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Shaker Heights mayor creates plan to renovate city, generate money

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 18:12:24-04

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Shaker Heights is known for its diversity and inclusion, but the first-ring suburb has the same struggle as many Northeast Ohio cities— generating dollars in a primarily residential space.

"We have aging infrastructure,” said Shaker Heights Mayor David Weiss. “We have sewers that are 100 plus years old that need to be replaced and maintained,” Weiss said.

Weiss has come up with a solution for Shaker Heights, however.

"Van Aken District Development,” Weiss said as he described the first phase of his plan. "Shaker was designed as a residential community primarily, not so much as a commercial."

Weiss wants to maintain Shaker's historical success, but without taxing people too much. To do that, he's reduced the size of government, which is part of the second phase.

"To see a complete transformation on our Lee Road corridor," Weiss said. "Entrepreneurs, to artisans to high tech,” Weiss said.

He said Shaker will offer incentives to get these people on board.

"We'll provide some, perhaps, gap financing to enable a company to relocate to Shaker, but we expect a return on that investment through property tax and income tax,” Weiss said.

Weiss said another plan of his will generate synergy in something he calls "Forward Together," an initiative among the three taxing authorities— the schools, the library and the city.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.