Cleveland Neighborhood Progress Celebrates Vibrant City Award Winners

Former Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman Honored With Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award

On May 2, 2016, Cleveland’s thriving community development industry celebrated the creation of a Hispanic-themed open air market, a new nighttime market in AsiaTown, tax preparation assistance for city residents, creative neighborhood marketing efforts and tireless, transformative efforts by local developers, corporate partners, and civic champions.

It all happened at the sold-out, second annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch. The event was hosted by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and was presented thanks to support from Key Bank and Community Blight Solutions. Six hundred guests gathered at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium to enjoy lunch by Chef Chris Hodgson of Driftwood Catering and to honor the 21 award finalists, and others.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress president Joel Ratner kicked things off with an enthusiastic welcome and praise for all of the vital partnerships and collaborative efforts from those in attendance that have allowed the city to take important strides forward.  “Cleveland’s neighborhoods would not be where they are today without the vision, passion and dedication displayed by the partners in this room” stated Ratner. “Today, we are proud to honor the leading efforts in community development that are keeping residents in the city and also attracting new residents to our neighborhoods.”

Ratner kicked off the awards presentations by honoring Cleveland Metroparks with the first-ever Vibrant City Impact Award. The community partner was recognized for its role in managing the city’s lakefront parks, rejuvenating Rivergate Park, and bringing back a water taxi service. (watch video here)

The highlight of the day came when Joe Cimperman was honored with the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award. Ratner stated, “Joe is a true champion of the city of Cleveland and Cleveland’s neighborhoods. He truly is a visionary for making Cleveland a fair and equitable place to call home for all city residents.” (watch video here)

Cimperman recently left Cleveland City Council after 19 years and is now the President of Global Cleveland.

Additionally, seven other efforts were recognized at the Vibrant City Awards Lunch. They include: 

CDC Community Collaboration Award:

Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office

La Placita – A Hispanic-themed open air market providing business development opportunities to entrepreneurs and access to local goods and fresh foods for residents.

CDC Placemaking Award:    

University Circle Inc.

Wade Oval improvements – the main greenspace in the University Circle neighborhood received a musical themed amenity boost and became an even more attractive and comforting destination for residents and visitors.

CDC Economic Opportunity Award:

Famicos Foundation

EITC program management – This organization has excelled in focusing on the financial well-being of its residents and had a record-breaking year with its Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) work. 

CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award:

St. Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc.

Night Market Cleveland  –  two CDCs partnered and capitalized on past successes and momentum in the AsiaTown and Superior Arts District neighborhoods to create a new destination event that brought exposure to the neighborhood and appreciation for the diverse cultures that surround the area.               

Corporate Partner Award:

Dave’s Supermarkets – the local grocery chain stayed committed to Cleveland and provides a much-needed amenity to city residents, providing access to fresh food and produce and on-going constant community support. 

Urban Developer Award:

Case Development, Mike DeCesare – a residential developer that has successfully completed development projects in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and is actively pursuing new developments in other city neighborhoods

Civic Champion Award:

Joseph Black, Central neighborhood – the Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland that possesses a passion to serve at-risk communities and has aided and mentored Cleveland’s children and families for years.