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Ohio City renews safety and beautification initiative

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-16 23:22:49-05

OHIO CITY, Ohio — In recent years, Ohio City has been a booming spot for business. Now, officials are hoping to continue that growth by expanding a program designed to keep Ohio City residents and visitors safe.

“We know there will be this reliable, friendly team of people that will be able to make the streets feel really safe,” Marika Clark said. “I think that will be a great new initiative to have in the neighborhood.”

The multi-million dollar renewal of a previous initiative has just been approved.

The neighborhood known for its food, family-friendly businesses and foot traffic is looking to grow its reach beyond the barriers of West 25th Street.

“We decided to go all the way up Detroit to West 33rd,” Ashley Shaw said. “And then Lorain all the way to the edge of our service area to West 50th.”

The Special Improvement District’s multi-million dollar improvements will add more eyes in the sky and safety patrols for pedestrians.

“The idea is to use those cameras to deter crimes from happening,” Shaw said. “But in the instances where there are incidents we can use that footage to figure out what happened.”

Recent burglaries and carjackings have raised concerns from both residents, business owners and visitors of the neighborhood.

In December, a woman was sexually assaulted and carjacked after leaving a boxing class in Ohio City, according to the Cleveland Division of Police.

Just months before, the Cleveland Division of Police said a parking lot attendant was pistol-whipped and carjacked in an Ohio City parking lot by a group of men while working overnight.

In light of those incidents, the safety initiative will fund more off-duty patrol and provide upgrades to approximately 80 cameras in Ohio City.

“I’ll be in the office until 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. and I’ll be walking home with my dog,” Clark said. “And in that kind of situation I may have a safety ambassador walk me to my car.”

The Special Improvement District is largely funded by Ohio City business owners who agree to pay higher taxes in order to benefit from the safety and beautification services.

“We think it’s worth it. We think it’s worth the commitment and we think the whole neighborhood will benefit from it,” Clark said. “So from a net perspective, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment to make.”

Entrepreneurs are hoping to maximize business opportunities based on past momentum.

“There’s a lot of new businesses opening, a lot of investment occurring in the neighborhood,” Shaw said. “And we want people to come down and feel comfortable walking around.”

The improvements, which have been approved through the year 2024, will also include snow removal services and various beautification projects.