At his talk on Tuesday, architect William McDonough suggested that Cleveland should make itself a capital of renewable energy. "The only massive job-creation possibilities I see that have a completely game-changing quality to them would be in the world of renewables."
May 2007 Archives
31 May 2007
In response to demographic shifts, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is reorganizing into parish clusters, and will close or merge more than 10% of its 231 parishes by 2010. The highest number of closures is expected in older central cities and inner-ring suburbs. The parish clusters will submit their recommendations to Bishop Lennon by the end of 2008.
(Update: The Plain Dealer reports that the Diocese will likely close more than 30 churches and some parochial schools.)
Although Summit County Council recently approved incentives to attract Bass Pro Shops to Akron, Summit and Medina County leaders continue to pursue a Cabela's store. Summit County hopes to link a Cabela's to the proposed domed soccer stadium, and the Medina County Commissioners approved a sales tax break if the company builds a store near I-71 and Route 303 in Brunswick.
The Cleveland Green Building Coalition received $450,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $150,000 from the Cleveland Housing Trust Fund to build five houses designed by architects in their Emerging Green Designers program. The two and three-bedroom houses will be built in the Cleveland EcoVillage, and will be priced from $105,000 to $135,000.
In addition to adding a green building component, the Gund Foundation will require nonprofits to submit a climate change statement as part of grant applications. It will not be initially used to determine awardees.
30 May 2007
Yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved two $20,000 grants to create Innovation Zones in Beachwood and Mayfield Village.
The Great Lakes Areas of Concern conference, titled "Achieving Restoration Targets and Sustaining Stewardship", will be held in Cleveland on June 28 and 29. The registration (PDF) deadline is June 22.
National City Bank sold its branch near Euclid Avenue and Stokes Boulevard to University Circle Incorporated for $418,000. The bank will build a new branch south of its current location on land it will lease from UCI, which wants to redevelop the site of the existing building as part of a mixed-use multi-story gateway.
The Cleveland Clinic system is embracing green building and other sustainability programs.
29 May 2007
Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution spoke about the new Restoring Prosperity report at the City Club this afternoon, and said, "If we want to grow sustainably, we need (state government) to connect the dots between transportation, land-use, and economic development."
(Update: at the same talk, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher said that major cities and inner-ring suburbs will be given the first opportunities in Ohio's economic development programs.)
Architects from Davis Brody Bond, the only firm that proposed an adaptive reuse of the Cleveland Trust Tower for a new Cuyahoga County administration building, will travel to Cleveland to present their analysis to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday.
(Update: Michael Gill writes about the tower in this week's Free Times.)
The Plain Dealer explored the introduction of supportive housing programs in Cleveland. Emerald Commons, the City's first supportive housing development, opened in December and will be dedicated on Thursday. A complex in Glenville is scheduled to open this winter, and construction of one near MetroHealth Medical Center should begin this summer.
(Update: Tuesday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN discussed the topic in more detail.)
The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded grants to local initiatives and economic development organizations, including $90,000 to the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association for a study of regional tax sharing and other collaborations, $200,000 to NorTech for work with the Cuyahoga County Energy Task Force on the Lake Erie wind turbine feasibility study, and $335,000 to the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office. In addition, the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization received a $49,954 grant from the Ohio EPA to conduct a public awareness campaign about watersheds.
Bill Callahan shares updates from the Port Stanley News on the status of the planned Cleveland to Ontario Lake Erie ferry.
25 May 2007
The City of Cleveland has exhausted the $36 million budgeted for phase one of the Home Acquisition Program for the planned expansion of Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The Brook Park houses in zones one through four were purchased, but zones five and six were shifted to phase two.
Continental Airlines also announced that they may expand one of their three U.S. hubs. The Ohio House earmarked $1.5 million for a $45 million Hopkins expansion, and the state awarded the airline a $900,000 grant to help pay for new equipment and machinery. Continental would cover most of the remaining expenses.
In regionalism news, the proposed seven city fire district in southwest Cuyahoga County continues to gather support. Meanwhile, the cities of Richmond Heights, South Euclid, and University Heights, and the South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District are working to create the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council, a council of governments that would examine the feasibility of constructing a regional recreation center.
Removal of the historic Tinkers Creek aqueduct is underway, and should be completed in July. Cuyahoga Valley National Park officials have not obtained funding to build the planned replacement, but hope that in can be built in 2008.
The City of Shaker Heights will hire firms to inspect and create emergency action plans for Horseshoe Lake Dam and Green Lake Dam. Horseshoe Lake Dam was designated as Class I dam by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Developers are preparing plans for a 12 unit condominium building on Lorain Road in Fairview Park. They will ask the City for a seven year, 100% tax abatement.
The Lakewood Historical Society established a preservation fund to preserve and protect historic structures. It will first be used in an attempt to raise $30,000 to move the threatened Hall House.
The City of Brecksville may purchase 3.27 acres in Broadview Heights to create a stormwater detention basin. Approvals from the Broadview Heights Planning Commission and City Council are needed for the project to proceed.
Westlake officials continue to study options for switching water providers. Mayor Clough says they are "looking for more detailed information on the costs associated with switching providers."
Bentleyville leaders are considering a riparian setback ordinance, but some residents are unhappy that it calls for a 75 foot setback, and not the 120 foot setback in the Chagrin River Watershed Partners model ordinance.
Target has expressed an interest in building a store on an 11.23 acre property at the southwest corner of the Brunswick Town Square development. Plans for the project earlier called for the construction of 141 townhouses on the site.
Since negotiations were unsuccessful, Westlake City Council voted to again offer $1.9 million to the the Westlake Board of Education for the purchase of 42 undeveloped acres on Bradley Road.
In an action that may end the disputes over the planned expansion of Bradley Bay Health Center, Bay Village and Bradley Bay officials reached an agreement about landscape buffers for the facility.
24 May 2007
A new report from Environment Ohio says that over 10 billion gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into Lake Erie due to Ohio combined sewer overflows in 2005. Almost half of the total amount came from CSOs in Greater Cleveland. A bill introduced in the Ohio House yesterday would establish notification requirements for overflows.
The most recent Regionally Speaking podcasts are interviews with Anne Helmreich (Part 1, Part 2) and Latisha James (Part 1, Part 2). Anne Helmreich, Associate Professor of Art History at CWRU and Associate Director of the Baker-Nord Center for Humanities, spoke about the Center's role and the 2007 Baker-Nord Seminar, titled Cityscapes. Latisha James of the Center for Community Partnerships talked about the ways the University influences the quality of life in University Circle and other nearby neighborhoods.
23 May 2007
The Ohio Department of Natural resources awarded $250,000 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants. The awards included $19,950 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to conduct the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan, and $11,000 to Northeast Shores Development Corporation for the Euclid Beach Fishing Pier Feasibility Study.
MOCA will host OPEN: new designs for public space from June 1 through August 19. The exhibit presents innovative public space projects from around the world. Architect Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects, the firm designing MOCA's new building, will speak at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on May 31 at 6:00 p.m.
The Ohio Department of Transportation will permanently close the I-90 entrance ramp at St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland on June 21 because of safety concerns and low traffic volumes.
As expected, Cleveland City Council voted to extend the existing residential tax abatement program until 2012. Starting in 2010, new housing construction must meet Energy Star standards to be eligible for abatements. Mayor Jackson said he was "very disappointed," but declined to say if he would veto the ordinance.
(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that City Council "helped not only Cleveland but also the whole region")
21 May 2007
The Brookings Institution's latest report, "Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing America's Older Industrial Cities", is intended to "mobilize governors and legislative leaders, as well as local constituencies, behind an asset-oriented agenda for reinvigorating the market in the nation's older industrial cities." Brewed Fresh Daily links to additional media coverage.
(Update: The Brookings Institution also released a related profile of Ohio (PDF), and Tuesday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN discussed the report with author Jennifer Vey, Lavea Brachman of Greater Ohio, CSU Professor Ned Hill, and Brad Whitehead of the Cleveland Foundation.)
Local developers and municipal officials are among those attending the annual International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas. The developers of the proposed projects for the east and west banks of the Flats are jointly marketing their developments at the convention, and Cleveland.com presents their plans as a JPG and as a PDF.
18 May 2007
This spring, the capstone class in the Master of Urban Planning, Design & Development program at Cleveland State updated elements of the Northeast Ohio Regional Retail Analysis. They found, among other conclusions, that the region's retail space grew by 22% between 2000 and 2007.
(Update: the Plain Dealer published a full story with a graphic on Saturday.)
The $28 million renovation of University Circle's Park Lane Villa is nearing completion (PDF), and its owners will begin leasing the first of the building's 96 luxury apartments this summer.
Many events are scheduled for the 17th annual RiverDay tomorrow, and Christopher Knopf of the Trust for Public Land writes about the organization's conservation efforts around the Cuyahoga River.
The Solon Planning Commission approved plans for Stone Creek Estates, a 20.2 acre, 22 house subdivision on the north side of Cannon Road. City Council will discuss the proposed development on Monday.
On Monday, South Euclid City Council passed a resolution encouraging "green building and sustainability efforts" in the City. The City also adopted an anti-idling policy.
The Parma Sun Post profiles the efforts of southwest Cuyahoga County communities to increase their tax bases by promoting retail, office, and industrial development.
The City of Bedford Heights will hold a public hearing on Monday at 6:30 p.m. about the controversial senior housing proposal for land west of Holy Trinity Church on Columbus Road. The Planning Commission will have a special meeting on Tuesday at at 5:30 p.m. to vote on the plans.
Developers of Bridgeview Crossing have obtained some, but not all, of the stormwater permits needed to resume construction of the shopping center.
Builder Ameri-Con Homes will not complete construction or cleanup of the Valley Ranch subdivision in Garfield Heights because they are out of money. A bank is taking over the development.
The Sun Courier offers more information about the Broadview Heights retail development proposed by Sam Petros for the southwest corner of state Route 82 and Broadview Road. Plans for a 125,000-145,000 square foot department store would require a zoning variance from the City's 60,000 square foot size cap.
Developers of the proposed northern Summit County soccer stadium complex asked the board of the Nordonia Hills City Schools District to extend the 2006 compensation agreement until June 30, 2008. The agreement expired last December. Developer Paul Garofolo indicated that he hopes to seek voter approval for public funding of a retractable dome for the proposed stadium in November.
17 May 2007
The City of Shaker Heights will hold the second of three public meetings about transit-oriented development at the Van Aken-Lee area on May 30 at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall. Materials from the first session are available online.
Ohio State Senators Kevin Coughlin and Tim Grendell say they will not support an Ohio budget that includes the continuation of the state's E-Check program. A spokesman for Governor Strickland says that he is unaware of alternatives that would satisfy federal EPA requirements, but added, "If there are other solutions, the governor is willing to work with the senators."
Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution and Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will speak at the City Club on May 29 at noon. They will talk about "Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing America's Older Industrial Cities", an economic study of 65 cities that will be released on May 20. On May 29 at 2:00, Bruce Katz will speak at a Levin College Forum on the same subject, which will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ned Hill.
16 May 2007
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources was awarded $1.014 million by NOAA for the purchase of two properties in Bratenahl totaling 19.5 acres. The Lake Erie Coastal and Riparian Forest Preserve, a partnership between the Village of Bratenahl and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, will include mature forest, a riparian corridor, and the 100-year floodplain of Dugway Creek. Acquisition of the land will cost $2.2 million.
(Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.)
Blue Pike Farm is a new one-acre farm on East 72nd Street between I-90 and St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland. Carl Skalak named the farm after the extinct Great Lakes fish, and grows organic vegetables and herbs. Crops will be sold at the farm and at other Cleveland locations.
GreenCityBlueLake explores the potential for the City of Cleveland to tie residential tax abatements to green building practices, and asks, "Should council vote to renew tax abatements as is, or should it consider leveraging its position to get a green building policy as well?"
The Associated Press reported on the controversies surrounding the proposed demolition of the Cleveland Trust Tower in downtown Cleveland. The Cleveland City Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on June 1 and 8.
15 May 2007
Ohio EPA officials remain unsatisfied with the quality of man-made replacement wetlands, and are drafting new guidelines. A draft of the new regulations may be ready later this year.
The Brookings Institution posted Audrey Singer's keynote speech from the Changing Face of Cities conference held in Cleveland earlier this month. As she did in 2004, she identified Cleveland as a former gateway city for immigrants.
President Bush directed the US EPA and three other federal agencies to develop regulations for greenhouse gases from vehicle emissions by the end of 2008. Critics accuse Bush of stalling to avoid compliance with the April Supreme Court decision.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have introduced bills that would reverse the Bush administration's changes to Toxics Release Inventory reporting rules.
The City of Cleveland received two $200,000 brownfields assessment grants from the US EPA. The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments of eight sites in the City's industrial land bank.
About 100,000 gallons of contaminated water remain in Solon after an industrial fire at Erico on Solon Road. Hazmat crews erected earthen barriers to contain the spill, but some oil has reached a Tinkers Creek tributary, and Ohio EPA officials are concerned that forecasted rain may cause the water to overflow the barriers.
14 May 2007
Today's Plain Dealer includes a look at the growth of Brunswick and the efforts of municipal officials to encourage development.
The City of South Euclid selected Orion Capital Partners of Little Rock, Arkansas to redevelop the north side of the Cedar Center shopping strip. The company offered $17 million for the property, and wants to redevelop it as a retail/residential mixed-use project. The company has 45 days to reach a deal with the City, which will require City Council approval.
A Plain Dealer editorial encourages the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to not provide financial support for the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office, and suggests that they instead "should consider having the county take on NEOSO's task."
The Coast Guard declared the east lighthouse guarding Cleveland's harbor as excess, and hopes to give it to a nonprofit (PDF) that will maintain it for education, recreation, or historic purposes. The west lighthouse is in need of repairs, and the Coast Guard wants to demolish its adjacent fog signal building. Preservationists are opposed to the demolition.
11 May 2007
Ford's decision to close the Cleveland Casting plant in Brook Park will result in the loss of 1,200 jobs in 2009, but it also may offer economic development opportunities. The plant is the third-largest emitter of volatile organic compounds in Greater Cleveland, and Ford can sell the plant's pollution rights. Former Ohio EPA Director Joesph Koncelik wants the agency to establish an emissions trading program.
Developer Sam Petros wants to construct retail on 15 acres at the southwest corner of Route 82 and Broadview Road in Broadview Heights. He hopes to attract a department store, a drugstore, and a national restaurant chain as anchors.
Funding problems forced the Tri-City Senior Center to suspend operations today, pending the outcome of the November ballot issue. The earliest the center could reopen is in February.
In response to a resident's request, the City of Broadview Heights asked state officials to impose a moratorium on oil and gas wells in heavily populated residential areas.
The Senior Coalition in Independence supports the proposed senior single-unit housing overlay ordinance that is under consideration by City Council. The Independence Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on June 5.
Euclid City Council unanimously approved a zoning use district exception for the proposed Cathedral Worship Center on Euclid Avenue. In addition to the church, the complex will include a banquet facility and a gym.
Aviation experts support the decision of Cleveland Hopkins officials to not lengthen a runway for nonstop flights to Asia. "Cleveland itself is not going to be an Asian gateway. You just don't have the horsepower. If you don't need it, don't spend it."
By a vote of 4-3, Rocky River City Council decided to proceed with plans to establish a 24-hour railroad quiet zone. Mayor Bobst recommended creating a quiet zone between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., while residents supported the 24-hour zone.
09 May 2007
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded approximately $2.3 million in NatureWorks Grants for park and recreational improvements. The recipients included a number of projects in Northeast Ohio.
08 May 2007
Yesterday, Boston Heights residents delivered referendum petitions to the Village regarding the rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club. If the signatures are certified, the issue may appear on the November ballot.
The replacement of a severely deteriorated sewer line under Euclid Avenue between Public Square and East 4th Street will add three to four months of construction to the Euclid Corridor project. RTA officials say that the additional construction should not affect the Silver Line's scheduled December 2008 start date.
In the opening arguments of the Flats east bank eminent domain trial yesterday, attorneys for Flats landowners charged that the Port Authority has not negotiated fairly, while Port Authority lawyers argued that the project would provide multiple public benefits.
Bob Downing of the Akron Beacon Journal toured the wetlands at Pond Brook South. Public access to the 227 acre area recently acquired by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will likely be limited.
07 May 2007
A Plain Dealer editorial says that the City of Cleveland may purchase the North Point Inn on Superior Avenue for use as a men's homeless shelter because of overcrowding at the Lakeside Avenue shelter.
Plans to extend a runway at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to accommodate service to the Pacific Rim have been indefinitely delayed. Instead of extending the runway to 11,250 feet, it will be lengthened to 10,000 feet and an intersection with a smaller runway will be eliminated.
Although Ohio's farmland preservation program has saved 26,752 acres acres since 1999, the state continues to lose farms to residential development. Lack of funding has prevented the program from preserving more land. Since 2002, the farmland preservation office has received applications for 217,982 acres of farmland, of which 20,385 acres were preserved.
Bill Callahan paid a visit to the new Towpath Trail section that runs through Steelyard Commons, and described it as "basically a long, narrow chainlink tunnel".
A coalition of Greater Cleveland agencies expanded the Fine Particle Pollution Program to include sending alerts when airborne soot is predicted to reach unhealthy levels. The agencies will also continue to issue ozone alerts for the seven county area.
On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans by Dollar Bank to convert the southwest corner of the Galleria into a two-story flagship branch. A high-definition electronic signboard will be installed on the East 9th Street facade. Construction should be completed this year.
04 May 2007
As Cleveland hosts The Changing Face of Cities conference, WCPN explored how Northeast Ohio is adjusting to the needs of recent immigrants. Eric Wellman interviewed Jonathan Bowles (MP3) and spoke with Scott Roulston about the role of immigrants (PDF) in the labor force.
Chris Varley points out that "Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown have not benefited from an influx of new immigrants, nor has Ohio as a whole." The new Task Force on Cleveland as an International Community, which is seeking advice on how Cleveland can make itself more attractive to immigrants, held its first meeting on Thursday.
A new national study from the National Research Council says that while wind power is gaining in popularity, it is lacking guidelines and policies from all levels of government.
The Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office requested $200,000 from Cuyahoga County, but the County Commissioners are concerned about the organization's finances and the salaries of its top employees. NEOSO leaders expect it to be self-sustaining by 2010.
The transportation budget passed by Ohio legislators includes $500,000 over the next two years for an Ohio Turnpike Commission study and pilot program on reducing traffic noise. Local officials credited the four-city "Working Together to Make a Difference" group with drawing attention to the issue.
The owners of 25 acres of woods in North Royalton want to establish a farm on the property. The site on Abbey Road between Sprague and Albion Roads is zoned for residential construction, and the owners hope to build housing on the property after farming it for three years.
The Sun Newspapers joined the Plain Dealer in examining regionalism in Greater Cleveland through the "A Region Uniting?" series, and published articles about the regionalization of municipal emergency services. In Cuyahoga County, the articles covered the Chagrin Valley area, Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Valley area, Euclid and the Hillcrest area, the Heights area, southwest Cuyahoga County, and the Westshore area. They also explored efforts in eastern Lorain County, Medina County, and northern Summit County, and posted maps of area fire stations at the Sun News weblog.
Meanwhile, Brad Whitehead of the Fund for Our Economic Future took issue with a Plain Dealer infographic that labeled some of the more ambitious proposals for regional governance as out of reach. "If we are to have a meaningful, transparent conversation about what is best for the region, then no option should be arbitrarily removed from the table at this early stage."
As part of an effort to raise public awareness about the emerald ash borer, the City of Strongsville will mark about 50 ash trees with ribbons during Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, May 20-26.
Leaders of the Tri-City Senior Center say that the Center will be forced to close if any of Berea, Brook Park, or Middleburg Heights refuse to help supply short-term operating expenses.
A survey of South Euclid residents found that their top concerns are "neighbors not keeping up their properties" and "loud neighbors". The City's Good Neighbor Committee recommends supplying a "Good Neighbor Guide" to residents, among other suggestions.
Westlake officials are considering changing water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities. Mayor Clough said no switch would occur within the next 18 months to two years.
03 May 2007
The first buildings in the planned University Hospitals Chagrin Highlands medical center in Beachwood could open as early as next year.
(Update: The Sun Press provides more information. It will be named the Ahuja Medical Center to recognize a $30 million gift from Monte Ahuja.)
02 May 2007
Cuyahoga County again received a failing grade in the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report. The county's ozone grade improved, but the particulate figures were worse than last year. The metropolitan area's air was ranked as the sixth-worst in the nation for annual PM2.5 pollution.
(Update: WKSU has more details.)
The remaining portions of the Fulton Road Bridge were successfully imploded yesterday. Cleveland.com has video and photographs of the demolition, and Channel 3 offers additional footage.
In this week's Free Times, Charu Gupta recounts the collapse of the Amistad Development Corporation.
01 May 2007
Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials report that there are 261 aging dams in Northeast Ohio. Many of them were built before state regulations were imposed in 1963, and repairing or removing them is often an expensive proposition. ODNR classifies nine dams in Cuyahoga County as high risk, along with 20 in Summit County and 15 in Medina County.
Tomorrow, Case Western Reserve University professor Gladys Haddad will begin Regionally Speaking, a new talk show. It will focus on regional issues, including neighborhoods and livability.
Cleveland Clinic physicians Ryan P. Daly and Brian Griffin "urge state and local governments to make a priority of identifying sources of PM2.5", or fine particle pollution. They add that a study in the New England Journal of Medicice implies that current US EPA standards, which Greater Cleveland fails to meet, don't go far enough.
A News-Herald editorial encourages greater municipal cooperation to reduce the costs of government in Northeast Ohio.
(via Advance Northeast Ohio)