this is really just over a staircase? Did the Heideloff family contribute anything else to society? I have seen pictures, and personally I would build a house farther back on the lot too. Maybe if the neighbors ask nicely the owners will salvage the staircase into their new home. I would pay to salvage original items from the home.
DLSJR February 02, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Has any renderings of the proposed new home been made public? Maybe ask for the owner to build the front fascia to look like the time area of the neighborhood. I do agree that a large modern home would detract from the neighborhood.
ian king February 04, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Hi Homewood - I toured the somewhat decrepit house when the estate sale was held there a few years ago. The place was a mess! Kitchen a dirty joke and outdated, the bathrooms small and outdated, most rooms too small for today's lifestyle of openness and easy movement between room. In fact the whole place needs a major redo to meet today's 21st century conveniences. And regarding the staircase, I would suggest that Mr/Ms Homewood take the annual tour of home in either Shaker Heights or Cleveland Heights. Many many homes there are far more sophisticated in design and layout and architecture than the Heideloff. AND they are of the same era. This house in most towns would not be called a "mansion". It is just a big old house that has not been updated or renovated to make it liveable for most families today. It has ZERO historical value except for the neighbors who live next door and don't want change, or development to be their new neighbor.
ian king February 04, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Hi Homewood - I toured the somewhat decrepit house when the estate sale was held there a few years ago. The place was a mess! Kitchen a dirty joke and outdated, the bathrooms small and outdated, most rooms too small for today's lifestyle of openness and easy movement between room. In fact the whole place needs a major redo to meet today's 21st century conveniences. And regarding the staircase, I would suggest that Mr/Ms Homewood take the annual tour of home in either Shaker Heights or Cleveland Heights. Many many homes there are far more sophisticated in design and layout and architecture than the Heideloff. AND they are of the same era. This house in most towns would not be called a "mansion". It is just a big old house that has not been updated or renovated to make it liveable for most families today. It has ZERO historical value except for the neighbors who live next door and don't want change, or development to be their new neighbor.
ian king February 04, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Hi DLSJR - not sure I totally agree a "modern" design would detract from this neighborhood. There are a lot of ordinary, Cape Cod style homes in this area - nothing special that one can't find in any Midwest suburb. I think Lakewood needs to have some modern/21st century architecture. It will contemporary the building stock that in many blocks of this city has seen better days! Remember, old fashioned neighbors formed associations and fought against the building of many Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes in their back yards years ago, and guess what has survived to be admired today - certainly not the neighbors' homes!

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