From Steeple And Stained Glass To CVS

The site of the Lakewood Lutheran Church holds many cherished memories, especially for a Lakeland resident and her parents. You see, her parents, Louise and Elliot Manke got married in that Church. And so it is when time changes footpaths in the community and residents gather to tend to the memories and ponder the redevelopment from church steeple to pharmacy brick and mortar. So, what will happen to the steeple and the beautiful stained glass and what about the pews? And what about that majestic Old Oak Tree?

Perhaps it was because we were meeting in the Main Library, one of the largest recent redevelopments, and the insurgence of new has become the now. Acceptance that the redevelopment was at hand turned over to concerns of how the redevelopment will impact the neighborhood. Sean McDermott, of Zaremba Group and a resident of Lakewood, presented the site plan. Sean walked through the details of the concept and addressed design and function elements. Like the credits of a movie, there will be no houses removed in construction of the site. Lakeland parents and kids will be able to walk through the CVS site to the Main Library utilizing a sidewalk at the south end of the site without having to walk through a parking lot. There will be a dedicated bike rack near the entrance. Light poles were tested to insure that light did not spill out from the site into residents’ homes. A green sustainable bio-swale will be a feature in the parking lot. There will be a sign at the exit to Lakeland Ave that only Lakeland residents can turn left and conversely for the exit on Arthur. The plan complies with the City’s Commercial Retail Code and the 64 space parking lot is conditional use as allowed by City Code. Building materials are of high quality. From Detroit, you will not be able to see the parking lot but you will view active life through the windows. Display windows on the Arthur side will house local photography. Signage and Streetscape fit those of Downtown and approved by the City of Lakewood Architecture Board of Review. The Bus Shelter will remain per RTA.

The primary concern from the Lakeland neighbors was that of the impact from increased traffic. Many neighbors attested that Lakeland already has a problem with speeders and wondered if the entrance and exit on Lakeland could be closed. Sean stated that that would not be possible because there cannot be a mid-block entrance off Detroit due to the City of Lakewood Commercial Design Guidelines. Ward councilman, Tom Bullock, stated that this traffic concern exists with other streets and he will be working with residents like Lakeland to develop solutions to these traffic problems. A concern was brought up that the new CVS parking lot could fill up with patrons from the Library as it did in the CVS Mars parking lot leaving no room for CVS shoppers. Several Lakeland residents were concerned with patrons from the bar utilizing the lot after hours and creating noise in the wee hours of the morn! Another resident brought up concerns about construction noise during the building and wondered if reasonable morning times could be maintained. Tom Bullock addressed the bar patrons issue stating that he would work with the bar owner to quiet his patrons leaving during the late hours. He would also check the city code as to construction times.

Concerns were brought up about the storefront businesses that will be lost from the development. Good news…many, if not all, are staying in Lakewood and utilizing other storefronts!

And now, the rest of the story….the church pews have already gone, the beautiful stained glass windows will be removed and faithfully repurposed and the Steeple is being removed and salvaged by the church. Sandstone will be reclaimed. But, the Old Oak Tree after 110 years must come down as it is diseased and dangerous. Perhaps a time capsule will include a piece of its historic wood or a cross section might be memorialized by time dating each ring…who knows what one of our talented Lakewoodites will think of.

Carol Mason

Carol is a transplant from Oswego, New York, having been transfered by her company to headquarters in Cleveland.  Carol has lived in Lakewood for 30 years, raised her son through the Lakewood school system and married a Lakewood raised grandson of a trolley conductor.  She has been a home based business owner for 17 years as an Ind. Sales Director for Mary Kay.  She enjoys community and civic work and loves Lakewood.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 10:26 PM, 04.05.2011