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September 2005 Archives

The board of trustees of the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation reached the same decision as its housing committee, and voted to support the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's revised plans for its HOPE VI development.

A new report by Policy Matters Ohio is critical of a lack of transparency from the Port Authority in its handling of federal New Markets Tax Credits issued for Steelyard Commons.

Munroe Falls City Council reversed last week's decision, and voted 5-2 to remove the City's dam on the Cuyahoga River. Since the planned lowering will not take place, the City will receive at least $250,000 for other water quality improvements.

Case Western Reserve University will host a GIS conference on October 13 and 14 at the Kelvin Smith Library, titled "Sustaining the Future & Understanding the Past".

A New York Times article focusing on Downtown Cleveland views the City's efforts to improve downtown through the Special Improvement District and the Job Creation Grant.

Cleveland's identity and development should focus on the Cuyahoga Valley, according to the Dutch architects and planners that came to this week's symposium at Cleveland State University.

(Update: a detailed report is available from WKSU.)

The combination of sprawl and stagnant population trends continues to raise concerns among some planners and decisionmakers in Northeast Ohio. Possible solutions include positioning Cleveland as a high-value alternative to other cities and an increased emphasis on regional solutions.

Cleveland City Council is considering several pieces of legislation that would facilitate the creation of the Flats East Bank Development project, including the establishment of a TIF district and the use of eminent domain to transfer properties to the Wolstein Group.

Ohio legislators continue to study the effects of Kelo v. New London, the U.S. Supreme Court's eminent domain case, with the intent of drafting legislation that would restrict the power of municipalities to employ this power. Inner ring suburbs that use eminent domain argue that it is a necessary tool for the revitalization of their communities.

Delays persist in Bentleyville for the JETA residential development at the confluence of the Chagrin River and its Aurora Branch.

The new 170 acre office park in Fairlawn at Cleveland-Massillon and Ridgewood Roads will include a two acre miniumum lot size, 30% open space, and walking trails.

A Plain Dealer poll of likely Cleveland voters found the majority supported legalizing casinos and maintaining residency requirements for City workers.

Steve Litt is sanguine about the expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Art despite the challenges that the museum faces, including risks that come from temporary closures.

For the next two days, Cleveland State University will host a symposium that will introduce to Northeast Ohio the experiences of Dutch architecture and planning, including waterfront and sustainability practices.

Boston Heights residents are expressing concerns about the cleanup of the Krejci landfill in the Cuyahoga Valley. Although trucks carrying hazardous-waste contaminated soils from the site will be subject to strict controls, neighborhood advocates are still worried about airborne contaminants and fugitive dust.

(Update: video coverage is available from WKYC.)

A ceremonial groundbreaking will take place today at the Detroit Shoreway site of Battery Park, a 327-unit, $100 million residential development overlooking Lake Erie.

(Update: Battery Park's website is now online.)

The Ohio City Near West Development Corporation's Housing Committee gave its support to CMHA's plans for its HOPE VI development. Several recommendations were made, including the prescribing of a mix of subsidized versus market-rate housing and the creation of a safety special improvement district.

In an effort to decrease the rates of residential foreclosures, the Ohio legislature is exploring stronger legislation that would target unscrupulous mortgage lenders, while the state Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the City of Cleveland's laws against predatory lending.

In the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, the site of a former paint manufacturer is being redeveloped as a set of 20 condominiums to be known as Painter's Loft.

The City of South Euclid offered $16 million to purchase Cedar Center properties from 12 landowners. Individual offers ranged from $455,000 to $4 million, and Mayor Welo says eminent domain would be used only as a last resort. The City intends to recover the costs by selling the land to the developers of the proposed Cedar Center redevelopment.

Recent rains have created flooding problems in North Olmsted, while Middleburg Heights is addressing stormwater issues along Big Creek Parkway and Indian Creek. Outdated storm sewers and increased commercial development have been blamed for these difficulties.

Legislation establishing a tax increment financing district for Steelyard Commons has been introduced in Cleveland City Council. Funds raised by the district would go toward building Cleveland's portion of the Towpath Trail.

Facing a serious budget deficit, the Westlake School Board voted to sell a 42 acre site owned by the District on Bradley Road. They hope to raise $5 million by selling the land at market value. The City of Westlake currently operates athletic fields on the property.

The Cities of Middleburg Heights, Brook Park and Berea are jointly applying for Issue 2 funding to repave Eastland Road, realign the Sheldon Road intersection, and replace the CSX railroad bridge.

NOACA's Governing Board will recommend to the state's Transportation Review Advisory Council that $17 million be dedicated to widen I-77 between the Ohio Turnpike and Royalton Road.

Responding to pressure from neighbors of the proposed development, Solon City Council refused to grant a zoning variance that would have permitted construction of the Southwoods cluster homes on Pettibone Road.

At a Bentleyville Village Council meeting, developer T.J. Asher of JETA presented several sewer-related proposals and a concept drawing for his unnamed Chagrin River Road development. Council made no decision and tabled the issue pending committee review.

While most Bainbridge residents and trustees support the creation of a trail network, others fear the trails would be a "super highway for snowmobiles, bikes, ATVs, skateboards" and have raised the specters of eminent domain, insurance, and liability.

Two North Olmsted neighborhood associations are in favor of concrete noise barriers for the Crocker-Stearns extension instead of the earthen barriers preferred by Mayor O'Grady.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is presenting an exhibition on Cleveland's Millionaires' Row along Euclid Avenue. It begins tomorrow and runs through next May.

Tomorrow morning, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum will be moved to a new site in North Coast Harbor. The historic lake carrier will remain closed until Spring 2006, around the same time that a promenade will be constructed on Dock 32.

(Update: the Mather was moved without incident on Saturday.)

Blaming Hurricane Katrina for limiting natural gas supplies, Ohio energy companies are pressuring the Ohio House to allow drilling beneath Lake Erie despite orders by Governor Taft and the federal government to ban additional Great Lakes drilling. The hearing on Wednesday was originally intended to head off potential price gouging this winter by gas companies.

Trans-Erie ferry service will be delayed until at least 2007 due to uncertainties in Canada regarding future ownership of the Port Stanley harbor. Port Authority officials will continue to use a federal transportation earmark to develop plans for the a ferry terminal on Dock 28.

Munroe Falls City Council decided not to follow their Planning Commission's recommendation and instead approved lowering rather than removing the dam on the Cuyahoga River.

Forest Hill Park in East Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are the beneficiaries of assistance from volunteers and corporate donations.

Today will see the opening of the new Polish Heritage Center in Cleveland's Slavic Village.

The September issue of Properties Magazine reports on:

New design standards for sustainable neighborhoods are currently open for public review. The LEED-ND Preliminary Draft Document (PDF) provides a set of standards for rating neighborhoods based on smart growth standards as well as green building practices.

RTA will replace 11 of its 23 loop busses with new ones that resemble trolleys, and hopes to begin using them in the spring. The agency is also partnering with the Downtown Cleveland Partnership to extend the hours of bus loop service and add two new loop routes.

The state and the City of Cleveland are working to mitigate the acrid odors that have been emanating from a Cuyahoga Valley-based environmental business.

South Euclid leaders are threatening to use eminent domain for the Cedar Center redevelopment if the City is unable to reach purchase agreements with property owners.

Although they were unable to obtain assistance from ODOT, the City of Garfield Heights has begun widening Transportation Boulevard and Antenucci Drive near I-480 in preparation for the opening of City View Center next year.

The Convention Facilities Authority is sponsoring a symposium on October 6 at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Experts on convention center design, use, and promotion have been invited to discuss best practices and changes in the industry.

A combination of unstable soil and higher than expected bids have delayed the construction of East Cleveland's new Mayfair Elementary School.

Author and journalist Thomas Hylton compares the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans to the effects of urban neglect and sprawl on Cleveland. He portrays the American over-reliance on the automobile as an unsustainable experiment, and says Cleveland's strong historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects have laid the groundwork for an urban renaissance. He will be speaking at the Historic Downtown Cleveland Luncheon on Wednesday.

Camp Spelman has been purchased by the Portage County Park District. Located in Franklin Township near Kent, the 58 acre former Boy Scout camp includes 20 acres of wetlands, 20 acres of woods, and a 10 acre lake.

Attorney Jeffrey Hartwig responds to a Plain Dealer column about Cleveland's Digital City moniker. He identifies several technology initiatives underway, and urges the "old-line powers-that-be" to contribute ideas.

A Plain Dealer editorial lauds the housing voucher agreement reached by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and suburban Cuyahoga County communities last week.

Construction of a Towpath Trail segment in Akron's Cascade Locks Park began earlier this month. The segment north of downtown Akron is scheduled for completion in early June.

Residents on Pettibone Road in Solon may sue the City to prevent construction of the proposed neighboring Southwoods cluster homes.

The first phase of the Freedom Trail in Strongsville will be dedicated on September 24. When completed, the mile-long trail will link the city's library to its recreation center.

Similar to its neighbor, the rate of growth in Avon Lake is beginning to slow as the number of greenfield sites decreases.

Revised plans for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's Ohio City HOPE VI development continue to be a source of controversy. Although plans have not yet been finalized, Councilmen Cintron and Cimperman disagree about whether to build the units on the Hicks Lot adjacent to the West Side Market or above the West 25th Rapid Station.

The North Royalton Greenways Committee, a citizens group, has begun preparing a greenspace plan. Preserving wetlands, steep slopes, and riparian zones will be a priority.

Saying they needed more time to study the proposal, Avon City Council postponed a vote on a retail rezoning until October 10. Developer Greg Romes wants to build a shopping center on a 22.5 acre site at the southeast corner of Detroit and Center roads, but the land is currently zoned for residential use.

Materials submitted in advance of a Fairview Park Planning Commission meeting show plans for the Westgate retail redevelopment. The plans feature two big box stores, rumored to be a Target and a Lowe's, joining the retained Kohl's store. The meeting will be held on September 21 at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall. Rocky River officials are paying close attention to the proposal.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership will attempt to build a coalition in support of bringing casino gambling to Ohio after having funded two studies exploring the issue from economic and social perspectives.

John Kuehner of the Plain Dealer provides an update on the completion of RTA's transition towards using cleaner fuels and installing bike racks and a report concerning delays in the restoration of Doan Brook.

On Saturday, the Medina County Park District will hold an opening ceremony for the 46 acre Princess Ledges Nature Preserve in Brunswick Hills Township. It features sandstone ledges, mature forests, and a new mile-long trail.

The City of Cleveland missed a deadline for ruling on a request to tear down the Humphrey Mansion, resulting in the demolition of the Euclid Beach landmark.

(Update: video coverage and photographs are available from WKYC.)

A dam on the Cuyahoga River should not be rebuilt, according to a plan adopted by the Munroe Falls Planning Commission after the discovery of a natural waterfall beneath the old dam which was to have been replaced.

A 1,100 acre sports-oriented residential community will be developed in Lake County on the site of a Fairport Harbor brownfield. IMG and Hemisphere Development LLC plan to open Lakeview Bluffs, which will feature 2,300 housing units, a golf course, and a 40 acre sports campus in Spring 2008.

Yesterday, plans for The Avenue District development were officially announced. Zaremba, Inc. intends to build over 400 for-sale residential units starting at $150,000, plus retail, parking, and greenspace on the site of parking lots at E.12th Street and St. Clair Avenue and at E.13th Street and Superior Avenue. Work on the first phase, four mid-rise condominium buildings, is scheduled to begin next year.

Environmental cleanup of the 47 acre Krejci Dump in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will begin today. Over the next two to three years, 100,000 tons of soil and buried debris will be removed from the site.

Negotiations between the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and 17 local municipalities have led to a draft agreement that calls for CMHA to supply the cities with a list of landlords who accept housing choice vouchers and to strengthen a tenant-orientation program.

Workers removing sandstone blocks from the Cuyahoga River dam in Munroe Falls discovered that it was built upon a rock ledge that creates a natural waterfall. The finding has prompted Mayor Larson to propose removing the dam in place of the planned lowering, which would free the budgeted $250,000 to be invested in other water quality improvements. The Munroe Falls Planning Commission will discuss the idea at their meeting at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

(Update: more information is available in the Akron Beacon Journal and from WKSU.)

Upcoming speakers at the City Club include John Norquist, former Mayor of Milwaukee and current President of the Congress for New Urbanism on Thursday, September 15, and Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of HUD and Mayor of San Antonio, on Friday, October 14.

Demolition of the Cleveland Pneumatic building continues, and plans for the 7.4 acre site at Marble Avenue and E.78th Street in Slavic Village include a relocated E.78th Street, an expansion of the neighboring Presrite Corp. plant, and new ballfields for South High School.

Steve Litt of the Plain Dealer urges a faster pace on the construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, calling attention to the over $200 million in adjacent development throughout the Cuyahoga Valley to which the Towpath Trail has contributed.

He also emphasizes its importance as the backbone of the County Greenspace Plan and supports Ohio Canal Corridor's suggestion that funding for the last few miles come from a TIF district around Steelyard Commons.

A replacement is being sought for Gary Failor, the Port Authority president, who plans to retire from the port at the end of the year.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission has approved the design for the Quicken Loans Arena sign which will replace the now-removed signs on what has been known as Gund Arena.

Plain Dealer business editor Paul O'Donnell writes about the City of Cleveland's attempt to reinvent itself using its branding as a "Digital City" as a platform for attracting technology-based companies.

We have a job opening for a planner position. A B.A. or B.S. in city/regional planning or a related field and at least one year of relevant work experience are required. The application deadline is October 21.

Planners for the City of Strongsville are conducting a development plan for the section of Pearl Road between Shurmer and Boston Roads. The plan is expected to recommend that the stretch should be rezoned to permit offices, medical facilities, and cluster homes, but little or no retail.

The City of Brook Park is moving forward with plans to become the first community in Ohio to establish railroad quiet zones. Officials anticipate having the zones in place next spring.

Energy Wise Systems of Brooklyn, Ohio hopes to move to a new 50,000 square foot office and warehouse building it would construct on the site of the Trinity Building on Detroit Road in Cudell, but demolition and environmental cleanup may take longer than the company has in mind.

Tops decided to not build a new supermarket at E. 185th Street and Neff Road in Collinwood, saying they "were not able to develop a scenario that meets [their] financial objectives."

Plans to permanently close downtown exits to Carnegie Avenue and other major roads as part of the Innerbelt reconstruction are meeting resistance from City Hall and other groups who are concerned that the proposed changes will negatively impact development.

Plans for the new Providence Baptist Church won approval from the Euclid Architectural Review Board. The 106 proposed houses were not discussed. The controversial project is still awaiting a legal challenge in a federal court of appeals.

Mayor Thomas O'Grady of North Olmsted would like to see earthen sound barriers used in place of concrete ones in the Crocker-Stearns road extension project.

Two business parks in Summit County are being planned. Husdon Crossing Business Park will eventually include 1 million square feet of industrial and office space, while a project on Ridgewood Road in Fairlawn will begin with 80,000 square feet with room for significant expansion.

Attorney Glenn Krassen predicts the tax reforms passed by the Ohio General Assembly in June will encourage regional governance, and promotes the formation of a "super COG" to more efficiently administer public funds.

Case's Lev Gonick announces the proposed establishment of the Institute for Digital Cities, a multidisciplinary public policy institute. He anticipates the research center would address a variety of issues surrounding the future of digital cities, and would be housed in Case's new downtown offices.

The Steelyard Commons website has launched, and proclaims the shopping center will be "over a million square feet of modern, multi-tenant retail conveniences, goods, and services on over 100 extraordinary acres."

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the most visited national parks in the United States, has recently seen a rise in weekday usage.

An Akron Beacon Journal article reports that Ohio lags behind the rest of the country in income growth and educational attainment due to the continued loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs coupled with the state's poor support of higher education.

Environmental restoration of the Great Lakes could yield substantial economic benefits that would not only bring about short term job growth related to implementing the goals set forth by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, but could also yield long-term benefits that would make communities along the Great Lakes more attractive for economic development.

(Via Planetizen)

The Warner and Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland was purchased by a couple who want to restore the historic structure and turn it into their home.

Leaders of local environmental organizations are working with local developers to offer their expertise and promote green building and cultural amenities. The group has had discussions with the developers of the Flats east bank project and Steelyard Commons.

Steve Litt criticizes the new residential complex at Case for being too conformist in its architecture. While the Village at 115 provides a good neighborhood experience for its residents, its use of the "Collegiate Gothic" style appears to be in sharp contrast with the university's new image.

The purchase of the Ameritrust complex by County Commissioners was expedited in order to make the buildings eligible for $3 million from the Clean Ohio Fund for asbestos remediation. The site is slated for redevelopment as the County Administration Building.

Water quality along area beaches has improved this year, leading health and sewer district officials to interpret the data to determine what is causing these improvements along Lake Erie.

WCPN continues to explore the controversy surrounding the hydroelectric power generation proposal for the Edison Gorge Dam in at the Gorge Metro Park in Summit County, and will discuss the issue at 9:00 Tuesday morning. In addition to previously raised concerns, naturalists worry that power generation could threaten the rare monkshood plant.

(Update: audio and a transcript of the broadcast are now available.)

Disagreements between the mayor and city council in Maple Heights are delaying the sale of two vacant lots on Jefferson Street from the City's land bank to local housing developers.

Citing a lack of consensus on revised plans and a looming deadline, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will ask the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a one year extension of a grant for the HOPE VI Riverview project.

Kingdom Homes has abandoned the 14 acre cluster home project it started on the site of the former Locust Grove golf course in Mayfield Heights, leaving behind a scene that neighbors say "looks like a desert wasteland."

Residents of the historic Fairmount Boulevard District in Cleveland Heights are upset that the Illuminating Company is removing early 20th century steel trolley poles and replacing them with wooden poles. City officials counter that many of the poles, now used for street lights, are rusting, unsafe, and unreliable.

Plans to develop a high-speed state-wide rail system received a boost with an announcement by Mayor Campbell and Representative LaTourette pledging support for H.R. 1631 (otherwise known as RIDE 21). Advocates pledged support for the legislation that would provide federal funding for the development of the Ohio Hub system which would place Cleveland at the center of a rail network linking Ohio to Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

Cuyahoga County Commissioners voted to purchase the Ameritrust complex on East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue for the new County Administration Building. The County will explore whether to retain or demolish the 28-story tower presently on the site.

Forest City Enterprises wants their Tower City site to be reconsidered as the location of the new convention center three months after they withdrew the site from consideration.

Trans European Securities has signed an agreement to purchase the 900 acres Cleveland Quarries site in Lorain County to develop a mixed-use neighborhood and resort. Construction is anticipated to begin next summer.

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