Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for West 45th Street Apartments
On Friday, April 17th, we went to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the West 45th Street Apartments which were refurbished as a project of the Land Trust Program of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Cleveland. This building consists of four units capable of providing housing for seven people each. Initially built in 1898, its renovation is the result of efforts by NHS; Ohio City, Inc.; City of Cleveland Housing Trust Fund, and Cleveland's Home Weatherization Program along with the encouragement of Mayor Frank Jackson and, especially, Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman.
As the program notes stated, "early in the planning for the building Neighborhood Housing Services met with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services about their work. Every year, they help over 300 refugees and asylees settle in the Cleveland area, many from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. They provide extensive resettlement services to refugees over a 5-year period and have a strong track record of refugee households becoming self-sufficient. Affordable housing is a major challenge in resettlement efforts. Refugee households will be able to qualify as tenants in the building, along with any other qualified household."
Before the ceremony started, we spoke with Ms. Amy Kulisheck, Board Member of NHS, who actually lives just a few houses down from these apartments. Ms. Kulisheck told us that she was very glad that something was finally done with this building which had been deteriorating before the renovation began and looks forward to having it being occupied once more.
During the ceremony, Mr. Lou Tisler; Executive Director of NHS; Mayor Frank Jackson; Ms. Erika McLaughlin, Vice President of Ohio City Board of Trustees; and Councilman Joe Cimperman eachl spoke for a moment.
Mr. Tisler said that this project had been a very rewarding journey for everyone involved.
Mayor Jackson expressed his pride because this project proves that we have the ability to do things that make an important difference in our community, not just a "cookie-cutter approach."
Ms. McLaughlin was happy about this possibilities that this project offered for refugee families and, what's more, she noted that the historical integrity of the building was preserved while still making it more energy efficient.
And Councilman Cimperman praised everyone who worked together to make this project a reality including St. Paul's Community Church (located right across the street) and the neighborhood as a whole. He said it was "the victory of 1,000 fathers and 1,000 mothers." This project really meant a lot to him so he then thanked his wife and his young daughter for supporting him all of the way through it. Councilman Cimperman concluded by saying that all of us or our ancestors came to Cleveland from someplace else so it was important that whoever lives here, whether they be from Appalachia or from another country, be made to feel welcome here and he was confidant that we would.
Mayor Frank Jackson at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the West 45th Street Apartments