Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Candidate blog series: Council-At-Large candidate Casey Brown

First I would like to thank CBN for hosting this blog. It is a pleasure to participate in a new forum and help citizens to know a little more about me.

I have more information about my campaign and myself on my website:

First, a little about me for those who may not know me, my given name is Cassandra, but everyone calls me Casey. I am originally from Fairfield, Ohio, graduating from Fairfield High School in 1984. My husband Tom and I were married in 1989 and bought our house on Ashland Ave. in 1997. I served on Norwood City Council from 2002-2005. I am very proud to be among an elite group of women in Norwood who served on city council!

My top three priorities:

  1. Administration of city finances
  2. Business Development
  3. Improve Residential Property Values

We need to better manage our city finances. We need to use our available resources to make sure all eligible taxpayers pay their fair share and implement a tax amnesty program, which we are not doing right now. We need to have council working with a budget director, preparing a 5-year forecast for everything from city street repair to replacement of equipment.

Our business development priorities need to focus on Montgomery Road in particular. Small businesses are struggling in Norwood. We can see that by the empty storefronts on Montgomery Road. We need to offer business incentives and improve the Pike to encourage business development. We need to be proactive in our business development, constantly working to retain our current businesses, as well as working to re-use older facilities where possible.

Finally, we need to solve the "quality-of-life" issues that plague our neighborhoods and decrease our property values. We need to offer incentives for home improvement and keep crime out of our neighborhoods. We need to work to improve residential property values and maintain the integrity of our residential areas in Norwood. Right now we have issues such as improper zoning, excessive traffic and speeding on some of our residential streets, and the mediocre condition of some of our parks, playgrounds and infrastructure. We need to address these issues. We need to encourage diversity of ownership in our solid residential neighborhoods, while at the same time keeping an eye on potential development to continue to keep property taxes low. We need to consider incentives for homeowners to improve their properties. We need to discuss the possibilities of in-fill housing, to encourage developers to participate in new housing opportunities. We need to help organizations such as the Tree Board to achieve their goals of beautifying our city, which will increase our neighborhood appeal. In short, residential property values are the backbone of the strength of our city.

Based on feedback from citizens and my own experiences, there are many other important issues for Norwood that I have discussed on my website.

Here are a few additional thoughts that I would like to share.

One issue has to do with the redevelopment of Surrey Square.

Surrey Square is suffering from a lack of citizen input. While Surrey Square is going through a desperately needed facelift, very little has been communicated to the citizens of South Norwood as to the extent of the redevelopment. While there was citizen input and extensive Council discussions when Kroger was going to build at Linden Pointe (I was on council during that time), very little communication has been brought willingly to the citizens about this redevelopment. The families of South Norwood need to know what the impact of a larger Kroger store will have on the neighborhood.

City officials should be active in any major development that would affect the city and the surrounding neighborhood. They should be informing those neighborhood citizens, if not the whole city, about the development and asking for input from citizens.

As a candidate for Council At-Large, I want to see the city run more efficiently. Daily I work with entrepreneurs, who follow the mantra of “surround yourself with people smarter than you”. Isn’t that how government should run too? We need to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of our city employees and give them the right tools to get the job done.

I hope you will support me with your vote in November!

Casey Brown