Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mission Statement for the City of Cleveland

In case the image doesn't load properly, the sign carrying the City of Cleveland seal reads: "THE CITY OF CLEVELAND MISSION STATEMENT: We are committed to improving the quality of life in the City of Cleveland by strengthening our neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing the diversity of our citizens, and making Cleveland a desirable, safe city in which to live, work, raise a family, shop, study, play, and grow old."

While I can't say I've noticed this Mission Statement posted in other locations around Cleveland (and I first noticed this one today after unknowingly walking past it daily for the last year), I find humor in the placement of this sign: at the entrance to a city-owned parking lot under the Veterans Memorial Bridge in the Flats - an inconspicuous location at one of the $1 lots in which there is no immediately adjacent housing, shopping, or industry. This location does, however, find itself a few steps away from the poorly maintained Heritage Park I (in which the Lorenzo Carter cabin can be found), where scrub foliage grows around the historic northern outlet of the Ohio-Erie Canal at the river's edge, fencing around the Carter cabin has fallen into disrepair, and a hole in the boardwalk is patched over with a large street sign.

While its location is a bit ironic, I am most interested in the statement's modest and obvious goals (though likely somewhat typical for civic mission statements). We should see this explicit statement placed on the City of Cleveland homepage, outside City Hall, at prominent cultural and entertainment locations, in its neighborhoods, and on City of Cleveland letterhead. While the future of this City may be stronger with the addition of casinos, convention centers, medical marts, and stadiums, there must be a constant reminder of the daily progress of improving the quality of everyday life in the City for Cleveland that has to occur for the City to be a desirable place for anyone to want to live, work, and play.

The City of Cleveland Mission Statement can be found under the Veteran's Memorial Bridge at the entrance to a City-owned parking lot in the Flats (Google Maps link).

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