by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, April 2015) In his remarks to those gathered for Detroit Shoreway’s 41st annual meeting, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Board of Directors Chair Joe Tegreene focused on the organization’s new strategic plan. Tegreene told the crowd of over 150 people gathered at Our Lady of Mt Carmel’s Pope John Hall that it was not enough to just celebrate the organizations’ successes, but DSCDO must also look for ways it can improve.
To that end, Tegreene said a Strategic Vision Steering Committee was formed. The group, co-chaired by Joe Tegreene and Paul Ettorre re-examined the organization’s charter and mission, and working with Strategy Design Partners looked at number of key focus areas for ways to improve the organization. The key areas looked at include: Mission, Values, Place Making, Economic Opportunity, Community Engagement, Governance and Staffing.
The resulting report: Detroit Shoreway Strategic Vision: 2015-2017 was available to those in attendance. Tegreene said information used to form the Strategic Vision was gathered from over 300 people who were directly interviewed, neighborhood focus groups and surveys. The report indicates efforts were made to be inclusive in the planning process and make sure input to the planning process came from “underrepresented and marginalized stakeholders.”
Tegreene celebrated the successes of the Gordon Square Arts District and urged members to attend the Capitol Theatre when going to a movie rather than opting for Crocker Park. While Tegreene called on building on the success of the Gordon Square Arts District, he also responded to criticism that the DSCDO needed to focus more resources on areas outside of the Gordon Square Arts District. He specifically mentioned the area South of Franklin Boulevard where he said the organization needs to work to acquire properties to help assure useful development.
Tegreene also noted perceived safety concerns along the W. 80s and in areas South of Madison and along Lorain Avenue. He called for addressing these concerns and targeting certain areas for additional resources and code enforcement.
Emphasizing the organizations’ commitment to diversity and providing housing for a mixed income population of people of all walks of life, Tegreene emphasized the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood has boundaries from Lake Erie to I-90 and from W. 85 to W. 45. He noted the neighborhood is larger than just the Gordon Square Arts District with which it is often identified. He called on the organization not to ignore other sub districts within its boundaries such as the EcoVillage and the Lorain Avenue Antiques District and to do a better job of communicating with block clubs.
In addition to focusing more resources outside of the Gordon Square Arts District, Tegreene said, “we have to solve the name game.” He noted, the name Detroit Shoreway “ignores vital areas South of Franklin.” The Strategic Vision report calls on Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization members to be prepared to vote on a new name at its next annual meeting.
In the area of Economic Development, Tegreene said a key task was encouraging businesses to locate in the neighborhood. He said with the recent grand opening of Near West Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District, parking was a serious problem that had to be addressed. He also called on the renewal of the tax for the Special Improvement District Tax that helped to support safety, cleanups and snow removal in the Gordon Square Arts District. Tegreene called for support for major improvements planned for Lorain Avenue – a major business district in their service area.
Tegreene noted the Strategic Plan calls for addressing the educational needs of the area’s population. He called for building a strong foundation for families to move into the neighborhood. He stressed the importance having amenities and services for families with children, not just young professionals and empty nesters. He urged the organization to help link families to high quality educational opportunities. He also noted some services provided by DSCDO to low income families such as help for working families in securing Earned Income Tax Credit and a neighborhood Wellness Fair.
Tegreene said the organization needed to focus on families with children and on the housing needs of seniors that wanted to stay in the neighborhood. He urged the organization to make sure “people of all ages feel welcome and supported.”
The Strategic Plan, said Tegreene, calls for more diversity on the Board of Directors and better business models to focus resources throughout the neighborhood. He also noted the organization’s relationship in overseeing the operations of Stockyard Clark Fulton Brooklyn Centre. He said that measures need to be taken to assure SCFBC is well integrated into the organization and getting the services they deserve.
Following Tegreene’s speech he announced the results of the DSCDO Board of Directors election. Four current board members were re-elected: Paul Ettorre, Maryellen Staab, Dan McCormick and Mike O’ Conner. One new member, Patty Jurca, was also elected.
The organization’s annual report indicated income of $2.497 million and expenditures of $2.308 million.
The annual meeting also featured a number of awards acknowledging contributions to the neighborhood.
State Senator Michael Skindell and State Representative Nickie Antonio presented Community Spirit Awards.
Jeff Pesler of Clinton Avenue received a Community Spirit award for his work on the Community Entertainment District as well as his involvement with the West Clinton Block Club.
Jodi Rae Santosusso of Daily Press received a Community Spirit Award for her businesses’ contribution to the neighborhood.
Jack and Alanna Meyers-Kiousis received a Community Spirit award for their work at Herman Park as well as their involvement in the neighborhood Spelling Bee for area children.
Davey Connor received a Community Spirit award for his involvement in the Edgewater Hill Block Club as well as the neighborhood’s Victory Garden.
Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady presented Neighborhood Improvement Awards. Awards were given to the Bruno Casiano Gallery at 5304 Detroit Avenue; homeowners Jamye Jamison and Jonathan Karpick of 6013 Franklin Blvd and Brian Todd of 1849-51 W. 65th Street; and Needs Cleveland at 7710 Lorain Avenue.
Sean Watterson, Owner of the Happy Dog, presented the Sean Kilbane Award to the owners of Stone Mad for their contribution to entertainment in the neighborhood.
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Executive Director Jeff Ramsey presented the Sustainability Award to Brad Stemen and Jeffifer Hilmer for their involvement planning a gateway and garden to mark the Madison Avenue entrance to the W. 65th entrance to the Regional Transit Authority’s Transit Station.
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Managing Director Jenny Spencer presented the Irene Catlin Award to Dan Carcioppolo for his commitment to improving quality of life in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Carcioppolo is co-chair of the Edgewater Hill Block Club as well as a member of a number of committees of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization.