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New rubber caps and signs along fencing go up at construction site, addressing neighborhood concerns

Posted at 4:20 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 18:25:10-05

CLEVELAND — A new construction site in Ohio City looks a little different after the builders connected with residents to address concerns about the site in the middle of a densely-packed neighborhood.

The Project

Renderings show how the townhomes will bring contemporary style to Ohio City while still fitting in with other homes along West 44th Street.

Keystate Homes is building four townhomes along West 44th Street, between John Court and Whitman Avenue. The roughly $1.6 million project, called Harbor Whitman, broke ground in mid-November, but work stopped around Thanksgiving. Right around the same time, a driver backed into the fence around the project, knocking it over.

“And it was kind of open and I think people were really upset about that,” said Tim Barrett, who lives across the street from the project.

In a neighborhood that watches out for its own, the concerns made their way to Facebook, with one post mentioning exposed rebar, deep trenches, all behind a fence, but hidden by snow.

At first, some neighbors were concerned about deep trenches with exposed rebar sticking out. It was guarded by a fence and eventually covered with rubber caps.

“My initial thought was, ‘These are very valid concerns,” said Howard Hanna Realtor Ted Theophylactos, who is working with the builder to sell the units.

After talking with neighbors this week, Keystate Homes put new rubber caps on top of the rebar and put up additional signs on the fence warning about the dangers of the job site.

Rubber caps were put on top of the rebar at the site after the builder spoke with neighbors.

“This is what every construction site needs to look like in terms of being fully-fenced in,” said Theophylactos.

The construction delay, says Theophylactos, is because of the kind of eco-friendly building Keystate does, which requires testing part of the concrete, “so that it’s able to not break and bend and fall apart in the weather conditions that we have here,” said Theophylactos.

Renderings show how the four townhomes will fit onto a plot of land that has been mostly-vacant for roughly 30 years.

Construction is expected to start again in early January once test results come back, assuming the weather warms up enough to be able to properly pour and cure concrete.

In the meantime, Barrett says the neighbors will keep their eyes open as the last few plots of land in a densely-filled neighborhood get filled in.

Signs like these were installed along the exterior fence after the builders spoke with neighbors.

“People watch out for each other, and so they watch out of the property and I think that’s always been the case,” said Barrett.

See Keystate Homes information through Consumer Affairs here.

The history

“In fact, that field across the street, well, it was a field across the street, was where [my kids] played baseball and whatever,” said Barrett, looking at the current construction site. “It was their playground. It was great being empty but I’m really excited about the development.”

This view of the townhome site from Barrett's home shows the last home of the three that were originally on the land. That home, says Barrett, was demolished in the 1990's.

Barrett purchased his home across the street from the site in 1979 when only one of the original three homes that sat on the plot was still standing. He says two homes that once faced Whitman burned in the 1970s. The remaining home, facing West 44th Street, was demolished in the late 1990s.

These pictures show the original three homes that used to be where the townhomes are being built today.

“Unfortunately, fires were very common in what I call the decades of arson - the 70s and 80s,” said Barrett in a follow-up email. “This was all a measure of the depth of decline to which the neighborhood had fallen.”

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