2021 Midtown Cleveland Annual Meeting

The 2021 Midtown Cleveland annual meeting conducted virtually on Tuesday afternoon, October 5th, was highlighted by a review of the newly developed, longtime planned, and most promising “Neighborhood Vision Plan” conducted by Mr. Jeffrey Epstein, Midtown’s Executive Director.

First, the Midtown neighborhood, is at the intersection of several neighborhoods-AsiaTown, Hough, Central Fairfax, and Downtown. It is home to diverse mixture of individuals, industries and organizations including Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC.

Very simply, Midtown Cleveland’s Neighborhood Vision Plan is “a place-based holistic, living neighborhood plan representing a guiding vision of the people, places, organizations, and built environment that will further connect the Midtown neighborhood physically and socially.”

Its goals and strategies include upgrading Payne Avenue as the anchor of Asiatown, restoration of green infrastructure, create community gathering spaces, and strategically invest in new housing.

During the meeting, another much-mentioned topic was the Cleveland Walls! art project consisting of a series of murals depicting local life and culture.

Along these lines, Ms. Joyce Huang, Midtown’s VP of Community Development monitored a discussion comprised of three artists who took part in the project who were Mr. Antoine Washington, Mr. Darius Steward, and Ms. Robin Robinson.

All agreed that the murals, beautiful though they are, were not created to be “pretty” but to inspire and motivate and thus be a vehicle for constructive change.

Of course, several awards were disbursed to worthy individuals/organizations that have positively affected the Midtown area, if not Cleveland as a whole, and the recipients were:

  • Ms. Gwendolyn Garth (Volunteer of the Year)
  • Mr. Joe Lanzilotta and LAND Studio (Neighborhood Vibrancy)
  • Dunham Tavern (Neighborhood Vision)
  • AsiaTown Adult Literacy Program (Community Impact)
  • The MidTown/3101 Apartments (Historic Renovation)
  • Mr. Mansfield Frazier (Civic Collaborator)
  • Cleveland City Councilpersons Basheer Jones and Phyllis Cleveland (Community Partners)

To no surprise, the award that we found the most interesting was the one given to the AsiaTown Adult Literacy Program because it involved twenty seniors (i.e. people who immigrated to the United States and/or refugees) who devised an English-learning class for themselves that focused on areas that directly impacted their lives.

The meeting ended with short presentations by Cleveland mayoral candidates Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley wherein both thankfully said that a return to the pre-Covid 19 conditions in Cleveland would not suffice; instead, we must actively address the underlying issues that created the inequities that Covid-19 only exacerbated.   

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