Much of today’s Friday Five will read like those “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” papers we used to write in school. Anybody remember those?

Our family spent Friday through Monday in Cleveland and was pleasantly surprised at what a nice place it was. We were fortunate to miss the airline cancellations that seem to be plaguing travelers these days.

The purpose of our visit was to meet my son Dayne’s future in-laws. He and Sveta are getting married in October. Her parents and sister are delightful, as is Sveta.

Not the Cleveland I was expecting. The city doesn’t have a great reputation, likely based on heavy industry and pollution that once was there. It appears neither is the case. What’s left from the booming business days are beautiful buildings, world class museums and libraries, greenways, breweries, parks and of course the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.

We probably all remember the times the Cuyahoga was on fire from pollution. Now the river is a good place to fish, boat and they have concerts and parks along the banks.

People are also reading…

The Cleveland Museum of Art is by far the best museum I have ever visited. I could spend days looking, but in the few hours we were there, we saw Monets, Rembrandts, Warhols, Jackson Pollock and just about any famous artist I could name. It was free admission but we did have to pay to park.

The buildings throughout town were interesting. Nothing was plain. Many had arched designs. Others had ornate designs on the brick and concrete exterior. With the charity and spending of John D. Rockfeller and others you can do that. Charlie Cannon and family did a lot here, but their wealth was dwarfed by the Cleveland high-rollers.

I wish new building were more like this. I know its extra cost. Today’s designs are shiny and slick. I guess someday a visitor might think it is impressive.







The Arcade

The Arcade, a historic mall in downtown Cleveland, is mostly occupied by a hotel.










Street side cafes

Some streets in downtown Cleveland are open only to pedestrians and are lined with cafes, bars and shops.




Walk, bike, train or bus anywhere. Dayne and Sveta ride their bikes to work at Case Western University. They’re about six miles away and have greenways and bike lines all the way there. While we were there, we walked back and forth to the historic bed and breakfast, The Clifford House, where we slept and ate breakfast. We walked to the Guardians-Red Sox game. The bridge on the way has the giant Guardian statutes on either end.







West Side Market

The historic West Side Market is filled with fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, baked goods and sausages. The exterior of the building is being restored. It serves the Ohio City neighborhood.




Friday night we ate Alaskan King Salmon that Dayne and Sveta smoked over charcoal on their deck. It came from the fresh seafood vendor at the West Side Market.

I loved the West Side Market with its fresh fruits and vegetables, bakeries and butchers. It was a short walk up the hill from Dayne and Sveta’s.







Downtown Cleveland

The skyscrapers of the Tower City section of Cleveland can be seen from the greenway on the other side of the Cuyahoga River.




Not a rant but an encouragement for local officials. We need to be more pedestrian and bike friendly in Cabarrus County. There are not many places in our area that you can walk to get what you need.

There are two stores I can walk to relatively safely from my house: Speedway convenience store on Concord Parkway and Dollar General at the corner of Poplar Tent Road and Rock Hill Church Road.

Speedway is a mile away. There is about 400 feet (estimated) of sidewalk. It is in front of the new houses that were built on Groff. Groff and Montford are both busy streets.

I haven’t measured the distance to Dollar General, but my guess is it’s slightly less than a mile. There is no sidewalk. Rock Hill Church Road is busy and I am not comfortable walking along the street-side ditches.

A side note: They tore down the old building on the corner opposite Dollar General.

Downtown Concord is more walkable, but there’s really not a grocery store. Food Lion is on Branchview and I guess within walking distance.

Kannapolis is a little better, partially by luck. There is the Food Lion in Oak Avenue Mall.

We see strips of sidewalk at new construction. We’ve been told the idea is to get sidewalks and then the governments can start filling in the gaps. I haven’t seen many gaps filled. I wish they would start.

I wish they would put the sidewalks on the side of berms in developments like Piper’s Landing (Tom Grady’s old airport). It would serve more people in high traffic areas. There’s less traffic inside the developments and less need for a sidewalk.

Our greenways are making progress, but little connects and it’s not helpful as transportation route yet.

Another Kannapolis project. Last week we told you about a new development on Old Earnhardt Road in Kannapolis. Pastor Brian Rabon shared with us that his church, Hope Chapel, is building a 32,000-square-foot art ministry building across from the 52-acre development. The church building is scheduled to be complete in October.

“We will have a 500-seat auditorium, coffee shop, youth and kids facilities, Academy (daycare) and after school program,” said Rabon, who is the lead pastor.

The new facility will also be home to a Thursday night food program for the community, Rabon said.

Hope Chapel is 18 years old and has 457 members. It’s located at 1945 Old Earnhardt Road.

Rooms To Go opening at Concord Mills. After several months of construction, Rooms To Go is ready to open. The doors will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 9.

The official address is 8520 Quay Road. Quay is the country road that runs behind Concord Mills Malls. It’s near Bass Pro Shoppe.

Rooms To Go is making a donation to the Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation to commemorate the occasion.

A tough week for Lee Enterprises employees. We struggle with technology in normal times and last weekend’s computer upgrades left many of us without email and other computer resources. I got my email back about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday. It went down Sunday morning.

Thank you all for your patience and your persistence in trying to get your newspaper. Hopefully most of our telephone and email issues are behind us. We’ll see. I think our circulation number is still down.

If you have a Friday Five, story suggestion or something I can rant about email [email protected] or call or text 704-786-0001.







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Mark Plemmons headshot

Mark Plemmons is the editor of the Independent Tribune. He can be reached by emailing [email protected]