LakewoodAlive Forum Examines Future Shape Of City

Just over seven years ago, my wife and I moved from Toledo to Lakewood. Today, I fondly tell family and friends that we stumbled on a gem. When we left Toledo for Northeast Ohio, we both thought it would be a quick interlude to an otherwise happy life in our hometown of Toledo. At that time, it is safe to say, neither one of us could imagine calling anywhere but Toledo home. Today, I could not imagine living anywhere but Lakewood.

Given that I love my adopted hometown and am a data junkie, I eagerly anticipated the release of the 2010 Census. The Census provides a considerable amount of data, beyond simply a head count, that should be interesting to all residents. The Census helps highlight demographic and housing trends within the City and provides a useful high-level overview of the makeup of the City. The release of the 2010 information offered some interesting data: Lakewood remains younger than the average Ohio city, it is becoming more diverse, and it was not immune to the ills of the housing market. While the data alone is interesting to social science geeks everywhere, the key will be how residents, policy makers, and elected officials use that data to drive their decision making.

For me, the central question for policy makers and elected officials is simple: how do we foster an environment that continues to make the City of Lakewood an attractive place to live, for any person, at any stage in their life? In other words, I know why Lakewood was such an attractive place to live for my wife and me at 26 and 24 (hint…bars), I know why it is a great place for our young family (a first-class Library, fantastic options on where to educate our children, and its walkability), but I am not sure why or how it will continue to be a great place for us 10, 20, and 30 years from now. That is why LakewoodAlive’s upcoming forum, “Ensuring a Vibrant Future: A Community Conversation” will be such an interesting discussion.  

There is no doubt that Lakewood is evolving, both demographically and physically. The forum will explore how the Census can inform decision makers and residents alike on how best to shape this evolution. Attendees will hear from three noted and local economic development experts: Marvin Hayes, an urban economic development practitioner with experience at the City, County, and State levels; Dr. Ned Hill, Dean and Professor in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University; and Bill Sanderson, Vice President of Joint Ventures at Forest City Land Group. The panel will highlight the role the public and private sectors, community leaders, and all residents should take to ensure that the Lakewood of 2020, 2030, and beyond remains a community of choice for the 25-year old set, the young family, empty nesters, and retirees. Lakewood is fortunate to have these three experts at our disposal, and I encourage all residents, business owners, and interested readers to attend, listen, and ask questions. The future success of our City is dependant on the commitment and dedication of its residents.

The free forum will be held on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Masonic Temple, 15300 Detroit Avenue, so mark your calendars and join LakewoodAlive for what is sure to be an interesting evening.

Matthew Sattler

Husband, father of two, 7-year Lakewood resident, member of City's Board of Nuisance Abatement Appeals, member of LakewoodAlive, lover of all things Lakewood.

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Volume 7, Issue 22, Posted 1:17 PM, 11.01.2011