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August 2004 Archives

In a pair of articles in the Plain Dealer, new residential development downtown and specifically the maturing Warehouse District are touted as viable housing alternatives.

In this week's development news, the Krather Building in Old Brooklyn will be renovated and the NAIOP Regional Symposium has been scheduled for September 30th.

A new report from the Ohio Environmental Council says that Ohio's air quality is among the worst in the nation. Ohio is the number one offender in the release of acid gases, emitting 83.6 million pounds in 2002, mostly from coal-burning power plants.

A Moreland Hills resident's actions have led the Village to establish anti-commercial logging legislation.

A number of Maple Heights residents are opposed to the construction of a dollar store on Granger Road near Forest Avenue, and voiced their displeasure at the idea at a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting this past Monday. The issue will be discussed again at a Planning Commission meeting on Monday.

Yesterday, the US EPA sent a report to Congress on the impact of CSOs (combined sewer overflows) and sanitary sewer overflows, highlighting the thread that CSOs pose to water quality and the environment.

Hemisphere Development has acquired the 50 acre former Brush Wellman site in Bedford for $10. Cleanup of the brownfield site is complete, and development of Tinker's Creek Commerce Park could begin soon. The office park is expected to provide room for 400,000 square feet of new office space and up to 1,000 jobs.

Broadview Heights City Council decided not to impose a residential building moratorium on the city, an idea that was first proposed in June following heavy rains and flooding.

The Olmsted Historical Society has raised $25,000 in their efforts to move the historic Barton Road Congregational Church to the Frostville Museum area in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation. The group estimates they need to raise between $60,000 and $100,000 by next spring to save the building from demolition.

The latest figures from the American Community Survey show that Cleveland has the highest poverty rate among American cities, and about half of children in the city live in poverty. The poorest U.S. cities are spread across the country, with Cleveland ranking at the bottom of both lists. Cuyahoga County as a whole has a lower median household income, a higher percentage of residents living in poverty, and a lower percentage of adults with a college education than Franklin and Hamilton counties.

The US EPA and conservation groups call for the Ohio EPA to develop plans to make 50 watersheds fishable and swimmable. This involves work already being done to draft plans for Ohio watersheds, including the 10 that already have plans, and 26 that have draft plans.

Karen Kurdziel of the Sun Press spoke with Dave's Supermarkets President Burt Saltzman about his Shaker Square plans.

This week's Bruce Blog includes an article on David Perkowski, who developed the Federal Knitting Mills project, Tower Press and is working on Hyacinth Lofts, commentary on a Crain's Cleveland article on infrastructure costs and development (registration required), Whiskey Island, and the ODNR Trails Plan.

In her latest Newsweek column, Anna Quindlen discusses how "unending, unthinking and environmentally blind overdevelopment" is not on the national agenda and what the consequences could be if it is not addressed.

Michael Gill of the Free Times follows up an earlier article to express his concerns over ODNR's active recreation ideas for Dike 14 while supporting the City's plans for the area. Currently, the Cleveland Lakefront Plan sets aside 90% of the land for a nature preserve, with the remainder of the property dedicated to interpretation facilities such as trails, overlooks, and a nature center.

In this week's Free Times, Roger T. Jones questions why Cleveland's schools have been left out of regionalism discussions and City Chatter covers Lakewood's bar issues, the latest from Charles Scarvelli, and ISG's plans to scrap a historic blast furnace.

An advocacy group for public resource professionals is questioning the basis for funding sustainable agriculture in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. PEER maintains that tax dollars should not be used to help start a privately-run vineyard in the CVNP. However, Park Superintendent John Debo counters that reintroducing agriculture is an essential part of the National Park and that the Countryside Initiative is an innovative way to preserve the historic character of the Cuyahoga Valley.

The additional investment to achieve (LEED Green Building) platinum status averages from 6 percent to 7 percent of total building (construction) costs, according to estimates from the Green Building Council. But the same research is showing that less-ambitious LEED-certified buildings can be completed at no additional cost or, in some cases, at lower cost than standard construction once designers and construction firms gain experience with the green building materials and construction processes.
A New York Times article highlights the increased acceptance of Green Building standards in commercial development.

Fish in a third of the lakes and almost a quarter of rivers in the U.S. are unsafe to eat regularly, according to the EPA's latest fish advisory. Their latest press release specifically highlights the danger that pregnant mothers and small children face through the consumption of mercury-contaminated fish from bodies of water such as Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.

The new Cleveland Foodbank building is nearly finished. Foodbank leaders hope that the LEED-registered project will achieve Green Building status.

Plain Dealer Architecture Critic Steve Litt encourages the public to participate in urban planning and cites the Lee Road Exhibition (ending this evening) as an example of how citizens and decisionmakers ought to interact.

The mixed-use Cornerstone (PDF) development in Parma Heights will be home to The Variety, a 12 screen, 35,000 square foot movie theater, providing a replacement for the closed Parmatown Cinemas.

With the estimated cost rising by $1 million, Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners are reconsidering plans to build two cable-stayed bridges along the Towpath Trail over Granger and Warner Roads in Valley View.

Cuyahoga County Commissioners plan to establish a $400,000 annual budget for the Convention Facilities Authority, diverting some funding from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As students return to classes at Baldwin-Wallace College and John Carroll University, the suburbs around them prepare to deal with off-campus student housing issues. The City of South Euclid enacted legislation allowing the City to bill landlords when repeated police visits are required, while the City of Berea limited the number of students who can live in a single family home to three.

The City of Cleveland Heights is considering the creation of a mixed-use zoning classification. The proposed C-2X category (PDF) would permit retail and residential uses in the same building.

The City of Bay Village decided not to place a controversial development issue on the November ballot. City Council instead chose to have an ad hoc committee further study the legislation, which would regulate building expansions by nonprofit organizations.

Construction has begun on the new Memorial School in Collinwood.

A rezoning issue regarding the proposed 27 acre senior housing development on Aurora Road will appear on the November ballot in Solon.

The City of Garfield Heights is preparing for the construction of Vista Way, an extension of Transportation Boulevard which will provide access to City View Center. "Residents won't see anything happen for about a year or so, said Mayor Thomas J. Longo."

Recently, vandalism has become a problem at the skate park in Broadview Heights.

The City of North Royalton has held one public hearing to present and review its new master plan, and will hold another on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in North Royalton High School.

The City of Brook Park is targeting an abandoned house on Wedgewood Drive as a pilot project in dealing with the vacant home issue, and the City of Strongsville is cracking down on property maintenance scofflaws.

Work will soon begin on Bagley Road streetscape improvements in Berea, and should be completed in 18 to 24 months.

On Tuesday, the City of Lakewood will hold a public hearing to address complaints from residents about noise, traffic, and rowdy behavior emanating from bars in the city's west side.

Fuchs Mizrachi School is engaged in discussions with the City of University Heights about a potential land sale and swap. A site near Gearity Elementary School could become the home of a new school building, freeing the current Fuchs Mizrachi building (the old Northwood Elementary School) to become a a community center.

The City of Olmsted Falls is working to leverage its concentration of greenhouses as an economic development asset.

WCPN has broadcast the third and final installment of its Making Change series on the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative, this time focusing on the work done by the Northeast Ohio Foodshed Network and Entrepreneurs for Sustainability to nurture the food industry as part of the regional economy.

"Considering Lee Road: An Exhibition of Community Ideas and Plans" will open tomorrow. Sponsored by FutureHeights, it is intended to highlight the aspirations of planners, architects, and citizens for the Lee Road corridor.

(Via Cool Cleveland)

Hurricane Charley has highlighted the importance of using modern building codes to set high standards for construction.

Case Western Reserve University has launched its new Employer-Assisted Housing Program, an initiative designed to encourage its employees to live in Cleveland.

Further evidence of Cleveland's history of innovation is highlighted in the 60th anniversary of the American Society for Quality, a professional group that runs the ISO 9000 program in the United States.

Yesterday, Governor Taft signed into law House Bill 247, which will allow cities and townships to establish railroad quiet zones where trains will not sound their horns as they pass through intersections. Increased safety precautions are required in the quiet zones, subject to rules established by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Shaker Heights and South Euclid are using infill development to strengthen neighborhoods. Notably, Shaker Heights' infill program emphasizes green building techniques as a way to differentiate its new housing stock from the rest of the market.

Forbes includes Cleveland as a Bohemian Bargain in their list of 60 Cheap Places To Live, describing the city as "clean, green and surprisingly sophisticated."

The US EPA has just released the 2004 Lake Erie Management Plan Update, a document that identifies critical pollutants and outlines plans and strategies to improve the health of Lake Erie.

A quick reminder: this Friday is the application deadline for our Open Space Planner position.

Thomas Mulready interviews University Circle Incorporated President Terri Hamilton Brown in this week's Cool Cleveland.

Continuing efforts are underway to redevelop the former Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, located on Lake Avenue on the Cleveland/Lakewood border. Retailers, including a large bookstore, are sought for the site that has been on the market for the last several years.

Higher water levels throughout the Great Lakes has resulted in more economical shipping. The increased draft allowance translates to additional weight than can be carried, and thus, few trips necessary to move materials.

Residential development in Ohio City diversifies with the addition of Dexter Townhomes, a Japanese-influenced set of 10-14 homes on the corner of West 28th and Franklin Avenue that is slated for groundbreaking this March.

A draft version of the Ohio Trails Plan has been released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In addition to providing a framework for the development and expansion of a statewide recreational trail system, the plan is intended to guide to the State in allocating funds for the Clean Ohio Trails Fund and the Recreational Trails Program. ODNR is accepting input on the plan until September 30.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has begun its committment to improving maintenance of the Cleveland Lakefront Park System, following previously voiced concerns.

Yesterday's Plain Dealer provided more details about St. Luke's Point, a $60 million mixed-use development under construction on the site of the former St. Luke's Medical Center. Plans for the 27 acre project call for an adaptive reuse of the 310,000 square foot main building, turning it into condominiums and apartments, and for the construction of 84 houses and townhomes priced between $145,000 and $246,000.

Public meetings will be held over the next several weeks regarding the recently released Draft Great Lakes Charter Annex, including a September 21st meeting at the Brecksville Community Center to be convened by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Water, and a meeting this Thursday at the Garfield Heights Civic Center. More information can be found at the Council of Great Lakes Governors website and, a website provided by various environmental groups.

This week's development news includes the impending construction of a $20 million residential project on West 32nd and Clinton Avenue and the stalling of a project across Ohio City on Lorain Avenue.

Over $8 million was granted last month by the Fund for Our Economic Future. Recipients include NorTech, Team NEO, and JumpStart.

With the asbestos removal process completed, Broadview Heights officials are looking to quickly raze the city's old hospital. Demolition will begin once funding and City Council's approval have been secured. A new use for the site has not been determined.

A new 16,700 square foot outpatient surgery center has been proposed for a site on Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights, and could employ up to 40 people. City approval and a rezoning are required before any construction can begin.

Public meetings in Berea to discuss ideas for maintaining the city's housing have been well-attended, and plans are in place to hold smaller sessions later this year.

Higher than expected bids from contractors have led to delays in the construction of Lakewood's new skate park. The planned mid-August groundbreaking will likely now take place in late September.

In a crowded meeting on Monday, Bay Village City Council declined to follow the decision of the Planning Commission, and allowed Bay Presbyterian Church to expand its parking lot.

The Cleveland-Parma zoning agreement (similar to the recent Cleveland-Lakewood proposal) was upheld in a Cuyahoga County court last week, blocking an adult bookstore from occupying a storefront on Brookpark Road.

Phoenix, Arizona Mayor Phil Gordon thinks providing tax incentives to retailers is not a good use of public funds, and proposes a strategy for eliminating them.

(via Planetizen)

Electric utilities can continue to recoup the cost of extending service to new homes and developments from developers and new customers, according to a ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court. Rejecting an argument from the Ohio Consumers' Council, the Court did not require utilities to absorb the costs of providing service to increasingly exurban development, which would have passed the expense to existing customers.

Cleveland City Council approved the acquisition of Dock 32 from the Port Authority, thereby moving forward on plans to redevelop Cleveland's lakefront. Additionally, Council urged the YMCA to keep three branches open and to disclose financial summaries for each branch amidst community discontent regarding the YMCA's redevelopment plans.

Cleveland's non-profit Community Development Corporations are increasingly developing projects with private partners in an effort to facilitate revitalization of their neighborhoods and to provide operational revenue in order to reduce reliance on government funds.

This week's Cool Cleveland newsletter includes links to two articles providing a tourist's-eye view of Cleveland, one from a New York City wine connoisseur, and the other from The Charlotte Observer.

The City of Cleveland wants to continue plans to extend an existing runway at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. An additional 2,000 feet would be added to a runway that is currently 9,000 feet long, adding capacity for airplanes capable of non-stop flights to the Pacific Rim. The announcement closely follows last week's opening of a new runway at the airport. Mayors of neighboring suburbs contend that the existing airport configuration is adequate, and may attempt to block expansion.

The City of Cleveland Planning Commission is aggressively working to plan and complete a 29-mile loop of trails that would wind through Cleveland, Brooklyn, Cuyahoga Heights, and Newburgh Heights. This loop would anchor the City's Bikeway Plan, and would connect to the Countywide Trail System, whose planning aided the development of the City Loop.

Human capital must receive strong consideration in economic development plans according to Gregory Brown, the new executive director of The Center for Community Solutions (formerly the Federation for Community Planning).

Oakland is using sustainability as a core principle of urban planning and implementation. They have set a number of ambitious goals with the aim of moving towards climate neutrality while encouraging development, guided by five program areas in their Planning Department.

(Via World Changing)

The First Suburbs Development Council and Neighborhood Housing Services of Cleveland will work with inner-ring suburbs to avoid vacant homes, in addition to the work underway in Maple Heights. Home abandonment is not a major problem in the suburbs, unlike the problems facing the City of Cleveland, but leaders want to stop the issue before it becomes serious.

Northeast Ohio can expect to have twice as many seniors in 2020 as we do now, according to a study by the Scripps Gerontology Center of Miami University. In Cuyahoga County alone, one out of four residents will be over 60 years old in 2020.

The Plain Dealer revisits last year's massive blackout, and finds that while experts agree that another similar blackout is unlikely to occur, they also believe that more needs to be done to modernize the nation's power infrastructure and improve industry and organizational response and oversight.

Mycrocystis algae growth has been seen in the Western Lake Erie Basin a month earlier than its usual annual appearance. These algae blooms feed off of phosphorous, which enters the lake through animal and human waste and household product. The eventual decomposition of the algae results in the Lake Erie Dead Zone, an oxygen-depleted environment in the Central Lake Erie Basin.

ISG plans to demolish its last blast furnace on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River. Local preservationists have objected to tearing down the furnace, which has sat unused since 2001, and the Cleveland Landmarks Commission will discuss the issue on Thursday.

Encouraged by a small vocal group of residents, the Bentleyville Streets and Safety Committee voted against conducting a study to evaluate replacements for the collapsed Chagrin River Road Bridge. Village Council will discuss the issue on August 18.

The Cleveland Housing Network, in partnership the City of Maple Heights, will invest $300,000 in the city by the end of 2006, purchasing and rehabilitating up to ten abandoned homes and building five new ones.

TranSystems, the company conducting a $150,000 I-90 access study for the City of Avon, will attempt to update NOACA's 20 year traffic projections for the study area.

Fairview Park's Gemini Project, a group of citizens and civic leaders, is proposing major changes for the city's school facilities, calling for new construction, consolidation, and the closure and private redevelopment of several locations.

The shifting of workers from one part of the project to another has led to rumors that the mixed-use Cornerstone Town Center development in Parma Heights is in trouble.

Brooklyn residents looking to block First Energy from clear cutting trees in their neighborhood gained a hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The hearing for a permanent injunction against the company will be held on August 30.

The West Side Sun News provides more information about RTA's new W.65th Street rapid station, scheduled to open on September 22.

Some Euclid residents have registered complaints about the community lighting project sponsored by the Heritage Park Community Association. The club raised funds for the purchase and installation of 80 lamp posts and lights in residential areas on the city's southwest side.

WCPN has aired the second of a series of three segments on the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative Regeneration Zone. The previously broadcasted first segment sets the foundation for the series.

Schools are the centers of their communities, and the City of Cleveland is spending $1.5 billion to not just rehabilitate and build centers of learning, but also to make them community centers that provide services to the neighborhoods. Included in the debate is the question of whether to restore historic schools, or to build new.

ISG continues to add jobs, this time bringing back 50 employees to run a galvanizing line which will produce steel for automobiles.

A new runway opens today at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, allowing for more flights as well as simultaneous takeoffs and landings.

"Growing" hydrogen from plants may be a viable way to generate energy according to scientists working on hydrogen and fuel cells at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources have begun a concerted effort to clean up the 419 acre Cleveland Lakefront Park System. This is in response to City and citizen concerns about ODNR's upkeep of the parks.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has decided to allow FirstEnergy to continue to bill customers a "transition charge" through 2008, following up on its earlier ruling.

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reaches the same conclusion as another study from last year, linking urban sprawl and obesity. "Each additional hour spent in a car per day was associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity. Conversely, each additional kilometer walked per day was associated with a 4.8% reduction in the likelihood of obesity."

An editorial in the Plain Dealer supports the creation of the Northeast Ohio League of Leadership and Advocacy, an alliance of governments from throughout the region. The group will help establish a regional agenda and call for assistance from the state and federal governments.

The August/September 2004 edition of EcoCity Cleveland's EcoCity Digest includes a criticism of how Cleveland Magazine rates communities, an article on the banning of ground spraying for mosquitoes (which is regarded by experts as ineffective for preventing the spread of West Nile Virus), a report on the progress towards making Euclid Avenue a "complete street", and several other excellent links.

Last Week's Cool Cleveland included an interview with Tim Mueller who recently resigned as City of Cleveland's Chief Development Officer.

Ernsthausen Hall at Baldwin Wallace College will be the first residential hall in Ohio to have geothermal heating and cooling. B-W could expand its use of geothermal technology throughout its campus in an effort to become more environmentally friendly and economically efficient.

The Tinkers Creek Land Conservancy recently received a $25,000 grant from the Gund Foundation to develop a master plan for the watershed, which covers 96 square miles in 24 communities.

(via Bruce Blog)

Transit Waiting Environments (otherwise known as areas around bus stops) is the focus of RTA's work with communities throughout the region to improve conditions for users of public transportation. Included in the plan are proposals to provide trash cans at most stops, shelters, special lighting, and information about arriving buses.

Ruth Durack is taking a one-year leave from Kent State University in order to establish The Centre for Urban Design in Western Australia that will be like the Urban Design Center of Northeast Ohio which she began and still leads.

The presidential campaign provides a reason for international media to focus attention on Cleveland unemployment troubles.

Cleveland's industrial legacy and quality of life are cited as reasons that the area legal community remains strong.

The Houston Chronicle examines the culture change that has taken place at ISG and how increased productivity and efficiency allows domestic manufacturers remain competitive in a global marketplace.

The City of Cleveland is starting an effort with consultants to develop a plan for upgrading the personality of East 9th Street.

The City of Rocky River is exploring the potential of a former dump for office development, and hopes to interest developers in the 3.5 acre site on Lake Road.

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