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April 2012 Archives

A USA Today investigative report examined lead levels in areas near hundreds of former lead factories and smelters across the United States, including several in Cleveland. The newspaper conducted soil testing and documented inaction by federal and state regulators. The sites identified in Cleveland were Tyroler Metals on Sweeney Avenue, Metals Refining Co. on Madison, Atlas Metal on East 75th Street, H&L Metal on East 79th Street, Lockport Lead on Bessemer Avenue, and Mowery Metal on Kinsman Avenue.

The Ohio Department of Development approved $10 million in grants for nine projects through the Ohio Job Ready Sites Program. The City of Cleveland will receive a $1 million grant to support infrastructure and building improvements to the Victory Building on Euclid Avenue.

The Ohio City SID now has a "Clean & Safe" program like the one in downtown Cleveland. The program's ambassadors will help make the area more welcoming. It's one of several changes in the Market District area. Ohio City Incorporated is also preparing to launch its volunteer Ohio City Shines initiative.

Through its Pop Up Rockwell event underway this week, the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative has created a temporary complete and green street along five blocks in downtown Cleveland. It includes a two-way cycle track, and Marc Lefkowitz said that the project provides "the kind of creative spark Cleveland needs to see." In Old Brooklyn, the second annual Pop UP Pearl event will take place on May 19. It will include a DIY Urbanism Competition.

Update: West Life described the Pop Up Rockwell project.

Cuyahoga County selected CBRE Group Inc. to market up to 22 buildings, evaluate potential new office space, and negotiate sales or leases. The process may begin next month.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is seeking bids (PDF) from boat builders for a pair of debris-removal barges. Port Authority staff hope to have them operating on the Cuyahoga River this summer.

Bishop Richard Lennon said that he will not appeal a Vatican decree and that the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland will reopen 12 closed parishes. He did not say when they would reopen. Earlier reports incorrectly said that the ruling covered 13 parishes. Parishioners celebrated his decision and a Plain Dealer editorial said that Bishop "Lennon deserves strong praise for choosing conciliation" over conflict.

Update: NPR's Tell Me More interviewed one of the appellants. Parishioners at the 13th parish, Saint Margaret Mary Church in South Euclid, are appealing to the Vatican.

RTA ridership figures continue to rise, increasing by 5.3% between March 2011 and March 2012, and the agency is working to attract discretionary transit users. In Cleveland Heights and University Circle, consultants are developing plans for improving non-automobile transportation options and are conducting a survey. Marc Lefkowitz said that they face challenges and opportunities.

On Wednesday, members of a City Club panel discussed urban agriculture and sustainability in Cleveland (MP3, 74.5 MB). Will Allen of Growing Power had been scheduled to participate, but was unable to attend.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District leaders are still considering plans to sell the District's administration building on East 6th Street in downtown Cleveland. Roldo Bartimole strongly opposes the proposal.

Developers of the Flats East Bank project announced that the project will include five new restaurants, and that its $120 million second phase will feature (PDF) a 140-unit apartment complex. They will seek additional public financing for the development. Its first phase is scheduled to open next spring.

Environmental groups continue to express concerns about the Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation under discussion in the Ohio House of Representatives. Editorials in the Akron Beacon Journal and the Blade reflected those concerns. Governor Kasich and Representative Wachtmann, the bill's sponsor, announced that they reached an agreement (PDF) about the legislation. Details of the agreement are not yet available.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial identified opportunities for improving the legislation. A Plain Dealer editorial said that if Governor "Kasich is serious about legislation to protect Lake Erie, he needs to find a more credible sponsor than State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann."

Update 2: the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. A floor vote may be held soon. Environmentalists continue to object to provisions in the bill.

With the JobsOhio development agency in place, state legislators and the Kasich administration introduced legislation that would restructure the Ohio Department of Development. The department would have reduced responsibilities and would be renamed the Development Services Agency.

At a recent Cleveland Museum of Art panel discussion, leaders from East Cleveland and Fairfax talked about ways that growth in University Circle is improving their communities.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History sold its SmartHome to a couple from Maryland for $331,000. The passive house was relocated from the museum grounds to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue in October.

Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora have resumed talks about a proposed JEDD for the Marketplace shopping center. For the first several years, 80% of the proceeds would go to the developer. Talks about the proposal were revived last year.

Update: the Aurora Advocate has more information.

Cuyahoga County's scores improved slightly in the third annual County Health Rankings from the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among Ohio's 88 counties, Cuyahoga County was 65th in heath outcomes and 53rd in health factors. Geauga County and Medina County were among the top-ranked counties in the state. The report also supplied data on nationwide trends.

The owner of Northfield Park announced plans to partner with Hard Rock International to bring slot machines and related developments to the harness racing track in Summit County. They said that the plan for a $275 million Hard Rock Gaming and Entertainment Facility is unrelated to possible changes to Thistledown, but does depend on the outcome of a lawsuit on the legality of slot machines at racetracks.

Update: the partners unveiled conceptual designs (PDF) for the project, but did not identify a construction start date.

The U.S. Census Bureau's release of metropolitan area and county population estimates showed a trend of population growth in core counties and decreases in exurban counties. Cuyahoga County's estimated population fell from 1,278,000 in July 2010 to 1,270,294 in July 2011. It was one of only two counties with a population greater than 1 million people to register a decrease. Of Ohio's six large urban counties, only Franklin and Montgomery counties showed growth. The Census Bureau also released Census 2010 Summary File 2 data for Ohio. It includes detailed population and housing data by race and ethnicity.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that the buildings in the first phase of University Circle's Uptown development "are crisp, lean and decidedly contemporary, yet they also contributing powerfully to the larger urban environment" and that the project "is one of the most exciting and sophisticated architectural ensembles in the history of Cleveland."

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced that eight more suburbs, including Brecksville and Lyndhurst, have signed the County's anti-poaching pledge, bringing the total to 28 communities.

HousingWire and NPR looked at how Cleveland is demolishing houses that are considered beyond saving.

(via the Cleveland Restoration Society)

Crain's Cleveland Business explored the remaking of Ohio City's West 25th Street in a series of articles, interviews, photographs, and maps.

New maps from the Ohio Geological Survey illustrate the portions of the state where Utica shale deposits are expected to yield the most oil and gas. Previous maps included Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties in this area, but they are mostly excluded in the revised maps.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation will transfer ownership and operations of a 2.8-acre portion of its Rivergate Park in the Flats to the Cleveland Metroparks. It is part of an existing and planned network of greenspaces and trails along the lower Cuyahoga River. The Rowing Foundation will continue its boathouse and rowing operations on the remainder of the 6.5-acre site.

Update: WKSU and Fresh Water reported on the new park, and the Metroparks posted video of the press conference.

Policy Matters Ohio's annual analysis of foreclosure statistics says that while foreclosure filings in Ohio declined in 2011, the levels remain elevated. Cuyahoga County had both the largest number of filings and the highest rate of filings per capita.

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