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Community development group talks improvement

BY DEIDRE HAWKINS
MAY 6, 2010

If you think of real estate, retail, bike trails, walkways, you often think of government and the individual kinds of agencies that handle these things, but you don’t consider another big major player in the development of neighborhoods and communities: community development corporations or CDCs.

What exactly is a CDC? A CDC is a non-profit organization created from the efforts of concerned residents who have resolved to revitalize the neighborhoods and communities in which they live.

What CDCs provide varies based upon neighborhood needs. Some examples include focusing on real estate development to provide affordable housing to attract homeowners and others, and bringing retail and other businesses to the neighborhood.

Burten Bell Carr Development Corporation, Midtown Cleveland Incorporated, and The Campus District Incorporated, are three such organizations serving the Cleveland State University area and adjacent neighborhoods.

Each of the three have a different focus and may even overlap in their boundaries, but they all share a common goal of wanting to improve their communities and make them attractive places to live in within the city of Cleveland.

The Campus District, Incorporated (CDI), is the CDC most directly connected to the CSU campus, serving a 500-acre area that lies along the Euclid Avenue corridor and areas south of Lakeside Avenue, north of Broadway Avenue, east of East 18th street and west of East 30th Street.

Formerly known as The Quadrangle, CDI was founded in the 1980s and its’ mission is to connect ideas with people. Unlike most of the CDCs in Cleveland, CDI consists of a staff of one, the executive director Bill Beckenbach.

CDI has taken an active role in developing real estate with condominiums and other housing along the Euclid Corridor, working to attract retail and other land development projects. CDI collaborates with other organizations within the service area on various projects benefiting the community.

One of these projects includes a grant recently obtained from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) in conjunction with Burten Bell Carr to make East 22nd Street more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Hopes of connecting the two institutions of higher education, Cuyahoga Community College-Metropolitan Campus, and Cleveland State University would benefit from easier access for pedestrians & bikers.

Beckenbach would also like to link the two campuses by possibly having a bicycle path from East 24th and Euclid (near the site of the new dorms at CSU) to Tri-C. This is just a one of the ideas Beckenbach thinks could aid in the development of the community and forge a stronger partnership between the two schools.

Beckenbach also talks about the plans to work with CMHA and Tri-C to set up free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) for residents to use in the neighborhoods surrounding Tri-C.
Beckenbach also mentioned some shortcomings that keep downtown from being attractive for residents, such as the lack of parking, security, park space, and downtown retail.

See CDC, Page 8