FirstEnergy announced plans to shut down its coal-fired Eastlake Power Plant in Lake County and Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland this September, nearly a year ahead of schedule. In Lorain County, NRG Energy revealed plans last year to convert its Avon Lake Generating Station from coal to natural gas.
March 2014 Archives
14 March 2014
The U.S. EPA's national Toxics Release Inventory reported that disposal or other releases of toxic chemicals decreased by 12% from 2011 to 2012. In Ohio, releases fell by 21%, from 149 million pounds in 2011 to 117 million pounds in 2012. ArcelorMittal and Charter Steel remained the largest emitters in Cuyahoga County.
In a paper conducted for Harvard University, local researchers examined post-foreclosure transactions on 38,931 houses that were acquired from financial institutions. They found that "nearly one-third experienced a negative outcome: abandonment, condemnation, demolition or tax delinquency" and that those purchased by out-of-state investors were more likely to experience a negative outcome. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the "regulatory changes identified in the study should be implemented."
The International Mountain Bike Association awarded $10,000 in planning and design services for a mountain bike park at Kerruish Park, in Cleveland's Lee-Harvard neighborhood. The matching grant will be used to prepare a conceptual site plan and report for the proposed bike park.
Westlake City Council passed a package of ordinances that advance the construction of American Greetings' planned headquarters building at Crocker Park. The approved legislation includes a 30-year TIF, a 15-year income tax credit, issuance of additional bonds to fund public improvements, and authorization for the mayor to sign a development agreement. Stark Enterprises also plans to build more apartments and retail space at Crocker Park. The new construction will be supported by bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.
The former Cuyahoga County Administration Building in downtown Cleveland has been razed. A 600-room convention center hotel will be built on the site, and the new County headquarters building at the former Ameritrust complex is scheduled to open in July. County offices formerly in the building relocated to temporary locations last fall. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt has written extensively about the plans for the new 30-story hotel (PDF).
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency allocated $49.5 million in federal Hardest Hit Funds to 11 counties with established land banks. The Cuyahoga Land Bank received $10.1 million. Last year, the state obtained permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to use a portion of the foreclosure-prevention funding to demolish blighted properties. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a smart investment in stabilizing neighborhoods."
Meanwhile, the Ohio Attorney General's office awarded an additional $3.8 million from the 2012 national mortgage settlement to support demolition programs in 87 counties. Cuyahoga County received $602,202. Counties must use the funding by the end of September.
In his final State of the County address, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said that he "directed [his] staff to find an additional $50 million in bonding capacity to fund the most sweeping effort to not just demolish, but to demolish, protect, and restore our neighborhoods."
In addition, an Ohio coalition is seeking $200 million from a $13 billion federal mortgage-fraud settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase. The proposed Ohio Plan (PDF) would use $144 million to support demolition programs. A Plain Dealer editorial concluded that it "may be a long shot, but it's a shot."
The overhaul of the Shoppes at Parma, formerly Parmatown Mall, began in earnest with the demolition of the 305,000-square-foot former Macy's store. The upgrades include the construction of a new, larger Dick's Sporting Goods store, an expansion of the Walmart store, and the construction of six outbuildings. Mall owner Phillips Edison & Company (PDF) intends to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Cleveland.com looked back at the history of the mall and considered what may lie ahead.