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Friday, January 26, 2007

Quality of life remains focus for Bedford

Bedford Times-Register Reporter

Bedford -- At the helm of a city in its third century, Mayor Dan Pocek thinks Bedford is heading in the right direction.

"We started out as an agricultural village, then became a stagecoach stop in the 1840s," Pocek explained during last Wednesday's State of the City Address. "Later we became an area for manufacturing chairs and now we are an auto dealership Mecca.

"I hope to see us become a pharmaceutical giant with the growth of Ben Venue Laboratories," he continued. "Today they are 40 percent of our income tax revenue. They just broke ground on an expansion and plan to break ground on another expansion in the spring."

But one issue Pocek said he still thinks the city needs to address is the number of Bedford homeowners who have had their mortgages foreclosed.

"Cuyahoga County leads the nation in foreclosures," Pocek said. "We have to be aggressive on these issues."

City Manager Bob Reid said the city has already started to crack down on foreclosed homes that are in disrepair. He said the city had two foreclosed homes torn down in 2006 and made a total of $75,000 worth of exterior repairs to 10 foreclosed homes to bring them up to code. Tax liens were added to the homes, so the city would be reimbursed at the time of a sale, he said.

"We took care of issues such as siding and roofs," he said. "We wanted to improve the homes that were becoming cancers to their neighborhoods."

Reid said the city also cracked down on juveniles who were causing problems such as playing loud music or walking in the street. He said the police department made 332 juvenile arrests and citations in 2006 compared to 233 in 2005.

"The mayor and Council stressed that they wanted to take care of this quality of life issue," Reid said. "So we made a lot more arrests and gave a lot less warnings."

Quiet zones at the West Grace and West Glendale railroad crossings are another quality of life issue Reid says he hopes to see resolved in the future, but he isn't sure when they will become a reality. A quiet zone is a railroad crossing where trains do not sound their whistles.

Reid said the city has spent $14,000 to update safety features at the crossings, but the Federal Rail Administration told city officials that they might need to invest in some extra gates before the crossings can become quiet zones.

"The FRA is investigating now to decide if we need the gates and that is taking a while," Reid said. "We are trying to stay on top of it and told FRA officials that we want to meet with them again soon."

Reid said economic development is always a priority and he said he thought the city had a good year economically in 2006 and will again in 2007.

He said work on Tinkers Creek Commerce Park, a corporate/industrial park converted from a brownfield, was completed. Taylor Chair, the city's oldest company, moved into its new facility there.

This year Ben Venue will break ground on two expansions and construction should begin on a Wal-Mart Supercenter next month.

"It is important that we remain aggressive in going after businesses," Reid said. "We need businesses so we don't have to put a tax burden on our residents."

E-mail: ecanning@recordpub.com

Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110

Moving forward Sikh leadership board pledges end to fighting

By Robert Nozar
Bedford Sun Banner Staff Writer

Jan. 25, 2007

BEDFORD — All has been quiet on Tarbell Avenue for the past two months of Sundays as members of the Sikh Gurudwara have gathered to worship.

That has not always been the case during the religious gatherings. For more than two years attendees have wondered if they would be faced with fights and arguments rather than worship.

Now, though, at least one member of the new leadership board said he expects that everyone will be able to worship at the Gurudwara without fear of violence and confrontation.

"We have to accept the election and the leadership chosen by the members," Gursharan Gil said. "I can only hope that the other group sees it the same way. It seems that they are accepting the new board and that is pleasing."

Gil was one of the founders of the Gurudwara who were faced with the reality of control slipping away from them in 2004 as a larger, more conservative group became more prominent in the community.

Disagreements would sometimes escalate into physical confrontations as each side claimed the right to govern the Gurudwara.

But Judge Richard McMonagle, of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, ordered that an election run by neutral observers be held and in December, a new leadership board was put in place.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Um, yeah, we do need it.

Here's the thing about the whole Elmer Flick statue, private funds are being raised to pay for it, and how many communities in the United States can boast that they are hometown to a baseball hall of famer. This community is a community of greatness, and we need to honor those who have represented our town proudly, and who have done great things.

I understand the previous blogger's thoughts that yes, we have a field named after him...incredibly appropriate, but that field is not in plain view of the potential thousands of people who could pass the proposed statue daily if it is placed in the desired location of the Mayor, Council, and Administration. Moreover, it is another one of those things that could be a tourist draw to Bedford, and potential tourism could bring additional potential revenue to this community. And, yes, not to mention, that would be a lovely attraction on the northern end of Downtown Bedford that could lead into people working further south to Veterans Park, the Commons, the historic buildings and homes, and, ahh, yes, Viaduct Park.

So, there must be some logic into why our City Leaders would want to place the proposed statue in their desired location, and to also maintain the solemnity of the Commons.

Just my two cents.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ralph King: Something We Don't Need... Elmer Flick statue...

A post from King's Right Site by Bedford resident Ralph King:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something We Don't Need...

Elmer Flick statue - Tribute to Hall of Famer may dig in on Broadway
Thursday, January 11, 2007 Robert Nozar Bedford Sun Banner

Bedford Today is Elmer Flick's birthday and the proposed statue honoring the Bedford native and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame moved closer to reality last week.
If and when the statue is finally cast and sculpted, it could find a home where Columbus and Center roads run into Broadway Avenue.

That is the location favored by Mayor Dan Pocek and City Manager Bob Reid, and they said several members of City Council prefer that spot over a site on Bedford Commons.

But the task of raising the $51,470 for the projectis not done. So far, enough money has been raised for a clay maquette from which a full-size sculpture will be modeled. Jim Wagner, the chair of the Elmer Flick Statue Committee, said he has heard from donors who have pledged a total of $20,000 for the project. "We are working hard to find other donors, we're making many calls," he said.

Flick played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1898-1901), the Philadelphia Athletics (1902) and the Cleveland Naps (1902-1910).

He was born in Bedford on Jan. 11, 1876, and died here Jan. 9, 1971.
Flick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1963.

Wow! $51,000 dollars for something we don't need here in Bedford. The Location they are proposing is right at the beginning of our Downtown Historical District. Even done tastefully, It will clash with the downtown decor.

We pride ourselves on preserving history here in Bedford, this is not something we need! We have many historic landmarks and buildings already. Cooperating with the local groups to maintain, enhance and bring awareness to the historical assets we have is more important than a statue. No disrespect to Mr. Flick or his family, but we have a baseball field already named after him.


King