LATEST UPDATE AS OF 6:00 AM THURSDAY, JAN. 6
The Heights Libraries Board’s abrupt rejection of the Coventry PEACE Campus agreement that it previously embraced caught us off guard, and left us little time to respond before the holidays. Please be assured, we have not given up. Here is what we can tell you at this point:
- The tenants have not made any decisions regarding their future in the building
- Nancy Levin’s comments to the press have contributed to misunderstandings about CPC’s lease
- Under the long-term lease that should have begun on Jan. 1, the Library would have collected $225,000 in “rent” as well as having ALL expenses covered
- We plan to hold a public meeting to talk about all of this
- We are disappointed, but as far as we’re concerned, this is not over
To read about previous developments in this matter, please see the updates below.
12/30/21 - WE ARE NOT CLOSING
LATEST UPDATE AS OF 3:15 PM THURSDAY, DEC. 30
Last week Heights Library (building owner) voted to not convert our current agreement to the first term of a long-term lease, which means we will enter into a month-to-month hold-over clause as of January 1, 2022. Further meetings and negotiations with Heights Libary will be needed to come to a new agreement. We are updating our website on a regular basis with ongoing developments. Be sure to join our email list so we can let you know how you can help and follow us on social media.
#choosePEACE #coventrypeacecampus #webuiltthis #clevelandheights #coventryvillage
12/28/21 - COPY OF LIBRARY MOTION
LATEST UPDATE AS OF 5:00 PM TUESDAY, DEC. 28
Just before the Christmas holiday, the Library provided us with a written copy of the motion they voted on at their Dec. 22 Special Meeting. You can read, or download it here.
12/23/21 - CLARIFICATION: NO AGREEMENT MADE
LATEST UPDATE AS OF 5:00 PM THURSDAY, DEC. 23
It has been brought to our attention that Nancy Levin is responding to your wonderful letters of support. To clarify, there has been no agreement made with the library at this time. We feel her statements gloss over the years of hard work and professional planning that have gone into this project. We will keep you informed. Please enjoy the upcoming holidays and we look forward to better days ahead. Thank You Coventry PEACE.
12/22/21 - THEY VOTED NO - DETAILS & AUDIO
LATEST UPDATE AS OF 9:15 PM WEDNESDAY, DEC. 22
LISTEN TO AUDIO FROM THE MEETING BELOW
The Library voted to terminate the lease with CPC. Obviously, we are very concerned with this decision and are lacking any clear details on what the path forward may be. We are already working on setting up meetings with Library representatives and key advisors. But given that we are in the thick of the Holiday season it may take some time before we have any substantial details. We will share any further details with you as they develop. We are grateful to the one lone Library board member who stood with us. He showed true leadership and courage tonight, and we thank him. And of course, our deepest gratitude goes out to all of you - we cannot thank you enough for all your letters of support. We wish we had better news for you. We will continue to hold on to hope that there may be some alternative path forward so that each of our organizations can stay in the home that we built together.
AUDIO FROM LIBRARY BOARD MEETING:
12/17/21 & 12/20/21 - CPC FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Coventry PEACE Campus project suddenly faces uncertain future, but you can help
As we close out a challenging, exciting year, we’d like to tell you about all the encouraging developments at Coventry PEACE Campus, like the recent Lantern Festival and events planned for next year, new tenants who have joined us in 2021, and current tenants’ planned expansions. We’d like to focus on those things, but we can’t right now. The entire project is in jeopardy, and we need your help.
Last week, a Heights Library board subcommittee voted 2-1 against signing a long-term lease with Coventry PEACE Inc., the nonprofit that would manage the leases of the various tenants and the building. We’ve been negotiating with Library leadership for this lease for more than a year, and while there have been disagreements, as in any negotiation, there has never been a hint that the Library ultimately might back out.
The conversion to a long-term lease is not a formality. It will provide the stability that Coventry PEACE, Inc. and the tenants need to raise the funds necessary to achieve what we’ve been working toward since 2017. Funders want to see independence and self-sufficiency. We have submitted to the Library detailed proposals for increasing rent revenues and making building improvements, and even our most conservative projections show growth. Three tenants are planning significant expansions (with increased rents) in the new year. The long-term lease will be a net positive for the Library, the rest of the PEACE Campus, and the entire community, for many years to come — if the Library board follows through.
This was always the plan. In 2018, Heights Library Executive Director Nancy Levin told Cleveland Heights Patch: “Our goal is for the tenants to be independent. We don’t want to be landlords — we will be acting as a kind of incubator, supporting the tenants until they can take over ownership and management of the property themselves.”
That time is now. If the Library’s position changes, after all this time and effort, the tenants will once again have to consider whether they have a viable future in the building. An empty building is the worst possible outcome, and that’s what the Library is risking with its sudden reversal.
On December 20, the entire Heights Library board will vote on the long-term lease. If you know board members, please reach out to them to express your support for the Coventry PEACE Campus vision. You can also attend the meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library on Lee Road.
UPDATE: The Library board took public comments at their meeting on the 20th, but did not vote. THEY WILL NOW VOTE ON DECEMBER 22. According to their website they have scheduled a Special Meeting that "will immediately move to executive session for the purpose of discussing the purchase or sale of property. The board will then convene in public session to discuss the purchase or sale of property and the recognition of a board member." The Executive Session is private and not open to the public. We are waiting for confirmation as to whether or not attendees will be allowed inside this time so they can observe the public portion of the meeting. If it is like Monday's meeting, nobody will be allowed inside and they will not be offering a lovestream option, either. THIS IS OF GREAT CONCERN TO US.
Due to the pandemic, we really don't want anyone to take any unnecessary risks, but we need as many people to at least show up early outside so that the Library board members see you as you arrive and are fully aware of how many people are following these developments. We will look into how we may be able to livestream whatever we can - even if we're outside in the cold.
Our supporters have always been the heart and soul of our project, and just as you have since we faced losing our home the first time, you had our backs again. We are so grateful for your efforts. As we are just days away from Christmas and the New Year, we anticipate there will be a period of limbo before we are able to gather any significant new information. If there are any pertinent developments, we will update you here and on our social media.
SEND A LETTER
With the Library vote concluded, it is now time for our organization to regroup. We will be meeting with key advisors and seeking guidance on what ALL our options may be. With the holidays upon us, we expect that our pace will slow for the next few days so that we can salvage part of the holiday season.
We welcome any of you that would like to continue to communicate your support or concerns to the Library board. You may use our form to easily submit a note that will be emailed directly to all the appropriate people at the Library, or click on the button below to find the contact info for the Library representatives, School Board representatives, as well as City, County and State representatives.. For those of you who celebrate, we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday, and we will keep you apprised of any developments.
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What is Coventry PEACE Campus?
When the school district sought to divest itself from the former Coventry Elementary School building in 2017, leaving its future uncertain, the leaders of all the tenant organizations and a broad base of community supporters came together in a grassroots movement to propose ways to preserve and grow the thriving culture and service ecosystem that had organically taken root there. From this effort, the Coventry PEACE Campus came into being. Coventry P.E.A.C.E., Inc. is the non-profit overseeing the maintenance, sustainability, renovation and development of the Coventry PEACE Building, which houses several local nonprofits. It is our goal to provide an accessible, sustainable, more efficient, and affordable home for these nonprofits, and to attract new organizations to the building.