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October 2007 Archives

The City of Richmond Heights submitted names for five Euclid Creek tributaries to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. A decision is expected in several months.

In Boston Heights, two retail zoning issues will appear on next Tuesday's ballot as the result of referendums. Issue 51 is a vote on the retail rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club, and Issue 52 is about adding big box stores as a conditional use in retail business districts.

The Economist used Flint and Cleveland as examples of cities where "a faint spirit of change is wafting through some of the rustbelt's grimmest streets."

(via CEOs for Cities)

Avon City Council adopted a resolution approving the joint economic development zone that was stipulated in the Nagel Road I-90 interchange agreement. Membership in the zone is open to 15 other Cuyahoga and Lorain County communities.

(Update: The Morning Journal also published an article and an editorial.)

Steven Fong, dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design will leave his post in December to concentrate on opportunities at Khoury Levit Fong, his new firm. His plans to move the school's entire graduate program in architecture to Cleveland are now on hold.

Yesterday, a group of political and business leaders gathered to support Issue 14, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's renewal levy. If approved, it will generate $3.2 million per year for the next five years.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the new convention center and the Medical Mart belongs in downtown Cleveland, and not near University Circle.

The Urban Landscape Ecology Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is hosting an Ecological Landscaping Conference this week at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland.

Plans for the Flats east bank development continue to evolve. Demolition of the area's remaining structures is slated to begin in the winter or spring, and developer Scott Wolstein hopes to see much of the project completed by 2010.

The Cleveland Institute of Art unveiled the designs for an expansion of the McCullough Center on upper Euclid Avenue in University Circle. Designed by architect Winy Maas of MVRDV, the 80,000 square foot structure is scheduled to open in 2009.

As in 2005, local leaders are focusing their plans for a new convention center on two downtown Cleveland locations, a site near Tower City Center and the existing Convention Center. Officials with Merchandise Mart Properties are interested in exploring University Circle as a site for the convention center and Medical Mart.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that "a broad consensus of political, civic and business leaders now agrees that the exit ramp to Carnegie Avenue from Interstate 90 should remain open" and that Greater Cleveland Partnership "is preparing a case to take to the Federal Highway Administration."

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County may form a joint agency that would buy abandoned houses and keep them away from real estate speculators. The role of the proposed countywide land bank will be identified in a new study.

The Cities of Berea, Brook Park, and Strongsville decided to withdraw from the Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County and will revert to their former municipal senior transportation systems.

Developers are working to obtain municipal approval for the second phase of the Renaissance Park retail development in Strongsville. They continue to seek a TIF package for the 125,000 square foot project (PDF).

Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the Center for Creative Arts building at Cuyahoga County Community College's Metro Campus. The 75,000 square foot building is a joint project of Tri-C and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's scheduled to open in spring 2009.

Bedford officials are considering a rent subsidy program aimed at attracting new businesses to downtown Bedford.

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek met with Bishop Lennon to discuss the future of the St. Joseph Christian Life Center property.

Chagrin Falls Village Council unanimously voted to sell the village-owned properties on West Orange Street to developers Larry Shibley and Brad Remington. They plan to redevelop the site as Village View, a 14 unit luxury condominium project.

Residents of the Solon Park Apartments have begun circulating petitions in opposition of Bob Stark's plans for a mixed-use development. The plans include tearing down the apartments, but Stark has indicated that he intends to provide affordable housing in his proposed Garden District development.

Completion of the North Olmsted portion of the Crocker-Stearns connector has been pushed back from late 2007 to spring 2008.

On November 2, Mayor Deborah Sutherland of Bay Village will speak about regionalism at the City Club. Her talk is titled "Realistic Regionalism for a More Vibrant Economy".

If passed, Issue 25 in Streetsboro will establish a master plan review commission. The City may hire McKenna Associates to update its master plan.

A Geauga County developer agreed to purchase the 20.6 acre former Windsor Behavioral Hospital property in Chagrin Falls. He plans to build 35 single-family homes on the property.

County commissioners from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Medina Counties were guests on this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN, where they discussed regionalism and the fallout over the Avon I-90 interchange agreement.

Up to $40,000 has been made available to conduct an economic development study for the site of the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia. Mayor Kuchta stated that he would prefer the development to remain on hold until the study is completed.

When the new Wal-Mart at Steelyard Commons opens tomorrow, the 217,000 square foot store will become the company's first supercenter in Cuyahoga County. Dave's Markets responded by turning its store near Ridge Road and Denison Avenue into Dave's Mercado, a supermarket for the Hispanic community.

An agreement with Orion Capital Partners expired this summer, and yesterday, South Euclid City Council approved a development agreement with the Coral Company to redevelop the north side of Cedar Center as a mixed-use project. Demolition of the shopping center is expected to begin in fall 2008.

(Update: this week's Sun Messenger has more information.)

Financial concerns and competing priorities have led the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to reconsider their plans for a new county administration building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. If they can break even, they may sell the former Ameritrust complex to a private developer. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently asked the Commissioners to investigate the sale of the Cleveland Trust Tower to "a preservation-sensitive developer".

A Plain Dealer editorial supports Issue 14, a renewal levy for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

In an effort to reduce ozone levels, the Ohio EPA may mandate the use of a cleaner, but more expensive gasoline in the eight county Greater Cleveland area. High ozone numbers in 2007 are prompting the agency to consider the additional controls.

The Plain Dealer notes that if Lakewood officials opt to sell Kauffman Park for commercial development, it would be an unusual decision.

While reactions to the Avon I-90 interchange revenue sharing agreement differ, county commissioners in Lorain and Medina Counties are pressing for the elimination of the weighted vote at NOACA, and continue to investigate the possibility of withdrawing from the MPO. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners have indicated that they're willing to talk about reforms.

Brad Whitehead urges local leaders to "use this as a moment to spur the real conversation about how we want to involve and what steps we might take to focus on growing the resources of the region rather than moving them from one place to another."

The Solon Herald Sun presents additional details about Stark Enterprises' proposed Garden District development at Aurora and SOM Center Roads in Solon. The plans call for the demolition of the Solon Park Apartments, which does not please its tenants. Bob Stark also confirmed that he is attempting to purchase residential lots on Aurora and Bainbridge Roads.

Plans for the restoration of the landmark Variety Theater on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland continue to move forward. Cleveland City Council recently approved a $170,000 loan to the Friends of the Historic Variety Theater, and a West Side Sun editorial says that "the plans are creating ripples of excitement in the West 117th Street area."

The grand opening of the Tremont Pointe (PDF) mixed-income community was recently celebrated. The first phase of the Cleveland development includes 102 units. Additional phases at the former Valleyview Homes site will add another 218 units.

The renovation of the former Everready powerhouse at Battery Park is scheduled to begin later this month. When completed next year, it will house a community room, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

Mayor Luks of North Royalton would like the City to purchase a 30 acre undeveloped site on State Road for use as athletic fields. Some City Council members would prefer to instead work with the school district.

The Garfield Heights Board of Education approved an amended compensation agreement for payments in lieu of taxes in the Bridgeview Crossing TIF package. A $3 million dollar payment originally scheduled for June was shifted to December 31.

Maple Heights City Council may hire Cleveland State professor Robert Simons to conduct a study that would identify opportunities for economic development brought by the expansion of the Norfolk Southern intermodal terminal.

Last week, Bill Callahan launched Foreclosing Cleveland, a new weblog focused on the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland. It's intended to "document this ongoing civic disaster, its perpetrators, its consequences, and the efforts of Cleveland's people to overcome them."

The relocation study being conducted for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority identified a short list of three preferred sites for a possible move of the Port of Cleveland: a site along the west breakwall, a site at the northeast end of Burke Lakefront Airport, and a site site north of the East 55th Street marina. The new facility could be built on land created with Cuyahoga River dredge material.

Developers of the planned Flats east bank development have enlarged the project because of the high level of interest. It's now slated to include 800,000 square feet of offices, 280,000 square feet of retail, between 500 and 600 housing units, a 150 room hotel, a movie theater, a marina, and a park.

Target plans to build a 145,000 square foot store at the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center under construction in Garfield Heights. It is tentatively scheduled to open in October 2008.

Streetsboro voters will have the opportunity to vote on Issue 23 on November 6. The issue would officially establish the planning department in the city charter.

By a vote of 6-1, the Broadview Heights Board of Zoning Appeals approved a zoning variance that will permit developer Sam Petros to increase the size of anchor stores for his proposed retail development at Broadview and Royalton Roads.

The compromise agreement on the planned new I-90 interchange in Avon prompted Medina County leaders to talk about withdrawing from NOACA. Lorain County commissioners threatened to withdraw from the MPO last week.

Last night, Bob Stark unveiled plans for his proposed mixed-use Garden District at Aurora and SOM Center Roads in Solon. The 75 acre, $750 million development would include offices, retail, housing, an arts center, health facilities, college classrooms, a hotel, and a movie theater.

The new RTA Red Line rapid transit station at West 117th Street opened at 9:30 this morning. Its official name is the W. 117th St.–Madison Avenue Highland Square Rapid Station. RTA officials also announced that bicycles will now be allowed on the rapid during rush hour.

Construction of the Cliffs on Rocky River was approved by Lakewood and Cuyahoga County officials. The condominium development has grown from a planned 46 units to as many as 60 units. A new access road should be completed by next spring, with the first units ready for occupancy in late 2008.

(Update: the Lakewood Sun Post has more details.)

The Cleveland Clinic continues to appeal a 2005 ruling of the Ohio Tax Commissioner which declared that the Clinic's Cedar Road facility in Beachwood is not exempt from local property taxes. The case is expected to eventually go before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Sunday's Plain Dealer included a look at the changes in retail at Tower City Center since the mall opened in 1990 and an examination of what the future may hold for the mixed-use downtown landmark.

Members of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society are continuing their efforts to restore the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse on West 3rd Street in the Flats.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that ODOT is signaling that it would like to divert funding away from the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, and that local leaders need to "tell the Strickland administration that this idea has too much potential to brush aside."

The federal General Services Administration announced that it was not interested in using a proposed office building in the planned Flats east bank development, saying that it would be cheaper to retrofit the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building on East 9th Street.

The recent train derailment in Painesville has Cleveland officials talking again about an ordinance to reroute trains with hazardous cargo away from the City's most densely populated areas.

The NOACA Governing Board passed a resolution (PDF) approving the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, contingent upon the establishment of a revenue sharing plan. Prospective membership in the joint economic development zone was expanded to include eight Lorain County communities. Cleveland officials called the agreement "a giant step toward regional cooperation," but others feel that it may lead to NOACA's demise.

(Update: The Morning Journal and Plain Dealer have more details.)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sold the mortgage on the West Tech Lofts to a Philadelphia real estate firm. Representatives of the company will meet with the property's owners to decide their next steps.

University Circle Incorporated has raised nearly half of its $7 million target for the Bring Back Euclid Avenue campaign. UCI is also celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Troubled Waters, a new report from Environment Ohio, says that Ohio sewage plants and industrial facilities violated the Clean Water Act with more excessive and illegal discharges than any other state in 2005.

The prospects for a proposed retail development on a 16.3 acre site on Granger Road in Brooklyn Heights are dependent upon voters approving a liquor referendum. The entire Village is currently dry.

Some North Royalton residents expressed an interest in forming a nonprofit organization similar to the West Creek Preservation Committee to implement the priorities identified in the City's Greenways Plan.

In order for a rezoning issue to appear on the March ballot, Solon City Council must make a decision by December 17 about which of the two competing mixed-use development proposals to submit to voters. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Sears indicated that the company has no plans to relocate or close the store to make way for the Coral Co.'s proposed development, and a real estate company appears to be assembling Bainbridge Road residential properties on behalf of Stark Enterprises.

Several redevelopment projects underway along West 25th Street promise to breathe new life into the corridor.

This week's Free Times includes a look at the evolution of Cleveland's AsiaTown neighborhood and the plans of entrepreneurs and nonprofits to "put Cleveland's Chinatown on the nation's map."

In addition to considering a site in Brunswick, outdoors retailer Cabela's is rumored to be considering a proposed development in Twinsburg or Twinsburg Township for its first Northeast Ohio store.

Developers donated a seven acre parcel to Orange Village. In exchange, they were allowed to add 14 units to their planned Lakes of Orange housing development.

Avon leaders offered a compromise agreement intended to end the controversy over the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. In exchange for approving the interchange, an 800 acre joint economic development zone in Avon would be created by Avon, Cleveland, and six western Cuyahoga County suburbs. Under the proposal, if a company with a payroll of more than $1 million were to move from one of the member cities to the Avon development zone, the two cities would evenly split its income tax revenue for five years. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "region needs a coherent development strategy."

(Update: The Plain Dealer and Chronicle-Telegram report that officials are close to reaching a deal.)

A consultant told Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials that the port has "some potential" to handle container shipping. Most container traffic is handled by ports on the East and West Coasts, but those facilities are nearing capacity.

The Cleveland Metroparks received the 2007 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence from the National Recreation and Park Association. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the award "confirms what many already know: the Cleveland Metroparks system is a treasure."

The NOACA Governing Board is scheduled to vote on Friday on the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and Cleveland officials requested a weighted vote. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders say they will vote to disapprove the interchange unless a revenue sharing plan "that addresses the negative economic impacts on surrounding communities" is implemented. Two Lorain County commissioners responded by threatening to withdraw from NOACA.

Frank Jackson said that he's "not trying to pick a fight" over the interchange, but Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien and a Morning Journal editorial disagree with the tactics of Cuyahoga County leaders. Critics of NOACA say that the agency has not done enough to promote regional planning efforts.

Members of the Aurora Planning Commission have begun to review a draft of the City's new master plan. They are scheduled to discuss the plan at their November 7 meeting.

Developer Sam Petros is seeking a zoning variance from the Broadview Heights Board of Zoning Appeals that would allow him to increase the size anchor stores at his proposed retail development at Broadview and Royalton Roads. The maximum size store permitted in the code is 60,000 square feet, and he wants to build stores of 134,000 and 85,000 square feet.

A review of Northeast Ohio's economy by Team NEO found that the region's economy experienced modest growth over the last 15 years. The average growth of 2% per year lagged behind the national average of 3–3.5% growth. A Plain Dealer editorial says the report reminds us "how critical work force development and investment are for Ohio."

The City of Seven Hills has begun experimenting with permeable paving in an effort to reduce runoff and flooding.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the proposed collegetown development "would solidify Cleveland State University's neighborhood".

Cleveland Development Advisors obtained $25 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits. They will award the credits to businesses and banks that invest in catalytic developments in Cleveland.

The Solon Herald Sun explored the competing plans for mixed-use developments in Solon. Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. wants to demolish an existing shopping strip and 65 nearby homes, and hopes to get a rezoning issue on the March ballot. He answered questions from residents on Monday. Bob Stark of Stark Enterprises will present his $1 billion proposal to City Council on October 15. Meanwhile, another developer dropped his plans for a mixed-use development in Solon's southeast corner.

Last week, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners officially dissolved the dormant Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority, and is using its budget in an attempt to hire attorney Fred Nance to represent the county in Medical Mart and convention center negotiations.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis answered questions from Washington Post readers about his recent piece on the foreclosure crisis. The Economist also looked at the crisis in Maple Heights, describing it as "a community in collapse."

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary)

Developers of the planned North Royalton Town Center are expected to present a development plan to the North Royalton Planning Commission later this month. Plans for big box retail have been scaled back, with the largest store now at 87,000 square feet. The 619,000 square foot mixed-use development will include retail, office, and municipal space.

Neighbors of Greenbriar Crossing in Parma Heights are concerned that the proposed residential and retail development will increase runoff and traffic problems. The project is under review by the Parma Heights Planning Commission.

Neighbors of the recently closed St. Joseph Christian Life Center in Euclid are concerned about the future of the 12 acre site. They worry that the Catholic Diocese will board up the building and sell the lakefront property to developers.

Strongsville City Council dropped plans to extend Marks Road between Royalton Road and Albion Road. Mayor Perciak said that if the City "opened up Marks Road, it would become the Medina Highway."

Solon officials are scrutinizing the reintroduced plans for senior housing on a site adjacent to Hawthorne Valley Country Club. If they approve the proposal, the proposed rezoning will go before voters.

Work is continuing on Fairview Park's Gemini Project, and with the opening of the new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School, preparations are underway for the demolition of Garnett and Coffinberry schools. Once the buildings are demolished, the properties will be sold for redevelopment.

Orange residents may have the opportunity to vote on a rezoning issue for the proposed Woodland Preserve development in November 2008, instead of the March vote that the developers initially wanted.

(Update: this week's Chagrin Herald Sun has more details.)

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove again asserted that the Clinic intends to build a facility in Avon, regardless of whether the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road is approved.

The City of Shaker Heights agreed to pay $50,000 to settle an ADA lawsuit filed by Disabled Patriots of America. The organization filed many similar lawsuits against other local organizations earlier this year. Critics have referred to their tactics as "drive-by litigation".

Ned Hill will serve as interim dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State, succeeding Mark Rosentraub, who stepped down last week.

Developers hope to break ground in November on a building to support the expansion of the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center at University Circle. It will include 150,000 square feet of office space, a 122 bed residence for homeless veterans, and a 2,080 space parking garage.

After two years of work, excavation of the Krejci Dump in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is nearing completion. The environmental cleanup should be completed by fall 2008 if additional contamination is not discovered.

At its final meeting, the Aurora Master Plan Review Commission approved a set of recommendations that include developing a sidewalk plan, establishing an economic development department, and implementing a streetscape project. The draft master plan will now go before the Aurora Planning Commission.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland will both benefit from the recent water main agreement.

In addition to the Coral Co.'s plans to build a lifestyle center on SOM Center Road in Solon, Stark Enterprises will soon introduce plans for a competing vision. Robert Stark says he wants to redevelop Solar Center at the southeast corner of SOM Center and Aurora Roads. His plans for the 75 acre site feature retail (including two department stores), a hotel, homes, and office space.

(Update: WKYC's Tom Beres interviewed Bob Stark and Peter Rubin.)

Steven Litt describes the latest designs for the new CSU College of Education and Human Services building at Euclid Avenue and East 25th Street as a building that "will be a supporting player, not a star."

WCPN reported on the continuing controversy over the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and devoted yesterday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the issue, asking, "Are we coming together as a region, or are we still tied to parochial interests?" Also yesterday, Elyria City Council declined to vote on a resolution opposing the interchange.

The American Public Transportation Association gave its 2007 Outstanding Public Transportation Achievement Award to RTA, recognizing it as the best large transit agency in North America for 2007.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, American City & County's County Leader of the Year, wrote an op-ed about the foreclosure crisis that appeared in Sunday's Washington Post. It begins, "Let me tell you about a place called Slavic Village and the death of a girl named Cookie Thomas. You've never heard this story before -- talk of housing markets and hedge funds, interest rates and the Federal Reserve has drowned it out."

Cleveland school officials are preparing a revised school construction plan that includes construction changes and a request for voters to approve an extension of the bond issue. They expect to exhaust the existing $1 billion budget by 2012.

The Coral Co. has obtained over 40 acres of land for Central Parc, its proposed 90 acre lifestyle center in Solon, and hopes that the first stores will open in 2011. A rezoning issue for the site may appear on the March ballot.

The Plain Dealer explored the emerging arts and cultural district along Waterloo Road and its rejuvenating effects on North Collinwood.

Westlake City Council approved a contract for a study that will analyze the implications of switching water providers from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Leaders in Bay Village and North Olmsted are considering whether to join the study.

The Plain Dealer examined John D. Rockefeller's relationship with Cleveland and identified the places where his impact can be seen.

Scene asked if the possible development of Kauffman Park in Lakewood will reduce the City's amount of greenspace, and Mayor George replied that there will be no net loss of park areas.

(Update: The Plain Dealer has more details.)

The latest World of Opportunity video from the Greater Cleveland Partnership is available at Advance Northeast Ohio. It highlights planned and in progress developments across the City of Cleveland.

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