"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Those were the words spoken in closing of the most moving presentation I have been privy to witness at city hall. Tonight I was privileged to be sitting in the nucleus of Cleveland Heights. And I don't mean city hall. I mean sitting in the middle of the committed tenants and supporters of the Coventry Peace Campus.
When people ask me, why do you love Cleveland Heights? What are it's strengths and why are you so attached to this city? My answer has always been that there is an ineffable quality that is shared by all the people in this town. Tonight I was able to see it, to shake it's hand, to be energized by it! The quality that is Cleveland Heights, in the core DNA of what has been my home for well over a decade, is the amount of people who love this city and want to see it grow, develop, and evolve!
I have seen signs of all of the engaged citizens over the years, in recent memory the movements towards supporting the Paris accords, becoming a welcoming city, and opposing a gas station to be built at Center Mayfield. And I know we will continue to see the residents come out in hoards for additional conversations around Top of the Hill, Noble Triangle, and the continuous need to improve our infrastructure.
But tonight I was moved. I was overwhelmed by the passion and dedication of a group of residents who did not come out in protest or support. But by a group of residents who came to the table with a well thought out proposal to enhance our city, and all they were looking for in return was one thing: Collaboration. It is inspiring to be so lucky to live in a city whose wealth of intellectual and creative capital is immeasurable and whose people want only to give of themselves to the community.
I want to express my support to the organizations who came together this evening to give a presentation which I hear they would be happy to give again and again, and I want to let them all know that it would be a travesty if council did not bring you to the table to continue the conversation. As was stated tonight, this could help create a model of collaboration for the community which will only positively impact our city in the years to come. I urge the members of council to strike while the iron is hot, to embrace this vision, partner with the community and the people of Cleveland Heights, and to develop something amazing together!