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January 2006 Archives

Governing.com's 13th Floor weblog discusses regionalism efforts in Greater Cleveland, highlighting recent remarks by Mayor Welo of South Euclid.

Groups that provide assistance to the homeless in Northeast Ohio are conducting a federally-mandated 24-hour head count.

A lawsuit over the demolition of a house in 2003 has dramatically slowed demolitions of condemned buildings in the City of Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer analyzed data from the 2004 (PDF) American Housing Survey, and found that while many Clevelanders were happy with their neighborhoods, quality-of-life levels in the City of Cleveland are lower than those in other big cities and suburban Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Convention Center will experience a dearth of events in 2006, and advocates and opponents of a new convention center offer different explanations for the drop. Kossuth of Cleveland Uber Alles critiques the Plain Dealer's coverage, posing some unanswered questions.

On Friday, Governor Taft signed Senate Bill 82, which bans municipal residency requirements. Cleveland and other cities are expected to challenge the law in court. Meanwhile, safety forces in Cleveland are suing the City, seeking an immediate removal of Cleveland's residency requirements.

Oh his weblog, Walter Wright considers urban life, race issues, and the effects of socio-economic status.

The Chagrin Herald Sun provides more information about the recent purchase of 52 acres along Chagrin River Road by the Village of Moreland Hills with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The purchase agreement includes a conservation easement covering the entire site.

Seven Hills City Council has begun considering legislation for a PUD district of at least 35 acres for the proposed mixed-use development on Rockside Road. They must pass the legislation before February 16 in order for it to appear on the May ballot.

The Euclid Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 to reject a rezoning request for a 2.6 acre property on North Lakeland Boulevard. Owner Gary Helf wants to build an extended stay hotel on the site, and plans to file suit against the City.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Gordon Square Homes renovation project was held last Wednesday. The mixed-use project is scheduled for completion in July.

The attorney representing Jaylin Investments has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its January 11th (PDF) decision in their suit against the Village of Moreland Hills.

The owner of a parking lot east of the proposed Flats East Bank development has proposed a mixed-use development for the 2.7 acre site. Preliminary plans for Front Street Lofts call for 39,000 square feet of retail space, 212 to 278 housing units, and a 416 space parking deck.

Mayors throughout Cuyahoga County have endorsed the development of a $25 million to $50 million development fund for large-scale commercial projects throughout the City of Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs. The mayors will collaborate with Cuyahoga County commissioners on the project, which could be integrated with the County's regional economic development efforts.

Homeowners in Olmsted Township's Woodgate Farms may be asked to pay future assessments for drainage ditch maintenance.

While productivity and job growth has increased in urban areas in 2004, Midwestern cities such as Cleveland will be hurt by declines in manufacturing, according to a report (PDF) prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

52 acres of greenspace on Chagrin River Road will be purchased and preserved by a joint purchase between the Village of Moreland Hills and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Members of Cleveland's congressional delegation and City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson endorsed ODOT's plan to build the Innerbelt Bridge on the northern alignment through Downtown Cleveland.

As Indiana legislators debate leasing the Indiana Toll Road to a private company for 75 years, local motorists wonder if the Ohio Turnpike will be privatized.

The Coral Company has dropped its plans for a mixed-use development in Cleveland Heights. While Domain on Lee will not be constructed as originally envisioned, the City of Cleveland Heights still wants to build a parking garage on part of the site in the Cedar-Lee neighborhood.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy has been formed out of the uniting of eight Northeast Ohio land trusts, the largest such merger in the United States.

Bob Downing of the Akron Beacon Journal reports on Ohio's efforts to land the FutureGen project, a prototype coal power plant that uses coal-gasification technology.

(Update: The State has put together a task force to attract the project.)

Erich Burnett of Scene Magazine questions the decisions made by the Cleveland Museum of Art regarding its expansion by focusing on the extent of the changes, the perceived lack of funding, and the economic and attendance-based ramifications of closing exhibits.

The International Community Council will change leadership but will continue its efforts to rehabilitate the B&O Railroad Terminal located in the Flats for use as an international center and visitor center.

RTA has approved a contract for construction of the first phase of the Euclid Corridor project. Terrace Construction will rehabilitate a two mile stretch of Euclid Avenue from the Innerbelt to East 79th Street.

Beginning in March, 116 for-sale residential units will be built at Crocker Park. The new urbanist-styled townhouses, lofts, and attached houses comprising Westhampton at Crocker Park will be constructed along the western periphery of Westlake's mixed-use development.

An Akron Beacon Journal article provides photographs and more details on the demolition of the old Jaite Paper Mill, which will be paid for in part with settlement funds from polluters that dumped toxic chemicals at the Krejki landfill.

The City of Shaker Heights is preparing for the pending loss of Office Max's headquarters by inviting private developers to offer ideas for the 50 acre area around the intersection of Van Aken Boulevard, Chagrin Boulevard, and Warrensville Center Road.

More voices have weighed in on the residency requirements debate, as Mayor Zanotti of Parma Heights and editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal criticize the Ohio legislature for passing (PDF) Senate Bill 82.

Citizen patrols continue in the Cuyahoga Valley using portable devices to capture air samples around Valley industries in an effort to combat air pollution.

The Presidents' Council, an organization comprised of sixteen CEOs of Cleveland-area African American owned businesses, will address regionalism through a study that will focus on housing, education, and access.

The record-setting $28 million fine that FirstEnergy will pay as part of the Davis-Besse settlement includes $1 million earmarked for the extension of the Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga County.

Progress on developing the Flats East Bank neighborhood continued with the hiring of two consultants this past week.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial addresses the flow of out-of-state garbage to Ohio landfills and urges Ohioans to place a greater emphasis on recycling.

In March, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will begin demolishing the old Jaite Paper Mill in Brecksville, citing concerns about aesbestos and the deteriorating condition of the buildings.

The Chagrin Herald Sun explores reactions to the Ohio Supreme Court ruling last week that upheld two acre zoning in Moreland Hills.

The City of Lakewood was accepted into the Ohio Main Street Program last month. The program will provide training and services aimed at restoring neighborhoods through its local partner, Lakewood Community Progress Incorporated.

Lowe's has been confirmed as one of the tenants in the Westgate redevelopment. A proposed 117,000 square foot store will go before the Rocky River Planning Commission later this month.

In October 2007, the NASA Glenn Research Center will close its two buildings in Fairview Park. Local officials have begun exploring redevelopment options, but NASA wants to retain ownership of the land in case it is needed for future expansion.

Mayor Cervenik of Euclid will speak with officials from Cleveland and Euclid about cooperating to create a railroad quiet zone through the cities.

The Northeast Shores Development Corporation and Collinwood and the Nottingham Villages Development Corporation are rehabbing abandoned properties as quickly as they are able.

Officials in Olmsted Falls, North Royalton, and Strongsville are interested in joining five other southwest Cuyahoga County suburbs in studying a proposed regional fire district.

While Tops decided not to build a new $16 million supermarket on E.185th Street in Collinwood, they will invest $600,000 in improvements to their existing store.

A report by Ohio PIRG ranks Greater Cleveland as having the fifth-worst air pollution in the country among large metropolitan areas in terms of fine particles. Akron ranks as the 16th most polluted area among mid-sized cities.

John Kuehner of the Plain Dealer reports on the Ohio EPA's updated fish advisory and efforts to bring a prototype of a cleaner burning coal power plant to Ohio.

A federal appeals court has struck down a California city's law that allowed it to reject cell towers for aesthetic reasons alone.

(via Planetizen)

The Intelligent Community Forum selected Cleveland as one of its top seven intelligent communities of the year, citing the achievements of OneCleveland. One of the seven will be named Intelligent Community of the Year in June.

(via Bytes from Lev)

(Update: The Plain Dealer provides additional coverage.)

The Ohio Supreme Court has posted a streaming video (RealMedia, 55 minutes) of the oral arguments in the Norwood eminent domain case.

(via Build On This)

The City of Cleveland is expected to file a lawsuit challenging the bill banning residency requirements that was recently passed by the Ohio Legislature.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges saving neighborhoods from blight and decay through legal and expeditious property foreclosure efforts.

Northeast Ohio's economy could be boosted by University Hospital's planned expansion, but the Plain Dealer cautions against overreaching.

Developers across the country argue that redevelopment efforts will be undermined by recent rulings on eminent domain.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is undeterred in its efforts to bring Trans-Erie ferry service to Cleveland, despite the dissolution of service between Rochester, NY and Toronto, resulting in a several million dollar loss on the part of the City of Rochester.

The Ohio House today passed Senate Bill 82. It bans residency requirements for municipal employees, and the Senate passed the legislation in June. Bill Callahan offers commentary on the voting.

University Hospitals announced Vision 2010, a five year strategic plan that anticipates over $1 billion in building investments. The plan calls for significant additions to its University Circle campus, including a new $220 million free-standing cancer hospital, as well as new outpatient facilities in Aurora and Twinsburg.

The volume of garbage imported to Ohio landfills from other states has steadily increased to levels close to record highs set in the late 1980s. While Ohio's solid waste volumes have decreased, its low landfill costs have attracted trash from east coast states. The effects of the increased tipping fees instituted in July remain unclear.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial offers support for the City of Norwood in their eminent domain case, arguing that alterations to eminent domain standards should be made by the legislature, not the Supreme Court.

An impending Pittsburgh slot machine casino license has attracted competition from various development groups (including Forest City) while Ohio racetrack owners want to put a slots-only referendum on the November ballot as an alternative to a broader casino gambling initiative.

(Update: Channel 3 offers additional coverage of the issue.)

The Plain Dealer urges more caution on the part of government in light of recent difficulties that Lake County municipalities have experienced regarding the extention of tax abatements.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the community to focus on leveraging the Steelyard Commons development, despite the history of the project.

Cuyahoga County's foreclosure backlog, which could be decreased through state legislation, appears to be much more extensive than originally believed.

Residents are expressing strong support for a shared recreation center that would serve South Euclid, Richmond Heights, and Lyndhurst.

The Home Repair Resource Center, a Cleveland Heights-based non-profit that helps residents maintain their own homes, has begun purchasing, renovating, and reselling homes in an effort to improve the overall housing stock of the suburb.

The West Side Sun News concludes its three-part series on developer Robert Stark's downtown Cleveland plans with a look at ideas for accelerating the Port Authority's proposed relocation across the Cuyahoga River from the 50 year concept in the City's Lakefront Plan.

While the Independence Planning Commission granted preliminary approval for a 12 home subdivision on 80 acres inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it tabled a proposal for a 10 home subdivison abuting the Park on Stone Road. Preliminary plans for both developments are available at I CARE.

Brecksville's fire chief supports the proposed removal of the City's Cuyahoga River dam, calling it a "killing machine".

The News Sun summarizes plans for a new lakefront trolley museum and the possible use of historic trolleys downtown.

Avon officials are seeking public input on six possible road improvements, including four alternatives for a proposed new I-90 interchange. A public meeting will be held from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on January 19 at the Avon Senior Center.

Cleveland City Council is expected to budget up to $2 million for demolition and remediation of the Trinity Building site on Detroit Avenue. The City hopes to have the six acres in Cudell cleared and cleaned by the end of this summer.

Conceptual designs for the new Puritas rapid station take "a lot of design cues from the historic train stations of the past." A construction firm should be selected by July, and construction is expected to take 18 months.

Some South Euclid residents do not like the City's proposed point-of-sale housing inspection program, and say the issue should be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

The Bay Village Board of Zoning Appeals recently approved two variances for the proposed Bradley Bay Health Center expansion. The City's Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the issue on January 24.

Plain Dealer columnist Tom Feran discovers several forgotten place names of local neighborhoods, some of which may provide the basis for community rebranding.

Researchers have discovered a chemical that is present in Great Lakes sediments and marine life and that has gone unnoticed for several decades. The health and water quality threat of the contaminant is not yet known.

CMHA's Woodhill Homes will receive a $200,000 foundation grant to build a children's splash park by this summer. An anonymous local donor proposed the project.

Cleveland City Planning Commission gave tentative approval for a series of new signs that would mark the "Ohio & Erie Canalway", including the Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and the entire Heritage Corridor.

Scott Muscatello photographed houses awaiting the wrecking ball that will clear property for the 20 acre retail development on W. 117th St. and I-90.

In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the two acre minimum lot size in the Moreland Hills zoning code. Jaylin Investments, which wanted to build 29 houses on 18 acres, had challenged its constitutionality.

In a case before the Ohio Supreme Court, an attorney representing homeowners contesting the seizure of their property argued that the methodology behind the urban renewal study used by the City of Norwood to justify the use of eminent domain could be applied to any neighborhood. Other states are likewise dealing with the aftermath of Kelo v. New London.

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would expedite the foreclosure process by halving the time it would take to reclaim vacant, tax-delinquent properties. The bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.

Case student Jeffrey Verespej describes and posts pictures of the revised Case master plan which encompasses the recently completed Village at 115 and the West Quad technology campus.

Crain's Cleveland Business reports on a Wall Street Journal article about Cleveland's stagnant commercial real estate market. The article quotes the CEO of Duke Realty, which recently departed the local market.

Immigration attorney Richard Herman responds to Roxanne Ravenel's Cool Cleveland commentary on bridging the social and economic divides. He expands on her thesis, stating that this region can fulfill its potential by not only attracting new immigrants, but by actively using an intercultural approach to foster economic and social development.

The convention center site will not be decided this spring as scheduled due to the Convention Facilities Authority's desire to fully consider how a proposed medical mart would affect the center. Meanwhile, Roldo Bartimole is angered by the proposed sales tax increase that would finance the bond issue.

Despite numerous complaints over the past year, odors emanating from a chemical waste treatment plant in the Cuyahoga Valley still persist.

Tomorrow, the Ohio Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on a case involving the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood. The case is expected to take several months and will have broad ramifications on the establishment of economic development as a legitimate reason for eminent domain.

(via Economic Development Futures Journal)

Michael Baker Jr., Inc. published a press release announcing their firm's selection by ODOT to provide the design and engineering services for the Innerbelt Bridge. Meanwhile, neobridge published a November 2005 letter from Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones urging ODOT to reconsider their original plans for the bridge.

Today's Community News Briefs include a reminder of this morning's Convention Facilities Authority meeting and a report on Cleveland City Council's approval of a tax increment financing agreement with the developers of Steelyard Commons. The funds raised will be used for the continued extension of the Towpath Trail and to help small retail businesses. The TIF will not impact Cleveland City School District revenues.

The Cleveland branch of the Salvation Army announced that they did not receive a grant from the late Joan Kroc to build a community center in Cleveland's Gordon Park.

A private group wants a new aquarium in Cleveland and has a goal of raising $33 million to construct a self-supporting facility either on North Coast Harbor on the east bank of the Flats.

In yet another example of regionalism, the Cities of South Euclid, Lyndhurst, and Richmond Heights want to expand recreational opportunities through the creation of a new taxing district that would raise funds for the construction and maintenance of a shared recreation center.

A more inviting Little Italy is in the works according to the neighborhood's new master plan, which was recently approved by the Cleveland Planning Commission after months of debate. The neighborhood's changes include a renovation of Mayfield Road, parking improvements, park expansion, and new residences.

The 2006 Northeast Ohio development forecast indicates an emphasis on retail and residential development within the City of Cleveland, especially downtown and along the lakefront. Several megaprojects throughout the City are also forecasted, while regional retail development will come in the form of shopping center rehabilitation and big box development.

In the second of its three-part series, the West Side Sun News details developer Robert Stark's plan to extend the downtown street grid north to Lake Erie. Councilman Cimperman calls it "the lakefront plan on steroids."

First Energy's tree removal policy is again the source of controversy, this time in Euclid.

The construction of two new middle schools in Lakewood is scheduled to begin soon, joining the two elementary schools already under construction. School Board officials expect them to be ready in fall 2007.

Strongsville City Council is expected to place a one mill levy on the May ballot. It would fund the construction of a new $25 million police station and municipal center.

Brunswick Hills and Montville Townships continue to lead Medina County in housing starts.

The mixed-use Cornerstone development in Parma Heights that was recently acquired by the McGill Property Group has been renamed Greenbrier Crossings.

Channel 3 continues its convention center coverage with an interview of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan about a new center, the medical mart, and a potential sales tax increase.

John Kuehner's latest column in the Plain Dealer focuses on the Independence Planning Commission's approval of a subdivision located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the related community concerns raised about local environmental issues.

Also mentioned is recent news that the US EPA will ease requirements for industries to report pollution emissions and the public reaction petitioning the EPA to preserve the public's right to know about pollution releases.

The 500 acre Wellington Reservation will open next fall and become the 12th park opened by Lorain County Metro Parks. Other parks are planned over the next ten years.

A developer is planning a 1.4 million square foot, $350 million mixed-use development in Seven Hills. The proposed project would be located off of Rockside Road on the City's border with Independence (Focus Area C in the Seven Hills Master Plan) and could include office, retail, and residential space.

WCPN's David C. Barnett interviews Randell McShepard about Policy Bridge and the organization's new report (PDF) on African-American males in Northeast Ohio.

Channel 3 reports that the Cuyahoga County Commissioners support a modest sales tax increase to help fund the construction of a new convention center.

Progress towards the development of a luxury resort in Lorain County continues with the approval of a TIF for the 900 acre Cleveland Quarries site by Lorain County Commissioners and the impending purchase of the property for $15.25 million by Trans European Securities.

This week's Cool Cleveland includes a piece by Roxanne Ravenel about bridging Cleveland's social and economic divides, as well as a link to Exhibit: Cleveland, a program that displays artwork in vacant storefronts.

A Free Times article features the work being done by Ryan McKenzie to bring car sharing to Northeast Ohio.

Steven Litt's end of the year column addresses progress made throughout the arts and planning communities, including the impending move of MOCA to University Circle, the expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the opening of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, work on the lakefront, and the continuing development of the Towpath Trail. However, questions still remain regarding the design and construction of the Innerbelt Bridge.

A portion of $22 million in federal grants towards combating homelessness will be directed towards the development of affordable housing units in Cleveland.

The BizMat hazardous waste collection center in Akron has collected about five tons of waste since its opening in late October.

The redesigned website for the Westgate shopping center (formerly Westgate Mall) presents details of the redevelopment plans for the center, including the site plan and conceptual renderings.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

The past year's Cleveland Lakefront development progress includes an increased focus on North Coast Harbor with the move of the Mather Museum, the creation of Whiskey Island's Wendy Park, the impending development of the Flats East Bank Neighborhood, and the unveiling of plans for Dike 14. The City will undertake a study to determine the economic value of Burke Lakefront Airport.

An end of the year summary of regionalism efforts see progress with regard to suburban safety force collaboration and the County's economic development efforts.

Plain Dealer publisher Alex Machaskee is sanguine about the continuing prospects for regional cooperation.

The City of Bedford is following the trend of other suburbs that are using education efforts to orient new residents, which appear to focus on the poor and black. A Plain Dealer editorial seems to welcome these efforts, showing a change of opinion since this past summer.

The possible removal of a dam between Brecksville and Sagamore Township would continue a series of similar dam removals intended to improve water quality throughout the Cuyahoga River.

The Akron Beacon Journal provides more detail on development plans for a future Cascade Mill park adjacent to Cascade Locks Park along the Towpath Trail.

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