The Bellaire-Puritas neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side will soon break ground on two new projects: a 60-foot-long mural celebrating individuals who have developmental disabilities, and the first of five new houses that are slated to be built in Ward 16.
The 3,000 square foot mural, entitled “More Alike Than Different,” will wrap the corner of Puritas Avenue and W. 161st St. Featuring an array of flowers that capture its theme of our common humanity amidst differences, the mural will be painted by artist Garrett Weider.
“It’s a group that has not been celebrated in art in our city, and we are excited to have the first mural in the Bellaire-Puritas neighborhood,” said Melissa Miller, Community Development Director of Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation. BPDC is leading the project along with Ward 16 Councilmember Brian Kazy and The Up Side of Downs, an organization that provides support, education and advocacy for people with Downs syndrome, their families and communities in Northeast Ohio.
Painting for the mural will start on March 21st, National Downs Syndrome Day. The proposed design was from the artist. The mural’s purpose is to create awareness and understanding of individuals who have Downs syndrome and similar conditions.
In addition to celebrating those with developmental disabilities, organizers hope this mural will beautify this industrial area and help to deter tagging on a corner that is often marred by graffiti. Funding comes from The Up Side of Downs, Bellaire Puritas, the Cleveland Browns and numerous other organizations who work with people with developmental disabilities. Sherwin Williams donated paint. Contributing agencies’ logos will be discreetly painted in the mural as part of its design.
At the same time, on a vacant lot at 12121 Belden Ave., Knez Homes is set to break ground on a new single-family home. The residence, which was approved by the city’s Housing Design Review Subcommittee and granted area variances by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, represents a momentous change for Ward 16 residents, said Brian Kazy, the area’s council representative.
“This is an exciting project for Ward 16,” said Kazy. “It’s the first new house to be built in the ward in probably around 20 years or so.”
Malia Ali is a junior at Ursuline College majoring in English and Education and an intern with The Land. Shermayne Dixon is a senior at Cleveland State University majoring in English Literature and an intern with The Land.
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