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Beck Center proposing new community space in Lakewood

Posted at 9:31 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 23:20:32-05

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The west end of Lakewood may be getting a face lift early next year.

The Beck Center for the Arts is proposing a new community green space and art installation.

“We want to be the anchor for that in this community,” Lucinda Einhouse said. “We want to do what we can to make this a more vibrant part of the neighborhood.”

Einhouse said the project would keep up with the vibrant momentum in recent years.

“The west end of Lakewood is already a destination for arts and entertainment and recreation with the Metroparks entrance right there,” Einhouse said.

Supporters of the project said if more people visit Lakewood, that means more money back into the city’s pocket.

“So any new development to this city is only going to add value to our city and our homes when we have more business coming in,” Nick Puera said.

Beck Center directors hope to tear down part of its campus at the intersection of Detroit and Rockway avenues.

They told News 5 the building has become an eyesore. Directors have been trying to find solutions for the music and dance building for years, but ultimately decided renovations would be more costly than demolition.

Instead, directors want to implement a community garden which will feature installations from local artists.

However, the idea is getting push back from some residents living on Rockway Avenue.

“It’s a pretty narrow street,” Dan Brown said. “There’s always cars out here parked, so when you have folks over or different people over, it can be an issue trying to get parking.”

Einhouse acknowledged concerns about parking spaces and a potential initial surge in traffic if the installation is built, but said the Beck Center has nearly 200 parking spaces for visitors.

“There's never enough parking in Lakewood. We understand that,” Einhouse said, “But we think that this corner should not be additional parking. It should be something that welcomes people to an arts experience here in Lakewood.”

If approved, funding for the green space would come from both the city of Lakewood and a county grant.

“They're applying for one of Cuyahoga County's $50,000 neighborhood improvement grants,” Dale Miller said. “This would pay for a portion of the project.”

Miller said Cuyahoga County spends $1 million annually on various beautification projects like the proposed green space.

“I mean anything to keep the Beck Center and keep it flowing down there,” Puera said, “Because it would just be an empty store front, and we don’t need empty store fronts."

A final decision on the grant is expected in February. If it’s approved, construction would begin shortly afterward.