So, here we are. After the onslaught of the Great Recession, Parma, seventh largest city in Ohio, no longer provides a fireworks show for July 4th, no longer provides open public pools, and seems as though it will soon charge residents additional trash collection fees to maintain existing services.
Despite current budgetary constraints, there are several relatively inexpensive ways to provide something new with minimal upkeep costs:
- Dog park. The community effort to establish and fully fund a dog park offers a chance for the city, now the largest in the state without a dog park, to provide this attractive amenity to residents. There’s even a basic business plan to ensure the dog park is an ongoing success.
- Painted bike lanes and/or bike sharrows. At a minimal cost, these could be added to existing striped roadways or by instituting a road diet where appropriate. When determining where to add them, thought could be given to developing a network of bike paths that link up with the Metroparks. If additional guidance is needed, local organizations such as Bike Cleveland and West Creek Conservancy could be consulted.
- Enhanced walkability. Additional crossings in commercial areas such as Polish Village and Ukrainian Village would go a long way to encourage pedestrians to increasingly shop local. The heavier foot traffic would have the added bonus of traffic calming and increased safety.
- Beautification. Extensive tree, flower, and bush plantings in commercial districts would help to soften the appearance of areas saturated with concrete, make them more attractive to both drivers and pedestrians, and, again, help to calm traffic. During Mayor DePiero’s time in office, a study was conducted by the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) in 2008 that addressed these issues and more with a focus on the importance of developing sustainable communities through design.
Comprehensive plans would be beneficial so that these ideas do not merely amount to wishful thinking. But whether additional plans will be developed anytime soon is anyone’s guess.