Monday, November 28, 2011

Candy Cane Cruise this Friday

On Dec 2nd, 2011, the East 185th Street Community will be hosting its second “Candy Cane Cruise on East 185” beginning at 5:00 PM. This is a family-friendly event featuring a car cruise of open-top convertible cars and jeeps with bundled up passengers immersed in the spirit of the season. The event is $5.00 and all are welcome to attend! For $5.00 you get a really cool East 185th St. ornament and the opportunity to jazz your car up for the Holiday and cruise East 185th St. for the first time we will have the Salvation Army Bell Ringers and Brass Band playing on the street corners for your entertainment.

The Candy Cane Cruise will begin in the parking lot of the LaSalle Theater at the corner of Chickasaw and East 185th St., and will continue down East 185th until it reaches Lakeshore Boulevard. The car cruise is scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM. Once the cruise has ended, participants and attendees are encouraged to explore East 185th to enjoy sounds of the season, food from the area's wide selection of eateries, and to stroll among the area shops and boutiques.

Convertible owners and owners of fun cars are invited to register to participate in the Candy Cane Cruise on East 185th by emailing Denise Lorek at

Cars of all makes and models are welcomed including vintage, classic or new Jeeps, coups or sedans. Holiday decorations are encouraged; however, all cars must be road-worthy, all passengers should be wearing seat-belts and nothing should be thrown from the vehicles as this is a street cruise; NOT a parade.

East 185th Street is part of the bustling North Shores Collinwood community, which also includes the Waterloo Arts District. East 185th Street is home to one of the largest collections of locally-owned restaurants in Cleveland, and is conveniently located right off I-90. A great spot for lunch or dinner with friends and family, East 185th Street is less than 15 minutes from Downtown Cleveland.

With unique shopping, delicious food, and top-quality service from local and national merchants, East 185th Street is the secret jewel of Cleveland’s eastern edge.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Plain Dealer covers Recreation Center Opening

We are very excited about the opening of the Collinwood Recreation Center yesterday. Thank you to everyone that came out to this historic neighborhood celebration.

It was also wonderful to open the Plain Dealer today and read the following story:

Transformation of Collinwood big-box store highlights a trend
By Michelle Jarboe McFee, The Plain Dealer The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Where shoppers once rummaged for bargains, children will slip down a water slide or skid across the bamboo floor of a basketball court.

This retail box turned recreation center promises more bustle for Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. And the redevelopment illustrates one creative approach to a widespread problem: Empty stores and outmoded shopping centers plaguing landlords and cities.

The former Big Lots store in Collinwood, at 16300 Lake Shore Blvd., sat vacant for years. Retailers passed it by because of its size: 66,000 square feet; its age: decades-old; and its proximity to Lake Erie.

"It was tough," said Keith Hamulak of the CBRE Group Inc. real estate brokerage, which marketed the building. "You do your radius circles, and you're picking up a lot of fish. Retailers felt that they were limited by the lake being so close to them."

The city bought the property in 2006, and politicians squabbled over transforming the site, surrounded by parks, from an eyesore into a community asset.

On Saturday, the building finally reopened as the Collinwood Recreation Center, the city's first new recreation center in more than a decade.

Lockers, a computer area and meeting rooms have replaced bargain-priced kitchen gadgets, furniture, paper towels and toys. Stripped down and refashioned, the former retail space now holds offices and exercise rooms. New, taller sections of the building house a pool and a basketball court.

"The transformation is mind-boggling," said Brian Friedman, executive director of the Northeast Shores neighborhood group. "It has an indoor water park. It has a water slide. It has a pool. And that's all in the place that used to be a big box."

After a recession and a flurry of retail bankruptcies, property owners and public officials are struggling to fill empty stores.

Major retailers are hungry for space, but they're focused on the best shopping centers, in busy locations. With few developers tackling new construction, savvy landlords have found ways to remake prime properties. They're knocking down existing stores, combining spaces or building on parking lots.

Meanwhile, less desirable properties face stagnation, demolition -- or reconstruction as something other than retail.

"I think there are 100,000 shopping centers in the U.S., and you can bet that a lot of those are problematic," said Rich Moore, an analyst who covers real estate companies for RBC Capital Markets in Solon. "Out of those 100,000, there's a big number that will ultimately be something different."

In Northeast Ohio, call centers, car dealerships, technical schools and churches have filled empty big-box stores. Real estate brokers and analysts expect to see more alternative uses of defunct retail space, as the industry weeds out obsolete properties.

Retail vacancy in Greater Cleveland is hovering near 12.6 percent, according to Marcus & Millichap Research Services. At neighborhood and community shopping centers in the region, vacancy inched up to 15.3 percent during the third quarter -- the highest level in years, based on data compiled by Reis Inc., a research company.

Hamulak points out that some long-vacant retail sites do find new tenants.

In Cleveland, CenterMark Development LLC recently launched a $1.25 million makeover of a former Tops Markets store in the Glenville-Forest Hills area. The building, empty since 2006, will become a Save-A-Lot grocery store and a discount clothing retailer.

Collinwood couldn't lure retail back to Lake Shore Boulevard. But Councilman Michael Polensek relentlessly pushed for the recreation center. And City Hall backed it, using bond financing earmarked for capital projects.

The city hopes to see the building achieve the second-highest level -- "gold" -- of certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Solar panels on the roof help heat water for the showers and keep the power on. Rainwater from the roof collects in an underground cistern, for watering plants. The reception desk and baseboards incorporate salvaged wood and metal.

The frame of the big-box store is still there, underneath a new roof and modern trappings.

"It had good bones, so we put a new suit of clothes on it," said architect Paul Volpe, who designed the project. "And it worked out dandy."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adopt-A-Beach for November

Join volunteers for the final beach cleanup of the 2011 season on Saturday November 12th from 10am-12pm at Euclid Beach State Park! We will be joined by students from Case Western Reserve University for their CWRU Saturday of Service!

We will meet in the park pavilion at 10am and head down to the beach from there to tally and pick up trash and conduct water quality tests. Gloves, trash pickers, rakes and bags will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to dress for the weather and wear tennis shoes). Coffee will be provided and refreshments will be served at 12pm. If you have any questions, please contact Stephen Love at

Also be sure to To Tell Congress: The Great Lakes Need Stronger (Not Weaker) Protection against Invasive Species by visiting the Alliance for the Great Lakes Action Center!

Thank you for your continued support and hope to see you at the beach!
Stephen Love

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Help this Holiday Season


Do you know someone who needs help this Christmas? Unfortunately, during these trying economic times far too many of us do. It may be you, a family member, a neighbor, or co-worker that has fallen on tough times....we are seeing many people seeking our assistance for the very first time. For 120 years The Salvation Army in Collinwood has been providing hope to people who have found themselves in the mists of these circumstances at Christmas time and throughout the year.

As in the past , we will continue to meet these needs this Christmas. If you know someone who needs our help this Christmas, please pass this information on to them. Help us spread the word so that as many as possible can find the help that they need.

Families with children 12 and under may sign up to receive:
A Gift Card for Holiday Food
"Coats for Kids"
Registration for Christmas Assistance Dates (this coming week):
Wednesday November 2 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Thursday November 3 - 9 a.m.. - 3 p.m.
Friday November 4 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday November 5 - 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
At The Salvation Army: 17625 Grovewood Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44119
This location serves the following zip codes:
If you zip code is not listed, please call 216.692.1388 to find The
Salvation Army location that serves you.
Please bring the following information:
Government issued I.D. or Drivers License
Birth Certificate or Current Medical Benefit Card for EACH child
(newborn - 12 years old)
Proof of income
For more information, call The Salvation Army at 216.692.1388


Lieutenant Chris Mauk
Corps Officer
The Salvation Army
Cleveland Temple Corps Community Center