August 2005 Archives
31 August 2005
Inside Business profiles retail developer Mitch Schneider, president of First Interstate Properties and developer of Steelyard Commons, Legacy Village, and Avon Commons.
Ohio's two U.S. senators and other opponents are proposing a new bill that would prohibit Indian tribes from establishing casinos in states that forbid casino gambling.
30 August 2005
Green Energy Ohio completed the installation of a wind monitoring system in Lake Erie north of downtown Cleveland yesterday. Work on tower began late last month, but its completion was delayed due to adverse weather conditions. It will collect data over the next two years to gauge the viability of offshore wind turbines.
(Update: additional information and images are available from WCPN.)
University Circle Incorporated demolished two century homes it owned on East 115th Street, much to the dismay of neighbors who characterized the demolitions as part of a pattern of of residential property destruction by UCI. For now, the lots will remain as open space, but UCI hopes to develop them as part of a larger mixed-use development along Euclid Avenue.
29 August 2005
The Convention Facilities Authority will discuss scaling back its $444 million convention center plans at its next meeting on September 13. Cost-cutting measures being examined include adding columns to the design, reducing the size of the exhibit hall, and not renovating Public Hall. Chairman William Reidy says the CFA is not willing to explore alternate sites.
Increasing numbers of suburban foreclosures and the publishing of a Cuyahoga County Commissioners report (PDF) listing a series of recommendations to speed up the foreclosure process have attracted the attention of the Plain Dealer editorial staff, who support the County's efforts.
(Via Cleveland Law Library Weblog)
John Kroll of the Plain Dealer muses on Cleveland's economic development strategy and suggests emphasizing the area as a high-value alternative to other cities.
26 August 2005
After four years of work, Solon City Council approved a comprehensive update of the City's zoning code, the first since it was adopted in 1938.
Last month, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by the family of J. Harvey Crow against the City of Brecksville. In 1999, voters rejected a rezoning for a proposed development on an 80 acre site owned by the late Mr. Crow. He sued the city in a case that was heard by a number of courts, and this latest loss (PDF) likely marks the end of litigation. The Dalad Group intends to take ownership the site in October and propose a new plan for its development.
Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners refused to get involved in a sewer project for the JETA development on Chagrin River Road in Bentleyville until Bentleyville and Solon officials are settled on plans.
Brecksville and Broadview Heights residents have mixed opinions about the proposed retail center at I-77 and Royalton Road.
The City of Independence has not reached an arrangement with the Dalad Group for the purchase of a 12 acre parcel on Brecksville Road, but they continue to negotiate over the site that the City wants for an expansion of Mapleshade Cemetery.
The City of Fairview Park and the Fairview Park City Schools signed an agreement for building, operating, and maintaining a new $22 million recreation center. The 87,600 square foot center, part of the Gemini Project, will include an indoor track, a weight room, a gym, and a pool.
A Plain Dealer op-ed submitted by two former staff members of then-Mayor Voinovich's administration calls for Clevelanders to demand that the mayoral candidates provide a clear vision that includes public-private partnerships and a commitment to reassessing the functioning of City Hall.
Regional economic cooperation is important to Medina County according to 60 participants in a Voices & Choices exercise in Westfield Center.
The November 8th ballot will include a proposal to eliminate zoning in Geauga County's Huntsburg Township and a rezoning referendum in Lorain that would lead to the development of a Wal-Mart.
25 August 2005
The Clean Ohio Assistance Fund will provide $750,000 to be used for asbestos abatement, demolition, and soil remediation at the former Steel Slitting property, to be redeveloped as part of the mixed-use Morgana Run development in Slavic Village. Over the next five years, Zaremba, Inc. will build over 150 units of market-rate, owner-occupied housing on the property.
(via Urban Ohio)
The Greater Cleveland Partnership funded two new studies on casino gambling in Ohio. The first (PDF), by Strategic Partner Management Consulting, claims that Ohio casinos would add $4 billion in revenue to the economy, and that the state market could bear up to 18 casinos. Cleveland State University prepared another report (PDF), which says that legalized gambling would lead to 109,000 Ohioans becoming gambling addicts. Critics argued that the studies exaggerated gambling's benefits while downplaying its negatives.
With the large growth in residential foreclosures creating a backlog in the system, the Cuyahoga County commissioners are offering a set of proposals aimed at shortening the foreclosure process while educating homeowners in ways to prevent foreclosure.
At the first of two public meetings last night, Ohio City residents, businesspeople, and activists asked questions and shared comments and complaints about the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's Riverview HOPE VI project. A second meeting will be held this evening.
The Summit County Council Personnel and Intergovernmental Committee approved a resolution joining Metroparks, Serving Summit County and the Friends of the Crooked River in opposition of hydroelectric power generation at the Gorge Metro Park. The full council is expected to vote on the legislation on August 29.
24 August 2005
Governor Taft and Senator DeWine spoke at last night's meeting in Cleveland about the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration's draft report. Over 100 people attended the session designed to gather public input on the plan's 37 proposed actions. The Collaboration will continue to accept public comments on the plan until September 9.
A parking lot at Cleveland State is being paved with pervious concrete. Since the material has a greater void space than traditional concrete, it can reduce stormwater runoff and pollution. The demonstration project will be monitored to see how it withstands Cleveland winters.
Work on the relocated Brainard Road in Pepper Pike is nearly complete. The new road, which runs parallel to I-271 between Chagrin and Shaker Boulevards, will open in approximately three weeks. The existing Brainard Road will be renamed Old Brainard Road, and have cul-de-sacs installed at both ends.
RTA awarded a $4.7 million contract for construction of a new Red Line rapid transit station at W.117th Street and Madison Avenue. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for October 11, and the station will remain open during construction, which is expected to take two years.
(Update: more details are available in this week's West Side Sun News.)
Over the next year, the Levin College Forum at Cleveland State will be hosting Celebrate Cleveland, a series of community dialogues. The first event, called Dynamic Developments, will examine recent large-scale investments. It will be held on August 31 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Levin College of Urban Affairs.
23 August 2005
On Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Stokes Social Service Mall, Burten, Bell, Carr Development will hold a community meeting on developing a master plan for the Ward 5 portion of Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider its decision in the controversial Kelo v. New London eminent domain case.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation will seek public input on revised plans for the mixed-income HOPE VI project, originally slated for a site near Riverview Towers. The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority must submit the new plans by September 30. The meetings will be held at Lutheran Hospital's Castele Learning Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Convention Facilities Authority yesterday offered a $443.9 million estimate for building a new convention center. The price includes renovation of Public Hall, but not property acquisition or road construction. The CFA chairman hopes to reduce the estimate to $400 million, but Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials want to keep the figure below $350 million, and some have begun urging the board to consider alternate locations.
22 August 2005
On September 26 and 27, Cleveland State will host a program titled Learning form the Dutch Experience - A New Perspective for Northern Ohio, where Dutch architects and planners will join local leaders in sharing their perspectives on creating a more sustainable built environment. The keynote speaker will be Aaron Betsky, director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute.
Bay Village residents opposed to a proposed expansion of Bradley Bay Heath Center picketed the nursing home on Saturday. The Bay Village Planning Commission is expected to discuss the issue in its meeting tomorrow at 7:30 in Bay Village City Hall.
Among the suggestions in the draft solid waste management plan adopted by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District Policy Committee is the proposed creation of a year-round hazardous waste collection center, which would replace the current semiannual collection events.
19 August 2005
Mayfield Village has completed the daylighting of Fosters Run, a formerly culverted Chagrin River tributary. The project, designed to reduce flooding problems, has allowed the Cleveland Metroparks to reopen a trail that had been damaged by storm water flooding.
The recent federal transportation bill included $2 million for a connector trail linking the Independence Civic Center with the Towpath Trail.
Bids for the construction of a new courthouse in Berea came in between $8.3 million and $9.5 million, well above the anticipated cost of $6 million. The Cities of Berea, Brook Park, Olmsted Falls, and Strongsville have raised court fees to pay for the building, but Middleburg Heights still has not committed to the project.
In November, Fairview Park voters will decide on two rezoning issues spawned by the Gemini Project. Both would permit the redevelopment of school properties once the schools are closed. The issues ask for the 4.7 acre site of Garnett Primary School and the School Board offices to be rezoned for cluster home or condominium development, and for the 6.5 acre site of Coffinberry Early Education School to be rezoned to single-family residential.
After he was denied an operating permit for his Granger Road landfill in July, Adelmo DiFranco cleaned up the property to the satisfaction of Brooklyn Heights Village Council. They granted the permit earlier this month, though Mayor Procuk is still not pleased with the landfill.
Dan Moore has completed the purchase of the former Cleveland Graphite Bronze property on St. Clair Avenue. The 63 acre site is home to a 758,000 square foot building complex, soon to become home to the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center. He plans to invest $5 million in cleaning up asbestos and mold and installing green roofs.
North Coast Community Homes has purchased a single-family home on Battles Road in Gates Mills, and plans to make it a group home for four people with developmental disabilities. Some Gates Mills residents are not pleased with the proposal, which will be discussed on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Community House.
Flickr user Timothy Robson provides a series of photographs from yesterday's open house at Case's new Village at 115 student housing complex.
18 August 2005
Intel announced today that Cleveland will join Taipei, Taiwan and Corpus Christi, Texas as the top three cities in its worldwide Digital Communities Initiative. The chipmaker will provide expertise and assistance in implementing new applications and services, in collaboration with other technology companies.
OneCleveland Chairman Lev Gonick shares his vision for designing a metropolitan strategy for wireless in Cleveland, concluding that it "should first and foremost be geared to repairing our sense of community by enabling new, richer, more compelling forms of communication."
Local leaders hope to revisit the cooperative tax sharing proposals that were a part of the region's unsuccessful efforts to attract OfficeMax's consolidated headquarters.
Yesterday, Case unveiled its new student housing complex, the Village at 115. Located on the north side of campus, the $126 million, seven building project includes a 1200-car garage, surrounds new athletic fields, and is the first phase of a $350 million plan to relocate all undergraduate housing to the area.
17 August 2005
Saying they "wanted to make sure everyone had ample time to review and comment on our proposed plans," developers of a proposed shopping center at I-77 and Royalton Road in Broadview Heights and Brecksville withdrew their pursuit of a rezoning ballot initiative.
A Plain Dealer editorial calls for more instances of the types of broad collaboration used to try to retain OfficeMax.
Today marks the beginning of citizen interviews to help shape Northeast Ohio's regional economic future through the Voices & Choices project. This program, sponsored by the Fund for Our Economic Future, is anticipated to become the country's largest public deliberation process.
16 August 2005
Downtown's Reserve Square residential building has been sold to K&D Group, developer of Stonebridge.
15 August 2005
While the Towpath Trail has recently received federal funds for its extention, the adjacent federally-designated CanalWay Scenic Byway also provides opportunities for understanding our shared heritage and revitalizing our communities.
A week after the opening of a biodiesel station in Munson Township, a station on East 55th Street and Payne Avenue became the first biodiesel station in the City of Cleveland.
Meanwhile, advocates of ethanol are working to increase production and commercial availability in Ohio.
The August 6th podcast from SmartCity Radio features an interview with Ned Hill, Professor and Distinguished Scholar of Economic Development at Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs about how cities ought to be facilitating economic development (at 24m 35s), regional cooperation, and what is possible in a global economy.
12 August 2005
Two meetings about Great Lakes issues will be held locally this month. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting at the Independence Civic Center on Thursday, August 18 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. to discuss the Revised Draft Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements for reviewing projects that would draw water out of the Great Lakes basin.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will hold a meeting on August 23 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Cleveland Public Library's Louis Stokes Auditorium about the recommendations made by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration.
The open bidding period for the Veterans Administration Medical Center property in Brecksville ended on Tuesday. The City submitted a bid for the 75 year lease of the 102 acre site, scheduled to become available when the VA closes in four or five years.
In order to establish a railroad quiet zone, Beford officials are investing $15,000 in safety improvements at the West Grace Street crossing. The 24-hour quiet zone is expected to go into effect next June.
Construction of the 214,000 square foot addition to SouthPark Center in Strongsville is expected to begin soon, and last about 18 months. The new space will include a 14-screen theater, a Dick's Sporting Goods outlet, and a number of smaller shops and restaurants. The largest change from the plans approved last year is a downsizing of the Dick's store from 75,000 to 50,000 square feet.
A developer is proposing a low-density residential subdivision for a 42 acre site on Westwood Road in Strongsville. A zoning change from industrial to residential would be necessary for the development, which would include detached houses and cluster homes priced between $300,000 and $450,000.
Work on Rockport Square in Lakewood continues, as 13 of the 17 townhouses of phase 1A are under construction, with eight scheduled to open in September. The mixed-use complex is slated for completion in 2008 and will include 124 townhouses and lofts, 30,000 square feet of retail space, and an underground parking garage.
As part of an agreement reached in Cleveland Housing Court, the operators of Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park will weatherize and secure the Humphrey Mansion, though they still hope to demolish the historic home.
The Lutheran Home of Westlake will begin a $30 million expansion of its Dover Center Road campus next month. The construction is the first part of a three-phase $65 million expansion planned for the next ten years.
WKSU speculates on how the Ohio Supreme Court might rule on residency requirements for city employees, should the State institute the proposed ban and it is challenged by the City of Cleveland.
A New York Times article examines the demands placed on the Great Lakes by communities near the Lakes but just on the other side of the subcontinental divide. Cooperation among the Great Lakes states to prevent the diversion of water from the Great Lakes Basin is part of the ongoing work to improve water quality and to maintain lake levels.
In a rare example of municipal cooperation in local economic development, the Cities of Cleveland and Shaker Heights are proposing to share income tax revenue generated by OfficeMax if the company decides to move their headquarters to downtown Cleveland.
11 August 2005
John Kuehner profiles the work done by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health's watershed protection unit to map and monitor storm drains throughout the County in order to eliminate sewage in storm water.
Recent reports on Ohio's response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on municipalities' use of eminent domain provide more detail on two Statehouse actions, one pending bill which seeks to create a two-year moratorium on the use of eminent domain for private purposes and a proposed constitutional amendment to permanently prohibit the use of eminent domain for those same purposes.
(Via the Cleveland Law Library Weblog and Private Ownership and Public Good)
State legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit municipalities from requiring public employees to live in the same jurisdiction that they serve.
As part of an effort to attract OfficeMax's headquarters, Cuyahoga County has increased its proposed low-interest loan to the corporation. Local leaders believe that the company will make a decision within the next 30 days to locate in either the Cleveland or Chicago metropolitan areas.
10 August 2005
09 August 2005
Although it is proceeding more slowly than desired, work on the conversion of the Ohio Knitting Mills property to the MidTown Technology Center continues. The joint project of MidTown Cleveland the Ferchill Group is intended to provide affordable, flexible space for technology companies.
A Plain Dealer editorial urges the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority to collaborate in their plans for Dock 32 (which will be connected by a pedestrian bridge to Voinovich Park) and Dock 28 (the future dock for the Lake Erie ferry). Both projects received federal funding in the recent transportation bill.
Better environmental monitoring and a rise in civic activism have resulted in cleaner shorelines across the nation, but the increased awareness has also lead to record numbers of beach closings. A report from the National Resources Defense Council found there were nearly 20,000 days of closings and advisories in 2004 at ocean, bay, and Great Lakes beaches. Experts predict the number of closings will continue to rise.
08 August 2005
The TEA-LU transportation bill provides $9.2 million for Towpath Trail construction, including $6.4 million for the extending the trail through Cleveland, $2 million for two bridges and a tunnel in Tuscarawas County, and $760,000 for work in Akron.
A profile of Andrew Watterson, Sustainability Programs Manager for the City of Cleveland, characterizes his job as one that saves the City money, increases employment opportunities, and enhances the environment.
A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Convention Facilities Authority to scale back its ambitions to build a 300,000 square foot convention center and instead, given the lack of public support for tax levies and the increasing competitiveness of the IX Center, focus on building a smaller convention center.
05 August 2005
A Free Times article is strongly critical of tax incentives provided by local government in light of recent efforts to bring development downtown and retain OfficeMax.
While some argue that Ohio's tax environment stifles development, some studies show that tax abatements are at best ineffective and may even inhibit development by underfunding infrastructure and education. Another study cited by the Free Times argues that rankings of business climates in various communities are oftentimes biased and flawed.
The Plain Dealer's John Kuehner reports that the Munson Mini Mart in Munson Township is Greater Cleveland's first publicly accessible biodiesel station. He also says that Cleveland Metroparks leaders expressed interest in taking over the marina and park at Whiskey Island if the Towpath Trail was extended to the peninsula.
After some initial delays, work on City View Center in Garfield Heights is underway. Developer John McGill anticipates the 650,000 square foot shopping center will open before Easter.
The City of Independence is asking developers to consider including senior housing in their downtown redevelopment proposals. The City also supplied them with a list of potential development sites in the redevelopment area.
Broadview Heights and Brecksville leaders are not pleased by a developer's attempts to sidestep their planning process through a ballot initiative. Royalton Road LLC wants to build a shopping center on 64 acres at I-77 and Royalton Road, but has not released any details. Mayors of both cities say that retail construction is not part of their visions for the area. Meanwhile, officials in Strongsville and North Royalton say the proposal will have no effect on plans for additional retail development in their communities.
Developer Greg Romes presented his ideas for a shopping center near the southeast corner of Detroit and Center roads to a skeptical Avon City Council. He argued that the 23 acre site is no longer suitable for its current residential zoning, because surrounding uses include retail, a cemetery, and a water tower. Some expect the developer to sue the City if he is not granted the zoning change.
The City of Lakewood may purchase services from Cox Communications in order to establish a municipal wi-fi network, starting with city parks and downtown Lakewood.
The Village of Brooklyn Heights will work to solve erosion problems behind homes on Dundeen and Galway circles by replacing a broken sewer line.
Citing zoning requirements and saying the development would establish an unwanted precedent, the Shaker Heights Planning Commission unanimously rejected a developer's proposal to split a 1.8 acre Belvoir Oval parcel and build four homes on the site.
Cresthaven Development held a groundbreaking last week for Collinwood Village Commons, 18 single family detached houses on St. Clair Avenue between Royal and Ruple roads, on the site of the former William H. Brett School.
Instead of receiving an expected $180,000 funding cut, the Crocker-Stearns extension project received an extra $480,000 in the federal TEA-LU transportation bill, bringing the financing to approximately $1.4 million.
04 August 2005
The Michigan Land Use Institute recounts the complicated saga that led to a recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court stating that the state's Great Lakes shorelines are a part of a public trust managed by the State. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources enforces a similar law along Lake Erie, but a group of shoreline property owners has been working to reverse centuries of precedent.
State Senator Kim Zurz has started a weblog, Private Ownership and Public Good, in which she reports on her efforts to make changes to Ohio's eminent domain laws. She and Senator Tim Grendell recently created a Kelo working group intended to supply legislative recommendations, and introduced a bill that would establish a moratorium on eminent domain actions until 2007.
03 August 2005
Two new sources of data are available online. Case's Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change is relaunching its CAN DO database as NEO CANDO, which now includes geographic tools for accessing and comparing information. Team NEO has created REDIS, an online GIS that presents details about available commercial and industrial properties, demographics, business data, consumer expenditures, and business lists.
(via Brewed Fresh Daily)
The draft green space plan for the Zone Recreation Center was completed earlier this year. The 22 acres near the Cleveland EcoVillage are slated to include sports fields, a skate park, a tot lot, rock climbing, and multi-purpose trails, among other uses.
The College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University has announced the hiring of Steven Fong has its new dean, effective December 1.
Professor Fong, currently of the University of Toronto's Programme in Architecture has expressed interest in Great Lakes centered regionalism as well as promoting the development of a cluster for high performance construction design and product manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. He also expects the KSU Urban Design Center to take a stronger role in the development of the Cleveland Lakefront.
Straw bale construction is making inroads in Northeast Ohio due to its energy-efficient nature and the work of the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.
Slope instability along Irishtown Bend has spurred CMHA to give the Ohio City Near West Development Corp. a list of alternate sites for its HOPE VI project which will mix subsidized and market-rate housing in a neighborhood attempting to create a balance among its residents that represent a wide range of incomes.
The Ohio House passed the "Jobs for Ohio" package for eventual placement on the November ballot. Voters will be asked to approve $2 billion in bonds for local infrastructure improvements, high-tech research funding, and preparing properties for research development. The legislation, which is weakly connected to the Third Frontier initiative, also includes a restriction on how potential grant recipients could exercise eminent domain.
02 August 2005
While groups such as Greater Ohio are combating sprawl through increasing urban livability, a volunteer activist in Portage County has started an effort to increase public awareness of local farming through his "Save a Farm" campaign.
While many state and local officials are supportive of the recommendations released by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration last month, some are questioning whether federal funding will be made available for the suggested environmental restoration programs.
01 August 2005
The site for the Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County has been launched, and it features information about the organization and its Strategic Plan for Senior Transportation. The organization was recently featured in the Cleveland Jewish News.
- $85 million for the Innerbelt bridge project
- $6.4 million for extending the Towpath Trail to Downtown Cleveland
- $5 million for the construction of a pedestrian bridge in North Coast Harbor connecting the Great Lakes Science Center to Voinovich Park
- $5 million for waterfront boardwalks and streets through the Flats east bank project
- $2 million for the establishment of a new center at Cleveland State University focusing on "work zone safety"
- $20 million for Summit County projects
In a Plain Dealer editorial, Tom Bier argues that Northeast Ohio's competiveness is contingent on the attractiveness of the City of Cleveland, which should become a focus of regionalism. He points to the Innerbelt bridge as a prime example of a project that needs regional, multicounty support and argues that "a small portion of the property taxes generated by new construction across the region could be directed to downtown projects."
Steve Litt hails the renovation of the Old Federal Building (now the Howard M. Metzenbaum United States Courthouse), saying that the classic Group Plan building, thanks to a $50 million green-makeover, has been transformed "from a shabby heirloom into a well-tended inheritance that once again expresses the idea that government buildings should embody the highest standards of design and construction." Included in the renovation was the restoration of historic murals that have not been seen for 50 years.
Efforts to build a vermiculture facility in the old TRW Valve plant in Collinwood received a setback when the Board of Zoning Appeals upheld the City of Cleveland's permit denial prohibiting the soil operation on the basis that it produces "fertilizer". Joe Frolik of the Plain Dealer provides further narrative.
Developers are anticipating the calming of the West Shoreway with residential and commercial projects. Advocates of the reconstruction of the limited-access highway believe that the opening of Lake Erie to adjacent neighborhoods will stimulate more development.
A Plain Dealer editorial focuses on the County's work on the Cleveland Lakefront as it calls for the County to transfer Whiskey Island to Cleveland Metroparks and encourages the development of an independent study of the needs of the Port of Cleveland.