Cleveland's Waterloo Road streetscape beautification project receives new grant

Northcoast Shores uses grant to help businesses

CLEVELAND - Joe Zuzak's R&D Sausage Company has been serving neighbors on Waterloo Road between East 152nd and Nottingham Road for 27 years. His smoked sausages meats personally made without chemicals have a huge neighborhood following.

But Zuzak said he's losing money each week due to the city of Cleveland's streetscape beautification project on Waterloo Road in Collinwood. His parking lot was empty at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

"I'm losing $500 a week to the road construction, but it will be done soon across the street. Then next spring they start on my side," Zuzak said.

Zuzak pulled out a packet of forms to fill out for a bit of relief for area businesses that have seen hard times because of the long road repair and beautification project. The packet came from Northeast Shores Development Corporation.

Northeast Shores Executive Director Brian Friedman said they just received a $1 million grant from the Kresge Foundation. It's the third grant they have received for their work in Collinwood.

"The organization is a non-profit that increases homeownership in the neighborhood and helps entrepreneurs bring their business ideas to the market over the last 10 years. The organization's activities have resulted in over $42 million in neighborhood investment," Becki Cooper with Northeast Shores said in a news release.

For businesses in the revitalized Waterloo arts and entertainment district, the street project is bringing hope that the area will have as much success as Tremont and Ohio City areas of Cleveland.

Music Saves, an eclectic store selling mostly new vinyl records and CDs, has been here for nine years. The grant has paved the way for entertainers to play music there for one day events. The owner, Melanie, is hoping a freshly-paved Waterloo Road will make it a new, clean destination site for customers seeking new Cleveland-area venues to spend their cash while enjoying an art atmosphere.

Until then, she wants people to know businesses are still here trying to make a living and their doors open.

"It might be a little more work to walk around. You can only get from one side of the street to the other in certain spots, but other than that, if you figure out the parking, once you get inside wherever you're going, you know, Music Saves is the same record store it's been for nine years and the Beachland (Ballroom) is the same concert venue it's been for 13 years and we're all still doing our thing, we're all open, and really just trying to make it through this construction," Melanie said.

The Waterloo Road arts and entertainment district has been a plan of the Beachland Ballroom owner Cindy Barber since she opened its doors. Her dream is close to being made a reality.

Friedman said the plan has been a true neighborhood collaboration for the nine years. He remembers Barber's passion for Collinwood and Waterloo Road.

"Cindy Barber really had plans to make this entire district an arts and entertainment district with 24/7 music and arts going on, and people living in the neighborhood. At that time this street was 40 percent vacant and we slowly built it up and built it up to right now where we are going to be at 92 percent occupancy," Friedman said.

"For us, something that is different is that we have vibrancy grants put into place for these businesses, so every business here can do an arts related program that has a specific day and time when an arts event will occur that's free and open to the public. Those will start in December and the goal of those is to bring people down here. Sure, it's going to be a bit more difficult to come down during the construction, but those grants and those events are supposed to be so cool, and so peculiar, and so unique like what you can see is going on here that people are going to want to come down regardless of what's going on here with the construction," Freidman said.

The north side of Waterloo Road is expected to be done some time next month. In April, the south side of Waterloo will be torn up to complete the project. It is expected to be finished some time in 2015.

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