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Local housing news:

Five buildings in Cleveland and three historic districts in Cuyahoga County were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The new listings include the East Ohio Building, the Globe Machine and Stamping Company on West 76th Street, the Kendel Building at 210 Prospect Avenue, the former Record Rendezvous building at 300 Prospect Avenue, and the Herold Building at 310 Prospect Avenue. The new historic districts are the Baldwin-Wallace College North Campus Historic District in Berea, the John Carroll University North Quad Historic District in University Heights, and the West 25th Street-Detroit Avenue Historic District in Ohio City.

Eight projects in Cuyahoga County were among the 23 recipients of tax credits (PDF) in the ninth round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. The awards included $5 million for the former East Ohio Building in downtown Cleveland, credits for six projects on Cleveland's near west side, and $3 million for the Beech Street Residence Halls Project in Berea.

Update: Cleveland's Department of Economic Development posted more details about the seven projects in Cleveland.

Three low-head dams were removed from a 0.9-mile stretch of Baldwin Creek in Berea. The work performed in November is intended to (PDF) remove barriers to fish passage and improve habitats. The Ohio EPA has supplied funding for the removal of a fourth dam on Baldwin Creek.

The National Park Service added four local properties to the National Register of Historic Places: Neal Terrace, Oppmann Terrace, and the former Richman Bros. factory in Cleveland, and the Euclid Heights Historic District in Cleveland Heights. The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board nominated an additional eight sites for inclusion, including John Carroll University's North Quad Historic District in University Heights and Baldwin Wallace University's North Campus Historic District in Berea. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission recommended local historic designations for four east side properties.

Baldwin Wallace University dedicated its new R. Amelia Harding House for Sustainable Living. The renovated residence hall incorporates green building features, and the University hopes the project will receive LEED gold certification.

Berea City Council unanimously approved a new zoning code and map, completing the revision process begun in 2010.

The wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was delivered and erected this month. The 265-foot turbine will begin generating electricity in a few weeks. At Cleveland's Progressive Field, workers installed a corkscrew-shaped turbine designed by a Cleveland State University professor.

Update: the turbine at the fairgrounds was officially dedicated, and WKSU reported on local wind energy initiatives.

The concept for Berea's North End calls for revitalizing the area with mixed-use development. Mayor Kleem described it as a "work in progress."

Leaders in Berea anticipate adopting Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald's anti-poaching agreement, while Highland Heights City Council rejected the agreement. Strongsville officials are considering the proposal.

Update: the Sun Messenger says that Highland Heights City Council wants more information on the plan before deciding.

Berea residents expressed concerns about the City's proposed new zoning code and map at public meetings this past spring, and they continued to share their concerns at a recent meeting. City Council will further discuss the changes.

Update: City Council will continue to take public input.

The Baldwin-Wallace College Board of Trustees approved a new 10-year campus master plan. It calls for unifying the three sections of the campus.

Baldwin-Wallace College and the City of Berea are considering plans to renovate the old Hanson House on East Bagley Road as the R. Amelia Harding House. The $2.1 million project would employ green building techniques to convert it to a sustainability learning center and residence hall.

Baldwin-Wallace College shared a preliminary campus master plan with the Berea Planning Commission. The school may reveal its full 10-year plan in April.

The City of Berea will hold a series of public meetings from March through May to discuss proposed changes to the City's zoning code and map. The first event is on March 11.

A local coalition plans to remove three low-head dams along Baldwin Creek in Berea to improve its habitat (PDF). The partners hope to complete the work by the end of the year, and will hold a public meeting on February 1 at the Berea Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Berea City Council recently adopted the new master plan prepared for the City. Council members support the initiatives identified in the document.

The Berea Municipal Planning Commission recommended approval of the Berea Master Plan Update. The 80-page document (PDF) was prepared by Reveille of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Berea officials are preparing to embark on a review and rewrite of the City's zoning code. The City hired consultant Jay Stewart to help guide the process.

The City of Berea and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank are demolishing the former Williams Ford complex on Front Street. It is the Land Bank's first project on a commercial site. The City hopes to eventually redevelop the area as a mixed-use district.

The City of Parma is using its federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to purchase and demolish an additional 14 houses. The City of Berea has also started demolishing distressed houses.

In the fourth round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, 13 projects were awarded $28.3 million in tax credits. Three Cuyahoga County properties were among the recipients: the Union Building in Cleveland, the former Berea Congregational United Church of Christ, and the Schofield Building in downtown Cleveland. It will be converted to a 140-room boutique hotel and 24 luxury apartments. While the program has been praised, this could be its final round. It's up for renewal, and could end if a new funding source is not identified.

The Baldwin-Wallace College South Campus Historic District (PDF) in Berea was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Update: the News Sun has more details.

The Berea Planning Commission approved plans for a 275-foot wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County fairgrounds. The City's Heritage Architectural Review Board also recently approved the plans. City Council approval is not needed in this instance.

After being rejected by the City of Middleburg Heights, Cuyahoga County officials have proposed moving their $2 million wind turbine project to the Berea side of the county fairgrounds.

Update: Berea's Heritage Architectural Review Board discussed the proposal.

The Berea Municipal Planning Commission approved the West Bagley Road Commercial District, a new zoning classification. The district's permitted uses include office, retail, and adult-oriented businesses.

Update: Berea City Council also approved the rezoning.

The Ohio Turnpike published the results (PDF) of its noise mitigation pilot project. The study found that the T-top concrete noise walls installed in Berea were more effective than the median-mounted acoustic panels tested in Strongsville. The Turnpike Commission will consider the findings and decide its next steps.

The 2010 Baldwin-Wallace Sustainability Symposium will be held on March 1 and 2. The title of this year's symposium is "Carbon Footprints – How Can We Transform Our Tomorrow?" The event is free and open to the public.

On Monday, Governor Strickland announced that 25 Ohio energy projects will receive more than $13 million in federal stimulus grants. Seven of the wind and solar projects are in Cuyahoga County.

Update: Middleburg Heights leaders continue to discuss the proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

The City of Berea is using a streetside inspection program to assist in the enforcement of residential exterior maintenance requirements.

Testing for the Ohio Turnpike's noise mitigation pilot project concluded on Friday, and nearby residents said that the sound barriers made a difference. The Turnpike Commission will now review the results of the study and identify next steps. Adding barriers where needed would cost an estimated $39 million.

After some delays, two types of noise barriers are being tested along the Ohio Turnpike in Berea and Strongsville through a noise mitigation pilot project.

Berea leaders want the new Cuyahoga County Land Bank to be active in their city. A News Sun editorial says that the Land Bank could help Berea.

A noise mitigation pilot project is underway at sites along the Ohio Turnpike in Berea and Strongsville. A final report on the effectiveness of the sound barriers should be ready in September. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation is considering the installation of noise walls along I-90 in Tremont, and is gathering public feedback on the proposal.

Berea leaders decided not to renew the City's expiring tax abatement program. Several residents spoke out against its renewal.

The 83 housing starts in Berea last year were the most in Cuyahoga County. Municipal officials credit the City's new tax abatement policy with encouraging the construction.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission will test sound barrier installations along the turnpike in Berea and Strongsville in as part of a noise mitigation pilot project.

Update: the Sun Star has more details.

Following the failure of the Tri-City Joint Recreation District's levy, its board will "continue to study other options and wait and see what the cities would like to do."

If passed by voters in Berea, Brook Park, and Middleburg Heights, the 1 mill continuing levy of Issue 136 will provide funds to construct and maintain new facilities for the Tri-City Senior Center. Many elected officials in Berea and Brook Park are opposed to the issue.

The second Great Lakes Bioneers - Cleveland conference will be held at the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs on October 17-19. It will be one of 18 locations participating in the Beaming Bioneers program. On October 20-21, Baldwin-Wallace College will host a Sustainability Symposium that will feature Stuart Hart as its keynote speaker.

In anticipation of their construction, the City of Lakewood enacted new zoning rules regulating wind turbines. The Cuyahoga County Fair Board is also exploring the possibility of erecting a turbine on the Middleburg Heights portion of the fairgrounds.

Backers of the proposed seven city regional fire district are waiting for leaders in the southwest Cuyahoga County communities to decide if they want to continue their participation. The City of Berea may opt out of the process, which could affect the involvement of Olmsted Falls.

By a vote of 10-4, the board of the Tri-City Joint Recreation District decided to put a 1 mill, five-year levy on the November ballot in Berea, Brook Park, and Middleburg Heights. The board's president says that it would raise enough money to demolish and replace the existing Tri-City Senior Center and cover operating expenses and programming.

The City of Berea is the newest member of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium.

The board of the Tri-City Joint Recreation District established a committee that will study the options for a proposed levy that would fund the Tri-City Senior Center.

The cities of Berea, Brook Park, Olmsted Falls, and Rocky River are continuing their plans to establish railroad quiet zones. Brook Park remains on target to become the first multi-crossing quiet zone in Ohio. Bedford, meanwhile, is waiting for news from the Federal Railroad Administration about its planned quiet zone.

The City of Berea recently established a housing and social services division within the building, engineering, and planning department. Creation of the housing division was a campaign promise of Mayor Kleem.

Construction of a planned new Berea Municipal Court building was postponed for two years, due to increased construction costs and a municipal budget shortfall.

After withdrawing from the Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County last year, the Cities of Berea, Brook Park, and Strongsville reverted to their former municipal transportation systems. Middleburg Heights, on the other hand, will continue its participation in the Senior Transportation Connection.

The newly formed Tri-City Joint Recreation District will not have a tax levy on the March ballot because the board has not yet held a meeting. Its first meeting will be held on January 14.

While voters in Berea and Brook Park approved the creation of the Tri-City Joint Recreation District, some councilmen in the two cities remain vocally opposed to a tax to support the Tri-City Senior Center.

Today's ballot in Berea (Issue 19) and Brook Park (Issue 27) includes a proposal to create a joint recreational taxing district to support the Tri-City Senior Center. Middleburg Heights City Council approved the district last year. Funding for the district is not included in this issue.

The Cities of Berea, Brook Park, and Strongsville decided to withdraw from the Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County and will revert to their former municipal senior transportation systems.

The $931,000 downtown Berea streetscape project is nearing completion, and should be finished by the middle of next month. Meanwhile, Berea officials are looking at measures to address the downtown Berea parking shortage.

Fast Track Cycling continues to examine sites for their proposed velodrome, including the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, a property south of the Gateway complex in downtown Cleveland, and a site south of I-90 between Broadway and Orange Avenues in Cleveland.

Berea City Council approved the purchase of the former Serpentini Chevrolet property on Front Street for the construction of a new Berea Municipal Court building. Mayor Biddlecombe expects that construction of the 25,000 square foot building will begin in the fall.

Berea City Council is discussing legislation to fund the purchase of the former Serpentini Chevrolet property on Front Street and the construction of a new courthouse on the site. They hope to break ground late this year.

Funding problems forced the Tri-City Senior Center to suspend operations today, pending the outcome of the November ballot issue. The earliest the center could reopen is in February.

The transportation budget passed by Ohio legislators includes $500,000 over the next two years for an Ohio Turnpike Commission study and pilot program on reducing traffic noise. Local officials credited the four-city "Working Together to Make a Difference" group with drawing attention to the issue.

Leaders of the Tri-City Senior Center say that the Center will be forced to close if any of Berea, Brook Park, or Middleburg Heights refuse to help supply short-term operating expenses.

The Tri-City Senior Center continues to experience financial difficulties, and is seeking $60,000 from the cities of Berea, Brook Park, and Middleburg Heights. The Center's proposed joint taxing district issue is now slated for the November ballot.

A City Council committee in Berea recommended building a new courthouse for the Berea Municipal Court on the site of the former Serpentini Chevrolet lot on Front Street.

Developers have submitted plans for retail development on the three acre site of the former vegetable packing plant on Bagley Road in Berea. The City may give an adjacent 60 by 100 foot piece of property to the developer in exchange for turning the site into a "viable retail location."

The City of Berea obtained $150,000 in CDBG funds for the construction of a $450,000 pedestrian bridge at Coe Lake. An August groundbreaking is scheduled.

Supporters of the Tri-City Senior Center report that they gathered enough signatures for their initiative petition to appear on the May ballot in Berea and Brook Park. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on the creation of a joint taxing district for the Center.

At the last of four public meetings, Turnpike officials, local leaders, and residents discussed the noise, flooding, and pollution generated by the Ohio Turnpike. Turnpike officials pledged to meet with community leaders within two months to discuss possible solutions.

Berea officials are pursuing several tactics for improving the quality of the City's housing stock. They have instituted home inspections, formed a community development corporation, and are considering a residential land bank program and residential tax abatements.

The initiative petitions for the Tri-City Senior Center ballot issues were short 38 signatures in Brook Park and 108 in Berea. Advocates for the Center have 10 days to collect the needed signatures.

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