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July 2012 Archives

In the fourth and final forum in the Why Place Matters series, Dr. Camara Jones spoke at the City Club about disparities and the social determinants of heath and equity. Audio (MP3, 51.4 MB) and video of her talk are available.

The U.S. Department of Justice reached a $175 million fair housing settlement with Wells Fargo Bank to resolve allegations that the bank discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers. The settlement includes $50 million to help neighborhoods in eight metropolitan areas with large numbers of discrimination victims, including Greater Cleveland. The area could receive more than $6 million.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $50,000 Our Town grant to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. The funds will be used to to design an affordable artist live/work space in the Templin Bradley Building on Detroit Avenue. The Cleveland Botanical Garden received a $59,680 grant from the U.S. EPA to improve 12 vacant lots in Cleveland and reduce stormwater runoff.

For the second time, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission rejected a demolition request for the Euclid Avenue Church of God. The Cleveland Clinic has offered to purchase the property if the building is demolished. In Lakewood, the California-based owner of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building is challenging the City's landmark designation of the property, filing an appeal in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Ohio City Incorporated and the City of Cleveland prepared a neighborhood transportation plan (PDF). It aims to "provide as many transportation options as possible" and recommends implementing complete streets, transit-oriented development, a wayfinding system, and parking improvements. The plan calls for reconfiguring parking lots near the West Side Market and limiting free parking to 90 minutes. Some market vendors and patrons dislike the idea of paying to park. A Plain Dealer editorial said it's "a thoughtful plan that can easily be adapted as revitalization continues." Krissie Wells presented arguments in favor of the plan, and Angie Schmitt shared her reactions to the news.

The CDC also issued its TLCI-funded Inter-modal Urban Design & Wayfinding Plan for the Market District (PDF). It offers ways to "strengthen both the Market and Ohio City neighborhood by organizing the streets, parking facilities and land uses surrounding the area in a manner that encourages economic sustainability."

The Ohio Department of Transportation shared design concepts for amenities that would accompany the planned second Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The designs show public art and greenspace elements (PDF) at the downtown and Tremont ends of the bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial cited it as evidence of a "kinder, gentler ODOT," while Steven Litt said that "the new public spaces planned around the bridges will compensate -- slightly -- for the urban damage ODOT will cause with its overall design."

This year's Cleveland Design Competition focuses on the disused lower deck of Cleveland's Detroit-Superior Bridge. Organizers encourage participants to re-imagine it as "a dynamic public space, performance venue and pedestrian experience." The lower deck was opened to the public earlier this month, and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative used the opportunity to share its work and gather public input.

Next American City explored how community development corporations are working to revitalize American cities, using Detroit and Cleveland as examples.

Tom Bier continues to deliver his message about urban sprawl and the need for Cuyahoga County to focus on redevelopment, saying that "the only way it can grow its tax base is to redevelop its old core and renew the old places." Meanwhile, Marc Lefkowitz considered what a national shift in housing preferences means to Northeast Ohio.

Cuyahoga County officials announced that construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is two months ahead of schedule, and will now open on July 1, 2013. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation added 28 days to the construction schedule for the new Innerbelt Bridge. An October 28, 2013 opening is now planned.

Update: Jim Bennett of MMPI talked about the convention center and Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

Experts from Cleveland and Akron participated on a recent Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, discussing the merits of demolition and historic preservation programs.

"What would cities around Cleveland look like if we grow the number of cyclists from hundreds to thousands traveling on its streets daily?" asked GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz. Meanwhile, Lakewood City Council approved funding to add sharrow markings to Detroit Avenue.

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas J. Pokorny issued his final opinion regarding the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program. At the judge's request, NEORSD made several changes to the program, including increasing the amount of funding returned to communities from 7.5% to 25%. While some communities continue to object, the Sewer District intends to begin implementing the program in January 2013.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer said that the ongoing renovation of the former St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood "embodies a compassionate vision that combines historic preservation, strong contemporary architecture and urban design, high educational aspirations for Cleveland's children, affordable housing and an emphasis on mass transit." Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Progress Inc. described the project in the Cleveland Jewish News.

The NOACA Governing Board approved changes to the five-county 2012–2015 Transportation Improvement Program, adding 25 projects to the list for federal funding. The projects include the West 73rd Street underpass, part of the West Shoreway redesign, and bus lanes along Clifton Boulevard.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium launched its Conditions and Trends Platform, a "compilation of research about our region that will allow us to take a collective look at what we are doing as a region and where we seem to be heading." It presents information from the initiative's five work steams for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region, and identified urban sprawl as one of the region's major issues.

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