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June 2006 Archives

Although the original plans of the Brookpark Road Rapid station, which included hotels and restaurants, have stalled, RTA still plans to move ahead in building a station on Brookpark Road. According to Joe Calabrese, CEO of RTA, the station will be designed to be "supportive of future joint development". Construction is slated to begin in 2008.

Although Berea city officials initially shied away from rebuilding the Berea Municipal Court, the City may now be willing to "take the reins" on the project. Mayor Biddlecombe asserts that "he is prepared to come forth with ideas that will be within the city's budget," achieved by scaling back the building plan and certain features in the Court's proposal.

The McGill Property Group won the Cornerstone project in Parma Heights at an auction on Tuesday, after almost three years of stagnation. The development, to be renamed Greenbriar Crossings, will be a more "traditional retail concept", with mid-sized box stores in front and residential space behind.

More than 300 volunteers helped to make $50,000 worth of painting and repairs on ten houses in Cleveland on Saturday through Rebuilding Together, a nationwide nonprofit organization that rehabilitates and repairs homes owned by low-income, elderly and disabled residents free of charge.

Although South Euclid City Council approved a conditional use permit 5-1 on Monday for the Stoneridge Place housing development, a group of residents may launch a referendum drive that would give voters the final decision on whether or not the project can move forward. The group considering the referendum is concerned that the development will decrease property values, contribute to drainage problems, and bring in too much traffic.

Mayfield Heights City Council has entered into a one-year contract with Public Sector Solutions, a consultant company that helps communities identify economic development opportunities. Mayor Greg Costabile believes that the City's prosperity relies on expanding and supporting the local business community.

The City Club of Cleveland hosted the first of four forums entitled "ReDeveloping Cleveland: Revitalizing Housing" this week. Panelist Thomas Bier, housing expert at CSU, asserted that Cleveland needs a "massive" influx of middle-class homeowners if revitalization is to occur. Bier also said that Cleveland's growth is crucial to the prosperity of Cuyahoga County and the region.

Two newly formed groups will advance regional conservation throughout Northeast Ohio. The merger of eight land trusts to form the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will help to protect and connect sensitve landscapes throughout the region. In addtion, the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity, a collection of conservation organizations in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, will also promote biodiversity and improve natural resources throughout the region.

The WRLC recieved a $1 million dollar donation this month from Susan and Dick Grimm of Hunting Valley. This money will be added to Land Conservancy's fund to help purchase important lands throughout Northeast Ohio.

According to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, education is of paramount importance to Cleveland. To attain this, Jackson believes there are several actions that the new CEO of Cleveland Public Schools Eugene Sanders should take, including increasing safety measures and "establishing order and stability in the district". Jackson asserts that he will contribute to Cleveland's education by helping to revive the Bond Accountability Commission.

Several players in Highland Hills have different visions for an 106-acre parcel that lies between Tri-C's Eastern Campus and its Corporate College. College officials want to buy the land for a training site for nurses, safety and hospitality workers. Village officials, however, feel that a the land should be used to create jobs and generate taxes, considering much of Highland Hills is already tax-exempt.

An emergency proclamation has been issued for Huron and Erie Counties in response to one of the worst floods in Northeastern Ohio's history, authorizing state money be used to repair infrastructure and aid affected families. Federal financial aid may eventually be extended to Cuyahoga County, according to officials at the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, where flood waters caused heavy damages to several Valley communties.

This morning marked the official opening of the new 5,185-foot section of the Towpath Trail in Akron. The newly completed section connects downtown Akron to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the southern tip of Cleveland, bringing the Towpath Trail total to 74 miles thus far.

After a plan to rebuild the Berea Municipal Court fell through earlier this year, Brook Park officials have since prepared a proposal to move the Court to their city. Brook Park envisions that the building would involve building a police, court and jail complex, and be payed for in part by with court fines, prisoner fees, and state and federal grants.

Cuyahoga Falls City Council approved a measure to establish a community reinvestment area on Monday, meaning that commercial developers and business owners may be eligible for tax abatements up to 100% for 15 years.

Today, WCPN looked at concentrated poverty and income disparity in Cleveland. Included was input from urban poverty expert Professor William Julius Wilson and a study the Brookings Institution released last Friday indicating that middle-income neighborhoods in American cities shrank between 1970 and 2000.

Cleveland district funds may be used to help pay for the watchdog Bond Accountability Commission, which was created in 2001 to oversee Cleveland public schools' $1 billion building project and to make reports to the public. District dollars would come from the $335 million bond issue passed by voters to tap into state building money.

At a conference on poverty last Friday, Harvard University professor and urban poverty expert William Julius Wilson asserted that blighted properties can be transformed into community assets, and Ohio leaders should support legislation that would facilitate cities' ability to take over such properties. Wilson further stated that classroom reform and addressing concentrated poverty are likewise essential to Cleveland's economic comeback.

Thursday's deluge caused millions of dollars in damages to homes, businesses, and city infrastructure and resulted in tons of raw sewage entering the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. Representatives of the Cuyahoga River RAP and several residents blame continued residential development along the River as a leading factor in the environmental and economic damage that occurred.

Concerns raised by local preservationist Steven McQuillin have led to delays in the construction of a parking garage addition at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Faced with a need to speed up development of its subsidized housing, CMHA has scaled back the number of units in its Riverview HOPE VI project, and has now put construction of its mixed-income segment on Columbus Road on hold.

Yesterday, the Cleveland Foundation awarded $16.6 million in grants. The largest award was $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future. The other recipients included Neighborhood Progress Inc., the Famicos Foundation, ParkWorks, and the Cleveland Metroparks.

The Akron Beacon Journal provides an update on the issues and opportunities ahead for the planned Lake Erie ferry.

The Beck Center for the Arts has begun considering whether to redevelop their current complex in Lakewood or to build new facilities adjacent to Crocker Park in Westlake. Results of a study of the Beck's economic impacts on Lakewood are expected this summer.

Several Westlake city officials, including Mayor Clough, are in favor of painting bike lanes on both sides on Hillard Boulevard. The relatively inexpensive painted lanes may be a step toward building permanent dedicated bike paths within the street's median. Westlake's chief of police, however, does not favor the plan, believing that they would be unsafe for cyclists and drivers. A final decision on the bike lanes will likely be made at a council committee of the whole meeting at 7:30 p.m. June 28.

In November, Maple Heights residents will likely have the opportunity to vote whether to replace the city's Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission with a new five-member Planning and Zoning Commission. According to the city's law director, the proposed change is an effort to increase consistency and efficiency within city government and to be more business-friendly.

In response to problems encountered at developments such as Sutton Woods, several Broadview Heights officials have proposed legislation that would hold developers more accountable for problems after a development is completed. Among other items, they have suggested that a maintenance bond specific to mitigated wetlands be required; that the developer have all city and state permits before groundbreaking starts; and that reconstructed wetlands be mitigated within Cuyahoga County.

In response to several disputes between residents regarding private property and public views of Lake Erie, the cities of Sheffield Lake and Avon Lake have passed legislation to temporarily halt permits for fences on lakeshore properties.

Two developers involved in the Flats east bank project have petitioned Cuyahoga County to guarantee between $500,000 and $940,000 a year for 30 years of bond payments to cover several parking garages on Front and Old River Roads. If guaranteed, the County would pay bondholders, should parking revenues not cover bond payments. The garages must be deemed to be a 'public purpose'—improve economic welfare—before funds could be guaranteed.

With a public meeting about the historic Huletts scheduled for this evening, today's 90.3 at 9 on WCPN examined the future of the ore unloaders. The show's guests were activist Ed Hauser and Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone. Meanwhile, a Plain Dealer editorial argues for scrapping the Huletts.

For the second time in as many years, Pulte Homes's Del Webb division has cancelled plans to build an "active seniors" development in Streetsboro. The 300 acre, 675 home project was initially proposed in May 2004, dropped in January 2005, and was revived in May 2005 before being called off again this week.

The Metroparks, Serving Summit County Commissioners instructed park officials to meet with Advanced Hydro Solutions to discuss access to the Gorge Metro Park. Last month, the Commissioners blocked the company from accessing the park.

On Saturday, Governor Taft signed Ohio House Bill 389, which establishes statewide rules for biking on Ohio roads.

Due to projected high costs for moving and reassembling the Hulett ore unloaders, Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone has proposed saving a few key pieces and displaying them at North Coast Harbor or Steelyard Commons, while scrapping the rest. Local preservationists call the idea unacceptable.

The US Census Bureau's annual subcounty population estimates show a continuation of familiar trends in Ohio: exurban communities grew quickly, while most major cities experienced additional population losses. Cleveland continues to be one of the nation's fastest shrinking large cities, losing an estimated 1.3% of its population between July 2004 and July 2005, and 5.3% since 2000.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, George Nemeth interviews Ryan McKenzie about the CityWheels carsharing program.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge upheld the 2004 state law granting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole regulatory control over natural gas wells. Seven suburbs and a group of Mayfield Heights residents challenged the law last year, arguing it violated municipal home rule. They have not decided if they will appeal the decision.

The City Club will host "ReDeveloping Cleveland: Revitalizing Housing", a four part series on housing in Cleveland. The first event will be a panel discussion on June 28 about housing strategy with Bob Brown, Tom Bier, and Sabra Pierce Scott, moderated by Terry Schwarz. Future sessions are titled Bottom-Line Building, Affordable Housing, and Thinking outside the House.

(via Economic Developments)

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held today for the 20 unit Parkside Townhomes near Rockefeller Park in Glenville. Townhomes in the $4.7 million project at East Boulevard and Superior Avenue will range from $270,000 to $325,000.

(Update: the Akron Beacon Journal has more details.)

The City of Cleveland will hold a public meeting about the future of the historic Hulett ore unloaders on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the Gordon Square Arcade on Detroit Avenue.

A sharply-divided U.S. Supreme Court issued three opinions (PDF) in a case brought by a Michigan landowner challenging the regulation of wetlands through the Clean Water Act. Four justices voted to drastically curtail the scope of the law, four voted to maintain the current broad standards, and Justice Kennedy's deciding solo opinion says there must be a "significant nexus" between a wetland and a navigable waterway. The Court sent the case back to a lower court.

The audio of ODOT Director Gordon Proctor's City Club talk (MP3, 18.8 MB) about Innerbelt reconstruction plans is now available online.

Suggestions for lowering ozone emissions in Greater Cleveland include switching to a cleaner-burning gasoline and establishing a statewide anti-idling law, among others. The recommendations will go to the Ohio EPA, which is preparing a federally-mandated ozone plan.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved conceptual designs for the new Artemus Ward Elementary and R.G. Jones Elementary schools. Both are scheduled to open in 2008.

A Plain Dealer editorial asserts that the leaders of southwest Cuyahoga County communities "must recognize the shared responsibility they have" to provide functional facilities for the Berea Municipal Court.

Roldo Bartimole pans the Plain Dealer's coverage of Public Square redesign ideas, calling it a sales pitch by self-interested proponents.

The Plain Dealer created a special report on Euclid Avenue that examines the history of Cleveland's main thoroughfare based on readers' recollections. Included in the section is a map of past retailers as well as an interactive slideshow describing what was the community's gathering place that is now the focus of several development projects, including the Euclid Corridor.

A Plain Dealer editorial calls for prioritizing the renewal and redesign of Public Square.

CMHA has scaled back plans for developing the Riverview HOPE VI project, which would result in the construction of fewer than half of the 267 units previously proposed.

While leaders in Strongsville continue to contemplate another bond issue for a new municipal center, they will repair the existing building.

The Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township fire departments are jointly developing an updated emergency plan. They hope to have it completed by the end of the year.

The Seven Hills Planning Commission approved plans for Seven Hills Town Center Plaza, two 15,000 square foot retail buildings on Broadview Road.

In a close vote, Brooklyn City Council designated a proposed senior housing facility as a public improvement, and authorized the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to assist in funding the project.

Collinwood and Nottingham Villages Development Corporation Executive Director Yolanda Anderson and Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek are unhappy with the way the City of Cleveland is handling abandoned houses.

On June 28, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge will hear a request by an interested taxpayer to halt the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's attempts to acquire properties on the Flats east bank by eminent domain.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports on meetings being held as part of Voices & Choices' NEO Speaks Week.

A Lake County judge allowed a court case over public access to lakefront properties to go forward as a class action lawsuit. A group of property owners is suing the State to have Lake Erie property lines shifted from the high water mark to the low water mark. No court date has been set.

Pulte Homes' deal to sell their abandoned Stonewater subdivision in Twinsburg Township to a local developer is predicated on Summit County releasing $1.4 million in performance bonds filed by Pulte. Pulte also authorized $50,000 in emergency repairs to the site to address environmental problems.

On August 8, Gates Mills residents will vote on a charter amendment that would authorize Village Council to renew a 1 mill conservation tax. The tax is expected to raise around $204,000 in its first year.

In a 13-minute video, Cool Cleveland's Thomas Mulready interviews Chris Ronayne about his work in University Circle. Windows Media (29.7 MB), QuickTime (25.4 MB).

The Akron Beacon Journal took a look at the abandoned and eroding Pulte Homes Stonewater subdivision in Twinsburg Township, and in an editorial, urged Summit County Executive James McCarthy to recall Pulte's performance bond and mitigate the site's environmental problems. Summit County Engineer Greg Bachman intends to hold a meeting about the property, but no date has been set.

Steven Litt is disappointed in the process employed to generate proposals for a new Cuyahoga County administration building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. Although Litt calls the proposals from competing design teams exciting, he feels that a lack of flexibility could cost the County a chance for greatness.

Berea Municipal Judge Mark Comstock offered $7 million to help build a new courthouse, and noted that he can still order the City to build a new court. Meanwhile, the Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court is planning a move to new facilities in Stow.

A resident's proposed lakefront fence has sparked a debate in Avon Lake about the value of privacy vs. public views. Last month, the City imposed a 90 day moratorium on lakefront fences while they study the issue.

The 230,000 square foot Harvard Park shopping center currently under construction in the Warrensville Heights portion of the Chagrin Highlands will include Filene's Basement, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Value City Furniture, OfficeMax, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Calling Public Square "an empty vessel" that "no longer functions as the community space", Blog on the City offers suggestions for approaching a redesign.

Channel 5 reports that Frank Jackson "has no intention of forming an exploratory committee" to look into the proposed retractable roof for Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Ken Blackwell's proposal to lease the Ohio Turnpike continues to generate mixed reactions. A Plain Dealer editorial calls the idea intriguing, while Ohio Turnpike Commission Executive Director Gary Suhadolnik opposes it. WCPN's 90.3 at 9 show spent an hour discussing the proposal with guests Suhadolnik, Blackwell spokesman Gene Pierce, and Peter Samuel of TOLLROADSnews.

Chris Varley of Tech Futures interviewed Lisa Hong and David Nash, the co-founders of Sustainable Cleveland (PDF).

Joe Frolik reports on the progress and work ahead for the Voices & Choices effort. This week is NEO SPEAKS Week, and Voices & Choices in encouraging people across Northeast Ohio to devote at least 30 minutes to talk about solutions to the challenges facing the region.

WCPN explored the concerns surrounding the construction of a men-only bathhouse on East 26th Street in Cleveland.

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve a 30-year tax increment financing package for a Target store proposed for the retail development at West 117th Street and I-90.

The Plain Dealer took a detailed look at Cleveland's Public Square. The story examined Public Square's design flaws and provided details about a conceptual plan by Paul Volpe of City Architecture. Reactions to the proposal vary: some think it is worth pursuing, some say it should not be a priority, and others feel more radical changes are needed.

On Saturday, volunteers identified 235 species of plants, 49 species of birds, 36 species of spiders, and 19 species of fish in the 155 acre Gorge Metro Park in Summit County.

Steven Litt reviews the renovated building at Playhouse Square now known as the Idea Center, and concludes that it "affirms that the older industrial and commercial buildings in Cleveland's core are thoroughly capable of being updated for the digital age."

A coalition of government agencies has established Ohio Nowcasting Beach Advisories, at which they provide daily updates about water quality at Huntington Beach in Bay Village. Researchers are developing additional models so that the system can cover four more Northeast Ohio beaches, including Edgewater and Villa Angela Beaches in Cleveland.

Mayor Jackson's new Clean Cleveland program will coordinate city services in an effort to improve the quality of life. Last week, city crews targeted vacant homes, tall grass, rubbish removal, and other nuisances in the area around East 77th and 78th Streets.

WKSU's Julie Grant took a trip through a part of the Greater Cleveland sewer system, and examined NEORSD's plans for eliminating combined sewer overflows and the challenges of funding the federally-mandated improvements.

Several residents in the Sutton Woods development in Broadview Heights attribute flooding on their properties to constructed wetlands being too close to their homes. Although the City has taken steps to remedy the problem, the issue remains in the hands of the Ohio EPA.

The City of Independence will create a tax increment financing district, which will funnel taxes from the Cleveland Cavs' new practice facility to help finance the project.

The proposal to establish a joint taxing district, which would work to finance the Tri-City Senior Center, was rejected by Berea City Council last Monday. Among other reasons, Council members contended that the issue did not have enough community support to warrant its expense, which would have put a $1 million levy on the ballot this November.

The installation of water, sewer and gas lines for Cleveland's Avenue District, a housing project that will include a mix of loft condominiums, townhouses, and street-level shops on the eastern edge of downtown, will begin on August 15th. The groundbreaking for the first phase, which totals up to 426 housing units, will take place this fall.

The City of Brooklyn has joined the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium. Mayor Patton asserts that Brooklyn's needs are in line with the organization's mission to address the health, safety, welfare, education and economic conditions of inner-ring suburbs.

In its continuing efforts to improve its housing stock, South Euclid City Council will discuss legislation that would allow the City to charge owners of vacant homes a $75 inspection fee this Monday. The legislation would authorize the City to inspect vacant properties to identify owners and enforce the correction of violations or order the structure's demolition.

Before the wind turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center began generating electricity, this morning's 90.3 at 9 on WCPN explored the future of wind power in Northeast Ohio.

At a meeting on May 30th, Shaker Heights City Council voted to keep negotiating with developer Bob Stark on his proposed 60-acre mixed-use, planned unit developement at Warrensville and Van Aken. Stark discussed his vision for the development and the need for monetary assistance from the city to address infrastructure upgrades.

At their open house on Wednesday, Ohio Department of Transportation officials presented conceptual designs of different bridge types for a proposed new Innerbelt Bridge. Both WCPN and WKSU spoke with ODOT Director Gordon Proctor about the Innerbelt project and the agency's plans for Greater Cleveland.

Jacobs Investments, K&D Group and Robert Corna Architects are developing a plan to build up to 2,000 housing units, retail space, offices, parks, and a casino on the west bank of the Flats. The developers hope to make an official announcement in September.

At a neighborhood meeting on Monday, Lakewood residents discussed their concerns about plans for the Rockport Square project. The developers pledged to improve communications with neighbors of the development, but some residents left the meeting with mixed feelings.

Christopher Montgomery notes that Case's West Quad project is noticeable for its absence in Forest City's first quarter earnings report, and remarks "there was supposed to be a final development agreement in place more than five months ago."

This week's Sun Courier summarizes the Heritage Home Program that provides low-interest loans and technical assistance to owners of older homes in some Cuyahoga County cities.

Pulte Homes agreed to sell its abandoned subdivision on Old Mill Road in Twinsburg Township to Twinsburg Four LLC. The new owners intend to build single family homes on the majority of the 176 acre property.

Mayor Smith of Avon supports a proposed charter amendment that would institute referendum zoning for residential to commercial rezonings. City Council is considering the proposal, and the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 hopes it will appear on the November ballot.

The Finance Committe of Strongsville City Council proposed a reworking of income tax distribution in Cuyahoga County. Chairman Michael Gallagher advocates a vision of regionalism where tax dollars go to the cities where people live, and not where they work.

The West Side Sun News has more information about the purchase of the former Midland Steel site by the City of Cleveland.

After being met by objections from residents, developers of a proposed condominium complex on Green Road in University Heights revamped their plans for the building. Neighbors of the project, however, remain unhappy that one of the buildings would be ten stories high.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority made its second and third rounds of eminent domain claims for Scott Wolstein's Flats east bank development, leaving only one targeted property out of court. Among the sites covered in yesterday's filings are properties owned by Victor Shaia and James Kassouf for which alternative development plans have been proposed.

In his talk about Innerbelt reconstruction plans at the City Club today, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Gordon Proctor said that he "can't guarantee that each and every individual business won't be affected" by ramp closings and that it is "impossible" to not affect historic buildings.

Today's 90.3 at 9 show looked at brownfields redevelopment in Cleveland with guests Jim Herron of the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, Brooke Furio of the Cleveland Department of Economic Development and the US EPA, and Rod Beals of the Ohio EPA Division of Emergency and Remedial Response.

The Morning Journal examines the rapid rate of growth in Avon and its way it is transforming the city.

(via Urban Ohio)

Yesterday, over 200 community leaders gathered for the Voices & Choices Regional Leadership Team Summit and began discussing solutions to issues in six areas, in preparation for the Regional Town Meeting to be held on September 16.

(Update: the Plain Dealer has more information about upcoming discussions.)

The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative posted summaries of the pair of workshops held in May about downtown Cleveland in relation to the Innerbelt reconstruction project. The first session focused on connections and traffic patterns around the Innerbelt, while the second looked at development opportunities for sites that may be impacted by the construction.

(via Urban Ohio)

A Plain Dealer editorial explores how industrial development in Cleveland is hindered by an abundance of brownfields and argues that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is "well-equipped" to aid the City's industrial land bank, which acquires brownfields and readies them for future use.

As anticipated, Cleveland City Council passed a scaled-back version of Mayor Jackson's proposed water rate increases. City Council is awaiting more details on the "no poaching" proposal before holding a vote.

The partially-built Cornerstone development at West 130th Street and Pearl Road in Parma Heights will be sold at a public auction on June 27. The McGill Property Group was selected to take over the project in October, but Cleveland Construction, Inc. appealed the decision earlier this year.

As part of their steel heritage exhibit, Steelyard Commons developers will move a 260 foot, 55 ton historic bridge onto the property. The bridge was donated by Mittal Steel.

Sustainability website SustainLane released their 2006 sustainability rankings of the 50 largest cities in the United States. Cleveland was ranked number 28, scoring well in their measures for traffic congestion, housing affordability, green building, and commuting, while it fared poorly in their criteria for solid waste diversion and planning/land use.

(via WorldChanging)

Chris Varley interviewed David Beach about EcoCity Cleveland and the GreenCityBlueLake initiative.

In an effort to avoid concentrated poverty, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is accepting applications from apartment owners in lower-poverty areas who wish to participate in their Housing Choice Voucher Program.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that while major efforts to create downtown neighborhoods are praiseworthy, Cleveland also needs to implement many smaller changes to be successful. It suggests that downtown can be made more livable though cooperation between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to improve public spaces.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will host an open house about the design of a new Innerbelt bridge on Wednesday, June 7 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation on West 14th Street in Tremont.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell supports a plan to lease the Ohio Turnpike to raise funds for urban revitalization. In his new book Rebuilding America, co-written with activist Jerome Corsi, Blackwell says a 99 year lease could raise $4 to $6 billion. Ned Hill of Cleveland State and David Ellis of the Center for Community Solutions reviewed the plan and concluded that it does not account for many costs and overstates the money that a lease would generate.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority says that the proposed Cleveland to Ontario Lake Erie ferry has again been delayed, this time because of uncertainty about the future of the Port Stanley harbor. The Port Authority also entered into arbitration over a payment disagreement with the company that moved an iron ore pellet terminal from Lorain to Whiskey Island. In addition, the Port Authority agreed to issue up to $5 million in bonds to support infrastructure improvements for a mixed-use project in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg.

As part of a regional water plan, Cleveland City Council is expected to approve "no poaching" legislation and increased water rates that are lower than the initially-proposed hike.

Last week, the Ohio House unanimously passed House Bill 293, which would allow counties to establish low-interest loan program to help seniors with property taxes. Qualifying seniors would be eligible to borrow against their home's equity, and repay the loan when they die or sell their house. Some in the Ohio Senate are considering a merger of the bill with the similar Senate Bill 198.

The group Euclid Beach Park Now plans to install the Euclid Beach carousel and shuffleboard courts at Euclid Beach State Park, and hopes to eventually bring back the park's fishing pier.

Some Euclid residents are opposed to the construction of three story units as part of the Shores of Edgecliff development. In April, the Planning and Zoning Commission tabled a review of the revised plans at the developer's request.

A local developer recently cleared a lot on Route 82 in Strongsville in anticipation of building a hotel on the site.

The Beachwood Planning Commission approved final construction plans for a Homestead Suites on Enterprise Parkway last week. Construction of the 6-story, 125-suite hotel will begin this fall and will take a year.

Case Western Reserve University will enter negotiations with the team of Mesirow-Stein Financial and MRN Ltd. to develop the Arts and Retail District at Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road. The university hopes to officially select a developer by the end of the month.

In response to recent court cases challenging the City of Avon's zoning, the law director is supporting the creation of an R-5 zone, which would fill a gap between existing residential zoning classifications. Several Planning Commission members and residents, however, have expressed concern that the R-5 zoning may result in undesirable density levels.

Brad Whitehead of the Cleveland Foundation feels that while there has been progress in regional initiatives and attitudes, more economic development entities need to provide financial backing for regional approaches.

The City of Cleveland acquired the 21 acre former Midland Steel site at Madison Avenue and West 106th Street for $1.5 million. The property will be added to the City's industrial land bank.

Mayor Hruby of Brecksville still has reservations regarding the Arborlands, the Jacobs Group's proposed mixed-use development at I-77 and Royalton Road. His concerns about the proposed development include the proximity of similar shopping venues, revenue shifts resulting from changes in land use, increased traffic, and greater burdens on city services.

Renewal Housing Associates has recently completed renovations to Clifton Plaza Apartments, a 30-year-old apartment building for seniors in Cudell. According to Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook, the rehab project "contributes to housing options for seniors in the ward".

Last week, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced that a rezoning issue in Highland Heights was defeated in the May 2nd election. The issue called for land adjacent to a shopping center to be rezoned from residential to automotive parking district.

A committee may be formed to study the proposal for a building a retractable roof for Cleveland Browns Stadium. Members would likely include representatives of the City, County, and the Browns.

Steve Hoffman of the Akron Beacon Journal explores the regionalism initiatives spearheaded by Frank Jackson and Don Plusquellic.

WKSU reports on the efforts to build wind turbines in Lake Erie. Preliminary statistics from wind monitoring equipment installed last year indicate that winds over the lake are more powerful than those over land.

The Cleveland Restoration Society released a study intended to determine the feasibility of restoring four historic Cleveland schools that are scheduled for demolition and replacement. It identifies design solutions for renovations and additions that the organization says would be less expensive than replacement. The executive summary (PDF) is available online, and copies of the complete study are available from Deanna Bremer Fisher.

(Update: the Plain Dealer has additional details.)

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