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July 2011 Archives

The Ohio Department of Development awarded more than $23.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 13 projects, including three in Cleveland. The Middough Building received $4.8 million, the University Towers Apartments received $2 million, and the Joseph & Feiss Warehouse received $995,334.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business says that the award could revive the Joseph & Feiss renovation project.

The U.S. Census Bureau released Census 2010 Summary File 1 data for Ohio. It includes detailed tables on "age, sex, households, families, relationship to householder, housing units, detailed race and Hispanic or Latino origin groups, and group quarters," and showed a 51% increase in same-sex partner households in Ohio between 2000 and 2010. Demographic profiles of Cuyahoga County communities are now available.

This week's issue of Fresh Water includes articles about going car-free in Cleveland, bicycling advocacy, and the City of Cleveland's complete and green streets legislation, as well as a piece profiling local boomerang migrants.

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says that in Cuyahoga County, "foreclosed homes go through more than a year of very high vacancy rates following the auction and are substantially more likely to be vacant up to 60 months after the foreclosure."

The Ohio EPA declared that Great Lakes Towing has completed brownfield remediation (PDF) of its 2.18-acre property along the old river channel in Cleveland.

The Faster Times interviewed Joe Cimperman about the City of Cleveland's food justice efforts.

(via Fresh Water)

On Tuesday, panelists at the City Club (MP3, 53.1 MB) discussed how the West Site Market is stimulating development in the surrounding Market District in Ohio City, and talked about ways to contend with the pressures brought by its popularity.

Update: WKSU provided more details.

Update 2: the City Club posted video of the discussion.

Stark Enterprises submitted an expansion plan for its mixed-use Crocker Park development. Under the plan, the development would grow to 3 million square feet, more than doubling its size. New construction would add offices for American Greetings, a hotel, retail, entertainment, and parking garages. The City of Westlake plans to add road capacity to serve the anticipated growth in traffic. Neighbors of the development are concerned about the impacts of the plans.

Westlake City Council approved the strategic plan for St. John Medical Center's five-year, $100 million modernization and expansion project. St. John Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony late last month.

At an event in Toledo, Governor Kasich promoted the idea of leasing the Ohio Turnpike. He predicted that it would generate "billions of dollars to improve highways, bridges, and waterways."

In Canton's Repository, Brad Whitehead of the Fund for our Economic Future wrote about the benefits of government collaboration in Northeast Ohio.

Team NEO submitted a proposal to be one of six regional economic development offices under the JobsOhio program. If accepted, Team NEO would coordinate job attraction and retention efforts over an 18-county Northeast Ohio area. Meanwhile, opponents of JobsOhio asked the Ohio Supreme Court to block funding for the organization until their lawsuit challenging its constitutionality is concluded.

Update: the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the program.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority released (PDF) a draft of its strategic action plan. Its recommendations include ways to "deliver on community ambitions for waterfront renewal, job creation, and economic vitality." If adopted, it would replace the earlier port relocation plan. Steven Litt said that its suggestion to concurrently plan for the future of the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfronts "is embarrassingly close to a head-slapping moment of blinding clarity." The public can provide feedback through a survey and at the Civic Commons. The Port Authority also announced that it will relocate its offices to a building on West 9th Street and the hiring of Jim White (PDF) as its first director of sustainable infrastructure programs.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the plan "actually makes sense for the port and the region," but that implementing it may be a challenge.

Update 2: WKSU's Kabir Bhatia spoke with Port Authority President William Friedman.

Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson has proposed designating the Magnolia-Wade Park Historic District as a local historic district. The area is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mt. Zion Congregational Church, which wants to tear down two houses for an addition, opposes the proposal.

Using data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory, the Natural Resources Defense Council calculated the amount of toxic air pollution generated by power plants. The electric sector in Ohio emitted 44.5 million pounds of pollutants in 2009, more than any other state.

Walk Score updated its rankings of walkable cities, last released in 2008. The City of Cleveland was ranked the 17th most walkable of the 50 largest cities in the United States. The most walkable neighborhoods in Cleveland were downtown, University Circle, and Ohio City. In Ohio, the most walkable cities included Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, while Broadview Heights and Solon were among the least walkable.

The U.S. EPA collected a second set of Cuyahoga River sediment samples from behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Tests of the sediment are needed to determine the feasibility of removing the dam.

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture selected North Collinwood for its Artists in Residence initiative. The $500,000 pilot program will provide grants and loans over the next two years, focusing on the relationship between artists and the Waterloo neighborhood.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

Mayors and residents discussed the proposed merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere on the latest Civic Commons radio show.

Nineteen Summit County communities have signed the Job Preservation and Revenue Sharing Agreement. The anti-business-poaching initiative began in 2009 with seven communities.

The City of Cleveland approved a rezoning for the historic Franklin Castle in Ohio City. An unidentified buyer intends to rehabilitate it as three residential units.

Gail Hesse of Columbus was selected as the new executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. She will begin on August 15.

Under pressure by officials from inside and outside Ohio, Governor Kasich vetoed the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill passed by the General Assembly. In a statement (PDF), he said that portions of the bill "must be improved." It was his first veto as governor. Editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal supported his decision, while Tom Henry found the entire episode embarrassing. The bill's sponsors said they would seek to override the veto.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the legislation.

Update 2: Brent Larkin said that "although Kasich's veto will not be overridden, this isn't the end of it."

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. will distribute a total of $1.8 million to support neighborhood improvement initiatives of nine Cleveland community development corporations.

Planning for the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland continues. Funding sources have not been confirmed for the $213.4 million project. The Ohio Department of Transportation will hold public meetings on July 26, 27, and 28 (PDF).

Update: Channel 5 and Neighborhood Voice reported on the meetings.

With funding provided by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, communities in Cuyahoga County are creating rain gardens, bioswales, and other projects to control stormwater and create neighborhood greenspace.

The City of Garfield Heights announced on Friday that it will extend Transportation Boulevard south to Rockside Road.

While Cuyahoga Community College and Highland Hills officials have not reached an understanding on the future of the 106 acres that Tri-C purchased in 2007, the College does plan to build a facility for workforce training, career training, and sustainability programs on a portion of the site.

Cleveland State University intends to demolish its 13-story Viking Hall and the adjacent Walker and Weeks-designed Wolfe's Music Store building on Euclid Avenue. Cuyahoga County is applying for a $2 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant (PDF) for asbestos remediation and demolition, and will hold a public meeting (PDF) on September 8.

Update: the Plain Dealer described the proposal.

Crocker Park owner Stark Enterprises is in talks to acquire an undeveloped property adjacent to the development. It sits to the south of the planned new American Greetings headquarters site.

U.S. House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica proposed a six-year transportation reauthorization bill that would reduce federal transportation spending by about one-third. RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese said that if the proposal is approved, it would force the agency to make a 7.5% cut in bus and rail service. Yonah Freemark of the Transport Politic said that transit agencies would have no good options.

Sustainable City Network described the City of Cleveland's cross-disciplinary sustainability initiative.

At a Lakewood Architectural Board of Review meeting, McDonald's representatives shared a conceptual site plan for a restaurant on the site of the closed Detroit Theater. Members of the board had several concerns about the design. The company is expected to formally present plans at the board's next meeting on August 11. Michael Gill said that board members will need courage as the process proceeds.

Cool Cleveland interviewed David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake about the SmartHome Cleveland exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

MetroHealth will acquire and demolish the 10-story Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facility adjacent to its main campus in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Mental Health will provide $3.4 million for demolition and abatement. The psychiatric hospital's patients are being relocated to the facility in Sagamore Hills Township.

Preservation Ohio released its annual list of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites. The 13 sites include the previously-revealed Columbia Building and Stanley Block in downtown Cleveland, as well as the Warner & Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland.

Update: demolition of the Columbia Building is underway.

Through its new Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) pilot initiative, the Obama Administration will provide experienced federal staff to work directly with six cities, including Cleveland. The team in Cleveland will include staff from the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, and Education, plus the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Governor Kasich appointed (PDF) eight executives to the board of directors of the new JobsOhio development corporation. One seat remains unfilled. Mark Kvamme will serve as its interim chief investment officer. The board met for the first time on Monday.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "JobsOhio's transparency is as important to its success as its development programs. "

Parmatown Mall was placed in receivership at the request of its mortgage lender. The mall will be put up for sale. Mayor DePiero of Parma said that he remains cautiously optimistic (PDF) about the future of the mall.

Update: City officials have recommended redeveloping the mall.

The Plain Dealer compiled and mapped the more than $5.4 billion in new construction and redevelopment projects recently finished, under construction, or planned in the City of Cleveland.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, looks at state implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. It focuses on three areas: water diversions, conservation and efficiency, and water withdrawal permitting. The Plain Dealer again urges Governor Kasich to veto the Ohio bill.

Update: the Detroit News, Morning Journal, and Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council also call for a veto. New York officials dislike the bill, too.

The Cleveland Municipal School District continues to consider the possibility of auctioning off the Board of Education Building in downtown Cleveland and leasing office space elsewhere. The District is working with Weston Development to evaluate its options.

NOACA posted the Gateway District Streetscape and Transportation Plan (PDF, 32 MB) a November 2010 document intended to "provide a vision for the streets that will create a memorable downtown neighborhood." GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the plan and the Ohio City Market District Plan, currently in progress. Both plans were funded through NOACA's Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative.

A new report from Good Jobs First concludes that property tax incentives fueled urban sprawl in the Cleveland and Cincinnati metropolitan areas. It looks at 63 business relocations in the eight-county Cleveland metropolitan area, and says that "by dispersing jobs away from the two urban cores, the relocations contributed to disparities in wealth and opportunity among localities in the regions. They moved jobs away from areas with higher rates of poverty and people of color to more affluent and less racially diverse areas. And by moving mostly to locations that are not served by public transportation, they denied job opportunities to carless workers and denied thousands more any choice about how to get to work."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the study "adds an important voice to other studies and initiatives, all grounded in the realization that shifting jobs within a region does virtually nothing to advance competitiveness in a global economy." A News-Herald editorial concludes that "Northeast Ohio is better off if community leaders work together to attract new businesses to the region instead of compete against each other for businesses that are already here."

A pair of local investors purchased the former General Motors transmission plant in Parma. They intend to redevelop the 527,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 60 acres for industrial users.

Representatives of McDonald's will present conceptual designs for a restaurant on the site of the closed Detroit Theater at a Lakewood Architectural Board of Review work session on July 14. A group of residents is trying to save the theater.

Bay Village City Council approved a riparian setback ordinance. It will limit new construction within 25 feet of creeks and streams.

Cleveland Magazine looked at how rowers, environmentalists, and others are working to make the Flats more appealing and active by adding greenspace like the new Rivergate Park.

A report from NAACP includes environmental justice scores for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and named the Lake Shore Power Plant in Glenville as the nation's sixth-most harmful plant for low-income communities and communities of color. Leaders of the local NAACP branch say that the plant should remain open.

Using water quality and public notification data, the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked the water quality of beaches in 30 coastal states. The 21st annual Testing the Waters (PDF) report scored Ohio (PDF) as having the second-highest percentage of monitoring samples that exceeded national health standards, a poorer performance than last year. Villa Angela beach in Cleveland was included in the report's list of top 10 repeat offenders. Some Great Lakes beach and health professionals have issues with the report's methodology.

In its US and Canada Green City Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit used nine environmental indicators to rank 27 American and Canadian cities (PDF). Cleveland was ranked 25th (PDF) overall, and received the lowest scores of any city in the buildings, CO2, and land use categories. Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated the evaluation.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent approved the agreement between the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and federal agencies for addressing combined sewer overflows in the region. NEORSD now can implement the $3 billion consent decree.

Developer Andrew Brickman shared preliminary renderings of his proposed riverfront townhouse project in Lakewood. Tentatively named Metro Luxury Townhomes, the 19-unit Sloan Avenue development would include three-story buildings with units ranging in size from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet.

Update: the Plain Dealer provided more details.

Update 2: the City of Lakewood wants to designate the site as a community reinvestment area.

Ruth Durack, the former director of Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, died on July 4 in Australia. She led the CUDC from 1998 to 2004.

Reinventing America's Legacy Cities is a report from the American Assembly of Columbia University. Its strategies were developed by 80 attendees at an April event in Detroit. It "focuses on how America can help legacy cities stem their losses, uplift their communities and their institutions, and harness their assets to help move the nation toward success in the next economy."

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for expanding bicycle and pedestrian access on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. The plans call for widening the multi-use path on the bridge's north side by nine feet, among other changes. Marc Lefkowitz's said that "the bridge could still use a road diet."

The Plain Dealer visited Slavic Village to see how the neighborhood is dealing with abandoned and vacant homes, while the PBS Newshour reported on local efforts to demolish distressed housing.

Update: the PBS Newshour has a follow-up story.

Update 2: as Montgomery County sets up its new land bank, the Dayton Daily News examined the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Update 3: the Cincinnati Enquirer also looked at the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

A new report from Ohio's Policy Research & Strategic Planning Office (PDF) compares state data from the 2010 Census with figures from previous decennial censuses.

Some Cleveland residents and leaders have concerns about the City's plans to revise its Statistical Planning Areas and their associated neighborhood names.

A new report from the Brookings Institution "assesses public policies and economic development strategies in eight U.S. metropolitan areas that had a significant specialization in manufacturing in 1980 and lost manufacturing jobs between 1980 and 2005," including the Cleveland area. Cleveland's evolving economy is also one of nine case studies in The Next American Economy, a new book by William J. Holstien.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $27 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grants for 17 brownfield cleanup projects. Cleveland received two awards, $3 million for asbestos remediation of the John Hartness Brown Building on Euclid Avenue and $1 million for remediation and demolition for a mixed-use project on East 66th Street.

Update: WKSU has more details.

The two-year state budget signed by Governor Kasich includes an extension and expansion of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the new Innovation Fund intended to support local government restructuring efforts, and the option to pursue a lease of the Ohio Turnpike.

Update: the National Trust for Historic Preservation has more information about the tax credit renewal, and the Blade has more on the possible lease of the turnpike.

Governor Kasich appointed Mayor Jerry Hruby of Brecksville to the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Mayor Hruby supports the privatization of the Turnpike. An editorial in Youngstown's Vindicator calls the proposed lease a bad idea.

Officials from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario will jointly issue a request for expression of interest (PDF) for ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley.

Work on the Cleveland Clinic's $96.3 million Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center is almost finished. The 190,000-square-foot facility will open this month.

Construction of the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is scheduled to begin in September.

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