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April 2011 Archives

Components of Lincoln Electric's new wind turbine were unloaded at the Port of Cleveland on Monday. The 2.5-megawatt turbine was built by Kenersys of Germany and will be erected at the Lincoln Electric headquarters in Euclid.

Dan Moulthrop and Luke Frazier of the Civic Commons spoke with Cuyahoga County Deputy Chief of Staff Nathan Kelly about the County's recently-announced $100 million economic development fund. The Foundation Center's Cynthia Bailie talked to Christine Amer Mayer of Akron's GAR Foundation about the foundation's involvement in economic development. With the State of Ohio poised to spend $1.4 billion on economic development this year, USA Today compared Ohio's approach with those of other states.

The May issue of Cleveland Magazine includes a profile of Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin and a piece by Michael Roberts on the history of downtown Cleveland planning problems.

Construction of the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland began earlier this month, and new items have been added to the design-build process. The Ohio Department of Transportation added an $850,000 catwalk to the bridge, and contractor Walsh Construction says that an additional $1.3 million is needed for an Ontario Street ramp.

Baldwin-Wallace College and the City of Berea are considering plans to renovate the old Hanson House on East Bagley Road as the R. Amelia Harding House. The $2.1 million project would employ green building techniques to convert it to a sustainability learning center and residence hall.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Eric Wobser of Ohio City Incorporated describes the emerging artisan economy in Cleveland.

Update: Fresh Water looked at its growth along Lorain Avenue.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Pokorny ruled that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has the authority to implement its stormwater management program, but did not rule on a challenge by several suburban communities. The district filed for a declaratory judgment in January 2010. Judge Pokorny's decision (PDF) removes seven Summit County communities from the program. The Summit County Engineer's Office continues to develop its own stormwater management program.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourages communities to work cooperatively instead of through the courts.

The Cleveland Browns unveiled a redevelopment concept for 20 acres north of Cleveland Browns Stadium in downtown Cleveland. The team intends to act as a catalyst for the mixed-use lakefront development, and its initial vision for what it is calling the Lakefront District includes mixed-use structures, athletic facilities, additional parking, a covered walkway, and possibly a sports medicine center. Steven Litt encouraged the Browns to set high design standards, consultants said that the project could be successful, but Roldo Bartimole described it as a case of corporate welfare. The Browns posted video and a transcript of the Wednesday press conference.

Update: editorials in the Plain Dealer and Morning Journal found the premise enticing. Michael Roberts, on the other hand, called it "curious and alarming news."

State legislation scheduled to be introduced this spring would allow Ohio townships or counties to merge. It would not affect potential mergers involving cities or villages.

RTA will discontinue its two Weekly Shopper shuttle routes due to low ridership. Service on the Cleveland/Lakewood and West Park routes will end in late April.

Putting Artists on the Map, a five-part research series from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, examines the housing and space preferences of Cuyahoga County artists. The first three parts are available. Part one (PDF) is a summary report, part two (PDF) describes the neighborhoods that have concentrations of artists, and part three (PDF) focuses on survey results.

Update: Part four (PDF) presents a model of neighborhood characteristics. Part five (PDF) looks at artists' housing preferences.

Update 2: Fresh Water summarized the findings.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the Euclid Creek Tunnel. Construction of the $197 million project, designed to reduce combined sewer overflows, is scheduled to begin this month and continue for four years.

The Center for Public Management at CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs prepared a study (PDFs: executive summary, complete report) on the feasibility of developing an aerotropolis around Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. It says that the area "has potential as an aerotropolis, but its particular challenges require the development of a strategy that fits the Cleveland area's unique strengths and needs."

The Ohio City Near West Development Corporation is changing its name to Ohio City Incorporated, and will launch a new website on April 29.

When Giant Eagle opens its new store in Broadview Heights next year, the company intends to close its store on Chippewa Road in Brecksville.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation of the Flats east bank site in Cleveland is complete and that the 20-are property is ready for redevelopment (PDF).

Funding for the Clean Ohio program will expire in 2012 if the program is not renewed. Joe Koncelik considered the future of the Clean Ohio brownfields fund.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport officials unveiled a new 25-year master plan at a public workshop on Thursday. It recommends a variety of improvements, including a new hotel and an above-ground connection between concourses C and D. A Morning Journal editorial says that "pursuing big plans to make Hopkins a more desirable airpor [sic] makes good sense." Ricky Smith, director of Cleveland's Department of Port Control, is scheduled to speak at the City Club on April 20.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business and WKSU provided more details.

Update 2: the City Club posted audio (MP3, 52.9 MB) and video of Ricky Smith's talk.

On Thursday, the South Euclid Planning Commission unanimously voted to rezone 40.7 acres of the former Oakwood Club property from residential to retail for the proposed Oakwood Commons development and to change the City's comprehensive plan (PDF). The issue now moves to City Council, which will hold public hearings (PDF) on May 18 and May 25.

The Ohio EPA introduced its new brownfield inventory database. The web-based system is intended to aid in the identification and redevelopment (PDF) of brownfield sites and includes information about cleanup status, infrastructure improvements, historical land uses, and other subjects. Meanwhile, the state's Office of Strategic Research published its 2011 Ohio County Profiles. The document features demographic information gathered from more than 50 sources.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman outlined a new strategic business plan to the Port's Maritime Committee. It identifies four markets for growth, which Crain's Cleveland Business describes as "land- and marine-based wind energy development, especially in light of plans for a wind farm in Lake Erie north of Cleveland; new ferry service across Lake Erie from Canada; a shuttle service that would bring containers from Europe and beyond into the Port of Cleveland; and an increase in steel and other traditional lake cargo." He expects that the plan will be completed in the next 60 days.

The new University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland is scheduled to open in June and will host an open house on Sunday. The $260 million tower has 120 beds, and the 375,000-square-foot facility will triple UH's space devoted to cancer services. A Plain Dealer editorial says it "adds a logistical jewel to Cleveland's medical crown."

In a meeting facilitated by Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald, local mayors met with NEORSD officials to discuss the agency's contentious stormwater management program. Both sides agreed to to participate in mediation.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray met with northwest Ohio leaders and spoke about the proposed privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.

Greater Ohio's response to Governor Kasich's proposed 2012-2013 state budget says that "budget cuts MUST be combined with strategic and targeted investments" and suggests policy and legislative changes (PDF) for modernizing local government.

A piece of legislation being prepared for Cleveland City Council consideration includes complete streets and green streets components. If adopted, it would allow the City to incorporate access considerations and environmental design features into its planning process.

Fresh Water looked at how Cleveland artists are using temporary pop-up shops to revive vacant storefronts, market their wares, and establish connections.

The Tony Hawk Foundation contributed $25,000 for the planned Cleveland Skateboard Park in the Flats. It's the project's first major private donation.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council approved $70 million for new transportation projects (PDF), making several changes to the draft recommendations it approved in December. In addition to the controversial withdrawal of $51.8 million from the Cincinnati streetcar project, the TRAC rejected the $7.1 million it earlier recommended for the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program in Cleveland and Lakewood. Local projects that were funded include the Pearl Road widening project in Strongsville and the planned widening of I-271 in southern Cuyahoga County.

The City of Avon intends to assess 105 property owners for up to a third of the price of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The assessments were not part of the original funding scheme for the interchange, but rising costs have led the City to pursue the assessments. Property owners say that the proposed assessments are unfair, while Mayor Smith counters that they are getting a good deal. Residents opposed to the assessments attended a City Council meeting on Monday and a recent City Council work session.

At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz looked at how the City of Cleveland is making policy changes to support vacant land reuse efforts.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $206,675 Clean Ohio grant to the City of Cleveland for a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment of the former Warner & Swasey property on Carnegie Avenue.

The fiscal year 2011 federal budget compromise includes $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Update: Great Lakes advocates said that the agreement represents a significant achievement.

Cleveland Public Power filed an application with the EPA for an air permit for the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Cleveland.

More than 100 people attended a Thursday FutureHeights forum prompted by the proposed Oakwood Commons development. At the event, Terry Schwarz, Hunter Morrison, and Ed Jerse spoke about land use, regionalism, urban sprawl, and the importance of master planning.

Update: video of the forum is now available.

Uncertainty about state policies could delay planned casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Governor Kasich has not finalized casino taxes and fees, and developer Rock Gaming says that his indecision is making it difficult for them to obtain financing.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Governor "Kasich is being an uncharacteristic drag on private investment," while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that he is "pursuing the evaluation that should have been conducted in the first place." On Wednesday, Governor Kasich indicated that he may ask casino developers for additional up-front payments.

Update 2: Governor Kasich said that Ohio "got a bad deal" and that casino developers were "crying wolf". State officials selected two firms as advisors on gambling-related issues.

The Akron Beacon Journal provides more details about the new Thriving Communities Institute at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

After a brief delay, the National Park Service published the Western Reserve Heritage Feasibility Study on Friday. It concludes that the 14-county area is neither suitable nor feasible for national designation. The document is open to public comment through May 5.

In a new paper, Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution used Greater Cleveland as one of three examples of metropolitan areas that are "engaged in practical, smart, and self-starting efforts to grow the economy that are all about pragmatic, bottom-up problem solving at a time when the ills of top-down, business-as-usual economic affairs have become increasingly apparent." Brad Whitehead of the Fund for Our Economic Future presented Northeast Ohio's strategy today at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C.

The City of Lakewood issued a request for proposals for the the redevelopment of the 1.5-acre former Spitzer dealership on Detroit Avenue. The City will "entertain redevelopment proposals of this site for commercial, mixed use or residential and the proposal should not be limited solely by the existing zoning designation."

Participants on last Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed sustainable urban development, and on Thursday talked about the implications of the 2010 Census figures.

The City of University Heights will establish a blue-ribbon economic development committee. Mayor Infeld will appoint its members by June 15. The City of Shaker Heights hopes to create a high-end office corridor along Warrensville Road, and hired Allegro Realty Advisors to develop economic development strategies.

In the first State of the County Address, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald laid out plans to create a $100 million economic development fund, facilitate municipal collaborations, and support education and community safety programs. He said that his agenda represents "a sweeping and ambitious plan for the recovery of Cuyahoga County."

Update: the text and presentation from County Executive FitzGerald's speech are now online. The City Club posted audio (MP3, 52.1 MB) and video of the event.

This May, Global Cleveland plans to open the Cleveland International Welcome Center in a Euclid Avenue storefront of 200 Public Square, the former BP Building. It will serve as an information and resource center for immigrants and as the headquarters for recruitment efforts. The organization has raised more than $1 million to support the initiative, including $500,000 from Huntington Bank.

Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution was the keynote speaker at last week's annual meeting of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. He delivered a message (PDF, 13.3 MB) about a vision for the next American economy, and described how it will be based on metropolitan areas and driven by exports.

Through its new two-year Artists in Residents Initiative, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture will invest $500,000 in one Cleveland neighborhood. It will provide small grants and loans to artists to purchase or renovate homes and to support community based-projects. The selected neighborhood will be announced in July. The program is supported by a $250,000 grant from Leveraging Investments in Creativity of New York.

The City of Cleveland Heights completed work on four houses it was renovating through the use of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. The houses are now on the market, and proceeds from the sales will be used to renovate or demolish other neglected houses. The City of South Euclid is finalizing the sale of the first house renovated through its Green Neighborhoods Initiative.

Update: information about renovated homes in 11 Cuyahoga County cities is available through the Ideal Homes Program.

In addition to its Ukrainian Village established in 2009, the City of Parma may designate a 0.9-mile stretch of Ridge Road as its Polish Village. It could be dedicated as early as this May.

Update: Parma City Council approved its creation.

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