The Plain Dealer explores artist Don Harvey's efforts to promote greenspace and nature in the Flats (the Natural Flats) through education, tours, and a field guide. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's annual Conservation Symposium will include a field trip to the Flats on September 7.
August 2006 Archives
31 August 2006
The significant drops in Lake Erie's water level predicted by some scientists would have serious negative ramifications for shipping and hydroelectric power generation, and would open questions about waterfront land ownership.
(via the 13th Floor)
30 August 2006
The Rocky Mountain Institute has published its report that charts implementation steps for Cuyahoga Valley Initiative projects that are already underway and will be initiated over the next year.
Michael Gill of the Free Times chronicles the animosity between Clark Metro Development Corp. and Cleveland City Councilman Joe Santiago over leadership of the
The release of the U.S. Census Bureau's annual figures show that Cleveland has the largest percentage of residents living in poverty among big cities in America, as well as the lowest median income. The City's median household income is over $20,000 lower than the national median, while the percent of people in poverty is 20% greater than the rest of the country.
The woes for Cleveland are reflected throughout Northeast Ohio and the state, and U.S. cities with the highest percentages of poverty tend to be concentrated in the northeast United States. There is a caveat that figures from the American Community Survey tend to be broad estimates that may not accurately reflect yearly conditions.
(Update: Bill Callahan comments on how this issue has been covered.)
Bill Callahan examined the past several years of CDBG funding to big-three Ohio cities, and found that the budget for the program that supports code enforcement and neighborhood redevelopment has dropped 29% for Cleveland since 2002.
(Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the cuts and their connection to local CDC funding.)
Three Ohio port authorities are expected to provide $20 million in financing for the $21 million Cleveland Cavaliers practice facility to be constructed in Independence. The port authorities, including the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, would own the facility until the bonds are repaid, thus making the facility exempt from taxes on building materials.
Several state laws will go into effect on September 21st that will unify regulations regarding bicycle safety.
Recent high-profile events illustrate current strains on the nation's infrastructure needs, which could be surveyed by a National Commission on Infrastructure.
Cleveland Heights City Council has chosen Al. Neyer Inc. to develop the site on Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road with a five-story structure for condominiums and offices or restaurants. The City will also pay $6.2 million for a new parking garage.
The Westlake School Board decided to auction 42 acres of land on Bradley Road rather than sell the site adjacent to the Bradley Road Nature Park and Meadowood Golf Course to the City of Westlake.
29 August 2006
Following up on last month's stakeholder meeting among advocates for commuter rail between Cleveland and Lorain, a recap of the meeting and a list of issues to be addressed has been published. Another stakeholder meeting will be convened tomorrow at Cleveland City Hall.
Public wireless internet access will be made available in University Circle in two weeks, thanks to a partnership between Case, Cisco Systems, and OneCommunity. The network may eventually be stretched across the City of Cleveland.
The City of Euclid and the State of Ohio will provide about $5 million in incentives to Lincoln Electric to facilitate the $40 million expansion of its plant.
The Museum of Contemporary Art has chosen an architect to design its new University Circle building, but has not yet made a public announcement. MOCA is still negotating with Case Western Reserve University regarding adjacent development in the arts and retail district.
The developer of the Avenue District development in Downtown Cleveland has received conceptual approval from the City to remove medians along East 12st Street.
Ohio's gubernatorial candidates spoke to officials at an Ohio Association of Regional Councils forum and listed how they would address regionalism and land use development.
(Via Greater Ohio)
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission will conduct a day-long conference in Elyria this Thursday to unveil the Lake Erie Action List, a series of near-term actions to implement the recommendations from the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration.
28 August 2006
In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Rose Zitiello and Richard Herman argue that an aggressive regional policy to attract immigrants would turn the tide of outmigration and population stagnation.
Despite a recent spate of homicides in the past two weeks, developers and business owners in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood remain committed to the area's revitalization.
(Update: Plain Dealer columnist Joe Frolik is optimistic that ongoing efforts to revitalize the neighborhood will continue.)
25 August 2006
The Strongsville Historical Society's board of trustees is expected to vote on a proposal to relocate the Old Town Hall from a site it has occupied for 127 years to a space at the society's historic village on Pearl Road next Wednesday. The Zaremba Group would move the Old Town Hall in an effort to obtain an unobstructed view from Route 82 of its planned retail/office complex.
Two Lakewood councilmen have been working with Tim Liston on installing Lakewood's first shared bike lane and making the City more bike-friendly. The shared bike lane would run across the City of Lakewood.
With the hope of preventing future flooding, the City of Brecksville has begun communicating with several entities tied to the problem, including the City of Cleveland and the National Park Service to determine shared responsibilities for maintaining retention ponds, habitat, and greenspace.
24 August 2006
The Urban Land Institute examined how retail developments can function as "third spaces" and focused on several projects throughout the country, including Hudson's First & Main, Columbus's South Campus Gateway (which is serving as a model for Case's Arts and Retail District), and Lyndhurst's Legacy Village.
(Via CoolTown Studios)
23 August 2006
Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Juvenile Court judges are expected to sign an agreement tomorrow for the construction of a new detention center and courthouse at at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. An accord would mark the end of nearly 20 years of disagreements about a new complex.
A combination of a new municipal law and Mayor Jackson's Clean Cleveland initiative have enabled City of Cleveland crews to mow more overgrown private properties. This year, crews have been employed over 9,100 times at lots with structures, up from 2,800 last year.
The Cuyahoga County Treasurer's Office will loan up to $10 million to cities for renovations to abandoned homes. The first community to capitalize on the program is Shaker Heights, which will borrow $250,000 for repairs to the exteriors of 12 to 15 houses. The City will recover the money through liens on the properties.
22 August 2006
Developer Nathan Zaremba says there have been 23 pre-sales for units at the planned Avenue District in downtown Cleveland, and wants three to five more prior to the expected mid-September groundbreaking.
The future is uncertain for owners and tenants of properties included on the Ohio Department of Transportation's list of potential takings (PDF, 4.3 MB) for the planned Innerbelt reconstruction project.
21 August 2006
The Cleveland Section of the Ohio Planning Conference will hold its annual Planning and Zoning Workshop on October 27 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center.
With the new Quigley Road roundabout opening today, the Plain Dealer's Jim Ewinger looks at the disagreements over the claim that it is the first roundabout in Northeast Ohio and the size of the explanatory sign installed by ODOT.
(Update: Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer writes about the roundabout in Copley Township that opened on Friday.)
People continue to react to this year's American Community Survey figures and the trend of population losses in Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial offered suggestions for improving the region's competitiveness, while WCPN examined the local efforts to attract immigrants and stimulate economic development. Meanwhile, Bill Callahan continued his examination of the data and found reasons to suspect it may be flawed.
Steven Litt feels that the two cable-stayed Towpath Trail pedestrian bridges being built by the Cleveland Metroparks in Valley View "represent a strong effort by a public agency as a client trying to reach beyond the mediocrity that has characterized much of the region's public architecture and engineering." He also urges the agencies collaborating on the trail extension and the proposed Canal Basin Park "to reach for a design of international, not just local significance."
18 August 2006
The Cleveland Cavaliers have proposed improvements for Quicken Loans Arena, and according to Cuyahoga County officials, want about $30 million in public subsidies. The team also unveiled plans for their new practice facility in Independence.
A Plain Dealer editorial says the collaboration on University Circle transportation improvements led by the Cleveland Foundation "is just the recipe to help University Circle reach its potential."
Yesterday, RTA opened a new $2.1 million transit center near Parmatown Mall. It includes a 1,000 square foot building where riders can wait and a 52 space parking lot. RTA hopes to build five more park-n-ride lots in the next five years.
Precipitated by Giant Eagle's decision not to participate in the project, the McGill Property Group announced they were no longer interested in developing the former Cornerstone project at West 130th Street and Pearl Road. Mayor Zanotti of Parma Heights believes that the company cannot legally withdraw from the purchase agreement. However, he has reopened discussions with Cleveland Construction, which had earlier expressed an interest in the development.
The City of Euclid is preparing a downtown redevelopment plan, and on Tuesday, will hold a public workshop from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Community Center to gather ideas from residents. A preliminary plan will be presented at a second meeting in a few months.
On the advice of the City's law director, South Euclid City Council took no action on petitions submitted by residents seeking a referendum issue on the proposed Stoneridge Place development. The residents plan to meet and decide whether to pursue legal action.
A developer presented the North Royalton School Board last week with a proposal to buy and trade for 13 acres near Valley Vista Elementary School for a housing development. This week, the board was expected to discuss applying for a Clean Ohio Fund grant in order to preserve the land in the Chippewa Creek watershed.
By a vote of 5-2, Bay Village City Council denied a demand from a group of residents to place the Bradley Bay Health Center expansion plans on the ballot. Multiple lawsuits about the expansion are in progress.
This fall, voters in Independence will again have the opportunity to vote on a proposal to permit senior housing in the City. If passed, the issue would limit development to a maximum of 271 units in an area off of Stone Road.
Leaders of the Tri-City Senior Center are considering petition drives in Berea and Brook Park for a ballot issue to create the Tri-City Joint Recreation District. Middleburg Heights City Council voted to create the taxing district in May, but Berea City Council rejected the proposal in June and Brook Park City Council never voted.
17 August 2006
The Ohio Department of Mental Health is considering moving its Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facilities from the former Cleveland Psychiatric Institute near the MetroHealth campus in Brooklyn Centre to a 22 acre brownfield at East 71st Street and Quincy Avenue in Fairfax.
A study of more than 30 area communities by Housing Advocates, Inc. for HUD found that five communities in Cuyahoga County and 13 in Geauga County have zoning restrictions that violate federal fair housing laws by discouraging group homes and other housing for the mentally disabled. Housing Advocates will ask the communities to change their codes.
15 August 2006
The U.S. Census Bureau's annual release of American Community Survey estimates show that the City of Cleveland had a population of 414,534 in 2005, down from the 2004 estimate of 417,872. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor MSA showed an estimated population of 2,082,379 in 2005, down from 2,193,361 in 2004.
In his column today, the Plain Dealer's Sam Fulwood shared his reactions to the debut of a new documentary on Cleveland, the second installment in the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy's Making Sense of Place project.
14 August 2006
Cuyahoga County Commissioners gave the Downtown Cleveland Alliance $150,000 for Public Square improvements. The groups intends to use the money on landscaping and for developing long-term plans for the square.
Steven Litt lauds the efforts of the Greater University Circle Initiative to improve University Circle transportation shortcomings, saying it "is brilliant and ought to be repeated on a much larger scale." He adds that it increases the opportunities to achieve design excellence because private institutions are pooling funds for planning and design work.
On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board approved a set of recommendations for reducing ozone levels and meeting federal clean air standards by 2010. The Board also voted to support a request for an extension for meeting the standards. AMATS is expected to offer its own strategies this fall.
Cleveland Ward 7 Councilwoman Fannie Lewis collected over 4,700 signatures on a petition opposing the Cleveland Clinic's plans to close a portion of Euclid Avenue to automobile traffic.
Steven Litt is concerned about the architect selection process for the planned expansion and renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and suggests that museum trustees should consider slowing down or restarting the process.
At their August 10 meeting, Cuyahoga County Commissioners created the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force and appointed 17 members (PDF). It will focus initially on the viability of wind power generation, and will later examine other advanced energy technologies.
Cleveland City Council is expected to consider a proposal that would authorize advertisers to install large billboards or electronic signs on the sides of six downtown buildings. The legislation is the result of a settlement between the City and Clear Channel Outdoor.
(Update: The Design Rag offers some commentary on the subject.)
11 August 2006
The City Club has posted a podcast of the second panel discussion (MP3, 19.6 MB) in their "ReDeveloping Cleveland: Revitalizing Housing" series. Titled "Bottom-Line Building", it featured John J. Carney of Carney & Carney, Paul Volpe of City Architecture, and Nathan Zaremba of Zaremba Construction, with moderator Keith Brown of Progressive Urban Real Estate.
Al. Neyer, Inc. of Cincinnati has revived plans for the mixed-use Domain on Lee development that were dropped by the Coral Company in January, now renamed The Terraces. Cleveland Heights City Council approved legislation to build a 350 space parking garage as part of the project, and city officials say the development will be completed no later than late 2009.
The developer of a proposed shopping center on SOM Center Road north of Eastgate Shopping Center in Mayfield Heights says he is ready to begin construction as soon as he receives final approval from the City. The 57,000 square foot Mayfield Town Center will be anchored by a 15,000 square foot Rite Aid.
Members of the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 say that the proposed charter amendment introduced by City Council "captures the spirit and intent of protecting residential neighborhoods" but probably needs some tweaks. The amendment, which would institute referendum zoning for residential to commercial rezonings, must be submitted by August 24 in order to appear on the November ballot.
The Cuyahoga and Medina County Engineers hired HNTB to conduct traffic studies aimed at addressing traffic congestion problems around I-71 and Boston Road in Strongsville and Brunswick. $150,000 of the $200,000 studies will be funded through TLCI grants.
Brecksville residents continue to meet and discuss their options for addressing flooding problems, the City of Solon is surveying 7,000 households about the June flooding, and Independence Vice Mayor Greg Kurtz proposed using the Haydite mine as a temporary detention basin.
Increased traffic from the City View Center and Bridgeview Crossing retail developments will require infrastructure improvements in the area around I-480 and Transportation Boulevard in Garfield Heights. The City wants to redesign the interchange and widen the bridge over I-480, while Bridgview Crossing developers intend to reconfigure the intersection of Granger Road and Transportation Boulevard.
Several Bay Village residents have filed a legal challenge to the City's authorization of the proposed Bradley Bay Health Center expansion, charging that voter approval was needed. City Council will hold a special meeting on August 14 to discuss the issue.
The Zaremba Group opted not to exercise an option it had on a six acre property south of its Brunswick Town Center development. Instead of building additional retail on the site, the City of Brunswick is pursuing plans for a post-secondary educational facility.
The North Royalton School Board was scheduled to discuss the future of the 14.8 acres of district-owned land in the Chippewa Creek watershed at its work session last night. Zillich Homes Inc. has proposed a land purchase/swap and wants to build 14 houses on the site. The School Board was also asked to provide a local match for a grant to conduct a watershed management plan.
Plans for an assisted living facility in Brooklyn are proceeding and are now under review by the city engineer. Construction may begin in about a month.
North Olmsted City Council's Finance Committee is considering legislation that would create a position for an economic development officer, who would work to draw major businesses to the City. Councilman Paul Miller says it "may help solve some of the city's major financial problems."
10 August 2006
On this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., the annual Burning River Fest will be held at Whiskey Island. The family-friendly environmental festival will include music, art, food, and educational opportunities. Proceeds will benefit the Wendy Park Foundation.
In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Jim White of the Cuyahoga RAP draws connections between urban sprawl and the recent flooding episodes in Greater Cleveland, and says that intercommunity cooperation is necessary for effective stream stewardship.
The second annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference will be held on September 22-24 at Crowne Plaza City Centre in Cleveland. In addition to speakers and sessions, it will include field trips to Whiskey Island and Dike 14.
The City of Willowick may begin a land bank program intended to encourage upscale lakefront housing. Not everyone is pleased with the idea, and a News-Herald editorial urges City Council to "quash this idea before it erodes the role of city government."
The City of Cleveland rejected bids to extend a runway at Cleveland Hopkins from 8,000 to 11,000 feet after the lowest bid came in $24 million above the projected price. Director Ricky D. Smith will review the plans to determine if a shorter extension could work.
The Avon Planning Commission recommended rezoning a 200 acre property near the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road from heavy industry to commercial and industry.
(via Urban Ohio)
09 August 2006
In the second part of a series on housing, WCPN examined tax abatement policies and new housing in Cleveland.
In this week's Free Times, James Renner reports that Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court judges will soon withdraw their objections to moving to a new complex at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. He also relates Forest City's involvement in the site of the new facility.
A Plain Dealer editorial on the port relocation study commissioned by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authorty says "the study should add some needed realism to conversations about the waterfront."
08 August 2006
A Plain Dealer editoral chastises members of the Eminent Domain Task Force for failing to trust one another. It also says that the Ohio Supreme Court did not ask for a statewide definition of blight, and that one isn't needed "unless you really don't trust Ohio's cities and their citizens to do what is right."
In order to preserve the 453 acre Firelands Scout Reservation in western Lorain County, the Heart of Ohio Council is considering the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's offer to pay for a conservation easement for the camp.
The Plain Dealer examined the discussions initiated by the Greater University Circle Initiative, an informal planning task force administered by the Cleveland Foundation that has over a dozen members, including Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and the Cleveland Clinic.
Over 1000 South Euclid residents signed a petition for a referendum to stop the Stoneridge Place development.
07 August 2006
A Plain Dealer editorial suggests that while the Cleveland Clinic's plan to close a stretch of Euclid Avenue to cars has its problems, elements from the proposal could be adapted without closing the road. Traffic could be calmed, additional greenspace could be added, and the hospital could better knit itself into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Chicago-based Mesirow Financial Real Estate withdrew from negotiations to develop the planned Arts and Retail District at Case Western Reserve University. The university began negotiating with the company and local partner MRN Ltd. in June. University officials say that "the project's not dead."
A study to develop ideas for preventing washouts of the Towpath Trail is set to begin this summer. Among the actions that will be examined are paving flood-prone portions of the trail and restoration of wetlands. Significant rerouting of the trail will not be considered.
The City of Cleveland hired City Architecture to do design and engineering work for the planned Collinwood Recreation Center. The plans to convert the former Big Lots store on Lake Shore Boulevard are expected to cost $300,000.
Seven Hills Councilman Thomas Littlepage will serve as liaison between City Council and the developer of the proposed mixed-use Rockside Terrace complex in negotiations for a development agreement.
Developers of Greenbriar Crossings (the former Cornerstone development) in Parma Heights have submitted plans for the retail portion of the site, which include a 87,000 square foot supermarket. The partially-constructed mixed-use development will be demolished and replaced with separate retail and residential portions.
Officials from the City of Berea and the Berea Municipal Court continue to discuss plans for a $4.5 million addition to City Hall that would be the Court's new home.
In a 7-2 vote, Broadview Heights City Council passed a resolution urging the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to evaluate the viability of a regional stormwater system.
The Independence Homeowners Citizens Association announced its opposition to the latest proposal to permit senior housing in Independence, saying it would not be in the best interest of the City to allow any multi-family housing.
A settlement recently reached in the Shemo Case calls for the City of Mayfield Heights to pay landowners $3 million. City officials had refused to rezone a site (now occupied by a Costco) at I-271 and Mayfield Road, and the residential zoning was found unconstitutional in 2002. The developers had sought as much as $11 million in compensation the taking.
Scott Muscatello summarizes the July 21 meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission and provides the text of a resolution in support of plans to extend the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
The Committee for a Westlake Arts Center is studying plans to convert the Red Brick to an arts center. The historic former school and administration building on Dover Center Road has been vacant since 2003. The Committee is also conducting a survey about the proposed center.
On July 20, the Cleveland Restoration Society gave its 2006 Preservation Awards to a dozen projects across Northeast Ohio.
03 August 2006
Charter One Bank donated $20,000 for a study to identify ways of preventing flood-related washouts along the Towpath Trail.
02 August 2006
Local developers Snider-Cannata Interests intend to build Bridgeview Crossing (PDF), a 500,000 square foot shopping center at I-480 and Transportation Boulevard in Garfield Heights, directly north of the City View Center retail development. The proposal includes space for two stores over 100,000 square feet, and developers hope to hope to sign deals with retailers in the next 30 to 40 days.
01 August 2006
At its final meeting yesterday, the Ohio Eminent Domain Task Force unanimously agreed on two principles: eminent domain should be prohibited when its sole purpose is generating additional tax revenue, and Ohio governments should retain the ability to use eminent domain to remove blight. However, the Task Force narrowly rejected a proposal for a constitutional amendment setting a statewide definition of blight. They also voted to require public involvement when eminent domain is employed by governments, but not when used by non-governmental entities.
Today's 90.3 at 9 on WCPN looked at eminent domain and the Norwood case, with guests Jonathan Entin of the Case School of Law and Task Force member Bruce Ingram.
(Update: by holding the vote open for 24 hours, the committee chairs turned the 10-9 vote opposing the constitutional amendment into a 12-11 vote in support of the proposal.)
A part of a renovation of the Federal Office Building, the General Services Administration is planning a $15 million urban forest for the plazas around the building at East 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue. The GSA is taking bids now and hopes to complete work by late 2009.