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November 2011 Archives

Using Growing Power's aquaponics model, Rid-All Green Partnership is growing produce, raising fish, and creating compost in Kinsman's Forgotten Triangle. The farm in the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone is one of Growing Power's 15 regional urban farming training centers. Rid-All's mission is to "transform communities by providing them with accessible nutritionally rich food items to improve their over all health."

In the second event of the Why Place Matters series, former HUD Deputy Director and King County, Washington Executive Ron Sims spoke at the City Club on Wednesday (MP3, 57.9 MB). He discussed several topics, including the role of geography as a determinant of health.

Update: video of his talk is also available.

Update 2: the Civic Commons radio show explored the issue.

Cleveland City Council approved a lease with an option to buy for the former site of St. Michael Hospital in Slavic Village. Fast Track Cycling plans to open a bicycle track on the property next year and eventually create a $7.5 million velodrome complex.

Update: Fast Track Cycling launched a new website.

The City of Cleveland is making improvements in and around the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center at West 65th Street and Lorain Avenue. Work began in June and is scheduled for completion in July 2012. When it is finished, the 22-acre park will provide opportunities for active recreation in an ecologically friendly environment.

The New York Times looked at some of the construction projects underway in University Circle, focusing on the Uptown development, which it said "amounts to a new downtown for the University Circle neighborhood".

In the downtown Cleveland apartment market, demand is up and vacancy rates are down. Rent levels have remained stable. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is encouraging developers to focus on housing.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that downtown's "draw is dynamic."

Giant Eagle wants to build a 92,600-square-foot supermarket and a gas station on the 13.5-acre Strongsville Golf property on Pearl Road. The new store would replace the existing Giant Eagle next to SouthPark Center. The site's zoning is currently spit between residential and recreation/restaurant classifications, and City Council voted to place the rezoning on the March ballot.

Update: Rust Wire criticized the project, calling it a prime example of urban sprawl.

While the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program is in the midst of a lawsuit, the Summit County Engineer's Office proposed the creation of a countywide stormwater management utility. The proposal calls for establishing an impervious surface fee.

Mayor Jackson and members of Cleveland City Council expressed anger with the Ohio Department of Transportation's handing of the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. Streetsblog, Rust Wire, and a Plain Dealer editorial were all sharply critical of the agency, as well. Bike Cleveland is encouraging interested citizens to attend a public meeting on December 1.

State officials awarded more than $27.5 million in Clean Ohio Fund grants for 15 brownfield cleanup initiatives, including two local projects. Cuyahoga County received $2 million for demolition and remediation of Cleveland State University's Viking Hall and Wolfe's Music Store building. The university now plans to build a health and life sciences building on the site. The City of Cleveland received $2.99 million for infrastructure, demolition, and remediation in the Miceli Dairy expansion. The project broke ground in October.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson wants to save the Wolfe's Music Store building.

The Kasich administration selected KMPG to lead a team of consultants that will offer recommendations on a range of options for using the Ohio Turnpike to help finance other transportation projects. Their work must be completed by July 1.

Update: Richard Hodges, the new executive director of the Ohio Turnpike, supports exploring its lease. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the study "must provide genuine answers, not just political cover."

Local officials celebrated the opening of downtown Cleveland's rebuilt Perk Park on Monday.

WKSU's Kabir Bhatia spoke with Neil Donovan of the National Coalition for the Homeless about homelessness in Northeast Ohio.

University Circle Incorporated is shifting its focus to integrate the area into its surrounding neighborhoods by becoming a developer, a neighborhood advocate, and a service provider. They launched a redesigned website today.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called it "the path to a stronger city."

From April through October, Greater Cleveland experienced 14 days with elevated ozone levels, close to the annual average of 15.5 days. NOACA staff noted (PDF) that "in general, ozone concentrations have decreased in the long term".

Governor Kasich proposed a new Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. It would set lower limits on water withdrawals from Lake Erie and its tributaries than the legislation he vetoed in July. The bill may be formally introduced in December or January.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the proposed legislation is stronger than the vetoed bill.

Update 2: Tom Henry offered some analysis.

RTA's proposed 2012 Service Management Plan (PDF) calls for adding service on 20 bus routes, plus the creation of two new trolleybus routes and a shuttle route.

The Center for Community Solutions issued a set of 20 heath, social, and economic indicators for 16 Northeast Ohio counties through its Northeast Ohio Regional Indicators and Objectives initiative.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the income inequality indicator and the region's rising disparity.

After scaling back the development from 19 to 17 units, Abode Living is finalizing its plans for the Clifton Pointe townhouses in Lakewood. Their plans call for reusing portions of the houses and trees currently on the site, and to begin construction this winter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $3.7 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants, including a $73,040 award to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to restore forests damaged by the invasive emerald ash borer.

JKR Development proposed a mixed-use development concept for a 21-acre site on Engle Road in Middleburg Heights. The property is currently zoned for light industrial development.

The board of the Gund Foundation awarded $7,425,902 in grants at its November board meeting. The 75 grants included a two-year $775,000 grant to LAND Studio and a $60,000 grant to Bike Cleveland.

Update: the award will enable Bike Cleveland to hire an executive director.

Mayor Jackson unveiled his plans for the downtown Cleveland waterfront. Prepared by EE&K Architects of New York and Van Auken Akins Architects of Cleveland, it complements lakefront planning efforts by the Port Authority and Cleveland Browns, and calls for Burke Lakefront Airport and the Port of Cleveland to remain in place. The plan seeks to balance recreation and entertainment with port and airport operations, while strengthening connections to downtown. Steven Litt described the plan as a "collection of the most logical and sensible concepts for the downtown portion of the lakefront that have surfaced in earlier plans." A Plan Dealer editorial supports the concepts.

Update: Scene's Michael Roberts was more skeptical about the ideas.

The City of Lakewood issued a draft of its its Bicycle Master Plan (PDF). It's meant to "establish bicycling as a main means of transportation and accommodate current bicyclists' needs through policies, programs & projects." Officials will present the plan to the Lakewood Planning Commission on December 1.

Update: the City continues to gather public input.

Cleveland City Council passed two ordinances intended to enhance the City's ability to recover demolition costs from previous property owners.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the decision.

RTA continues to develop plans for its West Side Transit Center in the Warehouse District, and will hold a public meeting on Wednesday evening.

Update: RTA posted the presentation (PDF) from the meeting. The agency intends to complete the plans early next year.

Cleveland residents celebrated the opening of the Collinwood Recreation Center on Saturday. Located in a former Big Lots store on Lake Shore Boulevard, it is the City's first new recreation center in 14 years. The Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik looked at the history of the project.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority broke ground for a senior housing development at Lee Road and Miles Avenue in Cleveland. The three-story Lee Road Senior Building will provide 40 units for seniors (PDF) who want remain in their current neighborhood.

A new report from Environment Ohio ranked Ohio as having the second-highest level of airborne mercury pollution released by power plants, trailing only Texas. Using data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory, it said that power plants in Ohio emitted 4,218 pounds of mercury pollution in 2010.

Leaders of Cuyahoga County's MetroHealth System want to demolish and replace the towers at its main campus on West 25th Street in Cleveland. A master plan is being prepared.

The National Park Service completed its purchase of 578 undeveloped acres at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. The transfer to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was facilitated by the Trust for Public Land. An event is planned for Monday.

Update: the Trust for Public Land issued a press release.

Update 2: the Akron Beacon Journal supplied more details. An editorial concluded that "the park has been made stronger with this purchase and the collaboration required to move forward."

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin attempted to quantify the benefits of reducing automobile usage for short trips in 11 Midwestern metropolitan areas, including Greater Cleveland. Their findings suggested that "significant health and economic benefits are possible if bicycling replaces short car trips."

(via GOOD)

Consultants for the City of Westlake recommend that the City should continue to pursue switching water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Avon Lake Patch offers more information.

Update 2: City Council authorized the mayor to begin negotiations with Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Trailside at Morgana Run is a proposed residential development at East 71st Street and Aetna Road in Slavic Village. Located on a former brownfield site, it will include more than 100 single-family houses.

Election recap

Tuesday's election included the following issues:

Visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for complete results.

In Lorain County, voters rejected a quarter-percent sales tax increase. The county will institute cuts that include reducing its contribution to Lorain County Transit from $100,000 to $50,000. Avon voters approved a charter amendment that establishes a minimum lot size for residential areas.

Chicago's WBEZ reported on the challenges facing the proposed offshore wind farm north of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

Cleveland State University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $50 million mixed-use Campus Village development today. Construction of phase one is scheduled to end in fall 2012 and phase two in fall 2013.

Update: Channel 5 has more information.

Bruce Katz and Strobe Talbott of the Brookings Institution spoke about energy policy at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Friday. They said that Northeast Ohio's advanced energy sector is a national model.

The lakefront Avon Lake Generating Station was one of the facilities on a recently-revealed U.S. EPA internal watch list. It said that operators failed to install modern pollution controls at the 41-year-old coal-fired power plant. Dennis Kucinich urged the Ohio EPA to require emissions reductions.

Update: the U.S. EPA filed an enforcement action against GenOn.

Local officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the Euclid Belmore Building on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (PDF) hopes to open the 39-unit senior housing complex in July.

Update: the Land Bank posted video of the event.

The Ohio EPA is considering a request for an Urban Setting Designation (PDF) that would cover all of East Cleveland. If established, it would reduce (PDF) groundwater cleanup requirements under the brownfield remediation process.

Republican and Democratic congressmen have different ideas for addressing the decrease in dredging of the lower Cuyahoga River.

Researchers at the Brookings Institution analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and found that concentrated poverty increased over the past decade, and that it nearly doubled in Midwestern metropolitan areas. They added that "the picture today likely looks quite a bit worse than much of [the] report reflects." The five-county Greater Cleveland area saw an 8.0% increase in its concentrated poverty rate and the City of Cleveland experienced a 13.1% increase.

Ford began demolishing its closed Cleveland Casting Plant in July, and plans to finish early next year. Once completed, it will open at least 230 acres in Brook Park for potential redevelopment. The automaker also intends to close the adjacent Cleveland Engine Plant No. 2 next year, which could create additional redevelopment opportunities. Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 will remain open.

Despite protests by residents, the Lakewood Planning Commission unanimously approved plans for a McDonald's restaurant on the current site of the closed Detroit Theater. The company plans to begin work immediately. City officials hope to install a traffic light at the intersection of Detroit and Woodward avenues.

Update: the Sun Post-Herald has more details.

As the West Side Market approaches its 2012 centennial, Ohio City Incorporated is raising funds for events and improvements.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called it a "long-term, long-overdue commitment to Cleveland's culinary treasure."

A new paper from PolicyBridge (PDF) draws connections between the social determinants of health in Greater Cleveland and the area's economic competitiveness. It identifies relevant policy areas and makes recommendations for increasing local health and wealth, and says that "recognizing the importance of personal physical and mental well-being to the overall region's economic well-being would be a critical first step toward a more vibrant Northeast Ohio."

RTA's budget projections (PDF) for 2012 show an improved financial outlook. It may allow the agency to increase service on several lines, including the Red Line and HealthLine.

The City of Cleveland may terminate several tax abatements for properties that failed to meet economic development goals, including the Stager-Beckwith Mansion on Euclid Avenue. Meanwhile, Cleveland City Council is considering two pieces of legislation that would expand the City's ability to recoup expenses and fines incurred by negligent property owners.

Update: the Plain Dealer provides more information about the proposed legislation.

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