2022 Preview For Ward 17: A Conversation with Councilman Slife

By Jerry Masek   

(Editor’s note: These remarks were made before the Dec. 31 shooting of officer Shane Bartek.)

Charles Slife, appointed Ward 17 Councilman several years ago, is looking forward to 2022 — his first full year as an elected City Councilman.   

“We are going to hit the ground running,” he said. “I appreciate the incredible support of the voters. We want to build on our past momentum and bring Ward 17 to the next level. The reputation of Ward 17 is growing. We had new businesses opening in the middle of the pandemic.”   

Slife, who also serves on the City Planning Commission, plans to take “a more robust role on Council.”   

“I want to be a more vocal advocate for Ward 17. I believe we are now a model neighborhood. We are at a place of strength and we can build upon it.”   

Slife recently joined the board for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress — an umbrella group for community development corporations in the City. He looks forward to working with others who share a common goal.   

“I think Ward 17 is a model of a desirable, middle-income Cleveland neighborhood,” said Slife, who has several goals this year. 

Improve Public Safety

Slife said that in talking to voters during the campaign, “the importance of public safety to our neighborhoods was astonishing clear. It affects all that we do.”   

He said one question is “how Issue 24 will unfold” in the Bibb Administration.     “Safe neighborhoods often start with a strong sense of community, and we have that in Ward 17. I love to see people walking through their neighborhood,” Slife said.    Slife wants to add more security cameras on buildings and at intersections. Ward 17 now has eight cameras.   

Using funds available to Cleveland from the American Rescue Plan, Slife has requested cameras for 22 more locations in Ward 17. He will soon meet with First District police officials to review that request. 

Expand Recreational Opportunities

Planning for major upgrades at Impett Park — one of the largest in the City — will be finalized in 2022, and work on improving the tennis courts will be done this year. Impett is the home court for St. Joseph Academy tennis teams.   

A “really special playground” will be built at Drafefield Park.   

To better connect West Park residents to the Metroparks’ Rocky River Reservation, three new connectors are in various stages of planning and discussion.

  • The Hogback Ridge area.
  • Near the Oatey facility on Emerald Parkway.
  • Behind Fairview Hospital, on Old Lorain Road. A public meeting on that connector was held in early 2021.

Monitor building and construction projects   

Slife said CMHA is nearing completion on a multi-year “much-needed facelift” of units in the large Riverside Park, 17800 Parkmount Ave. He said Riverside has a “great youth program,” a large population of Hispanic-speaking persons, and Puerto Ricans who came here after a hurricane ravaged their island.   

Slife wants to see other building projects reach completion in 2022.

  • National retailers in the West Park Shopping Center want to be open in time for holiday shoppers at West 150th Street and Lorain Avenue..
  • An addition is planned to the Muslim Community Center, 4600 Rocky River Dr.
  • Construction is underway for an addition to Laura’s Home, 18120 Puritas Ave.
  • Renovation is on track at the West Park Library, 3805 W. 157th St.
  • A new building is underway at the West Park Animal Hospital, 4117 Rocky River Dr.
  • Ground will be broken for a new MedVet facility, near Subway at Grayton Road and I-480. The owners are moving here from Brookpark to give animal owners another option for pet care. “Ward 17 will become the animal hospital capital of Cleveland,” Slife said
  • Arby’s is nearing completion at the former Steak-and-Shake site at Kamm’s Corners.
  • Some restaurants may make their popular outdoor space more permanent. Slife expects announcements later this year.

Get recycle rolling   

“Past attempts to start a citywide recycling program have been a nightmare,” Slife said. “Some residents are very eager to recycle, but there was so much confusion. We need more consumer education.” 

Work with a new Administaation    

Slife already toured Ward 17 with then Mayor-elect Bibb.   

“The merchants and residents were happy to see him. We discussed neighborhood and legislative goals. Mayor Bibb realizes we have a shared destination. He recognizes the potential and strength of Ward 17. All indications are that he is ready to partner with us and do some really cool things in Ward 17.”   

“I love this neighborhood. It is really a special corner of the world.”     

Jerry Masek has been a resident of Ward 17 for 38 years.

Leave a Reply