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April 2004 Archives

City of Cleveland officials are downplaying the potential for conflict with the Cleveland Municipal School District over landmark designations for schools scheduled for demolition or renovation.

The Sun Star reports that Strongsville's economic development efforts have lured four manufacturers to the city, all from other cities within the region.

Breyerwood Homes plans to build three or four houses on landbanked lots on Barber Avenue, near West 25th Street in Cleveland. Prices are expected to range from $140,000 to $160,000, and the builder hopes to have the first homes completed by the end of the year.

Relocate-America included Richmond Heights in their annual list of America's Top 100 Places to Live. "What a wonderful thing," said Mayor Dan Ursu.

The City of Shaker Heights is considering establishing a historic district along Winslow Road, home to many two-family houses built in the 1920s.

A Cleveland attorney is pursuing plans to build a single-story, 8,000 square foot office building on Euclid Avenue near I-90 in Euclid. He expects to occupy the building by next April.

The Chicago Tribune featured a story about Paducah, KY's Artist Relocation Program. Using houses reclaimed by the City due to tax-delinquency or other factors, the Program offers them to artists, many of whom come from distant cities, for extremely low prices. City officials estimate that the artist relocation program pumped an extra $12 million to $15 million overall into the local economy last year, and that, combined with other initiatives, it has contributed to the marketing of Paducah as a destination city.

(Via Planetizen)

Legislation is pending in Lakewood to allow the city to cancel contracts with developers if anyone petitions to repeal public financing or the agreement between the city and developer.

The Oxbows District continues to receive new residential development. Recently, the Irishtown Bend Townhouses opened on Columbus Road.

On the heels of the Weirton Steel purchase and a first quarter profit of $70.9 million, ISG is pursuing the purchase of Georgetown Steel.

The East Cleveland Master Plan is now available on our site.

Friends of the Crooked River will hold River Day 2004 on Saturday, May 22nd. Events throughout the Cuyahoga River Watershed will take place, with the purpose of bringing attention to the health of the river, the recreational benefits of open space, and the Cuyahoga's importance to Northeast Ohio.

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy has recommended the use of ecosystem-based management approaches to address watershed-wide issues that negatively affect coastal waters, including Lake Erie. The Commission has recently published a report documenting its findings.

Agencies such as the Ohio Sea Grant have been and will continue to be actively involved in making sure the Great Lakes are included in these recommendation. Currently, a public comment period is open on the report until May 21.

(Thanks to Lynn Garrity of the Delta Institute for providing the link.)

In their annual State of the Air report, the American Lung Association says Cleveland has the eighth most particle pollution in the U.S., and gives Cuyahoga County failing grades in both particle pollution and number of high ozone days.

The Plain Dealer profiles OneCampus NEO, a project of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education devoted to attracting students and retaining local college graduates in the area.

At a City Club forum, Summit County Executive James McCarthy asserted that efforts to transform Cuyahoga County Government to a single-executive led body is not the only solution to economic development problems. Former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith and current Deputy Mayor fo Greater Lousiville Joan Riehn also spoke at Wednesday's forum.

AltFuel Solutions, a Toledo-based company, has dropped a project to open four hydrogen fueling stations in Ohio.

State Representative Jim Trakas asserts that Mayor Campbell's plan to pursue a Cleveland income tax increase for local schools would probably not be considered in time for a November ballot issue, and that there was little support at the Statehouse for such a measure.

(yesterday's post on this subject)

A poll conducted by proponents of slot-machine gambling shows that 56 percent of voters support a constitutional amendment to permit horse tracks to operate slot-machines, but support falls to 30 percent if a Cleveland casino option was added.

Plain Dealer columnist Sam Fulwood explains why he is opposed to a casino.

(Friday's post on this subject)

Dominion Energy is seeking a permit from the Ohio EPA to build a new 600-megawatt coal-fueled power plant in Conneaut. The plant is projected to be operational by 2009.

Larry Durstin interviews George Zeller of the Council for Economic Opportunities in the Free Times. "The real quiet crisis is that our economy, both in the county and the state, is underperforming the rest of the country."

Ford Motor Company is about to reopen its newly renovated River Rouge complex for production and public tours. The historic factory was the first to employ vertical integration in automaking, and is now the most visible example of the marriage of industrial and ecological systems in the world.

In a Washington Post Writers Group op-ed, Neal Peirce explores the topic of regionalism by reporting on the trend towards City-County mergers and other alternative forms of governance.

Municipal leaders are voicing opposition to House Bill 278, which would, among other things, give to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the right to regulate oil and gas drilling in their communities.

Yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District presented the first ever Trash Oscars to local communities and individuals for their achievements in recycling and waste collection. Ten honorees received "Oscars" for their efforts.

This past Sunday, the Homes section of the Plain Dealer profiled the Central Neighborhood, noting many of its recent, successful residential developments, including Arbor Park Village and the Villages of Central. Instrumental to the development of this Homeownership Zone is Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation.

"The Cleveland Landmarks Commission has recommended that 12 city schools be designated landmarks, over the objections of Cleveland schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett."

Solon voters may see an issue on the November ballot to rezone about 22 acres on Aurora Road for senior housing from single family residential.

Chagrin Falls Township Trustees are trying to determine the future of its historic Township Hall, built in 1848.

The Garfield-Maple Sun provides details about a proposed seven acre retail development near City View Center in Garfield Heights.

Berea officials and JND Properties settled their dispute when the developer backed down and agreed to use sandstone in the construction of the new Walgreens at Front Street and Bagley Road.

In addition to requesting tax abatements, Rockport Square developers are asking the City of Lakewood for a $4 million tax increment financing package.

Some would-be neighbors of a proposed Volkswagen dealership on Lorain Road in North Olmsted are opposed to the development.

The City of Broadview Heights is receiving feedback from residents about the best use for the land at I-77 and Route 82.

ODOT conducted a preliminary noise study along I-71 in Cleveland, and found a noise threshold of 67 decibels, loud enough to justify noise barriers. However, the department has no money to install the barriers, which cost about $1 million per mile.

Steve Litt reviews the new Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Research Building built by Case and University Hospitals.

County Treasurer Jim Rokakis is suggesting to communities that run independent libraries that they should merge with the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason is advocating the pooling of safety resources throughout the county, specifically encouraging the merger of SWAT teams, detective bureaus, jails, and dispatch centers.

Cleveland City Council President Frank Jackson gave his views on regionalism at the City Club on Friday, and emphasized the need to use regional solutions to improve school financing.

Tax Reform is on the Ohio Statehouse's agenda, with work beginning on business taxes.

The Ohio Department of Health has recently lifted its contact ban on the Black River.

In related news, about 200 to 300 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Black River from a leaking storage tank owned by a company specializing in environmental cleanup. The spill was contained upon discovery.

Legacy Village is issuing parking tickets for its metered spots, with the penalty of "booting" vehicles that do not have the fines paid on them.

State representatives that support slot machines to open at racetracks are considering giving Cleveland voters the option of casino gambling.

The Ohio EPA will convene a public meeting this Tuesday (April 27th) in Ashtabula to discuss how nearly $900,000 will be spent to restore the ecology of Fields Brook.

Two new members have been added to the board of the Cleveland Foundation. "The board said it will continue working on its five areas of concentration: early childhood education, aging, the arts, the Cleveland Municipal School District and neighborhoods. And economic development issues will continue to be examined in an effort to boost the five concentration areas."

The controversy in Euclid surrounding Providence Missionary Baptist Church escalated when the city, in response to a referendum, agreed to place the rezoning issue on the November ballot, effectively postponing construction. Church leaders replied by suing the city, claiming Euclid's zoning violates their rights of religious freedom.

Scrap steel prices have declined approximately 10% over the last month perhaps presaging lower steel costs for manufacturers.

Crain's Cleveland Business reports that RTA will begin the transition to a smart card fare system, to be completed by November 2006. See also the notes for this past Tuesday's RTA board meeting for more news.

This week's Sun Press features a story on residential green builder Jim LaRue, who is also a consultant to the Greater Cleveland Green Building Coalition.

Lane resurfacing and sidewalk construction continues on Rockside Road in Independence, causing some traffic delays as connections are improved between the I-77/Rockside Road interchange and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Yesterday, bicycle advocate Joe Breexe gave a talk at the Cleveland environmental Center with the intent of encouraging increased use of the bicycle for commuting. For updates on bicycle advocatcy efforts in Greater Cleveland, check EcoCity Cleveland's Bike Updates page.

The Surface Transportation Policy Project has just published a report that illustrates the mobility difficulties that senior citizens face and makes some recommendations to improve the environment for our older Americans. (Full Report - 721 KB .pdf)

(via Planetizen)

This week's Free Times includes Michael Gill's thoughts on the proposed Rockport Square development in Lakewood.

Steve Sims, former Economic Development Director for the City of Cleveland, in an interview with City News, explains the circumstances around his resignation and provides his perspective on the role of government in local economic development.

Reminder: this Friday is the application deadline for our Principal Planner position.

Among the more interesting planning-related weblogs is Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity, a double-columned site that lists the best and the worst of what its editors see in "transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas". Recent posts include one on tying job growth to the adoption of renewable sources of energy, which includes the comment that "Fuel Cell Capital of the World Sounds a lot Better than Rust Belt".

RTA trustees announced yesterday that they will purchase 21 hybrid diesel-electric articulated buses for the Euclid Corridor project.

The Plain Dealer reports that the Galleria and Tower at Erieview, purchased in December 2003 by Minshall Stewart Properties is rebounding interms of tenants and amenities, with approcimately 30,000 sq. ft. of new leases since the purchase.

The First Suburbs Development Council's site is now online. It features a searchable list of available commercial properties in member cities. (via Brewed Fresh Daily)

Cuyahoga County officials have announced that a 13 acre remediated brownfield on Cleveland's east side will not be used for the proposed Youth Intervention Center. Juvenile Court judges are advocating for the construction of a new detention center closer to the existing juvenile facility located downtown.

Developers of Rockport Square, a proposed retail and residential project in Lakewood's east side, are requesting tax abatement from the City.

Following up on last week's report concerning the condition of Cleveland's bridges, Cleveland City Council is questioning the City Commissioner of Engineering and Construction about how Council was or was not notified of ongoing bridge problems.

The U.S. EPA yesterday released new rules intended to improve the nation's air quality. The Clean Air Ozone Rules section identifies 33 Ohio counties that fail to meet tighter federal limits, and that eight Northeast Ohio counties are the worst in the state.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Michael Vu says that the Euclid Awareness Committee gathered three times the necessary signatures to get rezoning issues for Providence Baptist Church and surrounding residential development on the November ballot.

Cleveland Metroparks have accelerated their schedule for acquiring the West Creek Preserve. "Vern Hartenburg, Metroparks executive director, said he hopes acquisition of the West Creek woodlands and all planning for recreational development can be completed by the end of this year."

Solon City Council is examining opportunities for senior housing in the city.

The City of Bedford may recieve an $850,000 state grant to upgrade Tinkers Creek Park. "It would be used for infrastructure, including sewers, roadway, utilities and sidewalks."

The paperwork for the construction of a human services wing at Brecksville's community center has been completed. "We haven't set a date for the groundbreaking yet, but it should be soon, [Mayor Jerry] Hruby said."

Berea mayor Joseph Biddlecombe says he supports the actions of the Heritage Architectural Review Board, which last week turned down a Walgreens developer's request to substitute man-made caststone in place of previously agreed sandstone.

The City of Lakewood has established Grow Lakewood, a nonpartisan committee "which will examine numerous issues facing the city, and make recommendations to City Council and the administration as to how to tackle them."

The Village of Seven Hills will purchase the Reeves property, a 1.17 acre parcel near Rockside Road and the Independence border, as part of the land assembly process to create a new office park.

The Shaker Heights Planning Commission approved a number of code variances for Heartland Developers' Lofts at Kensington Station, the first building planned for the former Shaker Estates site at Van Aken Boulevard and Lee Road. The building's site plan still needs to be approved.

The Mayors and City Managers Association, Team Northeast Ohio and the Greater Cleveland Partnership met yesterday at Cleveland State University to share ideas on boosting region's marketability.

The Plain Dealer reports that last year, Cuyahoga County households recycled a record amount of waste. The basis of this story is the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District's 2003 Residential Recycling Report.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Lee Chilcote writes about Julie Langan and Cleveland Heights community development organization Future Heights.

Officals from the Federal Highway Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation say that the City of Cleveland overrated the condition of some of its bridges.

Bruce Blog reports that NOACA approved funding for two projects in Parma: construction a new multipurpose trail on the Stearns Homestead property, and the purchase of the historic Henninger House.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs number two in the country for "City Management & Urban Policy" in its 2005 graduate school rankings.

Cleveland Economic Development Director Steven Sims is resigning his post.

The Berea Architectural Review Board rejected the request of Walgreens developer JND Properties to substitute a composite material in place of the previously agreed sandstone. The issue now goes before the city's Planning Commission on Thursday.

The staff of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission says that 21 of the 51 Cleveland Public Schools buildings slated for demolition are eligible for a historic landmark designation. The Commission instructed planners to conduct more research on the sites and report back in 30 days.

A small shopping strip along the Bedford Auto Mile is being planned, and should be completed by late summer.

The controvery surrounding Whiskey Island could be settled shortly. "Cuyahoga County Administrator David Reines said county officials should decide fairly soon whether to pursue a purchase of the island from private owners Whiskey Island Partnership."

The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board has recommended Bedford's downtown historic district for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. A decision is expected in about three months.

On Monday, Broadview Heights City Council held the first reading of a resolution imposing a 45 day development moratorium on the northwest corner of I-77 and Route 82. The legislation must have three readings and a public hearing before it can be approved. The city hopes to have a planner examine the area and determine its best use.

Developers of a new Walgreens in Berea want to back out of an agreement to use sandstone in its construction, because of the additional expense and cost overruns. "The developer, Neil Weinberger of JND Properties, asked the Heritage Architectural Review Board for approval to replace the sandstone with caststone, a man-made substance, just days after workers bulldozed three buildings at the corner of Front Street and Bagley Road to make way for the new drugstore."

The City of Westlake is beginning plans for a limited expansion of their recreation center.

Brooklyn's new skate park could be completed as early as next week.

Cleveland Municipal School District staff presented two designs for the new Hannah Gibbons Elementary School for public comment at a neighborhood meeting. "It will be 53,868 square feet in size when completed in time for the start of the 2006-2007 school year, three times as large as the current 18,000 square-foot school. The projected enrollment at the new school will be 351 children, including 215 elementary school-aged children and 136 middle school-aged youths."

Last month's proposed sale of the former Marathon station at Dover Center and Oviatt Roads to Dover Junction Ltd. has been approved by Bay Village city council.

Charles Scarvelli is still advocating his plans for developing the Scranton Peninsula. "People hatch real estate dreams every day, but it's not every day someone tries to seize riverfront land from one of the nation's most powerful real estate developers — by eminent domain, no less — for the purpose of carving it into islands that would create Venice on the Cuyahoga."

Thomas Mulready discusses downtown's image problem in the mainstream media, and what groups like the Downtown Merchants Association are doing about it.

Construction of pedestrian and bicycle ways and public space on the Detroit Superior Bridge begins today, and will continue for the next four months.

Communities with recreation centers are concerned about their effect on municipal coffers.

Later this month, Bay Village City Council will consider legislation that requires institutions such as churches and nursing homes (but not public schools), to seek permission to expand using either "conditional use" permits or through public referendums.

Melinda Huntley's group Lake Erie Coastal Ohio, an organization dedicated to strengthening the Lake Erie visitor experience, is advocating replacing the Lake Erie Circle Tour with a Ohio Scenic Byway designated route that uses local roads and is closer to the shoreline.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the $275 million highway bill, which includes these Northeast Ohio projects.

The City of Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township are examining the possibility of cooperating to build sewers for areas currently served by septic systems.

"As early as today, the U.S. House of Representatives could approve a $275 billion transportation bill that is likely to include $30.73 million worth of road, bridge, bike path and waterfront projects for downtown Cleveland and the western half of Cuyahoga County."

The City of Parma plans to replace its two oldest fire stations, built in 1927 and 1949, with new buildings. They hope to decide on sites for the new stations within 90 days, and then begin the land acquisition process.

In the last major construction at Ridge Park Square in Brooklyn, Circuit City will build a 33,000 square foot store. Completion is expected later this year.

Cleveland City Council has approved $470,000 to expand Roberto Clemente Park. "Tentative plans for the expansion call for adding one T-Ball diamond and 55 parking spaces, as well as a gazebo, a spray basin for children, and a running and bicycle track around the park." Councilman Nelson Cintron hopes to integrate the plans with a proposed nearby K-8 school building.

Rich Exner provides more details on the proposed Avon I-90 interchange in today's Plain Dealer. "Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough said he favors the idea as a way to reduce congestion for western Westlake, even if it means losing the Clinic in his city."

Fairlawn-based Advanced Hydro Solutions wants to refurbish the Gorge Park dam on the Cuyahoga River in order to restart hydroelectric power generation there.

Lee Chilcote profiles the Cuyahoga Community Land Trust at Hotel Bruce.

Cleveland is not the only city in Northeast Ohio enjoying a downtown housing revival. Following on the heels of HarborWalk, a 32 condominium development called The Gardens of Charleston will be developed in a 1920's vintage office building in Downtown Lorain.

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