Homeland Security thwarts Polensek's plot for North Collinwood

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Councilman Mike Polensek's hoping Social Security can boost 185th Street
The leases for Cleveland’s two Social Security Administration offices are set to expire. With clients constantly complaining about insufficient parking and inaccessibility at the Euclid and Lake Shore locations, administrators are hoping to consolidate their operations into one building. Enter energetic Councilman Mike Polensek and the Northeast Shores Development Corporation, who decided to pitch an East 185th Street location in North Collinwood. The street, currently going through a resurgence, is dotted with new restaurants like Bistro 185 and Muldoon’s. Adding a Social Security building would increase business. Plus, the street is located on the RTA bus line, making it easily accessible. There’s only one problem… New Homeland Security rules dictate that there must be 50 feet of space surrounding any new Social Security building. That’s an easy order to fill in suburbia, but not so easy in cities or inner ring suburbs, where it would require demolishing everything around the site. “Now I don’t take the issue of security lightly,” says Polensek. “But when was the last time terrorist groups targeted a Social Security office? It’s not the FBI or office of the attorney general or the Secret Service. We’re talking about a place where the elderly go to sign up for Social Security.” [Apparently Polensek’s forgotten about the Oklahoma City bombing, where homegrown terrorists destroyed the Alfred Murrah building – which happened to house the city’s Social Security office.] Polensek spoke with Senator George Voinovich, hoping for help. “These are people- oriented offices,” says Polensek. “They should be where there’s other people.” – Rebecca Meiser

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