East Cleveland development project triggers excitement and property tax concerns
EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Haddie Lyles has lived at her East Cleveland Woodlawn Avenue home for 54 years, she’s pleased more than two dozen new homes will be built in her neighborhood, but she’s also worried her property taxes could skyrocket.
Lyles told News 5 that she and her neighbors are excited about all the new construction being generated by the Circle East Development project, but at the same time, she’s concerned if her property taxes climb even a few hundred dollars, she may be priced out of her neighborhood and be forced to move.
“This house is very important. This is my life, you know,” Lyles said. “I’m concerned about these seniors, these senior citizens, you know, ’cause I’m already 89 now.”
East Cleveland Ward 2 Councilwoman Juanita Gowdy told News 5 she’s extremely pleased with the Circle East Development project but is also counting on the passage of proposed state legislation in Columbus which would place a cap on property tax increases for longtime homeowners. Gowdy said she’s also looking at ways the City of East Cleveland could put a cap on property tax hikes.
“I just hope that they move forward and pass the legislation so that we all can move forward,” Gowdy said. “The majority of them are low-income people, and they want to keep their houses, and that’s why I want to have this talk. Put a tax freeze on the city for our residents, so they can afford to stay in their homes.”
Dennis Roberts, Cuyahoga Land Bank Director of Real Estate Development, told News 5 the land bank is in favor of the proposed state legislation and said the Circle East Development project is the best way to stimulate an East Cleveland resurgence.
“We have the opportunity to truly transform a community that desperately needs it,” Roberts said. “Our expectation is there will be roughly 200 new homes in a footprint of about 30 acres. The new homes will be complemented by some townhomes as well.”
Roberts said there will be many incentives for new home buyers and continued funding of home repairs for longtime residents.
“The City of East Cleveland already has a residential tax abatement in place. It’s a 15-year tax abatement,” Roberts said. “Another benefit is that the homes along Woodlawn and throughout will also have solar panels installed. What does that mean? It means that your maintenance cost will be lower.”
Roberts said he’s expecting the neighborhood to be mixed-income, so there will be houses at the higher end and homes at lower prices as well. Roberts said the plan includes space for a greenway and 68-thousand square feet of office space located at the renovated Mickey’s building on Euclid Avenue, which should be completed at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Haddie Lyles said she’ll welcome her new neighbors, but she’s hoping the City of East Cleveland will do its part in protecting homeowners who made a decade-long commitment to the community because any significant property tax hike could force her out of her house.
“Oh my, God forbid that would hurt really bad, big time,” Lyles said. “I hope to live here until the Lord calls me home, you know.”
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