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October 2011 Archives

The trial on the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program began in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and is expected to take about three weeks. The sewer district wants to implement fees to support the program, and is opposed by a group of suburbs.

Mayor Jackson's vision for Public Square includes the unification of its quadrants by closing the portions of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street that run through the square. A traffic study is scheduled to be completed in February, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has set aside funding for landscape architect James Corner to develop a second set of design concepts. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey considered the political implications.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Gary Suhadolnik and Jacqueline Thomas "consider the long-term implications and hidden costs" of privatizing the Ohio Turnpike. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial expresses concern about the possibilities.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the Kasich "administration needs to step back and take a deep breath before it moves any closer to monetizing -- leasing -- the Ohio Turnpike."

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank adopted new bylaws and selected a new board chairman and vice-chairman (PDF). The changes resolved a dispute with County Executive FitzGerald.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called it "a reasonable compromise that will enable the land bank ... to focus on its critically important mission".

The National Park Service endorsed the Ohio Historic Preservation Office's recommendation and said that a proposed elevated walkway to the casino in the Higbee Building would be "inconsistent with the historic character of the building." Rock Gaming said that it is evaluating its options.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz considered what may come next.

Update 2: Rock Ohio Caesars is appealing the decision.

The U.S. Census Bureau published three-year American Community Survey estimates. The release includes data on more than 40 topics. The Plain Dealer used the information to compile statistics on the ethnic backgrounds of residents in Northeast Ohio cities.

The City of Akron opened a half-mile section of the Towpath Trail on Wednesday. It marked the completion of the trail through the City.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the value of moving forward never has been clearer."

At the 2011 AICP Symposium in Washington, D.C., Cleveland City Planning Director Bob Brown described the City's plans to focus redevelopment efforts and the Reimagining Cleveland initiative.

Update: audio of the symposium (MP3, 134 MB) is now available.

Contributors to the New York Times Room for Debate offered opinions about the wisdom of demolishing distressed housing in cities like Cleveland.

South Euclid City Council approved the sale of approximately seven acres of the Cedar Center property to developer the Coral Co, and company president Peter Rubin revealed some of the tenants coming to the redeveloped shopping center. The City also recently sold an outlot to Bob Evans, and the GFS Marketplace store held its grand opening.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman testified before the U.S. House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He urged Congress to take up a comprehensive reform of the Water Resources Development Act. The port authority would like the ability to manage its dredge material without waiting for approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Federal Highway Administration indicated that it would reinstate funding for studying the proposed privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. Attendees at a recent public meeting in Northwest Ohio opposed its privatization. Governor Kasich said that if the Turnpike is privatized, at least 50% of the proceeds from a lease or bond would be used in northern Ohio. Democratic politicians were unimpressed.

Update: State Representative Matt Lundy laid out his objections at a public meeting in Sheffield Village.

Update 2: the FHA formally approved the funding request.

The New York Times used Greater Cleveland as an example of the increasing suburbanization of poverty. The authors of a new Brookings Institution report said that the shift in housing voucher usage "shouldn't be a huge surprise."

MetroHealth plans to build a $23 million community health center on a 10-acre site at I-71 and Pearl Road in Middleburg Heights. It will replace the system's health center in Strongsville. Construction of the 57,600-square-foot outpatient facility is expected to begin early next year and take 12 to 16 months.

Update: the Plain Dealer and Crain's Cleveland Business have more details.

The SmartHome Cleveland passive house was moved from the grounds of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue. The museum is seeking certification from the Passive House Institute U.S. The house is for sale, with an asking price of $329,000.

Update: the museum posted videos of the move.

Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. received a $759,374 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its MC2 Food Access Initiative. It's intended to address the food desert in Kinsman by establishing a fresh food center with a market, cafe, and community kitchen.

The West Shore Commuter Rail Task Force held a series of public meetings to present public transit options for the corridor between Cleveland and Sandusky. The lack of funding for public transit in Lorain County presents a challenge.

Update: the Morning Journal summarized the meeting in Lorain.

Cleveland Area History's Christopher Busta-Peck photographed the demolition of the Alhambra Apartments on Wade Park Avenue in Hough.

The City of Lakewood is completing its comprehensive bicycle study, and plans to release it in November. City officials hope to create a more bike-friendly environment.

Mark Souther considered the perception of decline in Cleveland Heights by comparing current conditions to the situation 50 years ago. He concluded that "history suggests neither rise nor decline is inevitable. The fate of communities is always shaped by citizens and their government."

Developer Mitchell Schneider's First Interstate Properties completed its purchase of the Cleveland Heights portion of the Oakwood Club property. The company has not submitted plans for the 92-acre site, but its preliminary concept "calls for a campus setting with a variety of living options for older adults, along with therapy and wellness facilities, retail, restaurants and civic use."

In a new report, Transportation for America continued its examination of the condition of bridges by looking at those in the country's 102 largest metropolitan areas. It says that "structurally deficient bridges in metropolitan areas carry a disproportionate share of all trips taken on a deficient bridge each day." In the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area, 11.4% of bridges were rated as deficient, while the two-county Akron metropolitan area had 12.7% of bridges rated as deficient.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded $928.5 million for more than 300 transit projects across the nation. RTA received three grants for a total of $7.1 million.

Rust Wire's Richey Piiparinen said that the success of the casino coming to Cleveland could depend on its authenticity. Casino General Manager Marcus Glover spoke about the project on the Sound of Ideas.

A traffic study conducted for the proposed McDonald's in Lakewood said that the restaurant would not have an adverse impact on traffic. Neighbors were not satisfied with the report's recommendations. The City's Planning Commission postponed its vote on the proposal to build the McDonald's on the site of the closed Detroit Theater.

NOACA officials warned that potential cuts in federal transportation funding could affect area road construction projects.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt contrasted the designs of two new hospital buildings in Cleveland, the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals and the CARES Tower at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Both structures were designed by George Nikolajevich of Cannon Design in St. Louis.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald promoted his anti-poaching protocol in a Plain Dealer op-ed, calling the agreement "an eminently reasonable step toward fostering cooperation in the interest of economic development."

CenterMark Development will redevelop a former Tops supermarket on Superior Avenue in Glenville. The 65,000-square-foot Shops at Garrett Square will include a Save-A-Lot grocery store and a discount clothing retailer.

A new report from the Brookings Institution examined the increasing use of housing vouchers in suburban areas across the United States. Of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Akron metropolitan area saw the most growth and the Cleveland metropolitan area the 15th-most between 2000 and 2008.

More than 100 people attended the EfficientGovNetwork Regional Collaboration Conference in Akron on Thursday. They learned about practices and policies for increasing intergovernmental cooperation and efficiency.

Update: Adam Harvey shared his notes and reactions from the conference.

Update 2: conference attendees explained their views.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman spoke at the City Club (MP3, 52.1 MB) about the Port's plans and accomplishments. The Port Authority has also identified a preferred provider for the planned Lake Erie ferry.

Update: Bill Callahan posted more information about the ferry plans.

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank continues to gather national attention, as the Washington Post explored the agency's approach to the foreclosure crisis.

Update: the newspaper also published an article on local deconstruction and salvage operations.

Beachwood's economic development consultant team presented its Economic Development Action Plan (PDF) to City Council on October 10. The plan offers seven fundamentals for an economic development program and sets of recommendations in eight areas. One of the suggestions encourages the City to adopt a regional approach to economic development.

Case Western Reserve University revealed the designs for its planned 82,000-square-foot Tinkham Veale University Center. The University intends to break ground next spring and complete construction by fall 2014.

The Lakewood Architectural Board of Review approved revised plans for the townhouse development on Sloane Avenue. The project has been renamed again, and is now called Clifton Pointe. A spring groundbreaking is planned.

Fresh Water describes recent investments in Cleveland's Health-Tech Corridor and Midtown Tech Park.

The St. Luke's Foundation awarded $1.8 million in grants (PDF), including $37,063 to the City Club to conduct a series on the geographic aspects of health disparities. The first event in the four-part Why Place Matters series will feature Dr. Gail Christopher (PDF) of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on October 21. The Levin College Forum will host an event on health disparities on October 20.

Update: audio (MP3, 52.8 MB) and video of Dr. Christopher's talk are now available.

Update 2: guests on WDOK's Cleveland Connection show also discussed the topic.

Plans for the next phase in the redevelopment of the Tyler Village complex in Cleveland call for a $9 million renovation of a 150,000-square-foot building.

The retail portion in the first phase of the Uptown development is 95% leased. It will include a grocer, a bookstore, and restaurants when construction is completed in the spring. The $44.5 million phase one will add 102 apartments and over 56,000 square feet of retail in University Circle.

The City of Cleveland will vacate portions of several streets for the planned Campus Village project at Cleveland State. Developers hope to break ground in the next few weeks.

Consultants working on the West Shore Corridor project said that the potential commuter rail line would take 10 to 15 years to realize.

The Brook Park master planning process includes a survey of residents. Initial survey results indicate neighborhood revitalization is a priority. The survey will remain open through the end of the year.

The Federal Highway Administration withdrew $1.5 million in funding that Ohio officials intended to use to study the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. ODOT Director Jerry Wray attributed the decision to political pressure, a claim disputed by federal officials.

Update: a group of Republican U.S. Representatives from Ohio asked the federal agency to reconsider its decision.

Andrew Watterson is stepping down from his role as the City of Cleveland's chief of sustainability to take a position at the sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting firm BrownFlynn. He pledged to continue his involvement in the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 process. Marc Lefkowitz considered his tenure and possible successor.

On Thursday, the mayors of Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere discussed the potential merger of their communities (along with the Village of Moreland Hills) at a Corporate Club forum. They spoke about their motivations and the potential cost savings.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun and Cleveland Jewish News reported on the event. Meanwhile, Jill Miller Zimon interviewed Gary Norton, the mayor of East Cleveland and Beryl Rothschild, the former mayor of University Heights.

Images of the winning entries in this year's Cleveland Design Competition are now online. More selections are posted at Facebook.

Southwest General Health System plans to make a $128 million investment in its Middleburg Heights facilities over the next four years. Work on the first part of the two-phase project is scheduled to begin in May 2012.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Green City Growers greenhouse in Cleveland will take place on October 17. The facility in Central will be the third business in the Evergreen Cooperatives network.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a report on the housing market in the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area. It says that "the housing market in Cleveland remains fragile (PDF) - with low property values, deeply-discounted foreclosed properties affecting neighborhood values, and many severely underwater mortgages."

RTA will celebrate the official grand opening of its new East 55th Street Rapid Station on Tuesday. The $9.4 million station serves the Blue, Green, and Red lines.

Real estate advisers told the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that it could save $18 million (PDF) over the next 10 years by moving from its existing building to rented offices downtown.

The Cleveland Restoration Society's October newsletter provides updates the Cleveland Clinic's efforts to demolish the Euclid Avenue Church of God and the nearby Church of the Transfiguration, the recently-demolished St. Catherine Roman Catholic Church on East 93rd Street, and the sale of the Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist Church on Archwood Avenue in Brooklyn Centre.

A Geneva man plans to establish a 60-bed hostel on West 25th Street in Ohio City. When it opens in May, it will be the area's first hostel since the hostel at the Stanford House closed in 2008. A Plain Dealer editorial said it should help make the neighborhood "even more of a destination."

Participants on a recent Outspoken Cyclist show on WJCU discussed mountain biking in Northeast Ohio, and the conversation on the latest Civic Commons radio show was about bicycling in Cleveland. An article in this month's issue of Cleveland Magazine calls for faster progress in the construction of the Cleveland portion of the Towpath Trail.

Leaders in Berea anticipate adopting Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald's anti-poaching agreement, while Highland Heights City Council rejected the agreement. Strongsville officials are considering the proposal.

Update: the Sun Messenger says that Highland Heights City Council wants more information on the plan before deciding.

Funding for the planned new American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake will come from several sources. The Cleveland International Fund intends to raise $65 million for the project, and the state will provide a $15 million loan and a $2.5 million grant. State officials also awarded a $1 million grant to the City for associated road improvements.

Next month, ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art will merge to create LAND Studio. Its "mission will be to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming." The new organization will combine ParkWorks' staff of 12 with the four at Cleveland Public Art and have an annual $1.3 million budget. An introductory video explains the merger.

The conversation on this morning's Sound of Ideas program was about how local universities are encouraging nearby mixed-use development.

Update: Cleveland Magazine explored the changes to the Cleveland State University campus.

The City of Lakewood published a draft of its historic preservation mission statement and goals. The concepts were developed at a workshop in August. A second community meeting will be held later this fall.

Several local residential projects are under construction or being planned.

On Monday, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court opened for business in the new Juvenile Justice Center at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. The $189 million complex's first full day of business will be October 11.

In East Cleveland, the new Cleveland Clinic Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center also opened on Monday. The three-floor, 50,000-square-foot facility is on Euclid Avenue adjacent to the former Huron Hospital. The hospital permanently closed on Friday.

Developers of the downtown Cleveland casino say that it will help support existing downtown businesses. Others have doubts. The phase one casino in the Higbee Building is scheduled to open in March.

RTA and the City of Cleveland Heights unveiled the first of two solar-powered bus shelters. The project was funded by a $100,000 Federal Transit Administration grant. The shelters are on Mayfield Road, at Coventry and Warrensville Center roads.

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