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September 2007 Archives

Mark Rosentraub is stepping down as dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, but will remain on the college's faculty. An interim dean could be named as early as the middle of next week.

Several developers are quietly working to build a "collegetown" on Euclid Avenue across from Cleveland State University. They plan to eventually build 300 housing units and 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

At his lecture at Case Western Reserve yesterday, Robert Bruegmann said that urban sprawl is neither new nor bad. He was also optimistic about Cleveland's future, saying, "Unless the opportunity is squandered, unless the remarkable investment in assets is squandered, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are poised to do very remarkable things in the 21st century."

This afternoon, University Hospitals broke ground on the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood. The project's first phase, a 144 bed hospital, should be finished in 2010. When completed, the hospital will have 600 beds.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta declared that "the stadium issue is dead." He said a lack of investments from developers of the proposed soccer stadium complex and an environmental impact study performed by the National Park Service changed his mind about the project.

North Royalton City Council is considering a measure that would require wetlands or riparian areas lost to development to be remediated within the City. If suitable sites are unavailable, mitigation could be done outside of the City.

The North Royalton Greenways Plan remains stuck in a City Council committee because its sponsors fear that City Council would not approve it.

North Royalton officials will request another extension for meeting job creation requirements in a grant the City received for the York Road industrial park. The City will have to repay the grant if it is unable to obtain the extension.

Cleveland City Council is expected to vote on a $1.5 million Core City loan for the planned $6.7 million renovation of the Capitol Theater at West 65th Street and Detroit Avenue.

The master planning process for John Carroll University is taking longer than expected. Sasaki Associates is preparing the plan and is currently gathering information. Representatives from the University and Sasaki are scheduled to meet with community leaders next month and plan to hold a community meeting in late November or early December.

Making progress on planned lakefront developments is a priority for Euclid City Council. The Executive & Finance Committee passed a resolution stating that the project should include a marina, public access, a boardwalk, a lakeside restaurant, and public parking.

The Cleveland Heights Landmarks Commission designated the 1896 Elizabeth Keyes Churchill House on Chestnut Hills Drive as a Cleveland Heights Landmark.

The 2008 Northeast Ohio Stormwater Conference will be held on May 21 and 22 at the Tri-C Eastern Campus in Highland Hills. Conference organizers are currently accepting abstracts (PDF) from people interested in speaking at the event.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections unanimously upheld a protest by the Westlake school board and removed an advisory zoning issue from the November ballot. City officials have not decided if they will appeal the decision.

With the Hanna Theatre scheduled to close in December for renovations, the Plain Dealer looks back at the theater's history and presents a photo gallery.

Leaders of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District continue to promote the idea of regionalizing stormwater management in Greater Cleveland. Municipalities are currently responsible for stormwater issues, and NEORSD asserts that a regional approach could help communities meet federal EPA requirements.

At a meeting with state officials, Northeast Ohio economic development experts shared their dissatisfaction with the funding formulas for the Ohio Job Ready Sites program, which they say encourage urban sprawl.

The unstable slopes of Irishtown Bend in Cleveland forced the closure of Riverbed Street in 2005 and threaten to collapse an aging 60 inch sewer pipe. Rick Switalski, manager of sewer design for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, says that "Failure is imminent, and we have to do something right away."

The Cleveland Section of the Ohio Planning Conference continues its sponsorship of American Planning Association web conferences with a program on LEED for neighborhoods on October 3 at NOACA. It is free for OPC members and guests. Information about additional web conferences can be found on the OPC events calendar.

The Plain Dealer depicts the Rocky River Harbor neighborhood in Lakewood and Rocky River as a quirky and colorful place.

The City of Solon and the Cleveland Metroparks are working to add 14 acres to the 72 acre North Branch Preserve. The preserve is adjacent to the Metroparks' South Chagrin Reservation.

Cleveland will host a satellite Bioneers conference at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University on October 19-21. The event, which focuses on sustainability, will feature satellite feeds of speakers and several tours of local environmental highlights.

The Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland reached a deal on the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement proposed by Cleveland officials. The cities had been negotiating for over a year.

The Coral Co. wants to build a mixed-use lifestyle center in Solon on land east of SOM Center Road between Solon and Bainbridge Roads. Residents on Sharondale, West Sharondale, and Jaclyn Drives report that the company wants to buy their houses and raze them to make way for the development.

Despite the threat of a presidential veto, the US Senate approved the Water Resources Development Act, a bill authorizing $23 billion in water resource projects, by a vote of 81 to 12.

Some analysts say that Cedar Fair's decision to close Geauga Lake can be attributed to the company's dismantling of the marine park.

Crain's Cleveland Business examined the Medical Forum in Birmingham, Alabama, an unsuccessful attempt in the early 1990s to establish a medical showroom facility similar to the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland.

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will speak to the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance on October 1 at 1:30 p.m. at US Bank Center on Euclid Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

The Plain Dealer suggested that Cleveland's decision to keep Burke Lakefront Airport open was influenced by the City's desire to please Continental Airlines. Cleveland Director of Port Control Ricky Smith appeared on Monday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN to discuss airport issues.

A NOACA air quality subcommittee issued its recommendations (PDF) for bringing the area into attainment with federal fine particle pollution standards, and AMATS is finalizing a similar set of recommendations. The recommendations include establishing a voluntary program for retrofitting diesel engines.

(Update: AMATS issued its recommendations.)

In an apparent effort get the delayed project started, the planned reconstruction and calming of the West Shoreway has been divided into two phases. Rising prices have created a $15 million funding shortfall for the first phase.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a development plan for the Warehouse District on Friday. The plan establishes design concepts for streets, sidewalks, and nearby land. It calls for adding greenspace, enhancing the neighborhood's sense of place, and improving its pedestrian friendliness.

With the Euclid Corridor project scheduled for completion next year, reinvestment in Euclid Avenue buildings is underway. The Victory Building at East 71st Street will be converted to loft apartments with ground floor retail, and Cuyahoga County provided an $800,000 construction loan for University Lofts, 30 apartments on the upper floors of two buildings at 2010 and 2020 Euclid.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $13.5 million in grants, including $1 million to Case Western Reserve University for the development of the University Arts and Retail District, $150,000 to Neighborhood Progress Inc. to support its foreclosure prevention and abandoned property redevelopment initiative, and $70,000 to Baldwin-Wallace College for the southwest Cuyahoga County fire service regionalization project.

Growing Cooler, a new report published by the Urban Land Institute, concludes that "urban development is both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it."

The Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square will undergo a $20 million renovation. Work could begin as soon as December and be completed by next fall.

A coalition of Canadian environmental groups issued the Great Lakes Blueprint (PDF), a report that calls on Canadian governments to do more to clean up and protect the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

(via Listen to Your Lakes)

Developers revealed a shortlist of six architecture firms as candidates to design the Arts and Retail District in University Circle. It includes several highly respected national firms, and the developers may select more than one. They expect to make a decision in a week to ten days.

Professor Robert Bruegmann will give a free public lecture titled "Cleveland and Sprawl: A Global Perspective" on September 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Thwing Center ballroom at Case Western Reserve University. His most recent book, Sprawl: A Compact History, offers a contrarian view of urban sprawl.

On Monday, several Cleveland Heights councilmembers spoke out against the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

The Jacobs Group has begun the construction of Avon Crossing, a 270,000 square foot shopping center at I-90 and State Route 83. It will be anchored by a 140,000 square foot Lowe's and a 100,000 square foot J.C. Penney store.

TransCon Builders reintroduced its proposal to build a senior housing subdivision next to Hawthorne Valley Country Club in Solon. The development was rejected by voters in May. They expanded the proposal to cover as many as 184 new homes on 61.6 acres, but also pledged that the country club would be preserved as a golf course or a park.

An earlier agreement with a consulting firm collapsed, so Walton Hills Village Council reopened its search for economic development assistance.

Several Edgerton Road residents in North Royalton want the City to buy their homes because of potential flash flooding dangers identified in a recent report (PDF).

The Cleveland Cultural Garden Committee approved the creation of an Albanian garden in the Cultural Gardens at Cleveland's Rockefeller Park. The area's Albanian-American community has begun raising funds for its design.

Fuchs Mizrachi School will move from University Heights to a 10 acre site on Shaker Boulevard in Beachwood. Beachwood City Council approved preliminary site plans for the new school.

Frank Jackson announced yesterday that Burke Lakefront Airport will remain open indefinitely. A master plan for the airport should be completed next month. Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer says that keeping the airport open will channel residential development into downtown Cleveland.

Mayor Jackson also wants to develop the area around Cleveland Hopkins Airport as an "aerotropolis" of aviation-related businesses. Channel 3's Tom Beres interviewed Ricky Smith, Director of the Cleveland Department of Port Control.

Channel 3 reports that one of the sites being considered for the Cleveland Medical Mart is the Cleveland Trust Tower in downtown Cleveland. It could replace the plans to demolish the tower for a new Cuyahoga County administration building.

A Morning Journal editorial says that fighting the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is "the worst thing Elyria City Council could do for their town's future."

After skipping a year, the Texas Transportation Institute published its Urban Mobility Report for 2007. As in previous years, Cleveland fared very well in the report. Traffic congestion worsened nationwide, and Cleveland's annual delay per traveler rose from 10 hours to 13 hours, well below the national average of 38 hours.

As Ohio remains among the states with the highest foreclosure rates, Britain's The Guardian examined the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on Cleveland. The Free Times also continued its foreclosure coverage with a look at the work of the East Side Organizing Project. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Cleveland State professor Kathleen Engel says that "Cleveland cannot afford to wait for federal solutions to the subprime problems that are dogging the city."

This morning's Sound of Ideas on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of sustainable living and ways that people can reduce their carbon footprints.

As Hudson's First & Main development celebrates its third anniversary, the Hudson Hub Times looks back at its history. Planning is underway for phase two of Hudson's downtown development vision.

Geauga County's Amish residents object to a proposed road widening in Middlefield Township because they want to preserve the area's rural character. A Plain Dealer editorial says, "It's not going to be a simple task for Geauga County to balance its efforts to promote industry and its obligation to protect the rights of Amish people to live as they wish."

The Plain Dealer compared Cuyahoga County's decision to use a sales tax increase to pay for a new convention center with funding mechanisms employed by other cities.

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners received a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to conduct a bioswale demonstration project in Orange.

Continental Airlines announced on Friday that it will embark on a $50 million expansion of its Cleveland Hopkins hub. Ohio offered $16 million in incentives to support the expansion. It's expected to provide 700 new jobs, a 40% increase in capacity, and 20 new nonstop destinations. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "unambiguously fantastic news".

At the request of the City of Avon, the NOACA Governing Board postponed a vote on the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road until October 12. On Friday, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove spoke in support of the interchange, while Elyria Mayor Bill Grace stated his opposition. The City of Cleveland submitted a written response (MS Word) to the final economic assessment (PDF, 14 MB) prepared by consultants. Elyria City Council, meanwhile, will consider a resolution opposing the interchange at its October 1 meeting.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta expects that the proposed soccer stadium complex will not be built in the near future. He also wants to conduct an economic development study for the Route 8 corridor.

(Update: The News-Leader has more details.)

Mayor Blomquist of Olmsted Falls says that the City is continuing its efforts to establish a railroad quiet zone. Residents would like the process to move faster.

A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council looked at ten cities in eastern and southern half of the U.S. and says that global warming will increase their number of days with high ozone levels. Cleveland "would see 11 more days per summer that exceed the EPA's standard."

Wade Trim completed the Stream Assessment for Chippewa Creek (PDF) it prepared for the City of Brecksville. City officials say that it will take three years to implement the first phase of the report's recommendations, and six to seven years to complete them all.

Now that Broadview Heights enacted fees to fund stormwater projects, City officials will begin to prioritize the projects.

Traffic consultants suggested rebuilding the I-480 interchange at Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn as a diverging diamond design. The only diverging diamond interchange in the world is in Versialles, France, though one is under construction in Kansas City. A stakeholders meeting will be held next month.

Cleveland City Council is expected to renew a purchase agreement with Marous Development for the former Fifth Church of Christ Scientist building on West 117th Street. The property may become more attractive for redevelopment if the adjacent Giant Eagle store were to close when a nearby new store opens.

Developers of the proposed Woodland Preserve development in Orange were informed that they "don't have a chance" of putting a rezoning issue on the March ballot. Stelex Equities is expected to present their plans to Village Council on October 3.

Mayor Welo assured South Euclid residents that the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council will not build a proposed recreation center if they are unable to align grant funding.

A U.S. District Court judge stayed the lawsuit by St. Maron's Church against the City of Independence until December 12. City officials have until then to decide if they will authorize the construction of a new church at the Marycrest site on Brookside Road. If the City refuses, then the case will proceed in December.

Leaders in Strongsville are discussing the City's lack of sidewalks.

Officials from North Olmsted and Westlake report that construction of the Crocker-Stearns connector is on schedule for its planned September 2009 completion.

Brunswick officials are waiting to hear if I-71 at Center Road has been selected as the site of a Ohio's first Cabela's store.

An analysis of American Community Survey data by NODIS at Cleveland State University found that between 2000 and 2006, Greater Cleveland experienced an employment shift from manufacturing to the service sectors and a decline in the area's household income levels. A Plain Dealer editorial describes it as a "deepening of a distressing trend in Northeast Ohio".

Peter Annin, the author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, was recently in town, and he spoke to WSKU's Karen Schaefer about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Akron's water diversions.

Canadian officials budgeted $315,000 to study the proposed Lake Erie ferry that would link the Mentor Headlands Beach State Park area to Port Burwell, Ontario.

Michael Gill of the Free Times examined the construction boom in arts and culture facilities across Northeast Ohio, a "wave of construction projects that has washed over the cultural landscape in the last few years."

A coalition of local leaders have proposed designating the entire Connecticut Western Reserve as a National Historic Area. The designation could bring an annual $1 million in federal funds for ten years to the the area that covers all or part of 13 Northeast Ohio counties.

(via Advance Northeast Ohio)

The Ohio Foreclosure Task Force has published its recommendations for addressing the statewide foreclosure crisis as a final report (PDF) that includes tasking the State with spending $2 million for immediate efforts, among other proposals. The report also views the possible aftermath of the mortgage meltdown, including the possibility of assessing whether some neighborhoods should remain residential.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that current foreclosure rates are the highest on record, with Ohio, exacerbated by subprime lending and increased job losses, posting the highest levels seen in their surveys. These rates may be levelling off, but predominately-black neighborhoods, with homebuyers who are systematically-charged higher interest rates than white borrowers, may endure an even rougher future.

Four new developments in the Greater Cleveland area will become pilot projects for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Neighborhood Development program to build sustainable neighborhoods. These projects are:

(Via Tech Futures)

NASA has approved the $150 million redesign of the NASA Glenn Research Center. The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will be the master developer overseeing the 20-year program that will transform the facility.

Several municipalities in Cuyahoga County are attempting to address stormwater issues in different ways:

Meanwhile, grass-roots efforts are spurring different approaches as illustrated by South Euclid's and Broadview Heights' examination of "green infrastructure" methods such as rain barrels and Brecksville's construction of a stormwater facility.

A new redevelopment plan could come to fruition for South Amherst's Cleveland Quarries site now that the property's owner, American Stone Industries, will be sold to Industrial Realty Group. Plans for a scaled-back mixed use redevelopment of the land are still forthcoming.

University Circle and Little Italy can be transformed by RTA's new E. 120th Street rapid station, according to Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer.

A $36 million building for the College of Education and Human Services is being designed to fulfill part of the Cleveland State University campus master plan. The facility will open by Spring 2010.

Environmental advocates assert that the state needs to install more monitors for urban neighborhoods near industrial areas that experience high levels of air pollution.

Although a councilman is questioning the plans, developers of the proposed lakefront Harbor Town project in Euclid are optimistic about its future. They hope to begin clearing the property in the next 60 days so that they can start construction next spring.

Solon officials say that several developers are interested in building a lifestyle center somewhere in Solon.

With funding in place, work on the first phase of the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan is beginning. It's expected to continue through spring 2008.

Shaker Heights City Council hired The Planning Partnership of Toronto to conduct traffic study along with a land use and implementation plan for the intersection of Van Aken Boulevard and Warrensville Road. A public meeting is tentatively scheduled for next month.

The City of Shaker Heights is entering the second phase of its infill housing program with the construction of a single-family house on Lidholm Road.

Some Orange leaders are not pleased with how information about the proposed Woodland Preserve development was released, and that Mayor Mulcahy met with the developer for months prior to last month's presentation.

The Westlake Board of Education filed a formal protest of the advisory rezoning issue that City Council wants to put on the November ballot. The Board claims that the submission violated the city charter and that the advisory issue would be "inaccurate and grossly misleading to the electorate." The Board of Elections is scheduled to review the objection at its September 17 meeting.

Construction of the first building on the Foltz Extension in the Strongsville Business & Technology Park has started. The CSC Group is building a new 48,500 square foot headquarters, which they plan to complete in about a year.

Mayor Welo of South Euclid offered to personally pay the startup fees for the South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District's entry into the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council. This fall, the mayors of Richmond Heights, South Euclid, and University Heights will meet with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones to discuss funding sources. They hope to build a new recreation center without the use of local tax dollars.

Demolition of the South Euclid side of Cedar Center is expected to begin this winter. The City is attempting to obtain grants for environmental cleanup of the site.

The groundbreaking for Judson's South Franklin Circle active retirement community in Bainbridge is scheduled for September 20. Phase one construction of the 88 acre development is expected to end in September 2009, with the second phase to be completed by September 2010.

The Brookings Institution marked the start of the annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago by releasing a cost-benefit analysis of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. It concludes that a $26 billion investment in Great Lakes restoration would yield a $50 billion long-term economic benefit and between $30 and $50 billion in short term multiplier benefits.

(Update: The Detroit News offers additional details.)

The Plain Dealer profiled Ryan McKenzie's efforts to make the CityWheels carsharing service a success.

The New York Times took a close look at how the foreclosure crisis is harming Maple Heights, describing it as the epicenter of subprime mortgage meltdown.

The new Towpath Trail segment through Steelyard Commons in Cleveland was formally dedicated yesterday. Steelyard Commons will hold a grand opening celebration (PDF) on Thursday.

(Update: The West Side Sun News offers additional details about the dedication and the grand opening.)

RTA revealed its plans for a new rapid station at East 120th Street in Little Italy. In addition to a new station, the plans prepared by Studio Techne feature transit-oriented development elements including a parking garage, a transit transfer station, retail space, and apartments. The plans also offer a first glimpse of massings for the Arts and Retail District in University Circle, including tentative footprints of new buildings for MOCA and and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

The Plain Dealer examined the history and the myths surrounding several streets across Greater Cleveland with unusual names.

Adam Wasserman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority appeared on Sunday's Between the Lines on Channel 3 to talk about the Port's new strategic plan.

Several Greater Cleveland counties continue to report ozone levels that exceed federal standards. An average of readings from 2007 through 2009 will be used to determine compliance with federal ozone limits.

Researchers are trying to identify the sources of high bacteria counts at Greater Cleveland beaches. Some suspect that droppings from Canada geese may be part of the problem.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that high-performance building and advanced energy projects underway in Greater Cleveland "mix alternative energy with economic development—two things Cuyahoga County desperately needs."

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