In the first of a three-part series, the West Side Sun News examines Robert Stark's motivations and plans for his proposed downtown Cleveland redevelopment, which start with a large infill development in the Warehouse District.
December 2005 Archives
30 December 2005
As the Friends of Big Creek continue planning a new trail in Brooklyn, Mayor Patton says eminent domain will not be employed, and that the City has no plans to become involved in the process.
A study to evaluate flooding problems in North Royalton found that the Ohio Turnpike expansion had only a slight effect on flooding, but that mitigating erosion problems caused by the expansion could cost between $2.3 and $3.7 million.
Developers of Renaissance Park in Strongsville plan to break ground on the project at Pearl and Whitney Roads in about four months. The first phase will be the construction of a 118,000 square foot Lowe's store, and the second phase is slated to include additional retail and office space. Developer David Lewanski hopes to obtain municipal assistance in acquiring a motel on the site, as well as a TIF agreement.
Brunswick officials favor hiring an outside consulting firm to study the ramifications of a possible merger with Brunswick Hills Township.
A 3-3 tie in Bentleyville Village Council was broken when Mayor Michael Canty cast the deciding vote granting 133 variances for the JETA development near Chagrin River Road. Madison Woods will consist of 12 two-unit cluster homes.
Crain's Cleveland Business interviews Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, who provides his thoughts on economic and neighborhood development, Steelyard Commons, and the convention center.
29 December 2005
A Plain Dealer editorial views MOCA's move to University Circle as an important step towards reinvigorating University Circle.
28 December 2005
As eight Northeast Ohio land trusts prepare to merge on January 1, WCPN's Karen Schaefer explores the opportunities and challenges ahead for the new Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The station has also prepared a directory of local environmental web sites.
$7.9 million worth of grants were awarded this December by the George Gund Foundation, including the previously mentioned funding of the relocation of MOCA to University Circle and a $500,000 grant to the County Planning Commission's Cuyahoga Valley Initiative to implement sustainability strategies throughout the Valley.
27 December 2005
Steven Litt is confident that University Circle will see a resurgence under the direction of Chris Ronayne who has been entrusted to continue the district's redevelopment.
A Plain Dealer editorial ties water quality to economic development and urges making the preservation and remediation of the Great Lakes a national priority.
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has set aside $2 million to provide a hedge against possible bankruptcy should one of their many development projects default on their loans.
The City of Parma will begin focusing code enforcement efforts throughout its northern neighborhoods between Snow Road and Brookpark Road. The City will also begin channeling more redevelopment funds to the area.
A Plain Dealer article highlights the work of Cleveland State University librarian Bill Barrow to preserve the history of Northeast Ohio through the Cleveland Memory Project.
23 December 2005
CSU Levin College Dean Mark Rosentraub urges local leaders to "rebuild the economy and remove barriers to regional cooperation."
PolyOne Corp. is seeking a three year, 100% tax abatement for a $5.5 million expansion of their facilities on Walker Road in Avon Lake.
Bentleyville Village Council was expected to approve about 148 variances on Wednesday that would allow JETA to build its proposed 24 unit cluster home project, now apparently called Madison Woods.
Officials from Cleveland and Lakewood have reached a joint development agreement for the area along W.117th Street between Edgewater Drive and Berea Road. The agreement has yet to be ratified by the two city councils.
While some former churches have been redeveloped for other uses, the inverse also occurs. The former Palisades bowling alley in Euclid will become the new home of House of Jubilee Ministries Church.
Bay Village City Council extended the review period for the proposed Bradley Bay Health Center expansion by 60 days.
22 December 2005
Advanced Hydro Solutions rejected a request by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to conduct an environmental impact study (PDF) for the Gorge Metro Park, where the company wants to build a small hydroelectric plant. A Metro Parks representative calls the decision "a huge disappointment."
The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday that property ownership includes the right to the groundwater beneath the land, and that water diversions by the government can be considered a property take entitled to compensation.
21 December 2005
US EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is proposing reducing the daily limit for fine particle pollution while leaving the annual limit untouched. A panel of scientific advisers recommended tightening both standards. The agency will make a final decision in September 2006.
Channel 3 reports that the Ohio legislature is likely to pass a law next month that will void the City of Cleveland's residency requirement for City workers. Mayor-elect Jackson says he will challenge the law in court.
20 December 2005
Yesterday, Cleveland officials released a $4.6 million concept plan for a nature preserve at Dike 14. It calls for a six acre wetland, bicycle paths, hiking trails, and an observation deck. More testing is needed to determine if the former sediment disposal facility is safe for public access.
Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris urges local leaders to be more aggressive in promoting and encouraging arts and culture.
19 December 2005
The southern alignment concept for a new Innerbelt Bridge was presented to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt criticizes ODOT's design process, including its lack of transparency, delayed reporting, and accelerated timetable.
Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials are pursuing the possibility of developing a permanent medical equipment exhibition center that would be developed adjacent to a new convention center. Modeled after Chicago's Merchandise Mart, the center would be designed to lure more medical conventions to Cleveland.
An agreement has been reached to preserve 154 acres of old-growth forest in Hunting Valley. Developer Scott Wolsten signed a conservation easement with the Chagrin River Land Conservancy as a part of developing his own estate.
The current construction of Emerald Commons presages the hoped-for development of several other projects that would create 1,000 affordable residential units over the next several years by the Cleveland Housing Network.
Oberlin City Council may vote on whether to set up a TIF to help finance a mixed-use development in downtown Oberlin.
Faced with the Port Authority's announcement of a study to recommend strategies for removing the Hulett unloaders, Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone wants to relocate the historic industrial artifacts to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island.
Several economic development programs received funding through the Cleveland Foundation's latest round of grants, including projects in University Circle and the east side neighborhoods served by Shorebank Enterprise Group.
Next month, Flats property owners will receive purchase offers from the Port Authority in anticipation of the impending demolition and site preparation for the Flats East Bank Neighborhood development. The use of eminent domain remains an option.
16 December 2005
The Village of Hunting Valley is considering a new zoning ordinance that would permit the division of parcels greater than 30 acres, half as a conservation area and half for smaller homes. A vote is expected in March.
An Atlanta-based REIT is preparing to purchase Downtown Cleveland's Key Tower, which has been on the market since April.
The City of Garfield Heights is seeking a $75,000 grant from NOACA to help fund a traffic impact study of the area surrounding the I-480 interchange at Transportation Boulevard. Anticipated traffic increases are expected to create a need for additional lanes and reconfigured ramps.
North Royalton officials expect that the planned Town Center District would attract national retailers, and City Council will consider two related resolutions. One would authorize Mayor Luks to sign a project development agreement with The Coral Company, and the other would adopt the economic development study and plan.
The Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine will lose its Chester Avenue home to a Cleveland Clinic expansion, and is considering a move to the former Realty One building in Independence.
Higher than expected bids for construction are delaying the implementation of railroad quiet zones in Olmsted Falls.
In a meeting last week, North Olmsted citizens and RTA officials, including general manager Joe Calabrese, discussed the quality of service since RTA took over services previously provided by NOMBL. Calabrese said some steps have been taken and he pledged continued improvements.
The US EPA is moving to ease Clear Air regulations for reporting industrial air pollution in response to an Associated Press analysis of the EPA's data that showed inequities in the racial and economic status of neighborhoods experiencing unhealthy air. The new regulations would effectively reduce the amount of information provided to the public.
Leaders in South Euclid are considering joining the list of Greater Cleveland communities that require point-of-sale inspections for residential properties.
The enactment of a six-month demolition moratorium for a historic Shaker Heights mansion has attracted attention from people interested in purchasing the home.
Cleveland should focus on fresh water-related innovation as a field in which it could lead the country, according to Chris Varley, who cites CLEERTEC as leading the charge to develop exportable environmental technologies.
CMHA has purchased 25 acres on Kinsman Road and E.80th Street with the intent to build a central administration facility, apparently setting aside plans to develop offices at the Van Dorn complex. The purchased property was previously planned for the development of the Hemisphere Industrial Park.
The recently-released Cuyahoga County's 2006 budget includes an extra $1.5 million to the Department of Development to help pay for the strategies proposed by the Blue Ribbon Economic Development Taskforce and reflects funding received from the state from the Clean Ohio Fund for the new County Administration Building site.
15 December 2005
An Akron Beacon Journal editorial demands a substantial response from the Bush Administration to implement the restoration strategies developed this week by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and to eliminate what it perceives as the most dire threat to water quality: combined sewer overflows.
Lisa Rab of Scene Magazine details the nine years of missteps that have impeded the development of Ohio City's Riverview HOPE VI project.
14 December 2005
Black and poor Americans are more likely to live in neighborhoods beset by industrial air pollution than persons living in neighborhoods that are more affluent or have a lower proportion of persons of color, according to an Associated Press analysis of US EPA data. Ohioans fare particularly poorly, with a concentration of neighborhoods along the Ohio River and Lake Erie that are affected by poor air quality.
The Associated Press provides an online tool for readers to ascertain the level of risk in their own communities.
(Via Great Lakes Information Network)
Water drawn from the Great Lakes must remain within the water basin, according to the agreement signed yesterday by the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers. The regional agreement prohibits the export of water outside of the watershed, except to communities on the border of the basin, or in shipments of bottles. The states and provinces have also pledged to adopt conservation plans to preserve the Great Lakes.
A Plain Dealer editorial supports some of the ideas emerging from the Blue Ribbon Economic Development Taskforce, especially the early-childhood program and the Cuyahoga Innovation Zones, but challenges the County Commissioners to use the allocated funds to leverage more money for more-visible projects of scale.
(Update: Chas Rich disagrees with the editorial stance that a significantly larger response is necessary.)
13 December 2005
The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy was released yesterday by a broad coalition of government agencies and private groups seeking to improve water quality throughout the Great Lakes. While the report calls for a wide range of local interventions, including several in Northeast Ohio regarding contaminated sediments, restoration of wetlands, and protection of riparian areas, politicians and advocates question the commitment of the Bush administration to provide funds for implementation.
A Streetsboro property owner cites concerns about sprawl and accompanying pollution as the incentives for making plans to develop a walkable neighborhood and parkland.
12 December 2005
Crain's Cleveland Business interviews the Cleveland Foundation's Director of Economic Development, Brad Whitehead, on the Foundation's projects, including Voices & Choices and the Civic Innovation Lab, which provided seed funding to CityWheels.
A task force convened by Cuyahoga County released a draft plan to increase the county's economic development budget from $5 million to $8.5 million that would be used to develop five regional initiatives that would focus on redevelopment and investments in emerging industries.
A Plain Dealer editorial advocates planning for the Opportunity Corridor, stating that the route connecting University Circle to I-490 could help both residents of the Forgotten Triangle and commuters to Cleveland's eastside.
Another editorial calls for federal support for the Great Lakes including $20 billion in funding for programs to improve water quality through environmental remediation and the barring of diversions of water outside of the Great Lakes region.
While lakefront property continues to be attractive to potential homeowners, the state representative who sponsored a bill to limit public access to the shoreline is attempting to purchase a tax-delinquent Lake Erie parcel adjacent to his Avon Lake property that had been used by neighbors whose deeds include the right to use the land.
The Ashtabula River will be the focus of a $50 million environmental remediation project. PCB-contaminated sediment will be removed from the mouth of the river for isolation and treatment, funded in part by the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002.
09 December 2005
Strongsville officials say it would take about $37 million to complete the last of the City's major infrastructure improvements: widening Pearl Road and building a new municipal complex.
An economic study of North Royalton's Town Center District calls for increased infrastructure investments to support planned developments. City Council also passed three bills regarding the project and development incentives.
Next year, officials from the City of Lakewood and the Lakewood City School District will begin preparing a master plan for the city's youths, with assistance from the National League of Cities.
The Friends of Big Creek hope to link the Towpath Trail and the Cleveland Metroparks Big Creek Reservation via a new trail connecting existing greenways and public amenities. It would run behind the Cascade Crossing development, and the group is hoping for cooperation from owners Forest City.
Cleveland Councilman Michael Dolan is worried that planned Lorain Avenue streetscape improvements may be delayed by the incoming Jackson administration.
The bank that acquired a historic yet deteriorating mansion at the corner of Lee and South Woodland Roads is seeking permission to demolish it. Shaker Heights City Council imposed a six month emergency moratorium to protect the house while its landmark status is studied.
Millions of dollars are needed to repair Cuyahoga River bulkheads asserts the Flats Oxbow Association. While federal funds have been allocated for "green bulkheads", stakeholders argue that additional assistance is needed to maintain shipping along the navigation channel.
Plain Dealer reporters John Kuehner and Steven Koff summarize recent efforts to improve water quality in the Great Lakes, which is said to be at the "tipping point" in terms of irreversible environmental damage and which also faces increasing pressures to divert water divert water out of the watershed amidst a lack of funding from the Bush Administration.
Stating that the federal government has done too little to address global warming, a delegation of U.S. Mayors and Governors are continuing their efforts to improve air quality on a local level through their attendance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
08 December 2005
There will be a public meeting tonight to present and discuss plans for improving vehicular and pedestrian access to University Circle. The study is expected to be completed by Spring 2006.
07 December 2005
Michael Gill of the Free Times describes the political environment surrounding the alignment of the Innerbelt Bridge and illustrates the delayed plans of several developments by focusing on the construction of the Western Reserve Fire Museum.
06 December 2005
Approval is pending for a project southeast of Streetsboro that would include 800 acres of parkland and 400 acres of ecologically-friendly mixed-use development. Located near the Cuyahoga River and Lake Rockwell, the potential development involves Sahbra Farm, the Ohio EPA, and the Portage Park District.
05 December 2005
With a moratorium on new landfills due to expire at the end of the year, the Ohio legislature is preparing a bill that sets new regulations for landfills for construction and demolition debris.
The Cleveland Law Library Weblog covers a recent ruling that the Mayfield Heights city charter did not give the mayor veto power over a city council-passed zoning variance.
By early next year, a consultant to the Army will release a report detailing contamination on 14 sites throughout the Ravenna Arsenal. The 33.5 square mile site, officially known as the Ravenna Army Ammunition Facility, is undergoing environmental remediation in preparation for use as an Ohio Army National Guard training facility. As part of the cleanup, another study will determine whether six PCB-contaminated buildings can be safely burned.
02 December 2005
Developers intent to establish an 83 acre business park on Miller Road in Brecksville west of I-77. When fully developed, it could include as much as 1 million square feet of office space.
A historic 1830s home and carriage house in North Olmsted is on a property slated to become the site of the City's new Fire Station No. 2 next year. City officials and the Olmsted Historical Society would like to move the carriage house to the Frostville Museum in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation.
Work on the Gordon Square Homes project is scheduled to begin this month. The $16 million renovation of four buildings in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood includes 64 apartments as well as commercial space.
A trial to set damages in the Shemo Case has again been postponed. It has been rescheduled for next spring because of a problem with the appraiser for the City of Mayfield Heights.
The City of Cleveland agreed to purchase the former Big Lots store on Lake Shore Boulevard for $900,000, avoiding a scheduled court hearing. The City intends to convert the building to a recreation center.
On Monday, the board of Coventry Neighbors voted to dissolve the dormant neighborhood association formed in 1969.
Citizens attending a community meeting in Avon expressed concern and disapproval of ongoing plans to add a new I-90 interchange and expand the local road network. Decision makers, however, remain committed to the process.
Many geographic features throughout the United States remain unnamed, and are open to being provided a new designation by any citizen.
01 December 2005
City of Cleveland mayor-elect Frank Jackson will appoint a point-person in charge of regional issues. While details on the position have not yet been established, this move portends increased regional cooperation.
The City of Akron will receive a pilot wireless network that could eventually lead to citywide internet access. The City will provide its partnering company access to city infrastructure for mounting the antennas that will initially provide Wi-Fi service, but could eventually be upgraded to WiMAX, which would cover a much larger area.
In the final installment of the Forest City series, Plain Dealer reporter Christopher Montgomery examines the developer's long term impact on Northeast Ohio including its regional portfolio, and compares the local development prospects with other regions impacted by the company.
Continuing coverage will be provided by the Forest City weblog.
A report by Ohio PIRG urges sewer districts to provide public notices when combined sewer overflow events take place and to take steps to address ongoing water quality issues related to CSOs. NEORSD has recently added to their website a CSO overview section that describes what the district is doing to alleviate overflows.
The Ohio Supreme Court is presently hearing a case between the City of Cleveland and a finance industry trade organization regarding laws that the City enacted that are intended to combat predatory lending.
(Via Cleveland Law Library Weblog)