The dredging of the Ashtabula River to remove contaminated sediments could make the City of Ashtabula more attractive to visitors and could spur development, according to local proponents of the environmental project.
October 2006 Archives
31 October 2006
In a review of last week's Business as an Agent of World Benefit symposium at Case, an editor for the British newspaper The Observer argues that government intervention is still needed to raise environmental and social standards for business.
(via Crain's Cleveland Business)
Declining enrollments in the Cleveland Public Schools attributed to the increasing popularity of charter schools may impact the district's school construction project. A revised plan should be ready next spring.
David Beach of EcoCity Cleveland is collecting suggestions for innovative policies and practices to make Ohio a leading, green state, and presents some potential recommendations to get people started.
30 October 2006
HealthSpace Cleveland is scheduled to close its Euclid Avenue facilities on December 30, a mere three years after their opening. In January, the first health museum in the country announced it would sell its building to the Cleveland Clinic. The board of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is expected to consider a merger tomorrow.
A ceremony was held in Munroe Falls to mark the completion of the $1.7 million Cuyahoga River dam removal project. City officials would like to see a restaurant, a bike rental business, and a park developed nearby.
Advocates of a District of Design in Cleveland presented their idea to designers and real estate professionals on Friday. Property owners, City officials, and several consumer product companies were reportedly intrigued by the concept.
An editorial in Toledo's Blade offers support for the recent Brookings Institution report that urges Great Lakes states to "collaborate to take advantage of their greatest natural asset and speak with one regional voice."
(Update: the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Detroit Free Press, the Blade, and the Buffalo News all covered the report's release.)
27 October 2006
MOCA announced that they selected Foreign Office Architects of London to design their new building at the University Circle Arts and Retail District. The new museum will be designed by Farshid Moussavi, and will be the firm's first major project in the US, and the first major public building in Cleveland designed by a woman.
(Update: artdaily.com has more details.)
Next month, Streetsboro residents will vote on two issues that deal with protecting the City's greenspace.
The Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association approved a tax-sharing agreement by a vote of 24-2, with three abstentions. The plan calls for communities to split tax revenues when companies with payrolls of at least $500,000 a year move between them. Only Solon and Oakwood voted against the non-binding agreement, citing concerns about competing with communities in neighboring counties.
The City of Cleveland Heights hired a real estate consulting firm to determine the best use for the triangular four acre property at the intersection of Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard. The study on the vacant land at the top of Cedar Hill should be completed early next year.
Developers of the West Tech Lofts conversion project in Cleveland defaulted on a HUD-backed $14 million mortgage. The former high school was converted to 189 apartments between 2000 and 2004. Rysar Properties continues to sell homes and townhouses surrounding the building.
Marc Lefkowitz quotes participants at the forum on the Breuer tower held last night. Panelists asserted that an adaptive reuse of the skyscraper would save money, preserve an architecturally significant building, and would help the Cuyahoga County Commissioners in their goal of obtaining LEED Gold certification for their new administration building. The Design Rag offers additional reactions and ideas.
Clark Metro Development Corporation is working on a commercial corridor plan for the stretch of West 25th Street between Ohio City and Old Brooklyn. A draft will be presented at a public meeting on November 15 at 6:30 p.m. in MetroHealth Medical Center's Rammelkamp Auditorium.
Mittal Steel has embarked on their program of reintroducing native plant species to the Cuyahoga Valley, starting with a terraced hill on Independence Road.
In the first of four scheduled meetings, Ohio Turnpike representatives met with residents and elected officials from Berea, Olmsted Falls, North Royalton, and Strongsville to discuss methods of reducing turnpike noise. The next meeting will be held on November 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Berea City Council Chambers.
The Independence Downtown Redevelopment Task Force is working with consultants and city officials to develop a comprehensive plan for the City's downtown.
Brooklyn Heights Village Council approved continued work by Chagrin Valley Engineering to oversee and administer a stormwater quality improvement program.
This week's Garfield-Maple Sun includes an update on the disagreement between the City of Maple Heights and Norfolk Southern over planned work at the railroad's intermodal facility.
Some residents in Northfield Center Township object to a proposal to rezone a 51 acre site from single-family residential to commercial (10 acres), park (4.3 acres), and multi-family residential (37 acres). The rezoning is for a proposed lifestyle center that would also occupy 150 acres in adjacent Boston Heights.
26 October 2006
Five suburbs that buy water in bulk from Cleveland (Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, and Lakewood) have begun negotiations with the City that could lead to the suburbs receiving a small discount in exchange for signing a no poaching pledge.
The International Joint Commission offered their Advice to Governments on Their Review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (PDF, 1.5 MB) in a special report released this week.
Summit County sold the former Summit County Home site to Metroparks, Serving Summit County for $1.00. The 290 acre property will more than double the size of the Munroe Falls Metro Park.
The US Census Bureau published the 2006 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, a summary of social and economic data for states, metropolitan areas, and micropolitan areas.
25 October 2006
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommended 13 trail projects in Ohio for federal Recreational Trails Program funding, including two in Cuyahoga County. A $63,000 grant was recommended for the Horseshoe Lake Park Trail in Shaker Heights, and a $104,000 grant for the Pettibone Road Multi-Purpose Trail in Glenwillow. Trail projects of the City of Twinsburg and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County were also recommended for funding.
This week's Business as an Agent of World Benefit forum at Case Western Reserve University focused on how to help businesses become more responsive to society and the environment through various means, including adapting our strategies towards using renewable energy as a part of economic development initiatives and voluntary participation in programs such as the United Nations Global Compact in order to receive worldwide recognition for work already being done in the region.
Campbell administration officials say they did not enforce a Cleveland law requiring banks to sign annual affidavits regarding lending practices because they feared major banks would respond by refusing to do business with the City. The law, which also requires lenders to engage in community reinvestment, is intended to increase home ownership and lower foreclosure rates.
The Brookings Institution released The Vital Center, a new report by John Austin and Britany Affolter-Caine that calls on state and federal leaders to form a compact around a series of educational, economic, social, and infrastructure initiatives to revitalize the Great Lakes region. The Institution also posted Revitalizing Weak Market Cities in the U.S., a recent presentation by Jennifer S. Vey.
23 October 2006
As work continues on Steelyard Commons, Lee Chilcote summarizes the plans and controversies surrounding the shopping center in the industrial valley.
Ned Hill of Cleveland State and Dan Cuffaro of the Cleveland Institute of Art have proposed establishing the Cleveland District of Design, a 24-block stretch east of downtown where the area's consumer product design industry cluster could collaborate.
Yesterday's Plain Dealer included a detailed exploration of the saga surrounding a 25 acre site at Kinsman Road and East 80th Street in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle. Hemisphere Development initially proposed an industrial park for the property, obtained government funding for brownfield remediation, and eventually sold the site to CMHA for more than $4.2 million last December.
A six-month study conducted by Housing Advocates, Inc. found that Cuyahoga County landlords routinely discriminate against African immigrants. The organization plans to file charges against 11 landlords for housing discrimination.
20 October 2006
Joel Makower reports on his visit to Cleveland earlier this week, and concludes that "the rest of us could learn a lot about sustainable business from Cleveland."
(via Brewed Fresh Daily)
In response to a suggestion in the Brooklyn Master Plan, City officials began the City Garden Project, a pilot program intended to address residential property maintenance issues in a focus area from Northcliff Avenue to the Biddulph Shopping Plaza.
On Monday, Cleveland Metroparks officials presented a draft concept plan for the West Creek Reservation to Parma City Council's Planning Committee. The plan calls for $14 million in improvements over the next three to five years, including the construction of the Watershed Stewardship Center, access roads, picnic areas, and trails.
Some residents along Stearns Road in North Olmsted are concerned about how they will be affected by the Crocker-Stearns extension project.
A Plain Dealer editorial encourages careful and in-depth planning concerning the creation of the confined disposal facility for the storing of dredge spoil from the Cuyahoga River and the possible movement of the Port of Cleveland to the island that may be created from the sediment.
The curator of the Solon Historical Society and Museum has proposed moving the historic Lorenzo Solon Bull house and creating a Century Village near the intersection of Bainbridge and SOM Center Roads.
19 October 2006
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are indicating that the best location to construct a new confined disposal facility in Cleveland would be on the Lake Erie side of the breakwall near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The creation of islands from dredge spoil along the breakwall was proposed in Cleveland's Lakefront Plan. Federal funding is available for $75 million of the project's estimated $100 million.
At the Cuyahoga Communities Symposium in Cuyahoga Falls, planners and environmentalists are discussing water quality issues, including nonpoint source pollution and riparian zone protection. Researchers also said that a new method for measuring harmful bacteria being tested at Cuyahoga County beaches also could be used for the Cuyahoga River.
Two new psychiatric hospitals may be built in southeast Cuyahoga County. In addition to considering a site on Quincy Avenue, the Ohio Department of Mental Health is looking at a property at the Warrensville Developmental Center in Highland Hills. Also, the Bedford Planning Commission approved Windsor Hospital's plans to build a 120-bed facility on Rockside Road. The City lured the Chagrin Falls hospital with a $2.4 million property tax break.
(Update: the Bedford Sun Banner has more information about the proposed new Windsor Hospital. The $18.3 million facility would be built on a 12.5 acre site adjacent to Meadowbrook Market Square.)
The Plain Dealer profiles the efforts of the East 128th Street Block Club and their work to establish Amos Norwood Park, a neighborhood pocket park.
Author Joel Kotkin anticipates that the U.S. will reach a population of 400 million by 2050, and opines that "there's little chance that aging industrial cities such as Detroit, Baltimore or Cleveland will regain their former prominence."
(via Crain's Cleveland Business)
The three recent Oberlin College graduates that formed Sustainable Community Associates are combining sustainable development practices, mixed uses, and creative financing to create Ohio's first LEED Gold rated multi-family development on a brownfield site.
18 October 2006
In order address rising costs and design flaws, the Ohio Department of Transportation will delay the start of the Innerbelt reconstruction project by up to two years.
Improvements in Cuyahoga River water quality have led to the return of fish species that haven't been seen in decades.
American Greetings revealed itself as the purchaser of the former Memphis Drive-In in Brooklyn. The company paid $3 million for the 20 acre site, and plans to use it as a landscaped area for the enhancement of their corporate campus.
After contemplating a move to Crocker Park, leaders of the Beck Center for the Arts opted to remain in Lakewood. Additional details about the decision were scheduled for discussion at a news conference this morning.
(Update: the Plain Dealer's Tony Brown shares more information about the plans.)
17 October 2006
The City of Shaker Heights is embarking on a five year program to cut down and replace all 1,800 ash trees on municipal property. A similar program is beginning in Strongsville, where 750 trees will be replaced over the next six years.
A coalition of nearly 20 groups will hold a rally in front of Cleveland City Hall at noon today about poverty in Cleveland. They want Mayor Jackson and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to establish a regional poverty action committee.
(Update: The Plain Dealer covered the event, which was attended by about 40 people)
16 October 2006
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has begun the final phase of constructing a three mile long, 24 foot wide federally-mandated sewer that will run from Kerruish Park in Cleveland to the Garfield Park Reservation in Garfield Heights.
Lauth Property Group of Indianapolis purchased six undeveloped acres on Bagley Road across the street from Southwest General Health Center. Construction of Middleburg Heights Health Plaza, a 75,000 square foot medical office complex, is scheduled to begin this week and finish in late 2007.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Office gave their 2006 awards to 14 projects across the state, including the restorations of the Bingham Building and the Nottingham Spirk Innovation Center.
NOACA and the National Center for Bicycling and Walking are hosting a series of five walkable community workshops this week.
13 October 2006
A new environmental justice advocacy group named Ohioans for Health, Environment and Justice launched yesterday, and is urging Governor Taft to form a commission and to develop a policy to aid burdened neighborhoods.
A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge found developer John McGill in contempt of court for failing to complete the purchase of the Cornerstone site in Parma Heights. The property will be auctioned again on November 16, and McGill will be responsible for the difference between the purchase price and the $10 million he agreed to pay in June.
Voters in Seven Hills will find 10 issues on their ballots (Issues 131-140) regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages at the planned Rockside Terrace development. Mayor Bentkowski referred to them as a "housekeeping measure", while Law Director Richard Pignatiello said their failure would be a "potential deal-breaker".
NOACA and the Brooklyn-Brighton Development Corporation (the Old Brooklyn combined CDC) are conducting a demonstration project to address hillside subsidence in the lower Big Creek valley.
On Monday, South Euclid became the first city to agree to Frank Jackson's offer of maintaining water lines in the City in exchange for a rate increase and a tax-sharing agreement aimed at preventing business poaching in Cuyahoga County.
Over the last several years, John Carroll University has been acquiring properties surrounding the campus, and currently owns 29 houses, plus a commercial building and some apartment buildings at Fairmount Circle. They are also hiring a planner to assist in the development a university master plan, and want to provide additional parking on campus.
Paul Volpe of City Architecture, who is designing the Collinwood Recreation Center, says it will rival suburban complexes. A public meeting about the center will be held at 6:00 p.m. on October 26 in the Lake Shore Golden Age Center. Meanwhile, two Euclid councilmen are working to revive plans for a recreation center at Memorial Park.
Fairview Park officials report that an unidentified developer is seeking to purchase the Cleveland Motel on Lorain Road in order to build a new business on the site.
Instead of making planned repairs to the noise barriers along I-480, the Ohio Department of Transportation will replace them with new sound walls. The barriers will be demolished in the next few weeks, but construction of the replacements will not begin until July 2007.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health completed an assessment of stormwater quality in Broadview Heights for compliance with EPA Phase II regulations. Elevated fecal coliform levels were identified in six areas, and were highest on Antony Drive.
Last Friday, contractors removed a temporary dam from the Ohio & Erie Canal. It had been installed during the construction of the Towpath Trail pedestrian bridges.
Akron Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels describes the precautions taken by Cuyahoga Valley National Park officials at their meetings about deer overpopulation in the park, and observes that "it seems as though they know, no matter what choice they make, that they will get whacked by someone."
The Garfield-Maple Sun presents additional details about the lawsuit by the City of Maple Heights against Norfolk Southern over their proposed terminal expansion.
Next month, Garfield Heights voters will decide Issue 80, which would rezone a parcel at Turney and McCracken Roads from residential to retail.
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority reached a tentative agreement to purchase the parking lot at West 10th Street and Main Avenue for the Flats east bank development. The Shaia family, the current owners, had previously announced plans for condominium towers on the site.
12 October 2006
11 October 2006
In response to the recent review of the Cleveland's Department of Building and Housing, director Edward Rybka said that the department intends to demolish 220 of the city's most dilapidated buildings.
Over the next several years, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will begin employing high-performance building techniques, including the installation of green roofs at Lakeview Terrace. They anticipate savings of $4.2 million per year.
Yesterday, Mittal Steel announced that it will reintroduce over a dozen species of native shrubs, trees, and grasses to the 1,000 acres it owns in the Cuyahoga Valley. The news did not appease critics, who said the plantings would not address the plant's air pollution issues.
Cuyahoga County and the University of Akron each pledged to give $100,000 to the Fund for Our Ecomic Future, making them the fund's first full members from government and educational entities.
Leaders in Maple Heights want a federal judge to halt Norfolk Southern's planned expansion of a railroad yard south of Broadway Avenue. Municipal officials worry that it would make the City a terrorist target.
Cleveland State University officials continue to revise plans for the Varsity Village area, adding a diving well and a university fieldhouse to the initial proposal. While a new baseball stadium is planned the corner of East 22nd Street and Payne Avenue, the baseball team recently signed a letter of intent to play their home games at Campana Park in Lorain starting next April.
The legislatures of the eight states whose governors signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact last December have yet to enact it into law. In Ohio, industry representatives object to a pair of clauses regarding withdrawals of water from the lakes.
Angle describes the major expansion project underway at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The Lennon Wing is scheduled to open in mid-October, and the entire project should be completed by fall 2007.
Both Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and the Medina County Park District will have replacement levies on the ballot next month.
Ohio EPA Director Joe Koncelik is opposed to business-friendly environmental legislation introduced in the Ohio House and Senate and backed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell.
An Akron Beacon Journal editorial urges Ohioans to avoid transporting firewood in order to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer.
Ohio farmers are increasingly turning to agritourism and direct sales as means to increase profitability and to avoid direct competition with corporate farms.
In addition to the upcoming forum on the Breuer Tower, the College of Urban Affairs at CSU will host a forum about the Warehouse District on Tuesday, October 17 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., where developer Bob Stark will discuss his proposed downtown project.
10 October 2006
One of Mayor Jackson's proposals for streamlining Cleveland's safety forces is a plan to save money by eliminating municipal jails and contracting with the county to operate them.
An Akron Beacon Journal editorial calls for Ohio officials to establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit in order to maintain affordable housing for middle-income families.
At the request of the Port Authority, a Cuyahoga County judge agreed to consolidate eight of the eminent domain holdout cases over properties wanted for the planned Flats east bank development. The trial is scheduled to begin in December.
Although recent rain has slowed work, construction of the cable-stayed pedestrian bridges along the Towpath Trail is nearing completion. A formal opening is scheduled for November 9, but the two bridges may open unofficially before then.
Funding for community development corporations in Cleveland is anticipated to shrink again next year, due to further cuts in federal CDBG funds.
06 October 2006
The City of North Royalton is currently considering options of how to deal with residential trash. Trash collection is currently done by the city with money drawn from its general fund, but others contend that it would be cheaper to contract with a private waste-removal company.
Brooklyn Mayor Ken Patton opposes NEORSD's attempt to reach uniform metropolitan rates as a part of the sewer district's strategy to increase revenues in order to fund services that will meet US EPA standards.
The City of Cleveland may apply for a Clean Ohio grant from the Ohio Department of Development to clean up the former Midland Steel site. Acquired as a key property for the City's industrial land bank, demolition of the site is underway, with preliminary redevelopment plans including the creation of six buildings covering up to 334,000 square feet.
Even though developer Catlin Properties has pulled out of the project, the City of South Euclid still plans for the redevelopment of Cedar Center. Several canditates for replacement are now being concidered.
Shaker Heights city officials are considering making Winslow Road into a local historic landmark as one of several efforts to maintain properties and increase owner-occupancy on the street. Some residents are concerned that historic status will add another layer of control over their properties.
Although the City of Lyndhurst voted against forming a joint recreation district in May, the cities of South Euclid, Richmond Heights and University Heights and the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Board of Education want to form a regional council of governments in order to build a joint recreation center without using tax dollars. The issue will likely be discussed at each of the four entities' respective council or board meetings in November.
Two key decisions regarding the construction and design of the future county administration building were made yesterday. The County Commissioners approved a $10 million contract with a joint venture of R.P. Carbone Co. and Gilbane Building Co. as the project's construction managers while also naming the team of Cleveland-based Robert P. Madison International and New York-based Kohn Pederson Fox as project architects.
A committee of public officials and representatives of community groups recommended that the new Innerbelt bridge be designed as a single-tower cable-stayed bridge, one of the three design options ODOT presented to them. ODOT will take the recommendation into consideration when it makes its final decision about the Central Viaduct this December.
In attempt to shave expenses and expedite safety efforts in Cleveland, Mayor Jackson presented a series of controversial reforms to the Department of Public Safety on Thursday. Included in the 53 proposed changes are the elimination of the 3rd Police District and transferring ownership of the city jail to the county.
05 October 2006
Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer excoriates ODOT and its plan for the Cleveland Innerbelt Central Viaduct Bridge calling the resulting concept "a dud" while advocating for an independent review of a single span on a southern alignment.
Deer densities in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are climbing, and the National Park Service will convene a series of public meetings next week to discuss possible interventions.
Lyndhurt City Council has passed a law that would allow owners of property larger than 10 acres to hunt and trap "nuisance animals", including deer, skunks, and bears.
Tours of homes and businesses that use renewable energy will be held by Green Energy Ohio this weekend.
04 October 2006
The emerald ash borer, an invasive wood-boring Asian beetle that kills ash trees, was found near I-71 and I-480 on the Cleveland-Brook Park line. Cuyahoga County is now covered by a firewood quarantine. Ohio officials recommend destroying infected trees, but due to cuts in federal funding, will not remove ash trees in affected areas.
The Ohio Supreme Court blocked a referendum issue on a 112 unit housing development in Columbia Township because petitioners used a map that failed to outline the construction area (PDF) accurately. Township trustees worried that the area would be annexed by Strongsville if the rezoning was rejected by voters.
In the latest round of Clean Ohio Trails grants, the Cuyahoga County Engineer received $425,000 to build a ¾ mile segment of the Towpath Trail south of Steelyard Commons, and the Cleveland Metroparks received $215,000 for the construction of 3 miles of all purpose trails in the West Creek Reservation.
(Update: WKSU and the Plain Dealer both provided reports.)
The Strongsville Historical Society rejected a proposal to relocate the 1879 Old Town Hall. The Zaremba Group had offered $200,000 to move the building in order to increase the visibility of a planned retail and office complex. The Historical Society is raising funds for planned rennovations to the building.
Cleveland State University hired architect Charles Gwathmey to design its new student center, less than two months after announcing they had broken off negotiations. The building is slated to replace the University Center at Euclid Avenue and East 21st Street and for completion in 2009.
Developer Caitlin Properties has pulled out of planned redevelopment of the South Euclid side of Cedar Center, citing the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in the Norwood eminent domain case, softening markets, and high land costs. Leaders in South Euclid intend to continue their efforts to acquire the properties.
03 October 2006
The Ohio Department of Taxation addresses the impact of the DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno decision that upheld the rights of states to use tax breaks to attract development.
(Via the Cleveland Law Library Weblog)
The County Board of Revision will now handle foreclosure cases in order to more expediently and aggressively address problems of residential abandonment and neighborhood blight.
The new India garden in Cleveland's Cultural Gardens was dedicated on Sunday as part of the annual One World Day celebration. The garden features an 11 foot tall bronze sculpture of Gandhi.
The Cleveland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will hold a public forum about the future of the Marcel Breuer-designed Ameritrust Tower on Thursday, October 26 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs.
Home values in Cleveland barely outpaced inflation according to results from the American Community Survey. Values throughout Ohio are also lagging behind the rest of the country, while population loss in Northeast Ohio impacting not only central cities, but also inner-ring suburbs.
Excessive numbers of police calls to address nuisance issues such as drug activity, noise, and general unruliness would result in fines for the property owner, if a proposed ordinance passes Cleveland City Council.
Water diversions constitute the greatest threat to the Great Lakes, according to an author who points to the slow replenishment of water and increasing pressure to export water as the reason for regional cooperation to conserve this resource.
02 October 2006
Cleveland State University has developed a new design for wind turbines that uses a helical design to generate energy in urban environments.
The impact of faith-based organizations in Akron's neighborhoods is the focus of the last installment of WKSU's series "Here Goes The Neighborhood."
In anticipation of the upcoming master plan and other changes along the Lakefront, the Plain Dealer provides a little information about Burke Lakefront Airport.
Mayor Frank Jackson has appointed a management team to address the lack of code enforcement and the decrease in the number of housing inspections by the City of Cleveland's Building and Housing Department.