Economic Development Director delivers
keynote address at Cudell Improvement’s Annual Meeting

(Plain Press, February 2007) Delivering the keynote address at the Cudell Improvement Annual Meeting on January 17th, City of Cleveland Economic Development Director Brian Reilly spoke of the public sector’s role in the economic development of the city.

The city’s economic base, he noted, consisted of manufacturing, health care, commerce and business services firms. Reilly stressed the importance of growing the economic base rather than just focusing on quality of life.

He said economic growth occurs when you sell goods or services beyond your economy and bring other peoples money into your economy. Reilly distinguished growth from quality of life, which he defined as how you spend your money.

The public sector role is not only to bring in new companies but also to help companies that are already here to grow and to remove barriers to their growth, said Reilly. He then outlined a number of ways the public sector can work to facilitate economic development:

•    create a predictable, reliable regulatory process;
•    have the infrastructure of the city in the best condition possible;
•    bring back into use unproductive land and buildings;
•    create a globally competitive workforce;
•    support capital investment and seek out companies that want to invest; and
•    create the conditions for growth.

After the keynote address, Cudell staff and board members honored a number of people for their contributions to the neighborhood.

Joe Sidoti, Commissioner of Neighborhood Development for the City of Cleveland, received the Excellence in Government Award for his work on the 121st Street extension.

The Reverand Roland Anderson, Director of Urban Engagement of the Neuva Luz Urban Resource Center at W. 89th and Willard, was honored with the Walter and Pauline Martens Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions to the community through New Light Ministries.

Assistant Director of the Department of Economic Development Balinda Pesti received a Community Award for her work helping facilitate getting the Trinity and Midland Steel sites into the city’s industrial land bank.

Brooke Furio, Land Revitalization Manager in the Department of Economic Development, on loan to the city from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, also was honored with a Community Award for his work on plans to redevelop the Trinity and Midland Steel sites.

Kevin Schmotzer, a Business Retention/Expansion Officer in the Department of Economic Development, received a Community Award for efforts to bring a business to the Trinity (former Monarch Aluminum) site. Schmotzer was honored for his efforts even though the business decided not to locate on the site.

David Meeker, a design volunteer who assisted with the Clifton Arts and Music Festival, was honored with a Service Award. John Katsaros, the owner of Twist Night Club and a neighborhood resident, was honored with a Service Award for “always being there for us,” said Cudell Improvement Executive Director Anita Brindza.

Cudell Crime Prevention Program Manager Birgit Hilliard presented Service Awards to a number of First District officers she works closely with for “being here when we need them.” The officers honored were: Administrative Sgt. Elias “Bo” Diaz, Amninistrative Assistant Maria Stacho, Basic Patrol Officer Heather Miksch and Community Service Unit Officers Joe Cavanagh and Mike Volk.

Service Awards also were given to Commercial Beat Patrol officers. Recipients were Mike Fallon, who has walked the Lorain Avenue and Clifton Boulevard beat for ten years; Mike Duller, who has served on the Madison Avenue beat for eight years; Joe Cavanagh, for his work on the eastern end of Detroit Avenue in the Cudell service area for the past five years; and Erwin Eberhardt, the newest beat officer who works on the western end of Detroit Avenue.

Nancy Wright and Claudio Coreno received a Storefront Renovation award for their efforts to fix up and clean the brickwork of the Zak Building at 9719-21 Lorain Avenue. The building houses B & J Family Restaurant.

Don Ponyicky received a Storefront Renovation Award for improvements made to the parking lot of Highland Square Tavern at 1611 W. 117 Street.

Josh Ford and Dale Smythe received a Storefront Renovation award for renovation of the former Daffy Dan building at 10400-08 Clifton Blvd.

At the end of the meeting, Nominating and Membership Committee Chair Janet Loehr announced the election results for five positions on the Cudell Improvement Board of Trustees. Melanie Shakarian was newly elected to the Board of Trustees and Daniel L. Berry, David Retzer, Paul A. Vernon and Rhoda Brafman were re-elected to the Board of Trustees.


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