(Plain Press, February 2017) Over 100 people gathered in the former Blessed Sacrament Church at the Family Ministry Center 3389 Fulton Road on January 19th to participate in a La Villa Hispana Community Engagement Town Hall.
Each attendee was given a copy of “Cleveland’s La Villa Hispana: The Intersection of Culture and Commerce 2017-2022 Action Plan.” The 30-page action plan provides a five-year projection involving three strategic areas of development: Community Engagement, Economic Development and Arts and Culture.
Eight components deemed essential for the implementation of the three strategic areas are listed: Support new and existing businesses; Improve streetscape and aesthetics; Promote arts and culture; Ensure safety; Develop catalytic real estate projects; Market La Villa Hispana; Grassroots community engagement and Resident economic empowerment.
The plan outlines a long term (5 year) and a short term (1 year) action plan for each of the three strategies. The plan also identifies a target area for La Villa Hispana that stretched from W. 25th to Fulton and from I-90 on the North to Meyer Avenue on the South. The area includes commercial areas along both Clark Avenue and W. 25th Street. The plan calls for development of both El Mercado, a Latino Public Market/Food Hall and La Plaza, a multipurpose public space for public gatherings and events. The proposed sites for both these developments are in the area of W. 25th Street and Holmden Avenue – just South of CSL Plasma.
One of the early goals of the project is to change the streetscape with use of art, murals, flags and other measures to give the entire area the look and feel of La Villa Hispana. Residents in attendance at the meeting broke into groups to contribute their ideas as to what they would like to see in the La Villa Hispana. In closing the meeting, Maribel Hofmann, a member of the La Villa Hispana Steering Committee, reminded residents that in bringing the plan to fruition “the most important component is you.”
Organizations collaborating to lead the effort to create La Villa Hispana are: The Hispanic Business Center and Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Alliance, MetroHealth System, and Metro West Community Development Office. Information about how to get involved in the planning process and committee meeting dates can be obtained from Jenice Contreras Executive Director of the Hispanic Business Center/Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com or by calling 216-281-4422.