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August 2011 Archives

McDonald's is pursuing its proposal to build a restaurant on the current site of the closed Detroit Theater in Lakewood, and submitted plans to the City. The Lakewood Architectural Board of Review will discuss the proposal at its September 8 meeting.

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District leaders and a group of suburban mayors were unable to reach an agreement about the fees associated with the District's stormwater management program. A trial will be held on October 31 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes, "If these cities win their lawsuit, it will mean a big loss for the region. Working with the sewer district is cheaper and smarter in the long run."

Cleveland State University partnered with Massachusetts-based Zipcar to offer car sharing to its students, faculty, and staff. The program will start with two cars on campus. The local CityWheels car sharing service is disbanding and is selling its cars.

Lyndhurst boards and commissions and City Council approved plans for the Acacia Country Club Estates subdivision. Construction is expected to begin in September. A long-running legal dispute about the property was resolved in April. A Sun Messenger editorial says it "will be an exciting development for Lyndhurst because there is not much buildable land left in the city."

At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the green zoning initiative in Cleveland Heights and about sustainability efforts at RTA.

Frank Jackson advocated for the construction of the Lake Erie wind farm in a Plain Dealer op-ed, saying it represents "a vision of our regional economy as a national leader in renewable energy and a major economic growth sector."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz explored the current situation.

Research conducted by a Cleveland State University student indicates that the slope at Irishtown Bend shifted by more than six feet between 2006 and 2010. Sherrod Brown recently called attention to the slope subsidence problem to promote proposed federal investments in infrastructure.

Officials with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank want to enhance its revenue stream by adding funding from delinquent property taxes. The change would need approval from County Council. County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Neighborhood Progress Inc. CEO Joel Ratner praised the land bank in a Plain Dealer op-ed, while NPR's Morning Edition and Time highlighted the land bank's activities.

The 92 participants in this year's Cleveland Design Competition offered concepts for a future home for the Campus International School near Cleveland State University. The winners were revealed at an event on August 19. Images of the submissions will be displayed at the Ingenuity Festival and at the Colonial Marketplace Arcade, and will be posted online in October. Steven Litt said that the "takeaway from this year's entries is that the competition didn't elicit a single, powerful solution capable of rallying a strong push to get it built."

As the cost of the West Shoreway reconstruction continues to rise, Cleveland officials criticized the Ohio Department of Transportation's management of the project and proposed changes intended to cut costs. Marc Lefkowitz said that the City "needs to stand firm on something close to the original purpose of this project, otherwise, they should scrap the whole thing."

Steven Litt looked at the recent history of Dock 20 at the Port of Cleveland, the site of the Essroc cement facility.

The City of Euclid reached an agreement with federal and state agencies to reduce combined sewer overflows from its municipal sewer system. The City will make at least $50 million in improvements over the next 15 years and will pay a $150,000 penalty.

Larry Miller, Lubrizol's vice president for human resources, will be the first president of Global Cleveland. He is one of several top executives leaving the company following its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, and will start his new job in October.

The City of Brook Park hired Reveille of Bowling Green, Ohio to prepare a municipal master plan. Officials plan to hold a public hearing in late September or early October.

The Chagrin Falls Historical Society may purchase Linden Hall, the sole remaining Windsor Hospital building. The building on East Summit Street otherwise may be demolished.

Update: developers of the Falls Walk subdivision withdrew their demolition request.

The new bicycle station in downtown Cleveland opened to the public on Friday. The Bike Rack at the Gateway North Garage provides indoor parking for up to 50 bicycles, plus showers, lockers, and a bike-repair shop. A bicycle rental service will also be available.

The Ohio Department of Development's new Brownfield Action Plan Pilot Program "will provide technical assistance to brownfield-impacted communities to create a plan for redevelopment." Communities interested in participating must submit a letter of interest by October 14.

Update: Diane Alecusan of the Department of Development described the program.

Greenbridge Commons (PDF) is a new $12.5 million permanent supporting housing development at East 75th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. The 70-unit facility will provide homes for chronically homeless individuals. It was developed by the Cleveland Housing Network and will by operated by Eden, Inc.

Nestle is expanding its plant in Cleveland and plans to build a new facility in Solon. The company broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot expansion of its plant on West 25th Street in Tremont and plans to build a research and development center in Solon. The site in Solon is zoned for residential development, and voter approval is required to rezone the property.

Building upon their earlier work, researchers at the Brookings Institution examined zero-vehicle households in the United States. In the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, an average of 90% of those households are in neighborhoods with access to public transit. In Greater Cleveland (PDF), the figure is 88%.

The Kasich administration described its plans for the JobsOhio program in a report to the General Assembly. The proposed restructuring would eliminate 211 jobs at the Ohio Department of Development, which would be renamed as the Development Services Agency. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the speed and freedom of JobsOhio must be balanced by transparency and accountability." Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of JobsOhio, saying it was outside the court's jurisdiction.

Update: the report to the General Assembly (PDF) is available online.

At a special joint meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, Landmarks Commission, and Downtown Design Review Committee on Friday, members voted to approve plans for a casino welcome center and parking garage. The designs include a diagonal skywalk across the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue. Steven Litt remained critical of the process, and said that "it was another confirmation of how Cleveland differs from cities that insist on better planning and urban design."

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin spoke at the Akron Roundtable last week. He talked about the park's assets, plans, and areas for improvement.

A WXZ Development affiliate secured financing for its planned Hazel at the Circle apartments in University Circle. The company hopes to soon break ground on the 59-unit complex.

Three potential operators of the proposed Lake Erie ferry submitted proposal packages by the August 15 deadline. Officials in Cleveland and Central Elgin are reviewing the submissions.

Update: Bill Callahan shared his perspective and called for a public discussion of the plans.

The City of Cleveland Heights soon may have a new district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed Shaker Farm Historic District would be the tenth in the City.

Update: Cleveland Heights Patch has more information.

With the backing of Councilmen Johnson and Conwell, Cleveland City Council approved the creation of the Magnolia-Wade Park Historic District at its meeting today. Mt. Zion Congregational Church and members of a CWRU fraternity opposed the designation.

Two Cleveland City Council committees approved the proposed complete and green streets legislation. It includes a $1 million spending cap. City Council may consider the legislation at its September meeting.

Update: the Plain Dealer explained the delay.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Council should pass the measure as soon as possible."

The Plain Dealer used IRS migration data to calculate net population losses and gains from domestic migration in the seven-county Greater Cleveland area.

Participants on Monday's Sound of Ideas program discussed Northeast Ohio invasive plant issues. The guest on Tuesday's program was Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman.

Steven Litt considered local design trends over the past 10 years, and said that "the new mood of openness in architecture and planning in Cleveland is a product of regional characteristics and national trends in architecture and urban development that have been evolving for decades."

Cuyahoga Community College is purchasing 11 acres adjacent to its Westshore Campus in Westlake. The College plans to build new classrooms and a workforce development training center on the site.

The Kasich Administration is moving forward on its plans to lease the Ohio Turnpike. It formally began the process by issuing a request for a consultant to assist in the "development and evaluation of options for leveraging the Ohio Turnpike."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial questions the concept, and a Plain Dealer editorial urges state leaders to act with caution.

Update 2: 14 consulting teams submitted letters of interest to the state. The concept remains controversial.

University Hospitals announced plans to build a $17 million rehabilitation hospital on Harvard Road near Green Road in Beachwood. The 50,000-square-foot project is a partnership with Centerre Healthcare Corporation of Nashville. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and finish in October 2012.

At a meeting on Thursday, local mountain bikers urged the Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners to provide them with greater access in the park district. An environmental impact study is currently underway.

Lakewood's Architectural Board of Review approved plans for the next phase of the Rockport Square development on Detroit Avenue. Developers plan to build a four-story building that will include 40 loft-style condominiums.

NOACA's governing board approved a $34,100 grant to Cuyahoga County to support a study of the potential merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission will conduct the study.

The Euclid Architectural Review Board approved the first phase of the City's waterfront improvement plan. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

In their preliminary recommendations, economic development consultants for the City of Beachwood said that leaders should create a predictable incentives policy.

Renovations of the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square are nearing completion. The theater is scheduled to reopen in one month.

Several companies have expressed interest in operating a Lake Erie ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario. Potential providers must respond by August 15.

(via GLIN)

The West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation & Redevelopment Plan (PDF, 27.1 MB) is now available. It's intended to "outline strategies to envision a unified main street corridor for the Kamm's Corners neighborhood."

The U.S. EPA announced $4.5 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for 11 projects in Ohio. The awardees include the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (PDF). Work is underway on a project at Huntington Beach, one of the projects funded last year.

In July, opponents of the planned Oakwood Commons development submitted a petition for a referendum on the rezoning of the property. On Monday, South Euclid City Council rejected the petition, saying that petitioners failed to file a certified copy of the ordinance with the City prior to its circulation.

Update: City Council rejected the petition because the certified copy was submitted to the clerk of council instead of the finance director.

Update 2: a citizens group is challenging the decision. A Sun News editorial says that residents "should be given the chance to speak their minds at the ballot box."

Daniel Hartley and Kyle Fee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland compared changes in population density in the Chicago and Cleveland metropolitan areas between 1950 and 2010. They concluded that "the big question for Cleveland is to what degree population loss at its core is a cause or consequence of its overall population loss."

Four smaller local sewer systems are developing plans to reduce combined sewer overflows. Systems operated by the cities of Avon Lake, Elyria, Euclid, and Lakewood currently discharge 274 million gallons of untreated wastewater per year. The work is addition to the plans of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the City of Akron.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the improvements are worth the expense.

The City of Cleveland Heights will consider changing its zoning code to establish guidelines for the reuse of non-residential buildings in residential districts. Creating adaptive reuse rules was one of the recommendations of the City's sustainability audit. Officials and residents discussed the proposal at a public hearing on Monday.

Update: the Cleveland Heights Planning Commission approved the changes.

Update 2: City Council unanimously passed the ordinance on August 15.

Mayor Spremulli of Bentleyville has concerns about the potential merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. A Chagrin Solon Sun editorial says that the "beauty of regionalism is that it can be adapted to fit a community's needs."

The City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and MMPI each intend to contribute $200,000 for preliminary engineering and design work for the Mall in downtown Cleveland. It will cover planning for infrastructure to support potential amenities at the Mall.

The Lakewood Planning Commission approved designs for the proposed Sloane Avenue townhouses. Now named Le Metro, the development has also received approval from the City's Architectural Board of Review and Board of Zoning Appeals.

A study published in the journal Cities examined whether cities can become self-reliant for food, using Cleveland as a model. The Plain Dealer looked at how local students are gaining skills as they work at the six learning farms in the Cleveland Botanical Garden's Green Corps program. The New York Times reported on the re-emergence of natural systems on vacant lots in Cleveland and the research being conducted through the ULTRA-Ex partnership.

Update: ABA Journal explored the rise of urban agriculture in Cleveland and other cities.

Update 2: the Columbus Dispatch and GreenCityBlueLake also wrote about the urban agriculture study.

Update 3: Rust Wire's Angie Schmitt asks if researchers are considering the wrong question.

An article in this month's issue of Cleveland Magazine explores the history of Linndale and its performance in the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau reported that Village's population grew from 117 in 2000 to 179 in 2010, an increase of 53%.

The Plain Dealer profiled the couple that operates Brunty Farms in Bath Township, one of the 11 farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Countryside Initiative. The National Park Service is offering two more farms for lease, the Edgar Farm in Valley View and the Holland Farm in Boston Township. Proposals will be accepted until October 3.

The Ohio General Assembly may attempt to override Governor Kasich's veto of the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill.

(via Great Lakes Echo)

Update: PolitiFact Ohio evaluated Tim Grendell's claims about Lake Erie. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that lawmakers should listen to the "wide range of knowledgeable voices calling for improved legislation" instead of pursuing an override.

A solar power demonstration project has been installed at Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse through a public-private collaboration. The solar concentrator array is expected to generate between 20,000 and 30,000 watts of power.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial urges state leaders to find replacement revenue sources for the Clean Ohio program.

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