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July 2005 Archives

Construction of Emerald Commons, a permanent supportive housing project for the formerly homeless, is expected to begin in late August or early September. The three story, 52 unit building is being built by the Emerald Development and Economic Network and the Cleveland Housing Network at the northwest corner of W.79th Street and Madison Avenue in Cleveland.

The Parma Sun Post provides more details about last week's announcement that the West Creek Preserve will become the newest reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks system.

After six months of study by the City's Planning Commission, members of Rocky River City Council's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee say they are nearly ready to bring the master plan before Council for adoption. A public hearing on the plan will be held on September 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Neighbors who were initially critical of an apartment building project at Bagley Road and Runn Street in Berea were supportive of zoning variances requested by the developer. Six of the seven requests were passed by the Berea Planning Commission, with one tabled to a later date.

The mayors of Chagrin Falls, Moreland Hills, and Solon, plus a Cleveland Metroparks representative were asked to provide their input to the Cuyahoga County Commissioners about the possible rebuilding of the Chagrin River Road Bridge.

Cleveland officials, questioning Tops' commitment to building a new supermarket at East 185th Street and Neff Road, say that if significant progress is not made by August 1, they will rescind their financial package offer and move to acquire the site via eminent domain.

An op-ed written by two representatives of the Brookings Institution recommends not placing too much credence in the U.S. Census population estimates, stating that the non-decennial counts are generally unreliable.

(via Planetizen)

Organizers planning the new $1.3 million African American Cultural Garden in Cleveland's Rockefeller Park will choose the icons whose images will be represented in the park.

Congress is expected to vote today to approve the $286 billion transportation bill (otherwise known as TEA-LU). The bill is expected to include $6.6 billion for Ohio projects, including $107 million for the Innerbelt project, $1 million for the ferry to Canada, and funding for the establishment of a road-work safety center at Cleveland State University. The Crocker-Stearns Road extension project may see a cut in its funds.

In zoning news:

(via the Cleveland Law Library Weblog)

The Cleveland City Planning Commission may begin creating a master plan for the district that includes the Group Plan malls in anticipation of the possible renovation and expansion of the convention center.

Large crowds filled the two public hearings held yesterday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the future of the Gorge Park Dam in Summit County. Government and environmental groups lambasted the plans to resume hydroelectric power generation at the dam, and advocated for its removal. The federal agency's final decision is not due until July 2009.

Mayors Judy Rawson and Jane Campbell relate the regional collaborations and innovative incentive programs employed in the efforts to attract OfficeMax's headquarters consolidation to Northeast Ohio.

The Plain Dealer explores Cleveland's legacy of art deco architecture, lists a dozen local landmarks, and talks with three members of Cleveland's former Art Deco Society.

Roldo Bartimole rails against the decisions made by the Convention Facilities Authority last week, asking, "Do these guys know what they're doing?"

This week's Cool Cleveland includes reports on local efforts to prevent the construction of a Wal-Mart at Steelyard Commons and an article by Lee Chilcote on the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative and the work being done by Rosby's to farm and recycle in the Valley.

While scientists and officials continue to be concerned about the dead zone in the Lake Erie Central Basin (off the coast of Cleveland), researchers are noticing the development of a similar area of oxygen-depleted water around Sandusky Bay.

(via Brewed Fresh Daily)

Brecksville and Broadview Heights residents may be asked to vote on whether 79 acres on the southwest corner of I-77 and Royalton Road should be rezoned from office to retail development for a yet-unplanned shopping center. This area was previously studied by Broadview Heights and was also examined in the August 2002 Master Plan Update.

Canadian magazine Macleans uses the proposed Wal-Mart at Steelyard Commons as an example in an article supportive of the retailer, titled "Why Wal-Mart is good".

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

The construction of the wind monitoring station off the coast of Downtown Cleveland in Lake Erie has been temporarily delayed due to weather conditions. The project is the first such testing on the Great Lakes and will be followed up by other programs from Green Energy Ohio.

In Munroe Falls, the City and Summit County have reached an agreement on the Cuyahoga River dam lowering. The project can now proceed, and is scheduled for completion in late 2006.

The planned construction of a wind monitoring station on top of the Cleveland water crib in Lake Erie just north of downtown will take place today. The station will be used to determine the feasibility of constructing power-generating wind turbines on the lake.

An office building called Ontario Pointe is being planned for the triangular parcel at Ontario Street and Carnegie Avenue near Jacobs Field.

The Parma Public Housing Agency, ostensibly created to combat housing discrimination in Parma, has helped less than 13% of its clients find housing in Parma. Out of the 714 households to whom the agency provided housing choice vouchers in March 2005, 624 lived in Parma Heights, Cleveland, or other municipalities.

The redevelopment of West Tech High School into luxury apartments and housing is nearly complete after several years of work involving a broad set of stakeholders. Concerns exist about whether the renovated historic landmark and its new residents will become integrated with the rest of the neighborhood or become an urban enclave.

A Plain Dealer editorial on job sprawl asserts that Greater Cleveland needs to do more to help inner city residents reach suburban employment opportunities.

A report comparing Richmond Town Square with Legacy Village explores why high-end retail has been flourishing at the expense of older malls and stores.

John Kuehner of the Plain Dealer reports on the growing popularity of renewable energy sources and how local efforts towards generating power via wind, solar, biodiesel, and other sources can be used to decrease reliance on foreign-sourced petroleum and also build local manufacturing capacity.

Bainbridge Township and the City of Solon are close to establishing a JEDD for the area to be occupied by the 585,000 square foot Shops at Marketplace shopping center in Bainbridge.

The City of Independence is in negotiations to purchase 12 acres of a 50 acre site owned by the Dalad Group in order to create expansion room for Mapleshade Cemetery.

The City of North Royalton is considering re-establishing an Architectural Review Board, this time as an an independent body, instead of an advisory committee reporting to the Planning Commission.

DiSanto Enterprises Inc. is suing Olmsted Township, asking that land along Schady Road be rezoned to permit the construction of a planned residential development across from the Olmsted Falls Soccer Association fields. The suit bypassed the normal step of first requesting a zoning change from the Township. A pre-trial hearing will be held on August 23.

As the City of Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs are losing population, outer-ring communities like North Ridgeville continue to grow rapidly.

A report from the Grow Lakewood committee identified the City's housing stock, neighborhoods, and accessibility as strengths, but noted that the increased costs of infrastructure repair "leaves Lakewood with no financial capacity to address its future."

Cleveland Catholic Charities plans to build a senior housing development next to the Church of St. Clarence on Lorain Road in North Olmsted. Emerald Village is slated to include 100 independent living and 30 assisted living apartments, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2006.

Demolition of the closed Dillard's stores at Westgate has begun, but a date has not been established for tearing down the rest of the mall. Demolition of the two anchor stores is expected to take three to six weeks. Developers intend to present their redevelopment plans this fall, and open the new center in fall 2007.

Construction delays have shifted the targeted completion date of the new stadium at Collinwood High School from September 9 to October 4.

Ground was broken for the new Cedar Road Synagogue in Lyndhurst earlier this month. The Kehillat Yaakov congregation is moving from the Warrensville Center Synagogue to the new 18,200 square foot building.

Meanwhile, in Westlake, Church on the Rise broke ground for STORMCENTER, a three story, 24,000 square foot youth center.

Opposition continues to mount against a proposed hydroelectric project on the Cuyahoga River in Gorge Metro Park between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. The Ohio EPA and other groups are calling for the removal of the existing dam, while FirstEnergy and Advanced Hydro Solutions want to restart the power-generating facilities. Two public hearings will be held on Wednesday, July 27 by the FERC, which will decide the future of the dam.

John Kuehner reports that Cleveland Metroparks will officially take over Parma's West Creek Reservation by the end of the year, thus opening the park district's 16th and newest reservation.

Also, Ohio Citizen Action has entered the second year of its advocacy work to clean up the Mittal Steel Cleveland Works.

The New York Times explores real estate trends in Pittsburgh, including how steelyard redevelopment is being conducted there and the steps being taken by Pittsburgh towards the goal of waterfront reclamation.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have agreed to preserve land on Whiskey Island as a park and to ask Cleveland Metroparks to take over the new lakefront park.

East Cleveland City Council voted to demolish several blighted buildings scattered throughout the City, including a site that hosts a memorial wall for the victims of violence. Council decided not to accept an offer from activists to purchase the property.

The Convention Facilities Authority yesterday voted to proceed with a 300,000 square foot convention center plan, to not ask the City of Cleveland to buy out the IX Center lease, to pay for linking the new center to two neighboring hotels, but not to subsidize the construction of another hotel. The estimated price for this plan is roughly $500 million, $100 million more than the Authority hopes to raise with a countywide hotel bed tax and restaurant meal tax.

At the request of the mortgage holder, a Cuyahoga County judge barred a Lakewood couple from auctioning off architectural details of their Lake Road home. Otto and Judith Lombardo are attempting to raise $150,000 in order to repay the mortgage company and avoid foreclosure.

The University of Akron is continuing its plans to build a campus and neighboring technology park in Medina County's rural Lafayette Township. Infrastructure work is currently underway, and building construction is scheduled to begin in October for a fall 2007 opening.

Crain's Cleveland Business interviewed Port Authority President Gary Failor about financing, economic development, and lakefront planning.

The City of Shaker Heights has established a Tenant Screening Cooperative with First Advantage SafeRent that will provide small landlords with affordable background checks for prospective tenants.

A funeral director who wants to build a crematory in an area of Euclid zoned for retail and office space will need approval from City Council to proceed with construction. The crematory idea is unpopular with neighbors of the property.

On Friday, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board unanimously voted to withdraw their offer to purchase Whiskey Island from Cuyahoga County. They also decided to end their efforts to acquire the land via eminent domain.

The owner of a home at Lake and Nicholson avenues in Lakewood is planning to auction off many of the house's architectural ornaments and fixtures. Some residents and council members are displeased, saying the auction will have a negative effect on neighborhood property values, and are considering legislation to prevent similar events.

Due to a number of concerns, the City of North Royalton has opted not to actively pursue the construction of wind turbines, but will continue to consider the idea.

The Olmsted Falls Planning Commission rejected a rezoning request for the 54 acre former Olmsted Technology Park. A senior housing development with 155 to 180 homes was proposed for the site, currently zoned as industrial. The site comprises approximately 55% of the City's industrial and commercial land.

A developer has proposed a retail center for a 23.5 acre site at the southeast corner of Detroit Road and Route 83 in Avon, contrary to the City's master plan, which calls for the area to be developed as residential. The issue will be discussed at a public hearing on August 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Avon City Hall.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge set aside a $1.9 million judgment against the owners of the closed Mercomp Inc. landfill in Brooklyn Heights while an appeal is pending. The company was found guilty of numerous environmental infractions last year. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Heights Village Council declined to renew a landfill permit for an operation run by Adelmo DiFranco, citing a lack of progress on promised improvements to the site.

Before demolition of the Mayfield Road Jewish Community Center begins next month, the David Berger Memorial will be removed and restored prior to being installed at the Mandel JCC in Beachwood in approximately six months.

Also, a new sculpture by Harold Balazs was recently dedicated in Westlake. The untitled 16 foot high stainless steel sculpture at the corner of Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road was commissioned by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council.

The Sun Press provides an update on Shaker Square developments. Developer Peter Rubin says that Dave's supermarket is scheduled for an August 29th opening, and that he is nearing deals to fill several vacant spaces.

The three pieces of legislation passed by Cleveland City Council on Wednesday concerning Downtown, consisting of the panhandling ordinance, the job grant program and the downtown special improvement district designation, all were supported by a Plain Dealer editorial.

The Civic Innovation Lab has awarded a $30,000 grant to CityWheels to start a carsharing program in Northeast Ohio. This program would be aimed at people who are unable or choose not to own a car but would occasionally need to use a vehicle for various activities.

A Plain Dealer editorial is supportive of County efforts and critical of the State Legislature's inaction concerning predatory lending practices that have contributed to higher rates of residential foreclosures throughout Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio.

The Federal Transit Administration is cautioning RTA to stay on schedule and under budget on the Euclid Corridor project, else risk the loss of federal funds.

Orange Village plans to allow bow-hunting on private land larger than 5 acres as a means to decrease the deer population.

Supply-side economist Arthur Laffer maintains that Ohio has high taxes that discourage growth.

The Medina County Park District is continuing its attempts to acquire Chippewa Lake and its surroundings, including the closed Chippewa Lake Park. Medina County Commissioners are asking for federal aid to purchase the property.

In the journal Shelterforce, Robert Jaquay reviews the 25 year history of the Cleveland Housing Court.

(via Planetizen)

Bus-only lanes will debut next week on Superior Avenue between West 3rd and East 9th Streets as a part of the Euclid Corridor project. By the end of the year, additional bus-only lanes will be extended down Superior Ave. to East 18th and along St. Clair Avenue.

Cleveland City Council passed two pieces of legislation that are intended to improve downtown.

First, a law targeting aggressive panhandlers and limiting where soliciting can take place was passed with a expiration provision of October 2006.

Second, Council passed the Job Creation Incentive Grant legislation, which will provide money to businesses that bring more jobs to downtown. The City hopes that the grant will be part of a package to bring OfficeMax downtown.

After a year of planning, Great Lakes Towing Co. will move from Terminal Tower to the Old River Channel in the Flats in order to consolidate its office and shipyard operations. The project, which will include a barge-fabrication building, will be financed by private lenders as well as through low-interest loans from the City and the County.

Maple Heights City Council reaffirmed the decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals to approve variances for the construction of a Dollar General store on Granger Road.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Council approved a $200,000 grant to OneCleveland for Intel's Digital Cities Initiative, which will be used to begin the launch of several e-government applications, including the filing of building inspections from the field.

On June 24, the Federal Railroad Administration issued its Final Rule for the creation of railroad quiet zones. Several Greater Cleveland communities are considering implementing the new rules, including Bay Village, Brook Park, Lakewood, Olmsted Falls, and Rocky River.

It is anticipated that Cleveland City Council will establish a Job Creation Incentive Grant at its meeting today. The five year program will provide income tax rebates to companies that locate or expand employment downtown.

The Cleveland Clinic plans to build a new building for its urology institute, on a site next to the Clinic's Heart Center. The $60 million, 200,000 square foot Glickman Pavilion is scheduled to open in 2008.

Cleveland City Council was expected to approve $200,000 in funding for OneCleveland in support of Intel's Digital Cities Initiative at today's meeting, but last-minute questions from Council President Frank Jackson have cast doubt on when or whether the vote will take place.

Proponents of a proposed downtown business improvement district have obtained signatures from owners of over 60% of downtown's sidewalk frontage for a petition supporting its creation. Cleveland City Council is expected to review and accept the petitions today, and at a later date consider legislation that would establish the district.

In the Plain Dealer, Phillip Morris, Regina Brett, and an editorial offer opinions about Cleveland's proposed anti-panhandling legislation.

An editorial submitted to the Plain Dealer by Matt Walcoff makes a link between municipalities' uses of eminent domain and regionalism by stating that competition between communities for tax revenues leads them to aggressively and unsustainably pursue development, and that regional tax-sharing may ease that pressure.

An environmental cleanup of the former Krejci Dump within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is scheduled to start late this summer and last three years. 50,600 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed from two sites totaling 47 acres in Boston and Northfield Center townships. The plans will be outlined at a public meeting on July 20 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Park's Happy Days Visitor Center.

A Plain Dealer editorial calls for Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland to ask Cleveland Metroparks to take over the operation of Whiskey Island's Wendy Park as well as the Cleveland Lakefront Park System currently maintained by ODNR.

More universities are seeking green building certification for their new buildings. The student residences at Case Western Reserve University that will open this autumn will include many energy and resource efficient features, as will Cleveland State University's new buildings.

In response to complaints from merchants, the City of Cleveland is considering legislation that would outlaw "aggressive panhandling" and create "no panhandling" zones around all building entrances, parking lots, ATMs, and other places where people congregate or typically stand.

An article on job sprawl notes that over one-third of Cleveland's residents commute to the suburbs and that Cleveland's black residents are the sixth most isolated from employment opportunities.

The $3.8 million East Cleveland Public Library expansion will result in the opening of a new wing later this summer, which will include a new performance hall as well as additional shelf and exhibit space.

The effort to put a casino issue on the November 2005 ballot has been officially shelved. Backers of the casino proposal endeavor to place the issue for a statewide vote in November 2006.

A participant in the Urban Ohio forums has mapped the Census Bureau's county-to-county worker flow files, creating a visual representation of Ohio commuter patterns.

Sewer backups and other problems afflicting the current Coast Guard station will be remedied by a $700,000 investment in a new station. The City of Cleveland's Lakefront Plan calls for the station to be moved farther to the east, away from North Coast Harbor, but federal money may not be available for the move, estimated at $10 million.

Neighbors of a proposed housing development off of Belvoir Oval in Shaker Heights are opposed to the project. Developer Brian Robinson wants to tear down one house and build four new single-family homes on a 1.8 acre site.

The West Side Sun News provides more information about the Bridge Square III condominiums in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Residents of the Archwood-Denison neighborhood continue to advocate for redesigned marginal roads and a pedestrian bridge over I-71 as part of the Innerbelt reconstruction plans. A public meeting will be held on July 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Archwood United Church of Christ.

A privately-owned park at the end of Bayfair Drive in Olmsted Falls may soon become a municipal park. The developer who currently owns the park owes back taxes on the property, and has asked to transfer the land to the City in lieu of payment.

Like residents of southeast Cuyahoga County suburbs, seniors in five southwest Cuyahoga County communities and Columbia Township will be surveyed with the goal of identifying quality of life improvements. A Successful Aging Initiative grant is funding the survey and supporting work with the Quality Communities Partnership and consultants Ogden Post.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners have rejected the sale of land on Whiskey Island to the Port Authority. The future sale of the property has not been ruled out, but the potential owner would likely have responsibility for repairing the access bridge.

After a year and a half of work, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration has released a draft report that catalogues a broad set of recommendations to improve Great Lakes water quality and ecosystems. The panel calls for $20 billion to reverse ecological damage throughout the watershed and will hold a series of public meetings, including one in Cleveland on August 23, to receive feedback.

(via Frank Mills)

In a recent report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area was ranked second-highest of 28 metro areas in percentage of household expenditures on transportation. The same study also says the area will be the second-least impacted by rising gas prises.

(via Planetizen)

The six year old Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Initiative is continuing its program of rehabilitating small farms within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and this year is offering four farms to qualified families. The efforts have been the source of criticism from environmental groups in the past.

Joe Frolik of the Plain Dealer reviews Ed Morrison's tenure as director of Case's Center for Regional Economic Issues. Morrison also provides a self-assessment of his accomplishments.

Although a recent study suggested that a smaller new convention center could be successful, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority is expected to vote for a larger option in about two weeks. The CFA also recently launched a redesigned website.

Details are now available for the Ohio Planning Conference's state conference, to be held September 28-30 at the Cleveland Convention Center. The keynote speakers will be Bruce Katz of of the Brookings Institution and Dan Burden of Walkable Communities.

Ground was broken last week for Bridge Square III, a $1.3 million condominium project at Bridge Avenue and W.58th Street in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. This phase includes eight townhouses, and ten more are slated for a site at Bridge Avenue and W.48th Street.

Friday's unveiling of Phase V of the Stonebridge development gave the public more details on the project's appearance and news on future phases.

The City of East Cleveland is expected to acquire a lot on Euclid Ave. that presently hosts a memorial to victims of violence. Activists are considering protests and other options for preserving the memorial wall at its current site while the City wants to redevelop the property.

A Plain Dealer editorial in response to the state's pervasive population stagnation calls for support of entrepreneurism, smarter land use, infrastructure reinvestment, and education as strategies to make Ohio more competitive.

In response to pleas from Garfield Heights for ODOT to ease traffic congestion on Transportation Blvd., state officials acknowledge that there is a problem, but do not work on local roads such as Transportation Blvd. which falls under that category.

The City of Cleveland is considering a combined $500,000 grant to support OneCleveland in bringing Intel and its Digital Cities Initiative to Cleveland.

After the departure of Ed Morrison from Case's Center for Regional Economic Issues, both Morrison and REI are exploring their separate courses.

The Maple Heights Board of Zoning Appeals again approved variances for the construction of a Dollar General store on Granger Road. City Council continues to debate the issue, but also appears likely to approve the variances.

Beachwood City Council selected a design-build team to renovate and expand the City's old community building. Meanwhile, Bedford City Council is exploring the City's recreation facility needs.

Independence officials are "very, very happy with the response" from prospective developers who attended a recent meeting, luncheon, and tour. The City is looking for a creative downtown redevelopment proposal that incorporates local history and takes advantage of the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Final proposals are due on September 23.

In response on ongoing expansion controversies, Bay Village City Council shifted some building types from permitted to conditional uses in residential areas, including churches, schools, public museums, and public libraries. The Bradley Bay Health Center expansion, currently being challenged in court, is not affected by the change.

Last week, North Olmsted City Council officially adopted a new master plan. The plan sets goals for improvements in land use and development, economic development, housing, infrastructure, open space and recreation, and community character and image.

The renovated Chicle Building in Cleveland's Cudell neighborhood will be joined by 40 condominiums on an adjacent site. The $5.5 million project will offer units between 1000 and 1500 square feet at prices from under $150,000 to $200,000.

Euclid City Council held a special meeting at which they established the roles of the City and K&D Group in the Harbor Town development. The City has created a tax increment financing district and will build a breakwall and an access road for the development, set to include 142 townhouses, a 160-180 slip Lake Erie marina, a boardwalk, and a restaurant.

Governor Taft has signed the state budget that includes several significant changes, some of which are the result of line-item vetoes, including the requirement to create replacement wetlands within the same watersheds affected by new development.

Years after the closing and demolition of the Coliseum at Richfield and the property's purchase by the National Park Service, the area has come to life as Northeast Ohio's largest meadow and a habitat for rare birds.

The City of Cleveland and the Port Authority have one week to decide how to pay for repairing a bridge on Whiskey Island, else County Commissioners will withdraw the planned sale of the property to the Port Authority. Meanwhile, a Probate Court Judge Corrigan has not yet made a decision to hear the eminent domain case by the Port Authority against the County Commissioners.

A Free Times article calls into question the transparency of the process used to choose the site for the new county administration building.

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