A recent meeting at the House of Blues might have been called "Professionals in the City: A Discussion on Redevelopment," but moderators treated attendees like college freshmen in a lecture hall. "Cleveland, please quiet down, give the guests your attention," the moderator called out, approximately four dozen times, to little effect.
The goal of the meeting, organized in part by the networking group Cleveland365.com, was to get big Cleveland area developers together to discuss new retail and residential construction in the city. The crowd was so noisy, most missed the comments of the panelists -- six developers charged with resurrecting the Flats and the East 4th areas. Too bad, since they missed a huge cat fight.
"We've got to change the old guard," outspoken Crocker Park developer Bob Stark said at the start of the meeting. "Whether it's Lou Stokes or Arnold Pinkney or Dick Jacobs or Al Ratner or, may he rest in peace, Bart Wolstein -- it's time for them to move on."
This statement didn't sit well with Steve Strnisha, who was representing the Wolstein group. Strnisha glared at Stark, then assured the audience that Wolstein's vision was very much alive and relevant. Attendees cheered.
No definitive conclusions were drawn from the meeting -- other than Cleveland's need to become more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, just like France. The meeting ended 30 minutes early, which disappointed at least one woman who arrived late.
"How'd it go?" she asked. Someone assured her that she hadn't missed much.
The woman then leaned in and asked the question she really wanted answered, "But how were the men?" -- Rebecca Meiser