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November 2005 Archives

The Cleveland Colectivo, a grass-roots community, is seeking innovative community projects that they can fund.

(Via Cool Cleveland)

The City of Cleveland and a private developer are working together to clean the old North East Chemical plant site on Fulton Road and Monroe Avenue by seeking a Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant to pay for an environmental analysis and redevelopment plan for the 7.3 acre property.

Cleveland Mayor-Elect Jackson has approved shifting neighborhood development money to the Flats East Bank and E.4th Street downtown projects.

Lorain County agencies are working together to create the Lorain County Growth Partnership, an effort to organize economic development approaches on a regional basis.

This week's Cool Cleveland and the most recent edition of The Cauldron, CSU's online newspaper report on the Innerbelt process.

The Ohio EPA is convening a public meeting tonight to discuss the future of a Cuyahoga River dam located south of state Route 82 between Sagamore Hills Township and Brecksville in order to address water quality and how it is affected by the dam.

Chris Varley through the Tech Futures weblog comments on the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative, saying that environmental and sustainable technologies could become a core competency for Northeast Ohio.

Meet the Bloggers interviews the Gund Foundation's David Abbott about Voices & Choices and its effort to engage Northeast Ohio in a broad discussion on how to build regional collaboration.

Today's Plain Dealer articles on Forest City examine the developer's increased presence in New York and focus on the incentives they received for building an office park in Brooklyn.

The Great Lakes Congressional contingent continues to press for federal funding of Great Lakes restoration plans.

(Update: The Plain Dealer also reports on the rejection of funding by the Bush administration.)

Burton, Bell, Carr Development provides elevations and floor plans for homes in the St. John's Village West development in the Villages of Central.

(via BBC Blog)

WKYC explores the adaptive reuse of older churches with a look at the former First English Lutheran Church, redeveloped as housing, and the former Heights United Presbyterian Church, which will be converted to a youth center.

Despite the presence of federal programs like empowerment zones, two studies (PDF) report that inner cities across the United States continue to lose jobs.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

Leaders of the seven states and two provinces that surround the Great Lakes are scheduled to sign the Annex 2001 agreements on December 13 in Milwaukee. After that, it will be sent to state, province, and national legislatures for ratification. The agreements would prohibit the diversion or export of Great Lakes water outside of the watershed.

Phase one of the Lakewood Park improvements, the construction of a trail, is nearly complete. The asphalt all-purpose trail includes a one mile outer loop, plus smaller east and west loops.

The Sun Herald lists the residential and commercial development and redevelopment projects underway in Rocky River.

Avon City Council yet again delayed a vote on a retail rezoning proposed for the southeast corner of Detroit and Center Roads.

Site preparation for the 20 acre retail development at W.117th Street and I-90 in Cleveland will begin in January. 109 houses and the Highland Party Center will be demolished. The first store in the $50 million center is expected to open in October.

The Sun Newspapers continue their Innerbelt coverage with a look at the potential impacts of ODOT's plans. The agency has posted the slide show and display boards from the November 17 public meeting.

Developers of the $20 million senior housing complex in Solon plan to include a community center and a small park in the development, now known as Carrington Court.

The Sun Newspapers examine local emergency planning efforts (or the lack thereof) in Bedford, Collinwood, Euclid, Solon, and Geauga County.

North Olmsted officials want to hold a public meeting with RTA representatives to discuss residents' concerns about services following the the takeover of NOMBL earlier this year.

Today, the Plain Dealer's series on Forest City examines the developer's work on the country's largest urban redevelopment project.

While it works towards (and sometimes struggles with) becoming better integrated with the surrounding urban fabric and securing walkability, Denver's Stapleton development also shares characteristics with other new urbanist projects in terms of residential density and an adherence to a strict master plan

The City of Cleveland has signed a lease with a railway nonprofit that would bring the Trolleyville, USA collection of streetcars to a temporary lakefront site that would be linked to RTA's Waterfront Line. The City continues to work with the group to find a site for a permanent museum on Lake Erie.

Dave Coyle of ODOT District 12 responds in a Letter to the Editor to criticism of the department's process for determining the alignment of the Innerbelt Bridge while in the Free Times City Chatter column, Michael Gill reports that a southern alignment need not threaten the Church of the Annunciation.

(Via neobridge)

Yesterday, the Plain Dealer launched a five-part series on Forest City Enterprises including a weblog that will continue to provide updates on the company.

Sunday's edition focused on Forest City's evolution into a national real estate developer and its reliance on public subsidies in its projects.

Today's stories are on the company's move into developing a Boston biotech campus and how that augured the company's selection by Case to develop the West Quad biotechnology campus.

Planning continues for a route connecting I-490 to University Circle that could potentially open up development opportunities in the Forgotten Triangle. Funding is not yet available for the Opportunity Corridor project, but public participation is still being solicited.

This evening, Ohio Citizen Action will conduct a workshop to build homemade air pollution monitors that would help test air quality in neighborhoods around Mittal Steel.

Hospitals and their associations are reacting to a recent ruling overturning the tax-exempt status of the Cleveland Clinic's Beachwood office out of concern that other facilities would also lose their status as charity care providers.

Traffic improvements for a Tower City-based convention center will exceed Forest City's estimates by $40 million, according to a study by the Cleveland City Planning Commission. The site comparison indicates that placing the center on the existing site would have a smaller effect on downtown traffic.

$500,000 has been appropriated by Congress for the development of prototype "green bulkheads" along the Cuyahoga River that would improve habitat along the navigation channel.

The City of Hudson has launched a sophisticated new online geographic information system. It offers property information, aerial imagery, topography, sewer details, and many other map layers.

(via the Northern Ohio GIS User Group)

Candidates for Ohio governor should focus on land use issues as a part of their platforms, exhort Gene Krebs of Greater Ohio and Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution. Michael Gill's Free Times article asks if the gubernatorial race will address these issues that affect urban and rural areas.

Two groups of eastern suburbs are discussing possible new collaborations between their emergency forces. Hillcrest communities and Heights cities are following the lead of the southwestern suburbs that have been exploring a similar regional collaboration, including the possibility of consolidating safety forces.

Cuyahoga County Commissioners are interested in balancing the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board so that the City and the County would each appoint an equal number of board members.

The International Joint Commission will be using an online forum to gather public input on water quality issues. The public is invited to comment on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA has recommended against funding the $20 billion Great Lakes restoration plan. The agency suggested that the administration should concentrate on "improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs" rather than begin this new initiative.

(via Urban Ohio)

Gene Krebs's November 14 City Club talk (MP3, 20.7 MB) on eminent domain is now available online.

Sansai Environmental has received a zoning variance from the City of Cleveland that will allow an entrepreneur to convert the old TRW valve plant in North Collinwood into a vermiculture facility.

(Update: additional video coverage is available from WKYC.)

Cuyahoga County Commons Pleas Court will increase lender-paid filing fees on foreclosure cases in order to raise revenue for hiring staff and provide support for coping with the backlog of residential foreclosures.

A Plain Dealer editorial encourages ODOT to address ramp-related concerns of downtown businesses and seek an independent evaluation of the Innerbelt bridge alignment.

On Sunday, WKYC's Between the Lines news program also covered the Innerbelt bridge debate.

Two state legislators from Stark County are seeking a moratorium on new and expanded landfills in 13 Tuscarawas River basin counties until a USGS study of surface and groundwater is complete in approximately five years. Environmentalists support the proposal, but the waste industry and the Ohio EPA do not.

As part of the Ohio Hub plan, the Ohio Rail Development Commission initiated an economic impact study and a study to determine the feasibility of adding additional routes to the plans. Once the studies are completed in the next eight to 12 months, the Commission will conduct an environmental impact study. After that, the Commission can apply for federal funding to begin construction.

(via Economic Development Futures Journal)

Planning for the Crocker-Stearns connector is nearly complete as officials work on the appearance of sound walls along the impending corridor that will link I-90 and I-480 through Westlake and North Olmsted.

A proposed residential development in Boston Heights could potentially double the village's population by adding over 600 residential units to the 400 household community on the Route 8 corridor and adjacent to the threatened Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The imminent development of a countywide emergency evacuation plan is greatly needed considering the concentration of households that would need assistance to leave their homes as well as the presence of a rail corridor handling hazardous cargo along the densely-populated lakefront, according to the Plain Dealer.

The 83 acre site of the former PMX Industries factory in Euclid will be redeveloped as a 1 million square foot industrial park, thus continuing a sixty-year legacy of manufacturing on the property. Construction of the new buildings could begin in Spring 2006, with a total cost of $50 million to $60 million.

The District Park condominium deveopment is the focus of a local non-profit which is gauging the level of interest towards reorienting the delayed Warehouse District project as a gay and lesbian friendly community. Construction could begin by Spring 2006.

The divestiture of 4.5 million square feet of office space by Duke Realty, which will be leaving the Greater Cleveland over the next several years, portends significant changes in the south and southeastern Cuyahoga County office market.

(Update: Crain's Cleveland Business provides an analysis of the move.)

Senator DeWine and others in the region remain upset that the Bush administration may back out of its commitment to fund Great Lakes restoration plans.

Last night's Innerbelt meeting was covered by the Sun Newspapers, WEWS, WKSU, and WKYC.

The Cleveland Metroparks have begun construction of two cable-stayed pedestrian bridges along the Towpath Trail in Valley View. The $6.15 million bridges over Warner and Granger Roads are scheduled for completion next summer.

Last week, voters in Seven Hills passed two zoning issues, one rezoning a Rockside Road site from residential to office, and the other creating automotive service district at the southern end of Broadview Road.

Rezonings approved by Fairview Park voters last week will allow the demolition and redevelopment of the Coffinberry Early Education Center and Garnett Elementary School sites as part of the Gemini Project. The timeline for redeveloping the properties depends on the completion of the new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School, scheduled to open in fall 2007.

Planners in Lakewood submitted an application for the inclusion of Birdtown in the National Register of Historic Places, and are confident the application will be approved next year.

Although work on Rosewood Place has been delayed, developers still hope to break ground for the 20,000 square foot development later this year, and finish construction in late 2006. Work on the mixed-use development on Detroit Road in Lakewood was originally scheduled to begin in July.

Strongsville planners are expected to recommend a plan for a two mile stretch of southern Pearl Road that calls for housing and offices, but no retail development.

Following the ruling that the Cleveland Clinic's Beachwood office is not tax-exempt, the Independence School District is challenging the tax-exempt status of the Clinic's Crown Center II Building on Rockside Road.

The Chester Township Board of Zoning Appeals approved three zoning variances for the proposed Chester Ice Arena on Mayfield Road. Construction of the 101,000 square foot complex is expected to begin in February or March, and an August opening is targeted.

The Housing Cleveland website officially launched earlier this week. The site is the result of a partnership between local nonprofit and government organizations, and offers affordable housing information for tenants and landlords.

(via Cleveland Neighborhood News)

Governor Taft signed the bill instituting a 13-month moratorium on the use of eminent domain on unblighted properties for economic development.

A variety of stakeholders are expected to voice their opinions at today's Innerbelt public meeting to be held from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. Some have concerns about the location of the trench and ramps as well as the Innerbelt Bridge.

Repairs to a bulkhead protecting the East Ninth Street Pier should reveal the source of damage to the sheet-piling in North Coast Harbor. Over $300,000 will be spent by the City of Cleveland, the Science Museum, the Rock Hall, and the Cleveland Browns on the project.

The 2006 appropriations act funding justice, commerce, and science agencies includes increased funds for NASA Glenn as well as money for projects related to Lake Erie water quality, including a study of the lake's dead zone as well as the purchase of land on the Grand River in Painesville to preserve water quality and habitat.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will seek $700,000 in Federal Highway Transportation Enhancement funds towards constructing a 2.3 mile section of the Towpath Trail in Barberton.

A Brookings Institution report exploring U.S. downtown residential trends characterizes Cleveland as having an "emerging downtown" with the potential of becoming fully developed and highlights it as one of the few cities in the country where increased downtown population growth coincides with a declining city population.

A recent Cool Cleveland interview with the president of Realty One Real Living also adds credence to Cleveland's emerging downtown housing market.

Additional reactions to Saturday's Voices & Choices event appear in today's papers, as the Akron Beacon Journal lists the identified challenges and solutions and next steps, and columnist David Giffels presents his reasons to be optimistic. A Plain Dealer editorial also offers praise for the session.

With Crocker Park about to celebrate its first anniversary, the Plain Dealer looks back at the mixed-use development's first year and enumerates planned additions and improvements. Developer Robert Stark is very optimistic about its future.

A Canadian shipping company has proposed a Lake Erie ferry between a port near Mentor Headlands Beach State Park and Port Burwell, Ontario. The proposal is competition for the potential Cleveland-Port Stanley ferry.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt again urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to reconsider its Innerbelt Bridge plans, and says ODOT's two-bridge plan "could damage the city economically, complicate the flow of downtown traffic and mar the area around the Gateway sports complex".

In northern Summit County, a $130 million reconstruction of Route 8 will begin in 2007, and will create a limited-access highway with new interchanges at I-271 and the Ohio Turnpike. Because the project will result in the destruction of wetlands, $2.7 million has been budgeted to expand and improve wetlands at Liberty Park in Twinsburg and Reminderville. In addition, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County received a $1.35 million federal grant to purchase 236 acres of wetlands near the park.

On Saturday, approximately 900 people attended a seven hour Voices & Choices forum at the University of Akron's Rhodes Arena. The Akron Beacon Journal recounts the activities of a small group at one of the session's 96 tables, and blogger Pho offers his assessment of the event. A town meeting preliminary report (PDF) is also available.

While the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority waits to hear the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's decision on revised plans for the Riverview HOPE VI project, the Plain Dealer summarizes the events that led to the current situation.

Bus-only lanes on St. Clair Avenue between W.3rd and E.13th Streets in downtown Cleveland are now in place, joining the bus-only lanes on Superior Avenue.

As car dealerships move from inner-ring communities like Lakewood and Shaker Heights to outer-ring suburbs, the cities are treating the losses as redevelopment opportunities. Auto manufacturers prefer large, new dealerships near freeway interchanges.

We've launched a new section of our site dedicated to our concept for a new Innerbelt Bridge. Please take a look, contact your public officials, and check back soon for more updates.

The Plain Dealer's John Kuehner warns that continued suburban developments and a lack of protection for riparian areas in Brecksville threaten Chippewa Creek and the parks through which it runs.

The groundbreaking for the Emerald Village senior housing complex in North Olmsted was held on Wednesday, and yesterday was the groundbreaking for four new schools in Lakewood.

We have posted a draft version of the Brooklyn Master Plan. Changes, comments, and recommendations are welcome and encouraged.

The City of Broadview Heights is suing Norton Environmental over tax revenues from a transfer station off of Royalton Road near the closed landfill. Both sides hope to reach a decision out of court.

The Ohio Preservation Alliance recently released their 2005 list of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites, which includes the Cozad-Bates House in University Circle.

Although the Bush administration says it is committed to Great Lakes restoration plans, several Great Lakes leaders jointly sent letters to the White House expressing "disappointment by the limitations" that several Cabinet members have attempted to impose.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission has made available an assessment of potential Convention Center sites that compares the River Site, Mall West Block Site, and the Mall Lakefront Site.

The proposals will be discussed at a joint meeting of the City Planning Commission, the Design Review Committee and the Cleveland Landmarks Commission on Friday, November 11, 2005 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in Room 212 of the Cleveland Convention Center. The Convention Facilities Authority will also hold a Combination Planning and Community Consensus Committee Meeting on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00 p.m. at the I-X Center.

Election recap

Lake Metroparks
Issue 7 (replacement levy): passed

Lorain County Metro Parks
Issue 6 (replacement levy): passed

Bratenahl
Issue 12 (Dugway Creek preserve bonds): passed

Broadview Heights
Issue 17 (Broadview Road rezoning): passed

Fairview Park
Issues 41 & 42 (Gemini Project rezonings): passed

Huntsburg Township
Issue 25 (eliminate zoning): failed

Mayfield Village
Issue 74 (require voter approval to join regional police or fire district): passed

Munson Township
Issue 30 (eliminate riparian setbacks): passed

Solon
Issue 133 (create Master Plan Citizens' Commission): passed

Westlake
Issue 158 (Center Ridge Road rezoning): passed

For more results, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections or Cleveland.com.

Beford City Council authorized the use of eminent domain to purchase part of Meadowbrook Shopping Center at Rockside Northfield Roads. The City intends to allow the center's owners more time to make improvements, but wanted to pass the legislation before Governor Taft signed the one year eminent domain moratorium.

Plans for the $8.4 million, 42,000 square foot addition to the Don Umerley Civic Center in Rocky River have been approved. The largest part of the addition will be a natatorium. The City will begin advertising for construction bids early next year, and the project is expected to be completed in spring 2007.

A plan to develop a Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Cafe would include extending exhibit space through the Colonial Arcade and attracting other sports-oriented activities into adjacent spaces. The cafe would be modeled on the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe.

The upcoming Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival calls attention to the impending construction of a new covered bridge on State Road, which will be the longest in the U.S.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges communities to work with Summit County and National Park Service planners to direct development in the Cuyahoga Valley in order to preserve the National Park and improve the Cuyahoga River.

Ohio EPA experts are pleased with Cuyahoga River water quality improvements following the removal of the Munroe Falls dam, but say it may take a year or two for fish and insect populations to fully recover.

MidTown Corridor leaders are directing redevelopment in the area between downtown and University Circle by focusing on opportunities created by the City of Cleveland's first form-based zoning code and the Euclid Corridor project.

State investments in renewable energy could stimulate Northeast Ohio manufacturing and could support federal efforts to move towards a more diversified energy portfolio, including wind power and biofuel .

Brooklyn Heights and other communities will most likely receive federal gas tax money to build trail sections linking their communities to the Towpath Trail. This funding would be in addition to the TIF revenues from Steelyard Commons.

Also, Harry R. Valley, founding member of the Canal Society of Ohio who was instrumental to the development of the Towpath Trail through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, passed away on October 15th at the age of 93.

Steve Litt of the Plain Dealer urges Case and UCI to emulate Ohio State University and Campus Partners and the process that they used to develop the South Campus Gateway. He encourages UCI to prioritize outstanding architecture and planning as well as ongoing public involvement as the two main criteria towards developing the "collegetown" arts and retail district at the corner of Euclid and Mayfield Avenues.

The West Side Sun News summarizes the issues surrounding the Innerbelt Bridge relocation and design.

Next spring, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will begin construction of a $13 million, 20 building expansion of Riverside Park. The buildings at W.174th Street and Rocky River Drive will provide 28 units for senior housing and 62 townhouses for families.

Residents in the areas covered by the Home Acquisition Program for Cleveland Hopkins Airport expansion wonder what will happen to the program after the Cleveland mayoral election on Tuesday.

Complaints from unhappy residents have led the City of Pepper Pike to reopen Brainard Circle, closed last month as part of the Brainard Road relocation.

The House of Representatives passed a bill that would withhold federal economic development funds from states and local governments that use eminent domain for property that is subsequently used for economic development. The passage of H.R. 4128 is expected to be met by similar Senate legislation.

The Cleveland Clinic's Beachwood medical office building does not qualify as a tax-exempt property. This ruling by the Ohio Tax Commissioner also provides support to other tax districts challenging similar attempts by the Clinic to label their properties as charitable enterprises. The Clinic will appeal the commisioner's ruling.

Five southwest Cuyahoga County suburbs should combine their safety forces, according to a study conducted by Baldwin-Wallace College in conjunction with the cities of Berea, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Parma and Parma Heights that examined the benefits of merging fire and EMS services. A follow-up study that would determine how such a merger would be implemented was recommended by the Baldwin-Wallace panel.

Meanwhile, several Hillcrest municipalities have begun discussing the creation of a regional fire dispatch system.

The Free Times examines reactions to delays and changes in scope for an impact study that was originally intended to examine the effects of Steelyard Commons on neighborhood retail.

Scene Magazine provides a history of lawsuits by homeowners against the developer of Creekside Reserve and other homes throughout Cleveland.

A report by Joel Kotkin describes how suburbs can be better planned using the model of a dense mixed-use village (PDF, 1 MB) rather than the traditionally-developed sprawling bedroom community.

(Via Planetizen)

On November 7, Cleveland planners will celebrate World Town Planning Day at an open house at CSU's College of Urban Affairs, from 12:00 until 6:00 p.m.

The annual Western Reserve Studies Symposium will be held in the Sheep Barn at Squire Valleevue Farm, tomorrow, November 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year's program is titled "A Quiet Revolution: Land Use Initiatives in the Western Reserve."

(via CoolCleveland)

A Plain Dealer article profiles the increased interest in Warrensville Heights, including several new projects that are being developed in the southeastern suburb.

The Port Authority is prepared to seize Flats properties via eminent domain as a part of the Flats East Bank Neighborhood project. Demolition and site preparation is slated to begin early next year.

Legislation was introduced Monday to Cleveland City Council that would require mortgage holders to register with the city when filing for foreclosure and to provide to the city contact information for who will be responsible for maintaining the now-vacant property. The effort is a part of Cleveland's Zero Blight Initiative.

A 1,000 person regional town hall meeting will be held on November 12th as a part of the Voices & Choices campaign. Organizers of the series of economic development forums are seeking a broad set of ideas from throughout Northeast Ohio.

The first meeting for soliciting public input towards developing an arts and retail district in University Circle took place yesterday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are examining sites in Independence and Brecksville for building its new practice facility.

A Plain Dealer editorial pleads for the purchase of fine-particle pollution monitors that would allow local officials to issue health alerts in a timely fashion.

WCPN's Making Change covers last week's talk by Ray Anderson of Interface, Inc., a manufacturer that utilizes sustainability to increase its economic and environmental efficiency.

Ridership on the RTA Red Line has increased nearly 20% over the last two years, due in part to renovations to existing stops as well as increasing fuel prices. RTA officials call for more transit-oriented development such as the activity around the Brookpark Station which could take advantage of access to public transit.

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