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ArtPlace America awarded $15.2 million in grants to 54 projects in the U.S., including $375,000 to support the UrbanUpcycle program in Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. The new program uses an arts-based approach to creative placemaking, and is part of an effort to emphasize upcycling as a community reinvestment strategy. The Collinwood Rising project received an ArtPlace grant last year.

Update: updates are available at ArtPlace and at the Upcycle St. Clair blog.

Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examined urban decline in Rust Belt cities, and included a closer exploration of the changes in Greater Cleveland. Another report from the Federal Reserve Bank offered an analysis of housing policy "areas that merit careful consideration in Ohio" and "identified some opportunities for Ohio to improve its ability to deal with foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties."

The federally-funded Wildwood Lacustrine Refuge Stream and Wetland Restoration Project in Cleveland is in its final stages. The Euclid Creek Watershed Program Partners planned a July 10 celebration, but it was rescheduled due to inclement weather, and will now be a part of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District's annual Conservation Day on September 21.

For the first time, the League of American Bicyclists included Cleveland in its list (PDF) of Bicycle Friendly Communities, awarding the city a bronze-level designation. Bike Cleveland's Jacob VanSickle celebrated the announcement, but noted that much work remains. Marc Lefkowitz said that "Cleveland needs to 'name and claim' bike progress." Meanwhile, the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy produced a video about how "Cleveland is riding the bike boom all the way back to prosperity."

Update: the League of American Bicyclists published a community feedback report for Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed investing $7 million from the County's Casino Revenue Development Fund to support three downtown Cleveland projects. He recommended supplying $4 million for planned Playhouse Square improvements, $1.5 million for the second phase of the Flats east bank project, and $1.5 million for the residential conversion of the East Ohio Building. County council approved the two latter proposals.

The NOACA Governing Board adopted Connections+ 2035, the five-county agency's long-range transportation plan. It "proposes $9 billion in major transportation investments to meet the needs of the traveling public" and emphasizes the need to maintain the region's existing transportation infrastructure. The previous plan was approved in 2009.

With the completion of the Ernst & Young Tower at the Flats east bank project, Crain's Cleveland Business looked at the potential for more office tower construction in downtown Cleveland.

Developer Andrew Brickman of Abode changed his plans for redeveloping the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property in Fairview Park, dropping his proposal for townhouses and proposing a new 60,000- to 80,000-square-foot office building. The concept requires approval from the Cleveland Metroparks, who control an easement on the property. A residential-to-office rezoning is also needed, which voters will decide in November.

The renovation of Victory Center (formerly the Victory Building and the Arts Building) in Midtown is scheduled to be finished this month. The 150,000 square-foot building at 7012 Euclid Avenue is being marketed to biomedical and technology companies. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation was completed at the adjacent 2.16-acre 7000 Euclid Avenue site.

Some transportation advocates disagree about the City of Cleveland's plans for making West 65th Street a complete street. At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz advocated for including bike lanes in the project.

Plans for senior housing developments:

Update: Strongsville voters will decide the rezoning issue in November.

In its annual report on foreclosures, the Ohio Supreme Court said that foreclosure filings in Ohio decreased by 1.5% in 2012. In Cuyahoga County, the figure fell from 11,544 in 2011 to 11,427 in 2012, a 1.0% decrease, but still the largest number in the state. Policy Matters Ohio used the data in its annual foreclosure report. It said that "Ohio foreclosures remain at crisis levels" and that the "number of filings remained more than four times higher than it was in the mid-1990s." Meanwhile, Slate published an excerpt of Edward McClelland's Nothin' but Blue Skies about the origins of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park completed its trail management plan. Its preferred alternative calls for 37 miles of new trails, including 11 new hiking trails, 12 short interpretive trails, two cross-country ski trails, five connector trails, and three links into neighboring residential areas.

Residential project roundup:

Update: a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Clifton Pointe II on July 24.

Building upon its earlier Dashboard of Economic Indicators, the Fund for Our Economic Future issued its What Matters to Metros report, an analysis of 115 metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2011. It's intended to "help community leaders identify factors that are associated with economic growth in mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas in a post-recession economy," and noted that "growth is not a one-size-fits-all proposition for America's mid-sized metros." Deborah Hoover of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation said that "the data clearly indicates that it is not enough for our economic strategies to focus merely on job creation."

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