by Sam Allard
Bummer for Councilman Joe Cimperman, who sent out a letter this week to Ohio City residents voicing his own opposition to the McDonald's project and encouraging people to come to the meeting for support.
"Ironically — mysteriously — after we sounded the alarm, right as the letters reached the doorsteps, McDonald's asked for the postponement," said Cimperman in a phone interview this morning.
Cimperman said McDonald's has every right to make the request, but noted that the corporation has altered their plan eight times with the city after their original submission eight months ago. A new meeting will likely be held on October 18 or November 1, based on availability.
"This will be the most highly attended Cleveland Planning Commission meeting in the city' s history," said Cimperman. "I know that I'm comfortable with hyperbole, but this has really caught the interest of people."
In his letter to residents, Cimperman wrote that he was concerned, foremost, with the safety of children and the elderly, who would be affected by the increased traffic and the contentious two-lane drive through at the proposed location.
"This is a neighborhood with five schools, and an intersection with four RTA stops," said Cimperman. "As it is, it's a traffic failure. And look, I go to McDonald's. No one is saying that these are horrible people. It's just that it doesn't have that Ohio-Cityism. It's not Ohio-Citistic."
Cimperman alluded to initiatives in walkability, the growth of small businesses and urban agriculture which don't jibe with McDonald's values (to the extent that they exist).
In the current plan, the McDonald's on Detroit Road in Gordon Square would be closed in conjunction with the opening in Ohio City.
"So they can't even make the argument that they're adding jobs," said Cimperman, who worked at a Wendy's in high school and understands fast food restaurants' value to young and lower-income employees "In fact, they're reducing jobs, because that space won't be able to fit the number of people as the location on Detroit."
Matt Zone, the councilman in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, was unavailable for comment.
This will probably go down as the second-most significant local McDonald's story this year.