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Improvements to City View Center and Bridgeview Crossing in Garfield Heights have been around the corner for years

Posted at 7:49 AM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 18:34:30-04

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — The solutions to many of the concerns Garfield Heights Mayor Vic Collova faces could be hidden behind the largely vacant storefronts at City View Center and in the undeveloped land across the street called Bridgeview Crossing.

"It's really sad to see this go down," said 20-year Garfield Heights resident Marlene Kalish, standing outside the City View Center Giant Eagle.

The center used to have a PetSmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Walmart, and much more, but now the only business is the grocery store.

"I would come down here for any kind of shopping," said Kalish. It was a real vital piece of Garfield Heights."

Collova says he's been trying for all of his ten years in office to get City View Center back on the city's tax rolls.

"City View Center, when it was up and running, brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax dollars into the city of Garfield Heights," said Collova.

That's money he doesn't have right now to run the city and do tasks like hire more police offices or fix city streets.

"Next year, we have planned to pave anywhere from nine to eleven streets, which is great, but we'd like to turn that number into 25 to 30 streets," said Collova.

Collova says he's heard a wide range of potential plans for the space. It could eventually be traditional strip mall retail like it was first built for or be renovated to support a retail village configuration.

In the past, he's floated the idea to move the city's Police Department and court system to the location, providing built-in security for whichever tenants move in. Collova says the city will need to know if that is likely to happen soon by the end of the year, or they will have to find a new plan for a police department and jail that is rapidly becoming more expensive to keep up.

See our previous coverage of the Garfield Heights jail here.

Just across the highway, a development called Bridgeview Crossing is still mostly grass. But Collova says the developer picked up nearly all of the roughly $8 million bill to improve the overpass and roadway near the development so it can accommodate more traffic once it gets built.

It's obvious with the amount of money that they've spent, you see the bridge has been widened, the ramps have been widened, the roads have been widened, this thing is ready to go," said Collova.

Collova says the project was a city project but Garfield Heights got reimbursed by the developer. However, after two different plans have fallen through for the area, Collova says he's convinced the developer will keep the next plan close to the vest.

At first, Bridgeview Crossing was supposed to be an outlet mall. Then Ikea was supposed to move in until they suddenly backed out.

See News 5's Bridgeview Crossing Outlet mall coverage here.

See News 5's coverage of Ikea's decision here.

"I really believe that this time, until it's 'signed, sealed, and delivered,' they're not going to say what's going on," said Collova.

So while the city waits, what's left is the hope that something comes into the city and that it comes back soon.

"It would bring more people in, it would bring more tax revenue in," said Kalish. "We really need it."

Collova says the city has already reached out to Sherwin-Williams to make sure the company knows that it would be welcome in Garfield Heights if it decides to leave its downtown Cleveland location.