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July 2007 Archives

The Cities of Lakewood and Bedford reached water distribution agreements with the City of Cleveland. The agreements include the no poaching clause present in similar agreements. The Cities of Bedford Heights and Euclid also recently signed water main maintenance agreements with Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that while the City of Cleveland is "doing a much better job" of boarding up and demolishing abandoned houses, the City "will have to pick up the pace if it hopes to deal with the 7,000 or more properties in need of attention."

Channel 3 took a look at the redevelopment of the Westgate shopping center in Fairview Park.

Leaders in Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township have started talking about merging the two communities. Mayor Blomquist of Olmsted Falls wants to conduct a study and create a committee of residents.

(Update: the News Sun presents additional information.)

John Cole, the editor of the Morning Journal, is unhappy that NOACA is conducting an analysis (PDF, 38 MB) of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, saying, "The deliberate sand-bagging of legitimate Lorain County projects in the name of urban sprawl or noise pollution or whatever fabricated nonsense by the assorted mayors and commissioners of Cuyahoga County is reprehensible."

Summit County Council decided not to place a sin tax for the proposed soccer stadium on the November ballot. Officials felt that the timing was wrong because there are two other countywide levies on the November ballot. The sin tax may appear on the March ballot. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that it was a wise decision.

Zaremba, Inc. reports that the City of Cleveland approved plans for the streetscape project along East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland near the Avenue District. The $7 million project is expected to take three years to complete.

(Update: the Sun Herald has more details.)

A South Euclid councilwoman and resident formed the South Euclid Land Conservancy, which met for the first time last month. The organization's second meeting will be held on August 22 at 7:00 p.m. in South Euclid City Hall.

As the Cleveland Metroparks celebrate their 90th anniversary, the Plain Dealer looked back at the history of the park district. The Metroparks posted eight "Parkways to the Past" historic audio tours at their new weblog.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority placed a 0.13 mill property tax renewal levy on the November ballot. The current levy will expire at the end of 2008.

Yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners held a second public hearing on the proposed sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new convention center to compliment the proposed Medical Mart. Following the meeting, the Commissioners voted 2-1 to raise the sales tax by a quarter percent for 20 years. A group of politicians and citizens responded by starting a petition drive to force a voter referendum on the increase. Cleveland.com compiled some reactions from area bloggers, while a Plain Dealer editorial says that the Commissioners "made the correct but politically difficult vote".

Our website now includes a new section on Whiskey Island. It features information about the goals and plans for the lakefront peninsula, as well as photographs, directions, and contact information.

Projected declines in enrollment in the Cleveland schools will force cutbacks to the district's school construction project. When the program started in 2002, enrollment was at 72,500. Today enrollment stands at 55,000, and projections anticipate an enrollment of 41,000 by 2015. The number of new or renovated schools will likely be reduced from the original 111 to 77 or 80. Revised plans may be revealed in two to three weeks.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges Cuyahoga County officials to select a site for a new detention center for nonviolent felons in order to obtain state funding, saying that "the county cannot let this opportunity go."

In Shaker Heights, City Council unanimously approved the construction of the Shaker Boulevard median trail. Work is scheduled to begin next month. In Broadview Heights, crews have nearly finished building a multipurpose trail along Broadview Road. The City will seek a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to extend the trail to the south.

The $931,000 downtown Berea streetscape project is nearing completion, and should be finished by the middle of next month. Meanwhile, Berea officials are looking at measures to address the downtown Berea parking shortage.

Mayor Luks said that the preliminary site plan prepared by the Coral Company for the mixed-use North Royalton Town Center development "could change dramatically."

Chagrin Falls Village Council unanimously approved a set of revisions to the Village's historic preservation regulations. The changes were designed to remove subjective language and make the rules more defensible in court.

Solon officials will meet with Mayor Payne of Glenwillow and a representative of developer Geis Companies with the hope of purchasing a portion of the Diamond Business Center industrial park that directly abuts Solon. "I doubt Geis will sell it, but we're going to ask," said a Solon councilman.

As expected, Westlake City Council accepted a state grant for the widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two to four lanes.

The City of Strongsville did not receive a requested state grant to extend Foltz Industrial Parkway in the Strongsville Business Park, and City officials plan to apply for a $4 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant next year.

In November, Highland Heights residents will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed rezoning of the former gas station at Wilson Mills Road and Alpha Drive from motor service district to general business. The owner of a neighboring shopping center wants to use the gas station site as part of a revitalization of the shopping strip.

The City of Shaker Heights will install a pair of mid-block curb extensions on Avalon Road. The construction will be funded by donations from residents.

Brownfields remediation was completed at the 24.6 acre site of the planned new CMHA headquarters in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle, and the Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue. Meanwhile, the Clean Ohio Council awarded $2,046,713 to the City of Cleveland for the cleanup of the 5.1 acre Morgana East site in Slavic Village.

The new Target store at the Westgate shopping center opened yesterday, and the Jacobs Group announced ten new tenants for the redeveloped 600,000 square foot center.

WKSU examined the costs of replacing parts of Greater Cleveland's aging infrastructure, including the major expenses incurred by combined sewer replacements.

North Olmsted officials say that the Ohio Department of Transportation will install new sound barriers along I-480 in spring 2008. The City will hold a public meeting about the barriers on August 15 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Community Cabin at North Olmsted Park.

Today's Plain Dealer includes a map of residential developments in Cleveland that have either been proposed, are under construction, or have been dropped.

All Aboard Ohio reports that U.S. Representative Betty Sutton secured $350,000 in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for the West Shore Corridor rail/bus transit alternatives analysis.

(Update: The Sun Herald offers more information.)

Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones says that the proposed Cleveland Medical Mart and convention center "clearly offers great promise", but he does not support raising the sales tax to pay for their construction. Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins also endorses the concept, but would like to explore the reuse of the existing convention center site and "less burdensome" tax options. The second public hearing on the proposed sales tax increase will be held tomorrow morning, and following the hearing, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners plan to vote on the proposal.

Only three people testified at the public hearing held yesterday by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on the strategies for bringing Greater Cleveland into compliance with ozone standards.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the acquisition of conservation easements for 132 acres of riparian buffers along the East Branch of the Rocky River in Summit and Medina Counties, and to Grand River Partners for the restoration and protection of 300 acres of riparian buffers and wetlands in the lower Grand River watershed in Lake County.

If local officials can agree on a site for a detention center for nonviolent felons and establish advisory boards by January, the State of Ohio will contribute $10.6 million to build the 200 bed facility. Cuyahoga County officials are considering a four acre property at East 34th Street and Croton Avenue in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County is the only metropolitan county in Ohio without a center.

The Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board will vote on Wednesday on whether to proceed with plans to build a new headquarters on Euclid Avenue at East 69th Street.

The developer of a proposed shopping center on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. The complaint asks for $10 million from the Village of Boston Heights if residents are successful in an effort to get the retail rezoning on the ballot via referendum.

The Ohio EPA's interim proposal for reducing ozone levels in Greater Cleveland includes a set of control strategies that calls for lowering emissions from industry and power plants. The agency will accept public comment at a meeting tomorrow afternoon at its Twinsburg office.

(Update: WKSU has additional details.)

A Plain Dealer editorial and Joe Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership both assert that the proposed Cuyahoga County sales tax increase is the only viable option for funding the construction of a new convention center.

Officials from Macedonia and Northfield Center Township reached a tentative agreement that calls for Macedonia to annex more than 200 acres along Route 8 south of Highland Road for the proposed soccer stadium complex. On August 6, Summit County Council is expected to vote on placing the proposed sin tax on the November ballot.

(Update: annexation talks are continuing, and Summit County Council has not yet voted on the sin tax proposal.)

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the concept of a $3.3 million walkway linking the Great Lakes Science Center to the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum, but members did not like its design, and were concerned that the connector would restrict public access to the lakefront.

About 300 people attended yesterday's public hearing on the proposed sales tax increase to fund the construction of a new convention center that would accompany the proposed Cleveland Medical Mart. Chris Kennedy of Merchandise Mart Properties told them that Cleveland should move quickly to avoid competing proposals from other cities. WKYC has video of the 40 minute presentation.

The City Club will host a session about the Medical Mart proposal on August 3, and Scott Suttell of Crain's Cleveland Business wonders "why the city's power brokers are so allergic to free-wheeling debate." Today, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners announced that the proposed ¼% sales tax increase would expire in 20 years and that its revenues would be used exclusively for the new convention center.

Owners of historic structures in Cleveland submitted 32 of the 69 applications for the new Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The properties include the Terminal Tower, Higbee Building, Cleveland Trust Rotunda, and the Cleveland Athletic Club.

A group of residents of Cleveland's Union-Miles neighborhood protested yesterday about the condition of abandoned houses in the neighborhood. They want the City to tear down the houses or board them up more effectively.

The Cultural Gardens Federation is working with the National Park Service to have the 50 acre Cleveland Cultural Gardens designated as a national monument. The designation would require Congressional approval.

In the second part of their regionalism series, the Sun News group of newspapers published several articles about how Greater Cleveland communities are sharing recreation center facilities. They also provided four interactive maps showing the locations of area recreation centers.

In multipurpose trail news:

The Sun has additional reactions from public officials about the status report on the potential impacts of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

The Independence Planning Commission is continuing its attempts to reconcile the differences between the two plans for a senior housing district. While senior housing has been a controversial issue in Independence, it has been readily accepted in other Cuyahoga County suburbs.

Fast Track Cycling continues to examine sites for their proposed velodrome, including the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, a property south of the Gateway complex in downtown Cleveland, and a site south of I-90 between Broadway and Orange Avenues in Cleveland.

Mayor DePiero of Parma feels that the Census Bureau population estimates overstate the City's loss of population.

The Brooklyn Sun Journal has more information about the entertainment district zoning overlay proposal that was approved by a Cleveland City Council committee. Councilman Cimperman said the first and only place the overlay will be applied is for the planned adult entertainment district on the Columbus Road peninsula in the Flats.

(Update: The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the Flats adult entertainment district, but reduced the number of permitted clubs from three to two.)

Some Solon residents are displeased by the start of construction of the Diamond Business Center industrial park in Glenwillow. They are concerned about tree removal, runoff, and noise and light pollution.

Broadview Heights City Council will not vote on the proposed stormwater funding fee until August 13 at the earliest.

The Lakewood Sun Post offers more details about Birdtown's recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The planned redesigns of the Cleveland Innerbelt and West Shoreway are on indefinite hold while leaders attempt to reach consensus on some of the more contentious elements in the plans. Steven Litt presents the details and offers commentary in his new weblog.

Proponents of a Cleveland arts district described their visions at the City Club yesterday.

(Update: Audio of the session (MP3, 20.4 MB) is now available.)

In November, Twinsburg voters will have the opportunity to vote on the creation of a mixed-use zoning classification. Municipal officials hope that it will encourage downtown development.

The first of two public hearings on the proposed Cuyahoga County sales tax increase is being held this morning, and the Plain Dealer took a quick look at some of the County's other taxation options. The second hearing will be held on July 26.

The Gund Foundation awarded $5.9 million in grants, including $250,000 to the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation for the redevelopment of the former Langston Hughes Library at East 79th Street to house Senior Outreach Services. The Foundation also gave a $500,000 loan to Neighborhood Progress Inc. for the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Hospital site.

The Westlake Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposed widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two lanes to four lanes. City Council is also expected to approve the project, despite objections from some residents.

Case Western Reserve University's Village at 115 complex received the 2007 Honor Award for Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component from the Society for College and University Planning.

Plain Dealer art and architecture critic Steven Litt started a weblog at Cleveland.com titled Architecture and the Urban Landscape. He says that "commentaries online will dovetail with our coverage in the pages of newspaper, while also veering in other directions."

The Aurora Master Plan Review Commission is expected to complete its work within the next few weeks. The Aurora Planning Commission and City Council will review the draft master plan this fall.

An exhibit showcasing the entries in the "What Would you do with the Breuer Building?" design competition will open tomorrow as part of the Ingenuity festival. Steven Litt reviews the exhibit, and GreenCityBlueLake provides an overview and a gallery of the entries.

The Plain Dealer explored the measures being taken by the City of Cleveland and some suburbs to confront the anticipated loss of their ash trees to the invasive emerald ash borer. Cleveland officials plan to remove over 400 trees this year, and 1,409 trees by 2009.

In the third part of their series on regionalism and municipal consolidation, the Plain Dealer listed the attitudes of local political leaders towards regionalism, offered suggestions about what they could be doing, named some potential roadblocks facing regional planning, and listed the achievements of other cities.

Yesterday, the Plain Dealer published op-eds from Merchandise Mart Properties President Christopher Kennedy and Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove as well as an editorial promoting the Cleveland Medical Mart and convention center proposal.

(Update: Tuesday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN featured three advocates of the Medical Mart.)

Consultants presented preliminary results of the economic impact study for the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. If the interchange is built, they anticipate significant land use changes in the surrounding area, including up to 110 acres of new retail development. Avon officials disagree with the findings. The full study is scheduled to be completed in September.

(Update: Cuyahoga County officials are concerned that the interchange could exacerbate urban sprawl.)

On Friday, Governor Strickland reversed state policy and announced that he will have the Ohio Department of Natural Resources institute a new policy which specifies that property lines extend to Lake Erie's low water mark, instead of the previously recognized high water mark. Property owners will still need to seek ODNR approval before building breakwalls, docks, or other structures. Attorney General Dann says that the new policy does not align with current Ohio laws, and will continue to defend the state against a lawsuit brought by a group of lakefront property owners.

(Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "The governor's 'compromise' would be less dismaying if he had included in his announcement a reaffirmation of the right of public access to the shoreline.")

The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque will show Radiant City, a Canadian documentary about urban sprawl on August 30 and September 2.

Mixed-use and residential development is increasing along Chester Avenue near University Circle. In addition to the nearly complete Park Lane Villa restoration and the planned University Circle Arts and Retail District, Vintage Development Group will soon break ground on the 34 unit Chester 82 condominiums on the site of the former Madonna Hall, and the Finch Group is considering plans to build a mixed-use development somewhere between East 89th Street and East 101st Street.

The City of Cleveland is trying to recover a $700,000 loan from financially troubled Ameri-Con Homes. The company defaulted on the loan after a fire destroyed a part of the Ashbury Towers development. The Stockyard Redevelopment Organization is trying to find another developer to complete the redevelopment of the former Joseph & Feiss factory site.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refused to reconsider its termination of a permit for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park.

The City of Maple Heights and Norfolk Southern reached a court-mediated settlement regarding the expansion of the intermodal terminal south of Broadway Avenue. The railroad will pay the City at least $70,000 in lieu of permit fees, pay for the majority of infrastructure improvements, and add landscaping.

Cleveland.com and Roger Bundy cataloged the questions asked at yesterday's Cool Cleveland forum on the proposed Cuyahoga County sales tax increase (PDF). Photographs of the event are available at Cool Cleveland.

(Update: Meet the Bloggers provided audio of the session.)

(via Brewed Fresh Daily)

Two realtors are marketing 53 acres along Pine Crest Drive and Harvard Road in Orage to commercial and retail developers. The land is currently occupied by 27 homes, and most homeowners have signed a three year listing agreement. Voters would have to approve a rezoning issue for construction to occur.

Bahman Guyuron, a Lyndhurst-based plastic surgeon, wants to build a shopping center on 90 acres in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. He owns all but one property in the area south of I-480 and east of Hadden Road, and the Twinsburg Township Trustees initiated the process to acquire the remaining property via eminent domain in March. The development would require the Twinsburg Township portion to be rezoned from residential to commercial, and Guyuron also wants the City and Township to establish a JEDD.

The Stormwater Committee of Broadview Heights City Council recommended charging residents and businesses a monthly fee to fund stormwater projects. The full council is currently discussing the proposal.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge ruled against the City of Solon and said that DiSanto Enterprises can build cluster homes at the proposed Southwoods subdivision. In September 2005, Solon City Council denied a request for 45 zoning variances that would have allowed the cluster homes. The City is expected to appeal the decision.

Independence officials are working to resolve the differences between two competing plans for a senior housing development. The Independence Planning Commission hopes to reach a compromise by December so that the issue can appear on the March ballot.

The Village of Brooklyn Heights will hire Nerone & Sons of Warrensville Heights to build the Eagle Glen Connector Bridge and Hiking Trail for $174,700. Construction of the bridge is scheduled to begin in October.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis is developing a plan to offer $3,000 loans to homeowners who are trying to avoid foreclosure. He hopes to have the program established by August.

A to Z Real Estate & Development may purchase an 18 acre property on Berkeley Avenue from developer Chuck Chudakoff with the intent of building 9 single-family homes on the site.

A coalition of local labor leaders is backing the proposed Cuyahoga County sales tax increase that would fund the construction of the Medical Mart and a new convention center, while a group of Cleveland City Council members feel that tax increase should be put on the ballot. Tradeshow Week summarized the Medical Mart proposal.

Senator Voinovich says that as many as 48 Ohio counties would not be in compliance with the proposed new federal ozone standards. 25 Ohio counties, including those in Greater Cleveland, are not in compliance with the existing standards.

In his talk at the City Club yesterday, University Circle Incorporated President Chris Ronayne outlined the organization's 7 campaigns for 2007.

(Update: the talk is now available online (MP3, 20.4 MB))

A Cleveland City Council committee approved the plan to create an adult district in the Flats, over the objections of nearby residents. The full Council is expected to approve the enabling legislation.

This week's Scene takes a look at Cleveland's West Park neighborhood and what may happen to it if the City's residency requirement law is struck down by the courts.

Between 80 and 125 acres of the Pond Brook wetlands will be restored at Liberty Park in Twinsburg Township.

(Update: The Akron Beacon Journal presents additional information and photographs.)

First Federal of Lakewood and the City of Lakewood are partnering to convert a Bunts Road duplex into a a single-family home. Work is scheduled to be complete in late summer.

Four suburban Cuyahoga County mayors say that their residents will support the proposed sales tax increase for the proposed Medical Mart only if all of the tax revenue goes directly to the project, and is not used to support other initiatives. Meanwhile, Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien thinks that the Medical Mart proposal is a good idea.

Governor Strickland signed Senate Bill 7 yesterday, enacting the eminent domain legislation. Some feel that the law is too restrictive, while the bill's sponsor says that it is too weak without the rejected companion constitutional amendment.

The Euclid Avenue traffic circles at East 89th and East 100th Streets proposed by the Cleveland Clinic will not be built because of their projected negative impacts on traffic flow.

In the third article in their series on the foreclosure crisis, the Free Times explores the tactics used by government attorneys in predatory lending investigations, as well as the statistics indicating that minority populations are targeted by predatory lenders.

Advanced Hydro Solutions asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its application for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park. The federal agency terminated the application last month.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the City of Cleveland's plan to offer loans to stimulate the redevelopment of buildings on lower Euclid Avenue "is ingenious because Cleveland's investment will buttress a combination of other development and incentives already at work in that zone."

Michael Gill of the Free Times profiles several local entrepreneurs who use bicycles to create business opportunities.

Under a new agreement, the City of Cleveland Division of Water will supply water to the City of Aurora, beginning in about two years. Aurora currently gets its water from wells in Shalersville Township.

The Plain Dealer recently explored the 17 year saga of the former Fisher Body complex at Coit Road and East 140th Street in Collinwood. The State of Ohio spent $47 million to purchase, clear, and clean the 49 acre site, and eventually sold it Forest City Enterprises for $630,000. Forest City sold roughly half the site to the U.S. Department of Labor for $2.5 million, and it is being redeveloped as the new Cleveland Job Corps campus, scheduled to open in August. The other half remains undeveloped. A Plain Dealer editorial says that public officials "must oversee development with much more vigilance and diligence."

Merchandise Mart Properties added additional material to their website for the proposed Cleveland medical mart, including video of Chris Kennedy presenting the concept.

The St. Luke's Foundation awarded $1.4 million in grants for programs aimed at building healthy communities, including $150,000 to ParkWorks for the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative.

The expanded main branch of the Lakewood Public Library opened yesterday. The 38,000 square foot expansion was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York.

The foreclosure crisis was the topic of this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN. The guests were Doug Duncan of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis.

The Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board is still trying to identify a site for the planned new State Mental Health Hospital. Councilperson Phyllis Cleveland objects to the proposed site on Quincy Road in Cleveland, so the Board is considering alternative sites in Warrensville Heights and East Cleveland.

Developer John Ferchill offered an alternative redevelopment plan for a portion of the Cleveland Trust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland. He suggested rehabilitating the 1010 Euclid building as condominiums and restoring the rotunda, with 35% of it to be used by Cuyahoga County, and the remainder to be used by county-related businesses.

The Ohio EPA's interim plan for reducing ozone levels in Greater Cleveland is likely to see changes over the next six months.

Last week, Representatives Mark Kirk and Dan Lipinski introduced the Great Lakes Water Protection Act in the US House. It would quadruple fines for the release of sewage into the Great Lakes, starting in 2027. Rep. Kirk named Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee as the three largest sewage dischargers.

Greater Cleveland Partnership Chairman Fred Nance will lead negotiations with Merchandise Mart Properties and Forest City Enterprises or another developer aimed at bringing the proposed medical mart to Cleveland.

Brecksville City Council approved an agreement with Palmieri Builders that will end the company's lawsuit against the City. The agreement calls for the 102 acre former B.F. Goodrich property at the southwest corner of Hillsdale Road and Parkview Drive to be rezoned from office/laboratory to residential. The site will be developed as two subdivisions, one limited to ten houses, and the other limited to 46 houses.

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision and rejected a citizen group's lawsuit over a proposed retail development on a 49 acre wooded property at Royalton Road and I-71. The decision may mark the end of a 14 year legal battle. A 2005 agreement with the city calls for 17 acres of the site to preserved as a conservation area.

Construction of the green cottages in the Cleveland EcoVillage will begin in August. The houses were designed by architects in the Cleveland Green Building Coalition's Emerging Green Designers Symposium and funded by the city and the state.

The City of Brook Park is caring for abandoned and foreclosed homes by hiring a contractor to mow the lawns at some of the community's 30 abandoned houses and the 180 homes in foreclosure.

The proposed multipurpose trail in the Shaker Boulevard median has elicited mixed reactions from Shaker Heights residents.

The planned renovations to Southland Shopping Center in Middleburg Heights are well underway. Jo-Ann Fabrics recently opened a new 22,515 square foot store, and the portion of the center slated for a new Giant Eagle supermarket is being demolished.

By a vote of 3-2, Macedonia City Council approved a controversial 100%, 30 year tax increment financing package for the proposed Mary Maria senior housing complex. The TIF will be used to fund the construction of a road connecting Valley View Road to Route 82.

The Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce wants to establish a special improvement district along the Pearl Road corridor in Brunswick and Brunswick Township. They hope to revitalize the area by attracting new businesses and residents, and making it more pedestrian friendly.

Stark Enterprises would like to build a hotel at Crocker Park next to the office building currently under construction on a 6.8 acre site at the corner of Crocker and Detroit Roads. The proposal requires a rezoning, which needs approval from the Westlake Planning Commission, City Council, and voters. The rezoning also includes a request to add the The Promenade shopping center to the adjacent Crocker Park PUD.

The City Club will host a two part series titled "The Changing Face of Cleveland". The first talk, on July 11, will be about University Circle and will feature Chris Ronayne. The second talk will be about arts districts and will be held one week later. The speakers will be Dan Cuffaro, Ned Hill, and Matt Zone.

The City of Cleveland plans to capitalize on the Euclid Corridor project and encourage reinvestment in lower Euclid Avenue by offering loans to aid in the redevelopment five mostly-vacant buildings. The recipients have not been identified, but the City has a working list of eight potential properties.

Construction of the new Diamond Business Center industrial park in Glenwillow will begin this week when work starts on a 400,000 square foot building. Developer Fred Geis described the 212 acre site as "the last large land tract that we know of in Cuyahoga County."

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Northeast Ohio must develop a strategy for attracting immigrants in order to revitalize the region's economy and staunch population losses.

The City of Shaker Heights plans to build a 1.5 mile multipurpose trail in the Shaker Boulevard median. It would form part of a trail network linking the Heights area with Cleveland's east side. Meanwhile, Bedford officials are preparing to begin work on a trail connecting City Hall to to Ellenwood Center.

Foreclosure filings in Ohio continue to outpace last year's figures. Filings in Cuyahoga County are up 14% from last year, and Ohio's foreclosure rate is almost triple the national average. Bill Callahan offers his analysis and additional data.

The Buffalo News describes a few of Cleveland's architectural highlights that may be of interest to tourists.

This morning's edition of The Sound of Ideas on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of the Towpath Trail and its planned completion through Cleveland. The guests were Ohio Canal Corridor Director Tim Donovan, Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent John Debo, and CPC Executive Director Paul Alsenas.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $11.1 million in grants, including $500,000 for the rehabilitation of the Capitol Theatre in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, $500,000 to redevelop the former Langston Hughes Library in Fairfax as the headquarters for Senior Outreach Services, and $200,000 for the planned visitor center and a development feasibility study for University Circle. The Foundation also gave a $750,000 loan to MidTown Cleveland for the acquisition and redevelopment of key parcels.

Yesterday's launch of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program attracted a crowd to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office in Columbus, as applicants camped out in line over the weekend for the first-come, first-served application process. The office opened at 8:00, and by 11:00 a.m., applications for 63 projects had been filed. 100 projects will be financed this year.

Roldo Bartimole feels that the people who would profit from the construction of a medical mart and a new convention center should pay for it, and also laments the Cleveland City Planning Commission's decision on the Cleveland Trust Tower. The Plain Dealer and Channel 3 present additional details about the vote to demolish the downtown skyscraper.

NOACA is hosting a series of public meetings across Northeast Ohio this month to gather input about strategies for the Job Access & Reverse Commute and New Freedom public transportation programs. The agency is also soliciting feedback via an online survey.

Recent Plain Dealer editorials say that "Greater Cleveland would benefit tremendously" from an expansion of the Continental Airlines hub at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, that the new Presidents' Council report on regionalism and equity is a "reminder that one of the most important goals of regional cooperation should be to improve the lives of as many people as possible," and that the planned Chagrin Falls arts district should make the Village "even more irresistible."

On Saturday, Channel 3 aired the local special Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface, part of a year-long effort to "showcase our region's most vital natural resource". The program is available online.

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