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Cleveland to close McCafferty Health Center in Ohio City, redevelop site for affordable housing | Cleveland

Cleveland to close McCafferty Health Center in Ohio City, redevelop site for affordable housing | Cleveland

Cleveland to close McCafferty Health Center in Ohio City, redevelop site for affordable housing | Cleveland

Click to enlarge The city of Cleveland will build the McCafferty Center, a health clinic on Lorain Avenue, which will be converted into affordable housing over the next two years. - Mark Oprea

Marcos Oprea

The city of Cleveland plans to convert the McCafferty Center, a health clinic located on Lorain Avenue, into affordable housing within the next two years.

Lorain Avenue has had its share of promise in the last year or so.

In April, RTA announced funding for a study on a bus rapid transit line for the Ohio City/North Olmsted corridor.

And last week, a second update to Lorain Midway was unveiled to the public, a two-mile bike path that would stretch from West 65th to the Hope Memorial Bridge, featuring lush plans with comfortable tree lines and protected paths. It would give the street a much-needed facelift, which pairs nicely with zoning updates to emphasize transit-oriented development throughout the city.

Plans have already arrived for the McCafferty Center building at West 42nd and Lorain, a clinic controlled by the Cleveland Department of Public Health. Instead of offering COVID-19 vaccines, STD testing and other low-cost care, the nearly two-acre site, whose building is underutilized, will soon be earmarked for affordable housing development.

Which is fine with Department of Public Health Chief Dave Margolius.

While McCafferty has been a pillar in the neighborhood for years on reproductive health services and vaccines, Margolius said she “also recognizes that housing has a tremendous impact on health.”

“We are thrilled to be part of a process to create more affordable housing opportunities,” he added in a press release, “in a neighborhood that needs it.”

Ohio City’s 2019 Strategic Plan suggested the neighborhood could benefit from at least 600 more housing units, “including the approval of” about 60 affordable housing units. Most recent additions to that stock have filled the need for the former rather than the latter.

Remaking, as the city puts it, a “largely underutilized” corner of a block with a 53-year-old building that’s only a quarter occupied is an obvious route to achieving those elusive affordable housing goals. For seniors. For those who can’t afford four-figure rents. For those who need to stay in the neighborhood. Ground-floor uses could include spaces for nonprofits and social service agencies.

Councilman Kerry McCormack’s long-standing intention is to add affordable housing — giving Cleveland’s older residents and people with lower incomes a chance to stay in Ohio City while the neighborhood changes and property values ​​rise.

“As we move forward, I am excited that this site will continue to serve a public purpose by providing affordable housing and social services to the neighborhood,” McCormack said via a news release. “I appreciate the hard work of city staff and look forward to community engagement in the future to ensure this is the best project possible.” (He responded to a call Wednesday.)

Click to enlarge McCafferty's new future fits nicely with the street's likely conversion into Lorain Midway. - Mark Oprea

Marcos Oprea

McCafferty’s new future dovetails nicely with the street’s likely conversion into Lorain Midway.

A mindset Ohioans might agree with.

While there is some hesitation in the neighborhood regarding Lorain Midway (due primarily to the threat it poses to on-street parking spaces) and concerns about the development in general, McCormack’s call for public input, even for a single building, should help prevent neighbors from feuding. And it may help align the councilman’s own campaign for adequate senior housing.

And just allow for a new building in general, one that better fits the future of the street.

“The interior is pretty filthy and dated. I mean, they’re going to have to tear it down because the condition of the building is not that great,” Whitney Anderson, 37, who owns a home across the street from McCafferty, told Scene. “So, I imagine it would be more expensive to try to rehab it into housing.”

Anderson clarified that this is not another Welleon: “With so much market-rate housing being built in the area, I think striking a balance is really essential.”

As for McCafferty’s benefit to the less fortunate, the future is a little more nebulous. Margolius told Scene that CDPH has “some leads” on a new West Side location, but hasn’t signed anything. Because a developer won’t be on the list for another year or so, Margolius said “we have a little bit of time to find the perfect candidate.”

Just as you would do with your own patients.

“I’m not sure what I would do, I’m not sure what I would do,” Don, a cancer patient in his sixties with one leg in a multi-colored cast, sat in a wheelchair on the corner of 42nd and Lorain, told Scene.

Although Don said he had only been to McCafferty for medical care “a few times” in the past three years, he said moving farther west, even a few blocks, proved to be a hurdle. Especially when, as a homeless man, he relies on hygiene materials from the shelter across the street.

“Is it close?” he asked. “If not, we’ll see.”

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