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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.

The City of Cleveland introduced an updated bikeway plan. It calls for adding 70 miles of bike lanes, paths, and sharrows by the end of 2017, expanding upon the current 47.5 miles. The plan does not specify the types of bicycle enhancements for the new routes.

Steven Litt of The Plain Dealer said that the expanded system "would be a vast improvement over the current patchwork" but that more is needed to "create the comprehensive citywide grid needed for a complete network of bike paths." A Plain Dealer editorial said that safety should be the top consideration when implementing the plan. At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz urged City officials to create protected bike lanes. Bike Cleveland called it "an exciting plan".

In addition, a feasibility analysis for a bike sharing program in Cleveland found that the City could support between 77 and 140 stations with between 770 and 1,400 bicycles. It calls for a dual-core system focused on downtown and University Circle, with additional stations in Midtown, Ohio City, and Tremont. Marc Lefkowitz said that Cleveland now needs "someone entrepreneurial who wants to start up a business that manages bike share."

In a paper they prepared for Ohio City Incorporated, Richey Piiparinen and Jim Russell said that Cleveland has suffered from a lack of demographic churn. Their research found that Greater Cleveland's outmigration rate was normal, but its inmigration rate was well below average. They also said the way population is growing in downtown Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods presents an opportunity to "position the city to be a model in the development of the equitable, integrated neighborhood." In The Plain Dealer, an editorial called for "more collaborative and comprehensive private-public effort", and Piiparinen summarized his recommendations in an op-ed.

Scene explored the variety of challenges facing community development corporations across Cleveland's neighborhoods, and the different strategies they employ to improve their communities.

Update: Fresh Water also looked at their range of approaches.

The latest state capital budget includes funding for community projects. The Greater Cleveland Partnership recommended nine projects for state funding, requesting a total of $20.3 million. The largest item on the list is $7 million for a lakefront access project in downtown Cleveland. The City has unsuccessfully sought federal TIGER funding for the project in the past.

Update: at Rust Wire, Angie Schmitt criticized the organization's role in influencing regional infrastructure decisions.

The Ohio Department of Transportation began demolition of the closed 1959 Innerbelt Bridge, and announced that its removal will include an explosive demolition late this spring or early this summer.

Last year, ODOT selected a team to remove the existing bridge and build the second new Innerbelt Bridge in its place. This $273 million phase of construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2016. Other Innerbelt reconstruction projects remain more than a decade away.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed open-lake disposal of dredged sediments from the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River into Lake Erie. Currently, dredged material is placed in confined disposal facilities. The Ohio EPA does not feel that the sediment quality will meet the open water placement criteria, and hopes to hold a public hearing in March. A Plain Dealer editorial called the proposal an "affront to environmental stewardship."

Update: the Ohio EPA's public meeting will be held on March 6. The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a web meeting on March 4.

Update 2: the Akron Beacon Journal also described the disagreement, and a second Plain Dealer editorial urged citizens to attend the Ohio EPA meeting and "speak out against open-lake dumping."

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress awarded $340,000 to nine community development corporations in Cleveland for greenspace improvement projects. The selected projects (PDF) will convert vacant lots into usable green spaces this year. Funding was provided by Wells Fargo, as part of their 2012 fair housing settlement.

The Avon Lake Municipal Utilities are preparing an agreement for supplying water to the City of Westlake. City leaders want to transfer away from the Cleveland Water Department.

An Ohio State University professor received a $909,200 grant from the National Science Foundation to study 64 vacant lots in eight Cleveland neighborhoods.

Regenerating America's Legacy Cities, a policy report by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, explores the challenges to redeveloping America's older industrial cities. It examines 18 selected cities, including Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Youngstown. It urges the cities to avoid 'silver bullet' ideas and advocates for a framework they call 'strategic incrementalism'.

Members of Northeast Ohio's congressional delegation, including Senators Brown and Portman, are urging state leaders to seek a waiver for diverting federal foreclosure-prevention funds to support housing demolition programs. Federal officials approved a similar request in Michigan. Some housing housing counselors and foreclosure-prevention officials object to the proposal. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "smart public policy."

As Ohio communities try to meet an end-of-year deadline to spend state housing demolition funds, some Cleveland councilmen are calling for an approach that includes saving houses with 'good bones'. In a pair of Plain Dealer op-eds, Councilman Jeffrey Johnson advocated for rehabilitation and Jim Rokakis made the case for demolition. He also spoke about demolition efforts on the public radio program Here & Now. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto wrote about the "need to focus on the demand side of the market."

Update: the U.S. Treasury Department approved the diversion of $60 million from Ohio's remaining $375 million of Hardest Hit Funds to demolition programs.

Management of the former Cleveland Lakefront State Park was formally transferred to the Cleveland Metroparks. Edgewater Park, Gordon Park, and the East 55th Street Marina formed the Metroparks' new Lakefront Reservation, while Euclid Beach Park, Villa Angela Park, and Wildwood Park became part of Euclid Creek Reservation. The City of Cleveland continues to own the parks, leasing them to the Metroparks at $1 per year for 99 years. Visitors have noticed improvements in the condition of Edgewater Park.

Update: Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman outlined his vision for the lakefront parks.

In its second annual ParkScore index, the Trust for Public Land rated the park systems of the nation's 50 largest cities. It gave the City of Cleveland a score of 50/100, the 25th-highest ranking. The top-ranked cities were Minneapolis and New York. Fresno and Louisville received the lowest scores. Cleveland was not included in last year's rankings.

Writing in The Huffington Post, Richey Piiparinen described how abandonment has harmed communities like Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood. In The Plain Dealer, he criticized Cleveland's emphasis on play and image as economic development strategies. At Cool Cleveland, he said that authenticity and distinctiveness are good ways to attract in-migration.

Ideastream hosted conversations about waterfront plans in Cleveland, discussing the issues on The Sound of Ideas, and continuing with a Cleveland Connects community conversation. The keynote speaker at the Cleveland Connects event was Lisa Schroeder of Riverlife in Pittsburgh. Participants discussed the opportunities and potential for lakefront development.

The City of Cleveland, meanwhile, unveiled plans for a new transient marina at North Coast Harbor. It's scheduled to open this fall. The City also issued a request for qualifications for developers interested in managing and financing development at Harbor West and North Coast Harbor.

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.

The first annual report of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities, commonly known as SC2, says that its "teams are helping each pilot city to think more creatively about how programs could better work together to help achieve local goals, and they are learning lessons and testing new approaches that have national applicability." Cleveland is one of seven cities participating in the program. HUD also selected a consortium to operate the SC2 National Resource Network.

Tony Hull, a planner helping to develop Cleveland's bike sharing plans, said that the City "can no longer claim the mantle of being first. At this point, it would be better served to get it right."

Cleveland City Council approved transferring management of Cleveland Lakefront State Park to the Cleveland Metroparks (PDF). The 99-year lease agreement covers Wildwood, Villa Angela, Euclid Beach, Gordon, and Edgewater parks and the East 55th Street Marina, plus the transfer of $14 million in state funding to the Metroparks.

Update: the Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners approved a step toward completing the transfer. Endorsement of the final agreement is expected in June.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Jim Rokakis described the region's problems with abandoned houses and presented the arguments for a strategic demolition program.

Following the successful installation of a pilot project last year in Ohio City, four additional bike boxes were placed in Cleveland neighborhoods this spring. The converted shipping containers provide safe, sheltered bike parking.

The Cleveland Foundation's most recent round of grants included $5 million to Neighborhood Progress Inc., $1 million to the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, and $300,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (all recipients (PDF)).

In the question-and-answer portion of his State of the City address, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson responded to a query about immigration by saying, "I believe in taking care of your own." He attracted criticism for Dan Moulthrop and others for his apparent anti-immigrant stance, but Mayor Jackson later issued a statement in which he said that "a Cleveland that 'takes care of its own' will ultimately attract people from all across the globe". At Cool Cleveland, Richey Piiparinen related his first-hand experiences about the power of immigration.

Soon after, members of the local business community expressed support for immigration policy reform at a Greater Cleveland Partnership forum. Some of the panelists discussed the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "increased legal immigration may be the best way" to increase the region's economic and political clout, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said "it was heartening to see the gathering in Cleveland".

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz examined the hurdles that the City of Cleveland is facing when implementing its complete streets ordinance, many from the Ohio Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, the City is continuing to develop its complete and green streets typology and design manual, intended to assist with the ordinance's implementation. Smart Growth America recently named its best complete streets policies of 2012, and gave Cleveland's ordinance a grade of C.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy issued the BRT Standard 2013, which was "developed to create a common definition of bus rapid transit and recognize high-quality BRT systems around the world." It certified bus rapid transit corridors as basic, bronze, silver, or gold systems. RTA's HealthLine was the highest-rated line in the United States, and the only American line to receive a silver rating.

Update: participants on WCPN's Sound of Ideas discussed the corridor's impacts.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt described how Cleveland is becoming more welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians, noting that it "echoes a rising national trend inspired by the new popularity of urban living".

March's City Club forums included talks from Lee Fisher of CEOs for Cities and Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Progress Inc. Lee Fisher spoke about his vision for the future of cities and the forces affecting every city. He also blogged about the importance of civic disrupters. Joel Ratner spoke with the City Club audience about reinvesting in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Old Stone Church held its annual Hope for the City speaker series, starting with planner and author Jeff Speck. He talked about his latest book and the economic, environmental, and human health advantages of walkable communities. The series continued with Ann Zoller and Gregory Peckham, Jennifer Coleman, and Anthony Coyne.

The Literary Lots program aims to "brings books to life" in four vacant lots in Cleveland, creating summer programming spaces for children. In August, local artists will recreate places, concepts, or adventures from selected children's books. Project partners are raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign that concludes on March 30.

A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at how former public school buildings are being reused in 12 cities, including Cleveland. It found that they were most commonly reused as charter schools.

via Fresh Water

LEEDCo received the first installment of a $4 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, and has one year to develop detailed plans for its Lake Erie wind farm in Cleveland. The project is in competition with six other projects for up to $46 million in federal funding. Fresh Water interviewed Dave Karpinski, LEEDCo's vice president of operations.

A report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University examined the mobility of young and middle-age adults in Greater Cleveland. It concluded that the young adult population has grown in Cleveland's inner core, some second-tier neighborhoods in Cleveland, and in certain inner-ring suburbs. The Plain Dealer used the research as the basis of a January article, and the paper's Brent Larkin discussed it in the context of population decline.

Governor Kasich's two-year budget plan calls for investing $500 million from Ohio Turnpike-backed bonds by 2015. The governor initially said that 90% of the funds would be spent in northern Ohio, but ODOT Director Jerry Wray called the figure a "foolish expectation." Statehouse Democrats accused the administration of misleading Ohioans and said that the percentages should be specified in the bill. Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt said that the proposal is not good public policy, and U.S. Represenative Tim Ryan called it short-sighted and risky. The Turnpike Commission is preparing to issue the bonds.

The budget includes a provision that would return control of Cleveland Lakefront State Park to the City of Cleveland (PDF) and provide $14 million for the parks. Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik said that legislators should embrace the proposal, and an editorial called it a win-win deal.

Proposed changes to state sales tax laws could affect RTA's finances.

The Ohio Department of Transportation selected three teams of finalists to prepare proposals for designing, constructing, and financing the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. ODOT anticipates naming its preferred team for the $330 million contract this summer.

Cleveland City Council voted to contribute $50,000 to a study designed to evaluate the relationship between foreclosure rates and housing demolition initiatives in Cuyahoga County. Richey Piiparinen described the need for the study, which is being championed by Jim Rokakis. Councilman Brian Cummins shared some of the City's housing strategies, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that a "plan to deal with the vacant and abandoned properties that crater Cleveland neighborhoods is long overdue."

Update: members of Greater Cleveland's Congressional delegation introduced legislation that would provide federal funding for housing demolition. A Plain Dealer editorial cheered the news.

Update 2: Researcher Richey Piiparinen said that "demolition and preservation are not mutually exclusive."

The City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability recently hosted a workshop on street typologies. The next step in the project is to create a draft typology for public review. The effort is intended to help the City implement its complete and green streets ordinance.

At a January 8 meeting, the Ohio Department of Transportation presented its plans for the public areas at both ends (PDF) of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The plans for the Gateway side include landscaping improvements and elements highlighting Cleveland's rock and roll history. The Tremont side would gain a natural area called the sideyard, plus a parking lot. Construction of the bridge will create traffic disruptions over its three-year work schedule.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched its Rental Assistance Demonstration, a "strategy to preserve tens of thousands of public and HUD-assisted housing units," by awarding grants to 68 public housing authorities. CMHA received three grants totaling $17 million for rebuilding and upgrading 383 units at its Cedar Extension, Bohn Tower, and Heritage View Homes housing projects.

Update: the Campus District Observer has more details.

The City of Cleveland's Bike Share Task Force will begin conducting its bike share study in February. Toole Design Group will serve as its lead consultant. The work will begin with a feasibility study, and if determined feasible, continue with an implementation plan.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority completed construction of a $4.5 million rail loop at the Port of Cleveland. It provides the port with a direct ship-to-rail connection.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $10.5 million in grants during the fourth quarter of 2012. The awards included $250,000 to LEEDCo and $75,000 to the OSU Extension, Cuyahoga County. The foundation posted a complete list of recipients (PDF).

Fresh Water explored the evolving role of Cleveland's community development corporations and the priorities of Neighborhood Progress Inc. CEO Joel Ratner.

The City of Cleveland is one of the communities participating in a year-long pilot program to evaluate the STAR Community Rating System, the "nation's first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating the sustainability of U.S. communities."

The Ohio Department of Transportation issued a request for qualifications for a design, construction, and finance team for the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Four teams submitted responses. ODOT expects to name the finalists in February and select a team by summer 2013.

Update: The Plain Dealer has more details.

The Cleveland Metroparks could take control of Cleveland Lakefront State Park as soon as early 2013. Metroparks Executive Director Brian Zimmerman said that he can't estimate when the park district would make a decision on the potential transfer, and Pros Consulting presented recommendations in a business plan for Edgewater Park (PDF). The Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik said that "now is the best time" for state and Metroparks leaders to reach an agreement.

The Gund Foundation's November grant awards included $5 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art's expansion, $500,000 for Land Studio to continue its downtown Cleveland greenspace and trail planning, and $75,000 for Bike Cleveland.

In light of federal criminal charges against Tom Newman, the former director of the shuttered Flats Oxbow Association, the Plain Dealer examined the decline and collapse of the once-powerful organization.

Crain's Cleveland Business published a special section on the transformation of Cleveland's Euclid Avenue. The section includes a set of stories, photos and videos, and an interactive map.

Participants in the fifth Cleveland Design Competition devised creative new uses for the disused lower deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge. The competition attracted 164 entries from more than 20 countries, with teams from Austin and New York City tying for first place. Ashley Craig, Edna Ledesma, and Jessica Zarowitz of Austin envisioned "Superior Pont-scape", an outdoor laboratory for education, exploration, and physical activity, while Archilier Architecture of New York proposed "Bridgewalk", three levels of connections that promote year-round activities. Images of the award-winning designs are available online, and entries will be exhibited at downtown's Colonial Arcade in January.

The City of Cleveland issued an RFP for the preparation of a feasibility and implementation study for a bike sharing program. Bicycling advocates praised the announcement, calling it a "progressive step towards making bikes an integral and healthy component of our community's transportation network".

The Port of Cleveland formally commissioned its two debris-removal boats in mid-October. Flotsam and Jetsam will be operated by crews from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and will patrol the Cuyahoga River's 6.5-mile shipping channel and about five miles of Lake Erie shoreline (PDF). Shortly after their launch, crews used the boats in the cleanup efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

In a feature titled "New Life For the American City", Architectural Record examined how Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are reinventing themselves. Its exploration of Cleveland included an overview by Steven Litt and closer looks at the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion and the Uptown development. Meanwhile, The Atlantic Cities published a piece on the evolution of University Circle and a response from Rust Belt Chic editors Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek. They identified a lack of nuance in reporting about the region, and said that "urban journalism needs to allow for more ambiguity."

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.

Due to unresolved legal questions, Cuyahoga County postponed issuing a request for proposals for the planned wind farm in Lake Erie. The County intends to issue the request for geotechnical services next year.

via GLIN

A consultant for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority said that drying and mounding dredged sediment could add 20 years of capacity to existing confined disposal facilities, alleviating the need for new disposal sites. The Port also continues to explore opportunities for reusing the material.

The City of Cleveland awarded a design-build contract to Grindline Construction of Seattle for the $758,250 Crooked River Skate Park in the Flats. The 15,000-square-foot skatepark will be adjacent to the Cleveland Metroparks' Rivergate Park. A spring 2013 groundbreaking is planned, and a Plain Dealer editorial said it "will be money well-spent."

In a paper, Alan Mallach of the Brookings Institution presented the case for targeted urban demolition programs, saying that "large-scale demolition, thoughtfully and responsibly carried out, is a necessary step in the process of rebuilding the nation's distressed older cities." A short report (PDF) prepared for the City of Cleveland highlighted the costs of housing abandonment and demolition. Local officials used the report to advocate for increased federal support, while others questioned the report's conclusions.

Update: the Plain Dealer clarified Councilman Tony Brancatelli's position on the report.

Fresh Water recently asked if Ohio City's West 25th Street will be able to maintain its authenticity, and looked at five important public spaces in Cleveland.

Scene explored the state of Cleveland Lakefront State Park, looking at current conditions as well as proposals for improvements and the impediments to change. Mark Naymik of the Plain Dealer also continued to draw attention to the park's needs.

Bicyclists in Cleveland say the the City must do more to prioritize bicycle infrastructure and safety. Cleveland appeared in Bicycling magazine's list of the U.S.'s Top 50 bike-friendly cities in 2011, but failed to make the list this year because other cities are making more rapid progress. Rust Wire's Angie Schmitt attributed the slow pace to a lack of civic ambition, while a Plain Dealer editorial concluded that "great strides have been made, but more could be done to make the cycling experience safer for all."

A Plain Dealer editorial addressed the unequal levels of reinvestment in Cleveland's neighborhoods, saying that "it's not right and it's not wise" and that "the persistent, intertwined problems of crime, poverty and unemployment, jeopardize the city's overall renaissance and could irreparably harm the effort to create effective schools."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $132,000 grant to support the Cleveland Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Project, an initiative to build hoop houses. A consortium of agricultural lending institutions added a $135,000 grant to assist beginning urban farmers.

In a recent report, the Greater New Orleans Data Center examined the City of New Orleans' progress in reducing its number of blighted properties, and compared the numbers to those of other cities, including Cleveland.

The Charter One Foundation awarded $100,000 in grants to area neighborhood nonprofits through its Growing Communities program. They include funding for projects in Cleveland and in Lakewood's Birdtown neighborhood.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation completed the sale of 2.4 acres at Rivergate Park to the Cleveland Metroparks. The park district will operate its Institute of the Great Outdoors at the new park in the Flats.

More than 250 supporters celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 0.6-mile stretch of the Towpath Trail on the Scranton Peninsula in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County posted video of the event. The $9.1 million project will also restore 2,800 feet of natural shoreline and create new fish habitats. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and a late summer 2013 opening is planned. A Plain Dealer editorial offered praise.

The sixth report in the Paying More for the American Dream series "examines systemic inequities in the mortgage market" (PDF) in seven American cities, including Cleveland. It found that African-American and Latino homebuyers were significantly more likely to receive government-backed loans than white homebuyers. The government-backed loans are typically more expensive than conventional mortgages.

Cleveland developer/architect Dick Pace spoke with Fresh Water about his role in renovating historic local properties for contemporary users.

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.

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.

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

The U.S. Census Bureau published population estimates for the nation's incorporated cities and towns. The data covers changes between April 2010 and July 2011. For the first time since the 1920s, population grew faster in the nation's large cities than in their suburbs, with central cities growing at an average of 1.1% and their suburbs at 0.9%, Both the City of Cleveland and its suburbs lost population, with the City shrinking more quickly. Cleveland's population fell from 396,815 to an estimated 393,806, a decrease of 3,009.

Update: population estimates for all Cuyahoga County communities are available.

In a pair of recent columns, the Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik drew attention to the "poor condition of the Cleveland lakefront park system" and said that the state should turn control of the parks over to the Cleveland Metroparks. An editorial in the newspaper agreed with his assessment, saying that "the lakefront parks belong under the Metroparks umbrella." Participants on Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the issues.

Update: Mark Naymik continued his focus on the parks, saying that the state "either has to find the money to fix our parks right or it should abandon the management of them," and writing about discussions between ODNR and Cleveland Metroparks officials. Roldo Bartimole, on the other hand, said that the "task should be to force the State of Ohio to do the job it promised to do when it took the parkland from the city. And that was to operate them efficiently and to the benefit of citizens of northeast Ohio."

More bicycling news:

Update: Councilman Tom Bullock of Lakewood explained the sharrow proposal.

Towpath Trail planners devised a new route for the stretch of the trail between Harvard Road and Steelyard Commons. The new plan avoids the contaminated Harshaw Chemical site, and could open in 2016.

Several local construction projects celebrated milestones:

Update: The Ohio Department of Transportation began work on bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland.

At Rust Wire, Richey Piiparinen questioned whether traditional gentrification models apply to older industrial cities like Cleveland and Detroit, asking if they have "any bearing on cities that have seen a mass exodus."

The City of Westlake is seeking a declaratory judgment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court about the City's contract with the Cleveland Division of Water. Westlake leaders remain interested in changing water suppliers.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission voted 6-2 to deny a $5 million grant to LEEDCo for its proposed Lake Erie pilot wind farm project. To reduce construction costs, LEEDCo is considering smaller turbines for the project.

Update: Ed FitzGerald and Ronn Richard urged the Third Frontier program to "reconsider funding the LEEDCo application."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hired Lake Assault Boats of Wisconsin to build two aluminum work boats. They will be used to remove floating debris (PDF) from the Cuyahoga River and downtown Cleveland shoreline, and will be named Flotsam and Jetsam. The boats are expected to be ready by late summer.

The Civic Commons Radio Show explored the complexities of development financing in today's market, using the Flats East Bank and Uptown projects in Cleveland as examples. Developer Ari Maron also spoke about development financing at the recent Neighborhood Solutions Summit.

Urban agriculture continues to rise in Cleveland neighborhoods.

Liveable streets and alternative transportation advocate Mark Gorton spoke at the City Club. He said that Cleveland leaders could easily and inexpensively make the City more friendly to bicyclists and walkers, and that overemphasizing the movement of cars is harmful to cities. The City Club posted video of his talk and the panel discussion that followed.

Update: audio of the forum (MP3, 84.2 MB) is also available.

HBO recently aired The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary on obesity in the United States, and made the series available online. It highlighted the 24-year disparity in life expectancy between Hough and Lyndhurst. A panel discussed the issues at the Great Lakes Science Center, and the City of Cleveland held its first Healthy Cleveland Summit. Earlier this year, the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods issued a set of three data briefs that describe health trends in Cleveland neighborhoods. A Plain Dealer editorial urged coordinated regional action to promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Bike Cleveland is working with Cleveland City Council on a a package of measures intended to enhance safety for cyclists. One portion of the ordinance would require motorists to give cyclists a three-foot passing clearance.

A consultant for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is preparing a study that will recommend storage and reuse options for dredge material from the Cuyahoga River. The Port's Cleveland Harbor Dredge Task Force continues to meet quarterly.

The company that manages the electrical grid from Ohio to the East Coast determined that FirstEnergy's plans to shut down three area coal-fired power plants in September would create reliability problems and that the plants will remain open until April 2015. FirstEnergy's revised plans include the installation of combustion turbines at its Eastlake plant.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

(via the Cleveland Restoration Society)

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.

U.S. Representatives Marcia Fudge and Steve LaTourette held a press conference in Cleveland on Monday, where they announced that they will sponsor a bill that would provide $4 billion to help communities demolish abandoned housing. Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County allocated $14 million for housing demolition. They hope to obtain matching funds from the mortgage fraud settlement. A Plain Dealer editorial supported the efforts.

An article in this week's issue of Scene examined the goals and history of the local food movement in Greater Cleveland and questioned the City of Cleveland's ability to influence the necessary systems.

Richey Piiparinen of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at CWRU researched the demographic trends of downtown Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods, and found promising signs. Geographer Jim Russell concurred with his conclusions.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the figures.

The Congregation of the Clergy reversed the closings of 13 parishes and churches in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The Vatican panel said that Bishop Lennon had not followed church law or procedures. Boston activist Peter Borre, who advocated on behalf of several parishes, said that the decision was unprecedented. Parishioners urged the Diocese to reopen the churches and discussed the decision on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. Bishop Lennon said that he was reviewing the ruling, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that it's too early to tell how this will end.

While Frank Jackson's 2012 State of the City address focused on education, he also spoke about economic development, neighborhood development, and downtown developments. Video, audio, and text of the address are available.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking and Streets Plan Collaborative recently launched the Open Streets Project. Its goal is to share information about events where streets are temporarily closed to automobile traffic, and its first publication is the Open Streets Guide (PDF, 103 MB), a collection of best practices. It identified Cleveland's Walk + Roll initiative as one of seven models used by open streets programs.

Cleveland City Council committees reviewed lakefront plans in a joint meeting last week. The plans would delineate responsibility for bulkhead maintenance along the lower Cuyahoga River.

Ohio will receive a $335 million share of the $25 billion federal settlement with mortgage companies, and Attorney General DeWine intends to set aside $75 million to demolish abandoned properties across the state. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County hope to receive at least $12.5 million from the fund. Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, now head of the Thriving Communities Institute, is working with Representative LaTourette on legislation that would supply federal funding for additional demolitions. Rokakis advocated for the proposal in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Editorials in the Plain Dealer support both efforts, while the National League of Cities reflected on "the lessons that brought the country to this situation."

ODOT Director Jerry Wray said that project scores could change and the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland may move up on its funding priority list. Local leaders are urging ODOT to seek TIGER funding for its construction. Meanwhile, residents held a rally against the delays.

Update: ODOT will apply for a $120 million federal grant.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin said that it may be "time to rein in expectations" for offshore wind turbines in Cleveland.

Construction of the first new Innerbelt Bridge continues. The project in Cleveland is 35 days behind schedule, but ODOT officials are satisfied with the work. The design-build process has been slowed by rain.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Cleveland Division of Water and the cities of Macedonia and Westlake to resolve their differences without the cities changing water systems. The paper's Brent Larkin is highly critical of both Mayor Clough and the Division of Water.

Update: officials debated the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

Members of Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council unanimously voted to accept Ohio Department of Transportation staff recommendations for major transportation projects. The approved list delays many projects, including pushing back the start of work on the second new Innerbelt Bridge to 2023. ODOT officials said that the schedule is based on policy, but Cleveland leaders replied that the agency should prioritize the Innerbelt Bridge project. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the state and federal governments must identify new funding sources, while a Columbus Dispatch editorial said that cities need to accept the delays.

In a presentation to Cleveland City Council about the region's housing market, Tom Bier said that Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs must work together on redevelopment efforts.

The Clean Ohio Assistance Fund awarded a $298,480 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a Phase II environmental assessment of a portion of the former General Environmental Management property on Rockefeller Avenue in the Flats. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation was completed (PDF) for the 14-acre former National Acme site on East 131st Street in Cleveland.

FirstEnergy announced that it will close six older coal-fired power plants this year, including the Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland and the Eastlake Plant in Lake County. The company attributed the decision to new federal mercury pollution standards. Most of the plants that will be closed have been operated as peaking plants.

A Plain Dealer editorial said the closures represented "a punch in the gut for communities already battling sour unemployment numbers," while an editorial in Toledo's Blade said that "no single policy is responsible for the closures." an Akron Beacon Journal editorial provided some perspective. The Natural Resources Defense Council called it "good news for human health and a clean energy economy."

Update: The Atlantic Cities considered how the decision may affect the City of Eastlake.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin says that a proposed federal tax credit program presents an opportunity for Ohio cities to address abandoned housing problems.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board approved $3.9 million to construct an on-dock rail loop and selected Great Lakes Construction Company to build the track (PDF). Cleveland Commercial Railroad will operate it. A Plain Dealer editorial praised the project.

The Plain Dealer summarized the debate about the future of Westlake's water supply. The City is contemplating a switch from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Macedonia is also considering plans to change water suppliers.

In its biannual report on bicycling and walking in the United States, the Alliance for Biking & Walking examined a variety of factors, including activity levels, safety, policy issues, education, and advocacy. It looked at how states and major cities compare on those factors, and said that "many states and cities are making progress toward promoting safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians, but much more remains to be done."

The Plain Dealer described the status of the planned Lake Erie ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario.

Update: the News-Herald provided additional perspectives. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the "ferry is still an intriguing idea," while Bill Callahan pointed out some details.

Citing a "looming transportation financial crisis facing" the state, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray revealed the agency's funding recommendations (PDF) to the Transportation Review Advisory Council. The recommendations call for major projects across the state to be eliminated or substantially delayed, including the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Originally scheduled to be built between 2014 and 2016, work on the bridge would not start before 2023. The West Shoreway project was not on the funding list. The announcement angered Cleveland leaders. A Plain Dealer editorial said the delay was unacceptable, while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial suggested raising the gas tax. Governor Kasich may use the news to promote the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more information about the possible West Shoreway funding delay.

Update 2: the Statehouse News Bureau reported on ODOT's funding issues, and Greater Ohio's Gene Krebs renewed his call for a "discussion about how to move people and goods in the most cost effective and safe manner."

Update 3: Governor Kasich defended the agency. An editorial in the Blade urged state leaders to consider raising the gas tax. Participants on WCPN's Sound of Ideas discussed the issues.

The U.S. EPA introduced its Greenhouse Gas Inventory. It provides public access to 2010 greenhouse gas emissions data from large facilities for the entire United States. Ohio's largest group of emitters were power plants, and the largest single emitter in Cuyahoga County was the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal announced that it would reopen the west side of the plant.

Frank Jackson promoted Jenita McGowan (PDF), naming her the City of Cleveland's new chief of sustainability. She succeeds Andrew Watterson, who stepped down last year.

Update: Fresh Water interviewed Jenita McGowan.

Despite a series of setbacks in court, the City of Cleveland continues to pursue its lawsuit against a group of major banks and mortgage companies.

Last week, the U.S. EPA issued the first national standards for mercury and other toxic air emissions from power plants. Under the new rules, which will become effective in 2014 and 2015, operators will have to install pollution controls or shut down older coal-fired power plants. The regulations could impact several local power plants, including FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Power Plant in Cleveland and Eastlake Power Plant in Lake County, and Genon's Avon Lake Generating Station in Lorain County.

A group of young professionals organizations published the results of their urban park survey (PDF). It asked respondents to prioritize park offerings and to identify desired features and activities.

Shelterforce profiled Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka and the strategies he has employed to encourage neighborhood stabilization.

While Westlake City Council continues to discuss a proposed switch in water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities, the City of Cleveland issued a study that challenged the conclusions of a recent report prepared for the City of Westlake. The Cleveland report (PDF) said that Westlake should remain (PDF) with Cleveland Water. Mayor Clough said that the response would not deter him from pursuing the switch.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges Mayors Jackson and Clough to meet and "take another pragmatic look at options."

Officials in Central Elgin, Ontario say that the planned Cleveland-to-Port Stanley ferry will not begin operations before 2013.

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary)

The Trust for Public Land's annual City Park Facts report says that the number of parks in the nation's 100 largest cities has increased, with the fastest-growing segment being dog parks. Cleveland Lakefront State Park remained the 11th-most visited urban park in the United States.

A $500,000 state grant to Cuyahoga County completed the funding for a 0.6-mile section of the Towpath Trail on the Scranton Peninsula in Cleveland. Work is scheduled to begin next year.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian J. Corrigan dismissed most of the City of Cleveland's lawsuit against 21 banks and mortgage companies.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected the German Marshall Fund to manage the Strong Cities, Strong Communities fellowship program. Up to 30 fellows will be deployed to the six SC2 cities. CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs will administer the program in Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland and Neighborhood Progress Inc. will make $1 million available in the second round of the Reimagining Cleveland initiative. The funding will help residents reuse vacant properties in creative new ways.

Update: Fresh Water shared more details.

In a new report, Emory University's Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Georgia Organics collected the urban agriculture policies of 16 American cities, including Cleveland.

(via Joe Cimperman)

In the second event of the Why Place Matters series, former HUD Deputy Director and King County, Washington Executive Ron Sims spoke at the City Club on Wednesday (MP3, 57.9 MB). He discussed several topics, including the role of geography as a determinant of health.

Update: video of his talk is also available.

Update 2: the Civic Commons radio show explored the issue.

Cleveland City Council passed two ordinances intended to enhance the City's ability to recover demolition costs from previous property owners.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the decision.

Chicago's WBEZ reported on the challenges facing the proposed offshore wind farm north of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

Republican and Democratic congressmen have different ideas for addressing the decrease in dredging of the lower Cuyahoga River.

The City of Cleveland may terminate several tax abatements for properties that failed to meet economic development goals, including the Stager-Beckwith Mansion on Euclid Avenue. Meanwhile, Cleveland City Council is considering two pieces of legislation that would expand the City's ability to recoup expenses and fines incurred by negligent property owners.

Update: the Plain Dealer provides more information about the proposed legislation.

At the 2011 AICP Symposium in Washington, D.C., Cleveland City Planning Director Bob Brown described the City's plans to focus redevelopment efforts and the Reimagining Cleveland initiative.

Update: audio of the symposium (MP3, 134 MB) is now available.

Contributors to the New York Times Room for Debate offered opinions about the wisdom of demolishing distressed housing in cities like Cleveland.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman testified before the U.S. House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He urged Congress to take up a comprehensive reform of the Water Resources Development Act. The port authority would like the ability to manage its dredge material without waiting for approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman spoke at the City Club (MP3, 52.1 MB) about the Port's plans and accomplishments. The Port Authority has also identified a preferred provider for the planned Lake Erie ferry.

Update: Bill Callahan posted more information about the ferry plans.

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank continues to gather national attention, as the Washington Post explored the agency's approach to the foreclosure crisis.

Update: the newspaper also published an article on local deconstruction and salvage operations.

Andrew Watterson is stepping down from his role as the City of Cleveland's chief of sustainability to take a position at the sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting firm BrownFlynn. He pledged to continue his involvement in the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 process. Marc Lefkowitz considered his tenure and possible successor.

Participants on a recent Outspoken Cyclist show on WJCU discussed mountain biking in Northeast Ohio, and the conversation on the latest Civic Commons radio show was about bicycling in Cleveland. An article in this month's issue of Cleveland Magazine calls for faster progress in the construction of the Cleveland portion of the Towpath Trail.

Next month, ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art will merge to create LAND Studio. Its "mission will be to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming." The new organization will combine ParkWorks' staff of 12 with the four at Cleveland Public Art and have an annual $1.3 million budget. An introductory video explains the merger.

The third annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit took place (PDF) last week. The first day focused on energy efficiency and the second on local food. Participants will explore local food systems over the next year. Prior to the event, organizers discussed the topics on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

In its annual release of American Community Survey statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau published data covering more than 40 topics for 2010, including income, poverty, and educational attainment. Median income declined and poverty rates increased in most of the nation's metropolitan areas, including Greater Cleveland. Suburban poverty rates continued to rise. The City of Cleveland remained among the nation's poorest large cities.

Last Wednesday, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority voted to adopt its new strategic (PDF) action plan, despite a late objection from developers of the Flats east bank project.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved complete and green streets legislation. Starting in January, 20% of road construction spending will go toward sustainable transportation options, up to $1 million. GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz addressed misconceptions about the policy and Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt supplied the decision's historical context.

CEOs for Cities opened a Cleveland office at CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs. Its other offices are in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Lee Fisher was named as the organization's president and CEO in April. Fran DiDonato will lead the Cleveland office.

The public response was positive at a Wednesday meeting on the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's draft strategic plan. The Port Authority board may vote to adopt the plan at its September 21 meeting.

Three types of fish habitats are being tested in the lower Cuyahoga River through the green bulkheads project. In addition to the plant pockets (CHUBs), Floating Islands and Beemats are in place.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "it shows the kind of stewardship and initiative that have turned what was once a burning river into an environmental movement."

A new report from the Planning and Community Health Research Center offers an overview of food policy councils and how planners can participate in them, based on the experiences of efforts in four cities, including the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

Cleveland State University partnered with Massachusetts-based Zipcar to offer car sharing to its students, faculty, and staff. The program will start with two cars on campus. The local CityWheels car sharing service is disbanding and is selling its cars.

Frank Jackson advocated for the construction of the Lake Erie wind farm in a Plain Dealer op-ed, saying it represents "a vision of our regional economy as a national leader in renewable energy and a major economic growth sector."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz explored the current situation.

Research conducted by a Cleveland State University student indicates that the slope at Irishtown Bend shifted by more than six feet between 2006 and 2010. Sherrod Brown recently called attention to the slope subsidence problem to promote proposed federal investments in infrastructure.

Three potential operators of the proposed Lake Erie ferry submitted proposal packages by the August 15 deadline. Officials in Cleveland and Central Elgin are reviewing the submissions.

Update: Bill Callahan shared his perspective and called for a public discussion of the plans.

Two Cleveland City Council committees approved the proposed complete and green streets legislation. It includes a $1 million spending cap. City Council may consider the legislation at its September meeting.

Update: the Plain Dealer explained the delay.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Council should pass the measure as soon as possible."

Participants on Monday's Sound of Ideas program discussed Northeast Ohio invasive plant issues. The guest on Tuesday's program was Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman.

Steven Litt considered local design trends over the past 10 years, and said that "the new mood of openness in architecture and planning in Cleveland is a product of regional characteristics and national trends in architecture and urban development that have been evolving for decades."

Several companies have expressed interest in operating a Lake Erie ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario. Potential providers must respond by August 15.

(via GLIN)

A study published in the journal Cities examined whether cities can become self-reliant for food, using Cleveland as a model. The Plain Dealer looked at how local students are gaining skills as they work at the six learning farms in the Cleveland Botanical Garden's Green Corps program. The New York Times reported on the re-emergence of natural systems on vacant lots in Cleveland and the research being conducted through the ULTRA-Ex partnership.

Update: ABA Journal explored the rise of urban agriculture in Cleveland and other cities.

Update 2: the Columbus Dispatch and GreenCityBlueLake also wrote about the urban agriculture study.

Update 3: Rust Wire's Angie Schmitt asks if researchers are considering the wrong question.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded more than $23.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 13 projects, including three in Cleveland. The Middough Building received $4.8 million, the University Towers Apartments received $2 million, and the Joseph & Feiss Warehouse received $995,334.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business says that the award could revive the Joseph & Feiss renovation project.

This week's issue of Fresh Water includes articles about going car-free in Cleveland, bicycling advocacy, and the City of Cleveland's complete and green streets legislation, as well as a piece profiling local boomerang migrants.

The Ohio EPA declared that Great Lakes Towing has completed brownfield remediation (PDF) of its 2.18-acre property along the old river channel in Cleveland.

The Faster Times interviewed Joe Cimperman about the City of Cleveland's food justice efforts.

(via Fresh Water)

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority released (PDF) a draft of its strategic action plan. Its recommendations include ways to "deliver on community ambitions for waterfront renewal, job creation, and economic vitality." If adopted, it would replace the earlier port relocation plan. Steven Litt said that its suggestion to concurrently plan for the future of the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfronts "is embarrassingly close to a head-slapping moment of blinding clarity." The public can provide feedback through a survey and at the Civic Commons. The Port Authority also announced that it will relocate its offices to a building on West 9th Street and the hiring of Jim White (PDF) as its first director of sustainable infrastructure programs.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the plan "actually makes sense for the port and the region," but that implementing it may be a challenge.

Update 2: WKSU's Kabir Bhatia spoke with Port Authority President William Friedman.

Walk Score updated its rankings of walkable cities, last released in 2008. The City of Cleveland was ranked the 17th most walkable of the 50 largest cities in the United States. The most walkable neighborhoods in Cleveland were downtown, University Circle, and Ohio City. In Ohio, the most walkable cities included Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, while Broadview Heights and Solon were among the least walkable.

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. will distribute a total of $1.8 million to support neighborhood improvement initiatives of nine Cleveland community development corporations.

Sustainable City Network described the City of Cleveland's cross-disciplinary sustainability initiative.

Through its new Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) pilot initiative, the Obama Administration will provide experienced federal staff to work directly with six cities, including Cleveland. The team in Cleveland will include staff from the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, and Education, plus the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Plain Dealer compiled and mapped the more than $5.4 billion in new construction and redevelopment projects recently finished, under construction, or planned in the City of Cleveland.

Cleveland Magazine looked at how rowers, environmentalists, and others are working to make the Flats more appealing and active by adding greenspace like the new Rivergate Park.

In its US and Canada Green City Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit used nine environmental indicators to rank 27 American and Canadian cities (PDF). Cleveland was ranked 25th (PDF) overall, and received the lowest scores of any city in the buildings, CO2, and land use categories. Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated the evaluation.

The Plain Dealer visited Slavic Village to see how the neighborhood is dealing with abandoned and vacant homes, while the PBS Newshour reported on local efforts to demolish distressed housing.

Update: the PBS Newshour has a follow-up story.

Update 2: as Montgomery County sets up its new land bank, the Dayton Daily News examined the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Update 3: the Cincinnati Enquirer also looked at the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Some Cleveland residents and leaders have concerns about the City's plans to revise its Statistical Planning Areas and their associated neighborhood names.

Officials from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario will jointly issue a request for expression of interest (PDF) for ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley.

The Cleveland Clinic and the City East Cleveland reached an agreement about the planned closing of Huron Hospital. The Clinic will pay the City more than $8 million over five years to offset lost payroll tax revenue. The Clinic will also raze the hospital and turn its land over to the City. The City of Cleveland, however, filed a federal lawsuit against the Clinic, saying that the closure would create a gap in trauma service.

The City of Cleveland is in the process of revising its Statistical Planning Areas. Unlike the current boundaries, the new SPAs may not be based on census tracts.

Charter school operator White Hat Management acquired five closed churches in Cleveland from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The company paid a total of $2.6 million for the properties.

Update: another charter school operator is buying four closed schools from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

NPR's All Things Considered reported on the plans to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The project north of Cleveland could be the first offshore wind farm in the nation. Developers now hope to have it in place by 2013.

The Plain Dealer interviewed John McGovern of the Earth Day Coalition about bicycling in Cleveland.

Brook Park leaders decided to not pursue the proposed water main maintenance and no poaching agreement with the City of Cleveland. Brook Park's law director recommended against the pact, saying it could hurt the City's ability to attract companies.

A new study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy named Cleveland as one of five American cities with high-quality bus rapid transit systems. Under the report's 100-point scoring system, the HealthLine's score of 69 was the highest in the nation, but well below the scores of the top-rated lines in Bogota and Guangzhou.

Cleveland City Council approved $550,000 for the planned Cleveland Skateboard Park in the Flats. Organizers hope to raise a total of $670,000 for the project.

The U.S. EPA launched an initiative to promote green infrastructure and reduce stormwater runoff. The agency will partner with 10 cities, including Cleveland.

(via the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the USGBC)

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Eric Wobser of Ohio City Incorporated describes the emerging artisan economy in Cleveland.

Update: Fresh Water looked at its growth along Lorain Avenue.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation of the Flats east bank site in Cleveland is complete and that the 20-are property is ready for redevelopment (PDF).

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman outlined a new strategic business plan to the Port's Maritime Committee. It identifies four markets for growth, which Crain's Cleveland Business describes as "land- and marine-based wind energy development, especially in light of plans for a wind farm in Lake Erie north of Cleveland; new ferry service across Lake Erie from Canada; a shuttle service that would bring containers from Europe and beyond into the Port of Cleveland; and an increase in steel and other traditional lake cargo." He expects that the plan will be completed in the next 60 days.

A piece of legislation being prepared for Cleveland City Council consideration includes complete streets and green streets components. If adopted, it would allow the City to incorporate access considerations and environmental design features into its planning process.

Fresh Water looked at how Cleveland artists are using temporary pop-up shops to revive vacant storefronts, market their wares, and establish connections.

The Tony Hawk Foundation contributed $25,000 for the planned Cleveland Skateboard Park in the Flats. It's the project's first major private donation.

At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz looked at how the City of Cleveland is making policy changes to support vacant land reuse efforts.

Through its new two-year Artists in Residents Initiative, the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture will invest $500,000 in one Cleveland neighborhood. It will provide small grants and loans to artists to purchase or renovate homes and to support community based-projects. The selected neighborhood will be announced in July. The program is supported by a $250,000 grant from Leveraging Investments in Creativity of New York.

This week's edition of Fresh Water includes articles about plans to restore a portion of Doan Brook in Cleveland and about the growth of urban agriculture in Northeast Ohio.

The Plain Dealer compared the U.S. Census Bureau's 2009 population estimates to the 2010 Census figures, and also examined local migration patterns. Cleveland's African-American population is suburbanizing and its Latino population is growing. Racial segregation continues to be an issue.

National media outlets are focusing on population declines in older industrial cities, and Terry Schwarz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative discussed the subject on the Diane Rehm Show. Terry Schwarz and Brad Whitehead contributed opinion pieces to a set of commentaries in the New York Times. In Shelterforce, Alan Mallach explored how community development corporations are responding to the demographic changes. Greater Ohio's Lavea Brachman looked to Europe for ideas.

Update: WKSU's M. L. Schultze spoke with Kimberly Phillips of the College of William & Mary about local African-American history.

After finding possible financial irregularities, the board of the Flats Oxbow Association decided to close the organization. Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman has been leading a visioning process on the future of the Flats without the participation of the Flats Oxbow Association.

Cleveland City Council did not vote on an ordinance that would have protected some stained glass windows in churches designated as Cleveland landmarks. The future of the legislation is unclear.

Update: Channel 3 has more details.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes that "Council should give [the agreement] a fair hearing. "

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Cleveland v. Ameriquest, the City of Cleveland's suit against 21 banks and mortgage lenders. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the City in 2010.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial praises "Cleveland officials for their ingenuity and then tenacity in continuing to push this case against the odds."

Tests conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that Cuyahoga River sediment is getting cleaner. If the results are confirmed in subsequent tests, it could enable the Army Corps to dispose of dredge material in Lake Erie or on land instead of in confined disposal facilities. The Army Corps dumps dredge material from Toledo's harbor into Lake Erie, a practice that is being challenged by environmentalists.

Fresh Water looked to Pittsburgh for lessons that Clevelanders can incorporate into local efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly and to improve its bicycle culture.

The release of Census 2010 population figures prompted a variety of local responses. Dennis Kucinich attributed Cleveland's population decline to the loss of manufacturing jobs, while Bill Callahan drew connections between the population decrease and foreclosure levels. An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal suggested that "initiatives to rein in expensive sprawl are more important than ever," but a Morning Journal editorial said that "Lorain County needs to capitalize on its growth image".

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial took a more optimistic approach.

An article in the magazine E looks at the Re-Imagining Cleveland initiative and efforts to reclaim open space in other cities.

The U.S. Census Bureau today published the first set of detailed Census 2010 demographics for Ohio, redistricting data that covers population, race, Hispanic origin, and housing occupancy. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Cuyahoga County fell by 113,856 to 1,280,122, a decrease of 8.2%. The City of Cleveland's population declined by 17.1% to 396,815, and most of its inner-ring suburbs also lost population. The populations of Cleveland Heights and Euclid each fell below 50,000, putting their status as entitlement communities into question. Lakewood's population remained over 50,000. We have posted population figures for Cuyahoga County communities and will provide other tables soon.

The eight-county Cleveland-Akron CSA's population declined by only 2.2%, as Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, and Portage counties gained population. The City of Columbus grew by 10.6%, but all of Ohio's other major cities saw population decreases. The Census Bureau will release additional data in the coming months.

Update: area newspapers reported on the release, including the Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, News-Herald, Morning Journal, Chronicle-Telegram, Record-Courier, and the Medina County Gazette. In addition to posting the Cuyahoga County population figures, we posted data and maps on the county's racial distribution, Latino population, and housing occupancy.

Update 2: Ohio's Office of Policy Research and Strategic Planning compiled population data for every county, city, village, and township (PDF) in the state.

Update 3: the Plain Dealer published a corrected population change map.

Legislation for the Healthy Cleveland partnership between the City and its four major health systems was introduced in Cleveland City Council on Monday. It includes complete streets and local food components. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the initiative.

On Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program, Ohio Department of Mental Health Director Tracy Plouck defended her decision to abandon plans for a new psychiatric hospital on Euclid Avenue and to close the facility near MetroHealth Medical Center.

The Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits highlighted Cleveland's use of tax credit programs and other creative financing techniques to support downtown and neighborhood development.

(via Scott Suttell)

Through its new Strategic Code-Enforcement Partnership, the City of Cleveland will collaborate with the network of community development corporations to address building code violations. They intend to conduct exterior inspections of every building in the City over the next three years.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the initiative.

More than 350 people attended a Tuesday working meeting to discuss the future of the Flats. They initiated a six-month planning process to devise a vision for the district, which faces the challenge of balancing industrial, recreational, residential land uses.

Leaders of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Central Elgin, Ontario soon may begin formal negotiations on the proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry (PDF). Unlike earlier proposals that emphasized trucks, the proposed pilot program would focus on on tourism and recreation.

Update: officials may soon schedule a meeting. Discussions about ferry service between Ashtabula County and Port Burwell, Ontario are moving more slowly. Bill Callahan supplies more context.

The Redfields to Greenfields project proposes that public-private partnerships should acquire unproductive urban properties and convert them to greenspace or set them aside for future development. Its Cleveland report (PDF), issued in 2010, says that a $2 billion investment would "remove an estimated 1,850 acres of non-performing real estate from the market" and "create over 120 miles of interconnected greenways."

(via SmartPlanet)

The new Re-imagining Cleveland Ideas to Action Resource Book (PDF) is now available. It's intended to "put ideas and helpful information into the hands of people who can and will change the city for the better" and to "introduce you to some local heroes who are leading the way". On Thursday, the Levin College Forum at Cleveland State will host a Re-Imagining Cleveland forum and gallery opening.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the initiative.

Update 2: Marc Lefkowitz and Gloria Ferris wrote about the event.

The City of Cleveland plans to build a skatepark on the Columbus Road Peninsula in the Flats, adjacent to the new Rivergate Park. Construction of the $550,000 project could begin this summer. The new facility will replace the North Coast Harbor skatepark, closed last year because of safety concerns. A Plain Dealer editorial says it "makes sense, on a lot of levels, as a way to make the riverfront -- and downtown living -- more inviting."

The new mayor of Central Elgin, Ontario expressed interest in discussing a proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry. Another group wants to establish ferry service between Port Burwell and Conneaut.

(via GLIN)

A new study from Enterprise Community Partners "examines the value of parcel-level real estate data for neighborhood stabilization programs in general, and looks specifically at how the Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing system (NEO CANDO) is used in Cleveland."

A piece by the Plain Dealer editorial board highlights positive news about Cleveland and offers a set of goals for this year. It proposes ways to rebuild human capital, rebrand the city, and reform government and civic life. The newspaper also published a set of ideas from readers.

The Plain Dealer explored the changes coming to the Flats and the more than $2 billion of development planned for the area. Cleveland Councilman Cimperman assembled an advisory group, and they met for the first time today. The groundbreaking ceremony for the aquarium at the Powerhouse will be held on Wednesday. The future of the district may not include the Flats Oxbow Association.

Update: the aquarium groundbreaking was postponed due to weather conditions.

Cleveland City Council declined to adopt a complete streets policy. Marc Lefkowitz looked at the issues and offered a response.

Leaders in Brook Park are considering the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. Highland Heights City Council has also been pondering the proposal.

Update: Brook Park officials continue to discuss the proposal.

The Ohio Department of Transportation awarded $2.2 million through its 21st Century Transit Partnerships for Ohio's Next Generation program to RTA to create and operate new services for one year. RTA will use the funds for several new routes.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

In his last official act as governor, Ted Strickland signed a lease option that grants LEEDCo the right to conduct tests and pursue a submerged lands lease within a two-square-mile area of Lake Erie for the planned wind farm pilot project.

Jacobs Entertainment announced Friday that it had secured financing for the first phase of the proposed Greater Cleveland Aquarium in the Flats. Construction of the $33 million phase one at the Powerhouse is expected to begin this week, and the facility is scheduled to open in the fall. A $40 million phase two is under design.

The Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik reflected on the past year, and thinks that "in 10 years, we will look back on 2010 as the year that Cleveland turned the corner and began to regain its status as a vibrant American city." Steven Litt described the year's architecture highlights, while GreenCityBlueLake summarized the major sustainability stories, and the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition listed the top bicycling news.

The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties closed on their financing for the first phase of the Flats east bank development. Construction of the stalled $275 million project is expected to resume this week. It is supported by a complex package (PDF) of private and public financing and is scheduled to open in spring 2013.

The Cleveland Housing Renewal Project and the City of Cleveland refiled their lawsuit against Deutsche Bank in a federal court. In addition, the amended filing now includes nine mortgage servicing companies.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $12.9 million in grants, which included $400,000 to Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland to support Evergreen Cooperatives' Green City Growers program, $335,000 to the National Development Council for coordinating Cleveland's Living Cities funds, $250,000 to ParkWorks, and $250,000 to the Gordon Square Arts District for renovations of Cleveland Public Theatre.

The latest issue of the Trust for Public Land's Land & People magazine features an article about initiatives to increase the amount of public greenspace in the Flats through new parks and greenways, including Canal Basin Park, Rivergate Park, the Towpath Trail, and the Lake Link Trail.

Materials from October's national Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference in Cleveland are now available online.

A Plain Dealer editorial dismissed the idea of straightening the Cuyahoga River. It added that Rock Ventures should share its plans for narrowing the river and discuss the proposal in public. Meanwhile, the Lake Carriers' Association suggested that narrowing the river would be acceptable to them if a nearby area was dredged, which would require removing the closed Eagle Avenue Lift Bridge.

Update: a second Plain Dealer editorial encourages the business community to publicly discuss the issues.

Update 2: the Greater Cleveland Partnership issued a response.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $32 million in loan guarantees for the planned Flats east bank project in Cleveland. The development is backed by private and public funding sources, including bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. Developers hope to close on their financing before the end of the year.

In response to Rock Ventures' proposal to narrow the Cuyahoga River at Collision Bend, the Flats Oxbow Association revived the idea (PDF) of straightening a portion of the river to bypass the river bend. The group did not propose a method of funding the concept.

The City of Cleveland may adopt a new tactic for dealing with companies that purchase foreclosed houses in bulk and then neglect them. City officials are considering legal action against the company owners.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial addressed the subject.

Next American City presents the current status of a Neighborhood Progress Incorporated subsidiary's lawsuits against Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank. Scene reports on the City of Cleveland's plans to appeal the latest ruling in its case against 21 banks.

While the future of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's building program is in question, the school board voted to proceed with construction of three new elementary school buildings and to demolish 13 closed elementary schools.

Bloomberg reported on residential demolitions in Cleveland and other Midwestern cities.

A Plain Dealer editorial said that the idea of international "container service between Montreal and Cleveland merits further study."

The Akron Beacon Journal examined the plans to complete the last miles of the Towpath Trail through Cleveland and the challenges facing its construction.

The Northeast Ohio Local Food Assessment and Plan was unveiled on Saturday at the Northeast Ohio Local Food Mini-Congress. It includes an analysis of the current state of the local food system and proposes that within 10 years, local production could supply 25% of Northeast Ohio's food needs. The document then offers more than 50 recommendations for meeting that goal. Michael Shuman, one of the plan's authors, will present its findings at the City Club on Tuesday.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake and Crain's Cleveland Business provided more information about the plan, and the City Club posted audio of Michael Shuman's talk (MP3, 52.2 MB).

American Public Media's Marketplace reported on bus rapid transit, using Cleveland's HealthLine as an example. NPR's Talk of the Nation visited Cleveland for a program, and discussed the creative reuse of abandoned properties, among other topics.

A new report from the National Housing Law Project highlights five Neighborhood Stabilization Program grantees that "used innovative strategies to meet their obligations to provide housing for very low-income families." It profiles programs in Cleveland, Knoxville, Phoenix, Greenville County, South Carolina and Hamilton County, Ohio.

(via ReBuild Ohio)

At the annual Real Estate Deal Maker Forum, local employees of URS Corporation rated sections of Cleveland and made suggestions for improving the city.

Researchers at the Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities.are studying the impacts of foreclosures on residents who remained in neighborhoods with high foreclosure rates. Their work will focus on Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway and Hough neighborhoods.

The Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners were expected to approve a 99-year lease of Seneca Golf Course and the adjoining Tree Farm site from the City of Cleveland. The agreement calls for the Metroparks to make $4 million in improvements in the next five years to the property in Brecksville and Broadview Heights. Cleveland City Council approved the agreement in June.

The Ohio EPA declared that brownfield cleanup has been completed at a site on Euclid Avenue (PDF) in Cleveland and at Cedar Center in South Euclid. The agency is also considering an expansion of the Urban Setting Designation in Cleveland (PDF) to cover the entire city. The designation (PDF) would would reduce groundwater cleanup requirements in the brownfield remediation process.

Living Cities announced that it will provide at least $80 million to five cities, including Cleveland, through its new Integration Initiative. Over the next three years, Living Cities will invest $14.75 million in Cleveland, with much of it supporting new worker-owned cooperatives and initiatives in the Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor. Cleveland was named a finalist in April.

Update: guests on The Takeaway talked about the awards.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial praised the initiative.

Attendees at a public meeting in Columbus told Ohio Department of Transportation officials that the agency should devote more resources to public transit and alternative transportation. It was the first in a series of workshops that ODOT is holding at various locations. A Cleveland meeting will be held on November 3 at the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel. Officials with ODOT District 12 have also been meeting with local transportation activists.

Update: the Plain Dealer provided more information about the Cleveland meeting, and ODOT posted its presentation (PDF).

Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka barred three out-of-state companies from conducting real estate deals in the city. The companies, which own a total of 126 properties in Cleveland, have failed to appear in court, address property violations, and pay taxes or assessments.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial praises Judge Pianka's approach.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hopes to make Cleveland the first Great Lakes city with regular international container service. Port Authority officials are negotiating with a Canadian company to provide weekly container shipping between Cleveland and Montreal. One of its ships visited Cleveland on Friday for a demonstration (PDF).

Early this month, Cleveland City Council approved zoning code changes that include adding agriculture as a principal use on all vacant land zoned for residential use. The revised code (PDF) will become effective on November 3.

Research conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Reinvestment Fund examined access to supermarkets in 10 metropolitan areas, including Cleveland. In the Cleveland MSA (PDF), they found that 11.3% of the population lives in areas with poor access to supermarkets. Results of the analysis for the 10 profiled areas and for the entire nation are available at the Reinvestment Fund's PolicyMap.

Following the national vacant properties conference held in Cleveland last week, the Detroit Free Press looked to Cleveland for innovative examples of urban revitalization, and MSN Real Estate described Cleveland as a city creatively working to reinvent itself. On Friday, the Center for Community Progress released Restoring Properties, Rebuilding Communities, a new report that encourages those interested in vacant properties to "build a truly effective agenda to turn vacant, abandoned, and problem properties into productive places in our communities, based not on one-off deal-oriented transactions, but on true systemic reform."

The Architect's Newspaper looked at Miguel Rosales' proposed designs for pedestrian bridges in Cleveland at North Coast Harbor, Whiskey Island, and Case Western Reserve University.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court ruled that neighbors of an abandoned house failed to meet the threshold for receiving financial restitution from the house's owner. He also rejected the City of Cleveland's claim.

A Plain Dealer editorial encourages Cleveland City Council to approve changes to the City's urban agriculture ordinance, concluding that it has "the potential to turn Cleveland into a national model for how a city can remake itself as a better place to live, work -- and eat."

Cleveland hosted the National Vacant Properties Conference this week, drawing around 900 people. They heard from national experts, including Shaun Donovan, Dan Kildee, and Alex Kotlowitz, as well as local officials and academics. Attendees learned about best practices at more than 40 workshops and sessions, visited sites across Cleveland, and shared their reactions on Twitter.

Update: Marc Lefkowitz summarized day one of the conference. Streetsblog Capitol Hill also has a recap.

Update 2: Marc Lefkowitz provided summaries of the conference's second and third days.

Joel Ratner, currently the president of the Raymond John Wean Foundation, was named as president and CEO of Neighborhood Progress Inc. He will start on January 3, and will succeed Eric Hodderson, who recently retired.

Update: an NPI press release has more details.

The third issue of Fresh Water includes articles about designs for Cleveland's public spaces, plans to extend the Towpath Trail through Cleveland, and the transplantation of prairie grasses from Mall B to the Morgana Run Trail in Slavic Village.

An article in this week's issue of Scene built upon an article the alt-weekly published in March. It examined land acquisition in the Flats for the planned Towpath Trail and described problems with "a pattern of excessively high property appraisals".

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau published data from the 2009 American Community Survey, and the release reflects the major impacts of the recession. Figures are available for areas with a population of at least 65,000. In Northeast Ohio and across the United States, median household incomes declined and poverty rates rose. The City of Cleveland's estimated 35.0% poverty rate was second-highest in the nation, trailing only Detroit.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI officials altered the layout and size of the planned Medical Mart and convention center in downtown Cleveland. The changes increased estimated construction costs by $40 million to $465 million. MMPI will pay $8.5 million of the added expense, with the County covering the remainder from a previously-undisclosed $50 million contingency fund. Commissioner Jones said, "We have to spend this additional money so we have a top-quality facility," and a Plain Dealer editorial said the "bump up in projected costs should not become an excuse to derail or abandon the project." The planned late-October groundbreaking remains unchanged.

Update: Jeff Appelbaum's presentation to the Commissioners (PDF) is available online.

Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance that authorizes the creation of an urban garden at Willard Park near City Hall. City Council also has started to discuss amending the City's urban agriculture ordinance. The changes would permit farm stands, allow farming on vacant residential properties, relax fencing requirements, and allow on-site composting.

Inside Council summarized the City of Cleveland's as-yet unsuccessful nuisance lawsuit against 21 banks and mortgage providers. The City is appealing its most recent setback.

More reactions to last week's Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit:

In his closing remarks at the second Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, Mayor Jackson told attendees that "the future is in our hands." About half of the 600 participants were new, and this year's event had more involvement from the local business community. Marc Lefkowitz filed a detailed report from the summit, while Thomas Mulready interviewed two participants, Kim Foreman of Environmental Health Watch and Nancy Meyer-Emerick of CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $14.4 million in grants, which included $500,000 for MOCA's planned University Circle building and $200,000 for Fairhill Partners' Kinship Village project.

Data compiled by the Housing Research & Advocacy Center indicates that in 2008, Clevelanders received subprime mortgages at a rate more than twice the national average. They also found that minority homebuyers in Cuyahoga County are more likely to obtain high-interest mortgages than whites.

Nearly 600 people attended the first day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit at Public Auditorium. Participants received the 2019 Action Plan and Resource Guide and heard about local sustainable business practices. Follow the #SC2019 hashtag on Twitter for feedback from attendees.

The Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals overturned a decision by the Northern District Court of Ohio in the case of Cleveland Housing Renewal Project v. Deutsche Bank. The District Court had remanded the case to Cleveland Housing Court, and this new ruling (PDF) sends it back to the District Court.

The second Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit will take place on September 22 and 23. Many of Cleveland's largest companies plan to participate in the summit, which like last year will be guided by David Cooperrider. Marc Lefkowitz summarized what each of its work groups have accomplished over the past year.

On Monday, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation closed a deal to purchase seven acres on the Columbus Road Peninsula for its planned Rivergate Park. The $3 million acquisition was done in partnership with The Trust for Public Land. The park is expected to open next summer.

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation selected a team of three companies to develop the pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, Cavallo Energy of Houston, and Great Lakes Wind Energy of Youngstown will build and own the five wind turbines in Lake Erie. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2012.

The Ohio EPA approved a permit for mercury discharges from FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Plant in Cleveland. The permit allows the plant to continue discharging mercury-tainted wastewater into Lake Erie. The EPA did not require the company to install equipment and instead ordered it to develop a pollutant minimization plan.

Cuyahoga Community College's new Center for Creative Arts in Cleveland is the first of the college's seven building projects currently underway. The work includes new campuses in Westlake and Brunswick, both scheduled to open in January.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $299,924 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a brownfields assessment for the planned expansion of the Miceli Dairy Products Co. facility (PDF) on Buckeye Road. The U.S. EPA gave a $25,000 grant to the Earth Day Coalition to support its work on revitalizing vacant properties.

Erick Trickey interviewed new Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO William Friedman for the September/October issue of Inside Business.

In the third round of the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $970 million in grants. Allocations in Ohio totaled $52 million, including $6.8 million to the City of Cleveland, $2.6 million to Cuyahoga County, $1 million to the City of East Cleveland, and $1 million to the City of Euclid.

Architect Miguel Rosales may design two pedestrian bridges in Cleveland, in addition to the planned bridge at North Coast Harbor. Cuyahoga County is negotiating with Rosales to design a bridge to Whiskey Island, and he is working with Case Western Reserve University to study possibilities for a bridge to its future West Campus.

The Trust for Public Land published its annual City Park Facts report, a profile of park systems in the nation's 85 largest cities. It states that the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metroparks, and Cleveland Lakefront State Park combine to supply 3,130 acres of parks in Cleveland. Like last year, Cleveland Lakefront State Park was the 11th-most visited (PDF) urban park in the country. Cleveland also offers the highest number of swimming pools per capita of any city in the report.

Participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the future of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and shipping issues in Cleveland. The guests, including new port CEO William Friedman, also discussed dredging plans.

In this week's issue of Scene, Michael Roberts revisits the history of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's fruitless lakefront planning efforts. He attributes many of the problems to the machinations of board member John Carney.

Cleveland Housing Court started a pilot project to paint boarded-up windows and doors of vacant houses so that they blend into their neighborhoods.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation announced two additional gifts for its planned seven-acre Rivergate Park in the Flats. The owners of the former marina lowered the purchase price from $3.2 million to $3 million. A mid-September closing is planned.

Update: Gmail creator Paul Buchheit also made a contribution.

Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN featured a spirited debate about municipal revenue sharing and the 16-county Regional Prosperity Initiative. The guests were Medina County Commissioner Stephen Hambley, Aurora Mayor Lynn McGill, and Professor Tom Bier, who recently wrote an op-ed about ideas for improving Northeast Ohio's older cities.

WKSU's Kabir Bhatia spoke with planners and potential users of the planned Towpath Trail extension through Cleveland.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded $8.29 million in Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants (PDF), including $468,000 to the Cleveland Metroparks for the West Creek Greenway, $350,000 to the City of Euclid for a Lake Erie waterfront trail and $88,524 to ParkWorks for the Lake Link Trail in Cleveland. ODNR also awarded $1.87 million in grants from its Recreational Trails Program, which includes $150,000 (PDF) for the trail in Euclid.

Update: the News-Herald has more information about Euclid's plans.

At yesterday's Cleveland Housing Court hearing, three neighbors of a neglected house in Cleveland filed restitution claims. The City of Cleveland also filed a claim.

This week's issue of Scene looks at the growth of the urban agriculture and local foods movements in Cleveland. The Northeast Ohio Local Food System Assessment is calculating the economic impacts of shifting to local food.

Urban design in Cleveland was the subject of Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN. The guests, including CPC director Paul Alsenas, discussed plans for the Innerbelt Bridge, MOCA's new building, and the new convention center.

Update: panelists on Channel 3's Between the Lines also discussed the Innerbelt Bridge and convention center plans.

This morning, NPR's Morning Edition aired a report from Cleveland about Judge Pianka's plans to hold restitution hearings (PDF) for neighbors of neglected houses.

A panel discussion at the City Club (MP3, 53.6 MB) yesterday explored market gardens, urban farms, and economic development. Earlier this year, the City Club hosted a discussion about local food.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority announced that it will proceed with plans to use dredge material from Dike 10B to create the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center (PDF) in the Flats. Port authority leaders also announced plans to build a $3.16 million rail loop at the lakefront docks.

Update: Channel 3 has more information about the sediment relocation.

The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking a new owner for the historic Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light (PDF) at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The lighthouse is available at no cost to government agencies, nonprofits, educational institutions, or community development organizations. Letters of interest are due by August 27.

(via the Cleveland Restoration Society)

Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka intends to order owners of neglected properties to pay neighbors for financial losses caused by the distressed buildings. He plans to hold restitution hearings this month. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "Pianka risks overstepping the bounds of impartiality should he mix advocacy and judicial roles."

Update: Thursday's Sound of Ideas program looked at the restitutions and other strategies for combating neglect.

Ohio Canal Corridor and the Trust for Public Land will purchase 11 acres in the Flats for the planned extension of the Towpath Trail through Cleveland. The $4.8 million purchase will allow the trail to connect to Cleveland's planned Canal Basin Park.

Update: planners anticipate additional acquisitions.

The City of Cleveland lost an appeal in its lawsuit against 21 banks and mortgage companies. The City sued the subprime lenders in 2008, charging that their activities led to the foreclosure crisis and created a public nuisance. A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the suit in 2009. Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling (PDF), and said that Cleveland failed to prove that the banks were directly responsible for the damage to the neighborhoods. The City plans to appeal.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial encourages the city to continue.

Cleveland hosted a national conference on freshwater wind power earlier this week. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. also held its first public meeting, and said that they hope to announce a developer for the Cleveland pilot project within four weeks.

In the first six months of 2010, foreclosure filings in Cuyahoga County increased by more than 12%, compared to the same period last year. Levels in Cleveland remained similar, while levels rose in both inner-ring and outer-ring suburbs.

With the annual Burning River Fest starting tomorrow, Ohio Authority looked at the status of the former Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island and some ideas for its reuse.

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange recently held its third annual conference in Cleveland. More than 80 young leaders from across the region attended to compare notes, network, discuss new ideas, and explore Cleveland. This year's conference focused on rethinking what cities can be. Conference participants shared their reactions, summarized sessions, described site visits, and posted photographs.

Update: Cool Cleveland's Sarah Valek also posted a review.

Update 2: Lorri Meyers of Channelise added her experiences.

As urban agriculture grows in popularity, leaders in Cleveland and other Midwestern cities are considering its role in urban revitalization. An Ohio State University researcher is studying insect populations at community gardens to help inform future land use decisions. Lead contamination can also be an issue in urban soils, but several low-cost techniques can reduce its danger.

"Facing the Foreclosure Crisis in Greater Cleveland" (PDF, 29.7 MB) is a new report from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. It "spells out what happened here, relating the symptoms and progressive stages of the crisis as it played out across the region" and "points to representative examples of programs developed and implemented locally to address particular aspects of the crisis."

Will Friedman, the new CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, spoke about the future of the port on Sunday's Between the Lines program.

Issues with traffic signals have prevented the HealthLine from attaining projected travel time efficiencies. The City of Cleveland continues to adjust the traffic signals, but has disconnected the traffic signal priority system.

Update: the buses will be permitted to travel faster than surrounding traffic on Euclid Avenue. The HealthLine also won an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation received two major gifts for its planned Rivergate Park on the Columbus Road Peninsula. The Cleveland Foundation donated $300,000 and philanthropist Peter B. Lewis gave a $250,000 matching grant. The Rowing Foundation must raise an additional $700,000 by July 31 to reach its $3.2 million goal and purchase the property.

Update: the Gund Foundation also donated $200,000 to the project.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ended a program that allowed local governments and nonprofits to take control of foreclosed houses. Cleveland officials were surprised and disappointed by its termination, and Dennis Kucinich asked HUD to reverse its decision.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is critical of HUD's actions.

Mark Salling and Ellen Cyran of the Levin College of Urban Affairs expect that the 2010 Census will report that the City of Cleveland's population remains over 400,000. Lake and Geauga county officials anticipate modest population increases.

Richard Herman believes that Cleveland leaders need to view the local immigrant community as a valuable resource when pursuing foreign direct investment. Meanwhile, a group of foreign investors committed $20 million to the Flats east bank project through the Cleveland International Fund.

Update: A Plain Dealer editorial says that the investment "is good news for Greater Cleveland -- on many fronts."

The U.S. Census Bureau released 2009 municipal population estimates, the final set of estimates to be based on Census 2000 data. The City of Cleveland's population fell to 431,363, with an estimated loss of 2,658 people between July 2008 and July 2009. The 0.61% rate of decrease was lower than the estimated decreases of recent years. While most Cuyahoga County communities lost population, many communities in the surrounding six counties gained population. The City of Avon grew by an estimated 52% between 2000 and 2009.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court fined two South Carolina real estate companies more than $13 million for neglecting distressed houses in Cleveland. He fined Interstate Investment Group $11.9 million and Paramount Land Holdings more than $1 million.

Weekend Edition host Scott Simon examined how the foreclosure crisis has unfolded in Cleveland. He visited with Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis and Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's eighth annual housing policy summit called for "re-examination of that cornerstone of the American Dream: owning a home." It featured panel discussions where experts said that the nation's housing crisis is not over, asserted that new ideas are needed, and discussed methods for preventing a reoccurrence.

Update: the Wall Street Journal's James Hagerty summarized one of the talks.

After spending 20 years leading Neighborhood Progress Inc., Eric Hodderson recently retired. NPI launched a national search for his successor.

The closed Kellstone Quarry on Kelleys Island is being considered as an alternative to building a confined disposal facility for dredge material from the Port of Cleveland and Cuyahoga River. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials estimate that the 200-acre quarry has enough capacity to last 28 years.

Update: the Ohio EPA rejected the proposal and said that the site is unsuitable for storing contaminated sediment.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial said that "the quarry warrants further study."

A Cuyahoga County appeals court overturned a Cleveland Housing Court decision that required Wells Fargo to repair or demolish distressed houses it owns before selling them. The court ruled (PDF) that the plaintiff had improperly taken contradictory positions in two different courts. The implications of the ruling are unclear.

The June issue of Cleveland Magazine includes a profile of ParkWorks Executive Director Ann Zoller, an essay on the breakwall at the East 55th Street Marina, and a map illustrating grant awards in the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision, and ruled that Cleveland Housing Court cannot conduct trials against negligent landowners in absentia. Judge Raymond Pianka has adopted an alternate strategy.

Update: Next American City examined the implications of the decision.

In a 2½-hour meeting today, Drew Carey and Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation discussed their libertarian ideas for Cleveland with members of Cleveland City Council. Some Council members characterized the suggestions as overly-simple solutions to complex problems. Council President Martin Sweeney invited them after the release of a Carey-produced online video series earlier this year. Jim Russell believes that Gillespie's arguments are unhelpful.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation will work with General Electric to build five wind turbines in Lake Erie, about six miles north of downtown Cleveland. The $100 million pilot project would be the first first freshwater wind farm in the U.S. and would have a generating capacity of 20 megawatts. LEEDCo plans to have the turbines, the largest in nation, generating power by the end of 2012. By 2020, they hope to have hundreds in place, generating 1,000 megawatts of power.

Outgoing Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority interim CEO Peter Raskind shared his observations about the port in a Plain Dealer op-ed. He wrote about the port's priorities, finances, and said that the "plan to move the port to East 55th Street was ill conceived and built upon layers of questionable assumptions." Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey believes that Raskind was "throwing out the old regime's troubled ideas so the new guy can start with a clean desk" and "may also be providing cover for the port board."

Towpath Trail planners continue to examine the options for the stage in Cleveland between Harvard Road and Steelyard Commons. Cleanup of the Harshaw site threatens to delay construction or force the use of a less desirable route.

This week is Cleveland Bicycle Week, and a variety of events are being held across Greater Cleveland. The Plain Dealer reported on the City of Cleveland's bicycle parking requirements and the plans for the downtown Cleveland bicycle station.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that incoming Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO William Friedman has many challenges awaiting him.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded that the Harshaw Chemical site in Cleveland presents "no unacceptable risk to current or reasonably anticipated future land uses" and that "no further action is necessary". The findings will allow the Towpath Trail extension to pass through the site. The Harshaw Investigative Area 06 Proposed Plan (PDF) is open to public comment through May 26.

The City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Metroparks continue to discuss a potential 99-year lease of Seneca Golf Course and adjacent land in Broadview Heights.

Two state legislators from Greater Cleveland intend to introduce legislation that would make it easier for communities to collaborate on municipal services. The changes would allow the City of South Euclid to contract with the City of Cleveland for trash collection. Cleveland may be able provide the service at a lower cost than a private company.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District announced plans to demolish 25 closed or closing school buildings. The list includes South and East high schools as well as seven buildings that are Cleveland landmarks or have pending landmark applications.

Update: Cleveland Area History looked at each of the schools slated for demolition. A Plain Dealer editorial said that it "smells like a tactic to evade an Ohio law requiring districts that sell vacant schools to let charter schools bid first."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority named William Friedman (PDF) as its new president and CEO. Previously, he worked at the Port of Seattle from 1990 to 2000 and served as the CEO of the Ports of Indiana from 2000 to 2004. Friedman will succeed interim CEO Peter Raskind when he begins on June 1.

Update: the Plain Dealer approves of the Port Authority's choice.

Marc Lefkowitz describes the Re-Imagining Cleveland process as "a surgical first strike that aims to put vacant properties back into productive use."

About 62% of Cleveland households mailed back their 2010 Census forms, and the statewide return rate was 76%. Both figures were slightly below 2000 levels. The national response rate was 72%. Census takers will start visiting nonrespondents on May 1.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese will sell more than 50 closed churches, and placed 17 of them on the market. The properties in Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Summit counties have a total asking price of $11.8 million.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority narrowed its list of CEO candidates to three: Diane Downing, William Friedman, and James Weakley (PDFs). The Port Authority's board expects to make a selection by May.

Update: the Plain Dealer is impressed with the finalists.

Cleveland City Planning Commission Chairman Anthony Coyne wrote a defense of Burke Lakefront Airport, listing the reasons why he believes it should be maintained as an active airport.

Marc Lefkowitz described the latest happenings in the Re-Imagining Cleveland process and the growth of a new green movement in Cuyahoga County.

A recent trip to Indianapolis prompted Steven Litt to consider lessons that Cleveland could learn from its Midwestern neighbor.

By June, parking lots and garages in Cleveland must offer spaces for bicycle parking. The deadline was specified in the City's 2008 bicycle parking ordinance.

Activist and consultant Majora Carter spoke at a City Club in the City event on Tuesday. She told the audience at St. James AME Church about environmental justice and stories of her experiences in the South Bronx. Audio of her talk (MP3, 52.1 MB) is available.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers interested in constructing an offshore pilot wind farm near downtown Cleveland. LEEDCo hopes to select a company in May and have the wind turbines operating by late 2012. Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland are backing federal and state legislation that would support research and create tax incentives for wind power.

The Cleveland Foundation's latest round of awards includes grants to WIRE-Net, Neighborhood Progress Inc., the Cleveland Housing Network, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Update: the Plain Dealer offers more information.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Interim CEO Peter Raskind and Vice Chairman Robert Smith were the guests on Monday's Sound of Ideas program.

Author Richard Herman asserted that "immigration provides the only way for cities like Cleveland to generate the kind of numbers needed to make up for decades of mass out-migration." NEOtropolis explored some of the concepts of his book, and this week's issue of Scene made similar points. A recent Plain Dealer editorial urged local leaders to open an international welcome center.

The March issue of Cleveland Magazine describes the extent of the challenges posed by abandoned houses in Cuyahoga County.

The City of Cleveland's Vacant Property Initiative supplies funding to help property owners redevelop vacant or underutilized buildings and lots. Since 2008, the City has awarded more than $21 million in loans through the program.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority reappointed Chairman Steven Williams, but did not reappoint Vice Chairman Richard Knoth. Robert Smith was selected to replace him. Much of the meeting was conducted in private, and a Plain Dealer editorial again urges the board to be less secretive.

Part three of the libertarian Reason Foundation's series on Cleveland urges privatization of municipal resources. Part four is about the City's business climate, while part five covers big-ticket developments and land use policy, and part six is about attracting residents. In a companion piece, Samuel Staley of the Reason Foundation called for reducing land use controls, while libertarian pundit John Stossel echoed many of the pronouncements of the series. Scene editor Frank Lewis did not accept its conclusions, and referred to the series as "elaborate campaign commercials, selling an ideology instead of a candidate."

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land, is nearing an agreement to purchase the former Commodore's Club Marina on the Columbus Road Peninsula for its proposed Rivergate Park. The group has raised $1.9 million of the $3.2 million needed to buy the seven-acre property, and the deadline has been extended to July 31. Mayor Jackson wants the City of Cleveland to offer a $300,000 low-interest loan for the acquisition.

Reason.tv posted the first two segments of its Reason Saves Cleveland series today. Produced by Drew Carey, the online series presents libertarian approaches to solving urban ills. The first part is an introduction, and the second part focuses on urban schools. The four remaining parts will be released over the course of the week.

As the U.S. Census Bureau prepares to start mailing 2010 Census forms, the Plain Dealer highlighted the importance of obtaining an accurate count in Northeast Ohio. A recent Sound of Ideas program was also devoted to a discussion of the subject.

Update: the Census Bureau is encouraging households to complete and mail back their census forms, and a Plain Dealer editorial says that "a failure to tabulate everyone will ripple negative effects."

In a companion piece to its story on vacant land in Cleveland, Next American City looked at the City's "chicken and bees" law. The City is considering expanding the rules to include more varieties of livestock. In Communities & Banking, the magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Matt Martin and Zachariah Starnik of the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization described residents' efforts to reclaim their neighborhood through urban gardening (PDF).

At an open house on Tuesday, planners presented two alternate routes for stage three of the Towpath Trail extension in Cleveland. Construction of the leg between Steelyard Commons and Literary Road in Tremont could begin in 2012. Meanwhile, the cover story of this week's Scene is about allegations of impropriety in the process of awarding Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program grants. In a controversial decision last year, the Natural Resources Assistance Council recommended funding the acquisition of two properties in the Flats for the Towpath Trail.

Update: Scene followed up with additional details about the appraisal process.

A Plain Dealer editorial challenges the leaders of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to be less secretive.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Dominic LoGalbo criticizes the disarray at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, and encourages local leaders to reconsider the agency's roles.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson delivered his fifth State of the City address on Thursday. He announced that a Chinese LED manufacturer will locate its American headquarters in Cleveland, talked about the City's sustainability initiatives, and proposed the creation of a countywide education authority. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "the kind of big thinking this region needs." The speech is available as text (PDF) and as audio.

The spring 2010 issue of Next American City includes an article by Marc Lefkowitz about vacant land reuse policies and practices in Cleveland. He explored the reasons behind the problems and the variety of innovative initiatives currently underway. Terry Schwarz also spoke about urban regeneration at the recent TEDxCLE event.

The Plain Dealer again called for reform of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's board, this time saying that its size should be reduced by one-third.

The Gund Foundation made a $3.6 million, three-year grant to Neighborhood Progress, Inc. The foundation also awarded grants to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, and the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy.

Today's Plain Dealer looked at some of Cleveland's overlooked architectural treasures, including the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Meanwhile, Cleveland Area History is working on a list of the 100 most significant landmarks in Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer looked at the U.S. EPA study of PFC discharges in the wastewater of electroplating companies in Cleveland and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported on the subject last month.

Cleveland City Councilman Michael Polensek introduced legislation that calls for transferring control of lakefront parks in Cleveland to the Cleveland Metroparks. The parks are currently operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Cuyahoga County, and the port authority. Cleveland Lakefront State Park is owned by the City but leased to the state until 2028. Probate Judge Anthony Russo has also advocated for more involvement by the Metroparks.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the proposal.

Attorney Richard Knoth, the vice chair of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board, wrote a memo (PDF) that calls for closing Burke Lakefront Airport and relocating the port facilities to the site. Frank Jackson said Burke will remain open and that he remains committed to the East 55th Street port relocation plan. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "Cleveland needs all options on the table".

The Plain Dealer highlighted claims that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority leadership needs more representation from maritime interests.

In the wake of last month's West 83rd Street house explosion, a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland's abandoned houses need more attention.

The City of Cleveland may give the 470-acre Seneca Golf Course and 125 acres of neighboring greenspace to the Cleveland Metroparks. An agreement on the site in Brecksville and Broadview Heights would have to be approved by Cleveland City Council and the Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners.

While many communities are using their federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants to rehabilitate foreclosed homes, the majority of the local $40.8 million award will be used to demolish abandoned houses.

(via Community Research Partners)

HiVelocity interviewed Andrew Watterson, the City of Cleveland's Chief of Sustainability.

The U.S. Census Bureau classified much of Cleveland as a "hard to count" (PDF) area for the 2010 Census. One of the Bureau's Portrait of America Road Tour vehicles is visiting locations in Northeast Ohio.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force will count migrating birds and bats around the area of the planned offshore wind farm pilot project north of downtown Cleveland. The group also wants to establish a partnership with a turbine manufacturer.

Frank Jackson named Paul Hoogenboom (PDF) of RPM International in Medina to fill one of the two vacant seats on the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Mayor "Jackson needs to find someone with extensive maritime experience" to fill the remaining vacancy.

Lillian Kuri spoke at the Foundation Center about her planning work with the Cleveland Foundation and Cleveland Public Art.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority laid off two more employees: Sustainability Manager Pam Davis and Human Resources Director Nancy Spelman.

A U.S. EPA study of electroplating facilities (PDF) in Cleveland and Chicago found that they were discharging high levels of PFCs in their wastewater. The emissions are permitted under a 2007 Bush administration exemption for the factories.

(via Great Lakes Echo)

Mayor Jackson reappointed Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Chairman Steven Williams to another four-year term, but board member Rose Rodriguez-Bardwell chose not to seek reappointment. Board member Brian Hall is also stepping down (PDF).

A report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that the former Harshaw Chemical site in Cleveland remains contaminated by radiation, but not at levels that would prevent passive recreation. The site had been considered for a potential leg of the Towpath Trail extension. Cleanup could take as many as five years.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission recommended designating six additional Catholic churches as Cleveland landmarks. Four of the six are slated to close as part of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese's consolidation program. Diocesan officials are not pleased.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $2 billion in the second round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants. Ohio governments received $175 million, and $40.8 million of that went to a consortium (PDF) led by the Cuyahoga County Land Revitalization Corporation. The land bank will invest the funds in 15 Cleveland neighborhoods and parts of five inner-ring suburbs.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission today approved designs for the hotel and office tower that is part of the Flats east bank development. Renderings and floor plans are available at the meeting agenda.

The Plain Dealer asked if Cleveland still needs a port authority. It looked at the arguments for retaining the port authority and the arguments for dismantling it.

Officials in Lakewood and in several Cleveland neighborhoods are working with RTA to identify potential routes for its new Weekly Shopper Service.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eugene Sanders unveiled the district's transformation plan yesterday. Among other recommendations, it calls for closing 18 schools due to declining enrollment, including East and South high schools. The district will hold a series of community meetings (PDF) this month, and its board is scheduled to vote on the plan on February 23.

A Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority committee recommended approval of $34.8 million in bonds for the Flats east bank project. The full board will consider the matter at its January 20th meeting.

Richard Moe, the outgoing president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, encourages shrinking cities to act carefully when approaching the issues associated with population loss. He says that the process "should be carried out in the context of a carefully conceived master plan -- one that encourages input from all stakeholders and takes into account a range of considerations, including the historic value of the housing stock, in determining what stays and what must go."

A Plain Dealer editorial looks at the next steps in building the Lake Link Trail in Cleveland.

In a purchase facilitated by the Trust for Public Land, ParkWorks acquired 3.23 acres of a former rail corridor on the west bank of the Flats for the planned Lake Link Trail and Greenway. They secured a trail easement for another 1.75 acres, protecting 1.3 miles of the route that will connect the Towpath Trail with Lake Erie. Funding for the $1.2 million purchase came from a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant.

The Plain Dealer concluded its Year of the River series with a look at the Cuyahoga River valley as a living laboratory. Industrial design students at the Cleveland Institute of Art used biomimicry to develop proposals for creating fish habitats in the river's shipping channel.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $15 million in fourth-quarter grants. One of the largest awards was a $1 million grant to Team NEO. The foundation substantially reduced its commitment to the Fund for Our Economic Future, awarding $300,000 for its third phase. The Fund had requested $10 million for the three-year phase. The Gund Foundation gave $4.9 million in grants, including awards to Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and ParkWorks. The two foundations distributed fewer dollars in 2009 than in 2008.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial expressed concern about the Cleveland Foundation's decision to give less to the Fund for Our Economic Future.

The inaugural issue of Forefront, a new magazine from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, includes an interview with UCLA economist Matthew Kahn that touches on green cities, urban growth, and environmental externalities.

In the first five months after the Ohio Supreme Court invalidated municipal residency requirements, 296 Cleveland employees moved to other communities.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation has an opportunity to purchase the former Commodore's Club Marina property on the Columbus Road Peninsula for a new boathouse and Rivergate Park. The organization has a March 31 deadline to raise $3.2 million for the seven-acre site.

The Plain Dealer's Christopher Evans described three of the 58 projects that received grants through the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland program.

A Plain Dealer investigation concluded that Cleveland's efforts to increase home ownership inadvertently exacerbated the foreclosure crisis.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "officials need to explain such an appalling lack of accountability."

The annual Emerging Cleveland tours show the best of the City to students and young professionals. This year's tours will highlight developments built over the past five years. They will be held on December 26 and December 27.

The City of Cleveland issued the final report (PDF) from its Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. GreenCityBlueLake has a summary.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology launched the BUILT in Ohio program, a partnership with Governor Strickland's office and the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. It's intended "to help Ohio's cities target emerging sources of federal investment and leverage them towards a new pattern of urban growth."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority continues to undergo changes. The Port Authority's board laid off four employees and named former National City CEO (PDF) Peter Raskind (PDF) as the port's interim CEO. He expects to serve for three to six months and will be paid $1.00. Raskind spoke with WCPN's Rick Jackson and WKSU's Kevin Niedermier. The Port Authority's board will not see changes, as Mayor Jackson intends to reappoint board Chairman Steven Williams and board member Rose Rodriguez-Bardwell when their terms expire in January. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "Jackson is passing up the chance to help restore public confidence in the port authority board by introducing fresh faces and new ideas."

The City of Cleveland applied for $219 million in federal funds to resolve the slope instability issues along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the application.

In the year since the Euclid Corridor project was completed and the HealthLine began operations, the improvements have helped to spur developments downtown, in Midtown, and in University Circle, despite the recession. Steven Litt assessed the project's effectiveness to date.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is using the $69 million it received in federal stimulus grants to improve conditions at its Garden Valley Estates, Woodhill Homes, and other public housing estates.

Local officials remain disenchanted with the way HUD manages its inventory of vacant houses. Earlier this month, HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Mercedes Marquez defended the department's practices in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the problems could be resolved if HUD had open and frequent communication with cities and housing groups".

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center may help to advance and focus the outcomes of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. A representative of the BCLC, which is conducting a sustainable communities competition, attended an Entrepreneurs for Sustainability event yesterday.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake has more information about the SC2019 Outcome Showcase.

The Cleveland edition of GLUE's "I Will Stay If..." campaign will take place on Wednesday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Speakeasy in Ohio City. The evening will feature opportunities for networking and idea-sharing, plus presentations from Lillian Kuri, Randell McShepard, and Matt Zone.

In the wake of Adam Wasserman's departure from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, a Plain Dealer editorial said that "the port has to change, and it will change if it wants its trajectory to be up, not down and out." Brent Larkin thinks that more dramatic changes are necessary.

Materials from the recent All You Can Eat event are now available online, including a project gallery and video of the panel discussion.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is being criticized for its silence about the departure of CEO Adam Wasserman and his $300,000 buyout. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "Wasserman's exit puts the onus for more transparency and accountability on the nine-member Port Authority board to which he supposedly answered."

Update: Channel 3's Tom Beres spoke with Cuyahoga County Commissioners Hagan and Jones.

The discussion on The Sound of Ideas this morning was about sustainable development and lessons that Cleveland can learn from other cities.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President and CEO Adam Waserman stepped down today. The Port Authority board spent hours in closed-door meetings over the past week. Wasserman had held the post since 2007. Maritime Director Patrick Coyle resigned last month after only three months on the job. CFO Brent Leslie will oversee the Port until a new president is named.

Election recap

Broadview Heights
Issue 12 (commercial rezoning): passed

Cleveland
Issue 17 (Planning Commission alternates): passed

Solon
Issue 83 (retail rezoning): passed

The proposed Olmsted Falls-Olmsted Township Merger Study Commission passed in Olmsted Falls (Issue 58), but failed in Olmsted Township (Issue 103).

For complete results, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The City of Cleveland awarded $449,405 in Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grants to 58 neighborhood projects (PDF). The awards were classified as greening, urban agriculture, and phytoremediation projects.

An industrial design class at the Cleveland Institute of Art is using a biomimicry approach for devising improvements to fish habitats in the lower Cuyahoga River.

A Plain Dealer editorial about the recent PolicyBridge report on Cleveland's neighborhoods concludes that "this as a time to build, not a time to mourn -- precisely the attitude Clevelanders must adopt."

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration agreed to review the feasibility of adding a connection between Cleveland and Pittsburgh to the list of designated high-speed passenger rail corridors.

The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine today announced the establishment of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. With funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the new center will "address common health issues faced in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods in and around Greater Cleveland."

As the U.S. Conference of Mayors marked the 1,000th local leader to sign its Climate Protection Agreement, it published profiles of 16 mayors who are pursuing innovative strategies (PDF) to reduce pollution. Frank Jackson was one of those profiled.

(via Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

Mandy Metcalf disagrees with the conclusions of the report released by PolicyBridge last week. She says that Cleveland needs to "to invest in all neighborhoods and all communities" and that "all of our neighborhoods should not only survive but thrive."

Update: Mansfield Frazier supports the report's findings, but says that they could be difficult to implement.

(via GreenCityBlueLake)

Officials in Cleveland, Euclid, and Lakewood have expressed interest in RTA's proposed new Weekly Shopper Service, a once-weekly shuttle that would succeed its discontinued community circulator routes. RTA will organize a series of community meetings.

Upcoming events:

(via GreenCityBlueLake)

A new report from PolicyBridge (PDF) recommends that Cleveland should carefully target investments in its neighborhoods. It says that "Cleveland must make strategic choices about rebuilding its neighborhoods, making tough decisions about investing aggressively in some while scaling back investments in others."

Greater Ohio, building on input provided at June's Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Mini-Summit, has prepared a draft of its Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Policy Platform and is gathering comments and suggestions. The document will serve as a model for platforms for other Ohio cities.

The Gund Foundation announced $5.6 million in grants yesterday. The largest award was a $4 million grant to the Fund for Our Economic Future, a 30% increase in the foundation's support for the effort. The Cleveland Foundation awarded $14.8 million in grants, including $250,000 for two ParkWorks programs.

On Tuesday, Frank Jackson made three announcements about sustainability in Cleveland. He promoted Office of Sustainability Director Andrew Watterson to Chief of Sustainability, a new cabinet-level position. He unveiled the 25-member Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Council, which will be responsible for guiding the City's 10-year sustainability strategy. He also revealed the 63-member steering committee for the second sustainability summit, to be held next year.

American Public Media's Marketplace reported from Cleveland on two foreclosure-related topics. The first story followed up on a report issued earlier this year comparing foreclosures in Collinwood and Braddock, Pennsylvania. The second focused on the potential pitfalls of online real estate purchases.

GreenCityBlueLake posted a list of 28 initiatives (PDF) that were developed at the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit and compiled by the City of Cleveland.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, David Cooperrider of the Weatherhead School of Management wrote about sustainability in Cleveland and the recent summit. He believes that Northeast Ohio is poised to become a leading sustainable economy, and that the summit was the end of the quiet crisis.

Marc Lefkowitz looked at food deserts in Cleveland and their connection to chronic health issues. Author Michael Pollan also has been making connections between food policy changes and health-care reform.

A panel will award funding to 40–50 of the 103 projects submitted for Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grants. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "lots in Cleveland are about to get amazing makeovers."

At a boat tour on Wednesday, Mayor Jackson explained how he intends to implement the Cleveland lakefront plan that he inherited from the Campbell administration. He also described a number of related initiatives, including the planned port relocation and decision to retain Burke Lakefront Airport. In addition, Jackson said that he wants the City to loan $2 million for the proposed aquarium at the Powerhouse in the Flats.

All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Architectural Ideas for Cleveland will present "a collective exhibition of architectural ideas for vacant sites in Cleveland, Ohio" on October 30 and 31 at the Sculpture Center. Proposals are due by September 30.

The U.S. EPA and a group of local partners are conducting the Cleveland Multiple Air Pollutant Study, a two-part air quality study of Cleveland and the surrounding area. The program is a national model intended to help identify the sources (PDF) of a variety of specific pollutants.

The Fund for Our Economic Future adopted the new Fund for Sustainability, an outgrowth of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. When it is more fully funded and gains guidelines, it will provide loans to sustainable businesses.

The new Cuyahoga County Land Bank may acquire its first properties this week, and about 250 parcels by the end of the year. Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis thinks that it also can help prevent abandoned houses. The Land Bank's board adopted a new six-month business plan on Friday.

Richard Stuebi compared the recent sustainability summit in Cleveland to a meeting of climate change skeptics in Springfield, Missouri. Meanwhile, participants from BrownFlynn reported on their involvement and followup activities, and a waste to profit group is gathering support.

Marc Lefkowitz continued his analysis of Living Cities' involvement in Cleveland and attempted to assess its impacts over the last eight months. He found that "it's impressive by Cleveland standards, but whether Living Cities can pull off broad transformative change in the way we understand community development to work is still far from clear."

Stakeholders from the recent Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit have been meeting in small groups, both in person and online, to refine the ideas generated at the event. They will compile the recommendations in a written report later this year.

At Good, Anne Trubek of Oberlin College contemplates growth in the Rust Belt and the emerging ideas for "neighborhoods that no longer need to fulfill their original purposes."

Participants in the recent Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit continue to share ideas and reactions about the event. Marianne Eppig, Wendy Feinn, Gregg LaBar, Marc Lefkowitz, and Mike McNutt provide more perspectives. The summit was also briefly discussed on The Sound of Ideas on Thursday. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Mayor Jackson said that "now is the time to take action" to make Cleveland the first city to attain sustainability.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Dominic LoGalbo asserts that Cleveland has a legacy of failed planning initiatives due to a lack of effective leadership.

2009 City Park Facts, a new report from the Trust for Public Land, compares the park systems of 77 American cities. The City of Cleveland has 7.1 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, and parks make up 6.3% of the City's total area. Cleveland Lakefront State Park was the 11th-most visited urban park in the United States. The National Park Service also announced that national park visitation rose in the first half of 2009.

Even before last week's Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, local businesses were profiting by adopting sustainable business models. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland now must advance the summit's final goals.

On Thursday, the second day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, the appreciative inquiry process continued as participants brainstormed and refined creative ideas for advancing a sustainable Cleveland. Ray Anderson of Interface was the morning's featured speaker. Attendees Carole Cohen, Chris Gammmell, and Marc Lefkowitz shared their experiences.

The summit concluded today with teams working to distill their concepts into tangible recommendations and to prepare written reports. The results will be compiled into a 10-year action plan. The City intents to maintain the summit's momentum by working with a post-summit committee. Joe Koncelik, Marc Lefkowitz, and Carin Rockind provided recaps of the day and entire event, while the Cleveland Public Library posted a Sustainable Cleveland Reading List.

Update: you can also read reactions by Marianne Eppig, Chris Gammell, Ed Morrison, and Robert Stockham.

At the first day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, Van Jones of the White House Council on Environmental Quality offered his support and Frank Jackson outlined his vision for a sustainable economy. Participants also heard from other speakers and took part in an ongoing appreciative inquiry process developed by David Cooperrider. Lynette Young of Sustainable Atlanta was very impressed. Attendees Carole Cohen, Chris Gammell, Gregg LaBar, and Robert Stockham shared their thoughts, too.

Update: Marc Lefkowitz and Annabel Khouri also provided day one summaries.

Marc Lefkowitz began his exploration of Living Cities' involvement in Cleveland with a look at how it is supporting systematic change.

More than 600 people are expected to attend the three-day sustainability summit in Cleveland this week. GreenCityBlueLake posted the pre-summit briefing paper, and a Plain Dealer editorial described the opportunities the summit should create. Meanwhile, Brent Larkin stressed the urgency of building a water-based economy in Greater Cleveland.

Cleveland leaders remain frustrated by the erosion of home rule powers in Ohio.

Next American City summarized the current state of the lawsuit by the Cleveland Housing Renewal Project (a Neighborhood Progress, Inc. subsidiary) against Wells Fargo.

Michigan Radio looked at lessons that Detroit could learn from the Opportunity Homes program in Cleveland and from ESOP's foreclosure prevention actions.

(via Rust Wire)

Panelists Lindsay Baxter, Roger Chang, and Andrew Watterson discussed the state of sustainability in older industrial cities (MP3, 51.7 MB) at the City Club on Thursday. On Friday, author Storm Cunningham spoke about "what it takes to achieve rapid, resilient renewal" (MP3, 51.4 MB) in urban areas.

Plain Dealer columnist Margaret Bernstein shared more details about the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grant program. Neighborhood Progress, Inc. scheduled an additional workshop for applicants, to be held at Trinity Commons on July 20. The application deadline remains July 31.

Some Cleveland City Council members are closely watching the activities of the new Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Family Homelessness in Cuyahoga County, a new paper from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, examined data on families at risk of becoming homeless and on those using residential homeless services. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also released a pair of reports about changes in homelessness at the national level. The 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (PDF) found increasing rates of family homelessness in suburban and rural areas. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County were one of nine areas studied in the agency's first Homeless Pulse Project (PDF) report.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court lifted his injunction against Wells Fargo Bank, and ordered it to post a $1 million bond if it wants to begin selling distressed houses it owns in Cleveland.

The U.S. Census Bureau's annual subcounty population estimates state that Cleveland's population was 433,748 in July 2008, which is 4,265 people below the 2007 estimate. The figures reflect similar changes at the county level and in other urban areas. Population losses slowed in urban cores and growth slowed in exurban areas. Cleveland lost 0.97% of its population, an improvement over last year's loss of 1.11%. The Plain Dealer chose to highlight a more negative angle, focusing on the estimated population decrease of 43,724 between 2000 and 2008.

Update: CSU's Mark Salling talked about the estimates on WCPN. Dr. Salling was also among the guests on the station's Sound of Ideas program devoted to the subject. Demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution examined the trends on a national level.

The July issue of Cleveland Magazine features a set of articles about the 40th anniversary of the the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire.

Congressman Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania wants a Pittsburgh to Cleveland route added to the federal list of high-speed rail corridors. It would connect the Chicago Hub Network with the Keystone Corridor. Pennsylvania officials are concerned that their planning for high-speed rail lags behind other states.

The City Club of Cleveland will host a panel discussion titled "Building Sustainability in our City" on July 16. The event is part of the Downtown Quarterly Series.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Mayor Jackson "is right to be skeptical" about the the Ohio Department of Transportation's promises to replace diverted federal transportation stimulus dollars. The projects funded by the shifted funds are not in the Cleveland area, which the editorial says "reveals the depth of the state's neglect of its urban economic engines in favor of spreading political peanut butter for votes."

On Thursday, Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a preliminary injunction against Wells Fargo Bank, ordering the bank to repair or demolish distressed houses it owns before it sells them. Wells Fargo is considering an appeal.

Of the $220 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to Cleveland transportation projects, the Ohio Department of Transportation has diverted $135 million to projects elsewhere in the state. While ODOT has pledged to replace the shifted funds with other state and federal highway dollars, Mayor Jackson is worried that the State will be unable to fulfill its commitment. On Tuesday, he outlined his concerns in a letter to Governor Strickland.

Update: an ODOT spokesperson said that the agency remains committed to the projects.

The Plain Dealer looked at the combination of innovative tactics employed by Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka to maintain the quality of the City's housing stock.

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. will hold six public workshops about the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative in June and July. The City of Cleveland set aside $500,000 of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds for the Re-Imagining Cleveland Grant Program, and applications are due by July 31 (PDF). Meanwhile, the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District, established in 2006, is up for renewal next year. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is holding a series of forums and conducting a survey to gather feedback.

In a 5-2 ruling on Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a 2006 state law that eliminated residency requirements for local governments in the state. In his majority opinion, Justice Pfeifer cited Section 34 of the Ohio Constitution, which says that the General Assembly may enact laws for the general welfare of employees. The City of Cleveland and 137 other Ohio cities and villages had instituted residency rules for employees. Other states have also banned residency requirements.

Members of Cleveland's safety forces celebrated the ruling, but City officials were not pleased. Mayor Jackson said he was disappointed, but would abide by the decision. Cleveland City Council called the ruling flawed and was critical of state legislators who supported the law. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the decision was "horrendous" and that it "undermines home rule" and "sets a pernicious precedent." Local real estate experts do not expect to see a rapid exit of City employees, but a gradual migration is possible.

A Texas economic consulting firm is conducting an analysis of the Euclid corridor between downtown Cleveland and University Circle to determine whether it could support a biomedical industry cluster.

The City of Cleveland quietly initiated repairs of the historic Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island. Workers have begun replacing its deteriorated roof. At the same time, a group of Coast Guard veterans is bringing a retired Coast Guard cutter to Cleveland. They hope to restore it as a maritime museum at the station.

Update: the Apalachee arrived in Cleveland on Sunday.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo Bank, ordering it to stop selling foreclosed houses in the City. It could prevent the bank from selling as many as 183 properties for up to 28 days. Cleveland Housing Renewal Project sued Wells Fargo in December, charging that the bank was dumping distressed properties that it owned in Cleveland.

Update: attorneys for Wells Fargo appeared in court to fight the restraining order.

The City of Cleveland wants to use 500,000 cubic yards of fill from a confined disposal facility north of Burke Lakefront Airport to create an industrial park in the Cuyahoga River valley. Moving the dirt would also create more capacity for dredge material at the dike, which is running out of space.

Earlier in the decade, Philadelphia was listed alongside Cleveland as a former gateway for immigration, but it recently has re-emerged as a destination for immigrants. The Plain Dealer looked at the turnaround in Philadelphia and compared the situations in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Anne O'Callaghan, founder of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, led a discussion about immigration at the City Club today.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland "needs a talent-attraction strategy that sees immigration as one of its cornerstones." Audio of O'Callaghan's talk (MP3, 58.0 MB) is now available.

A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the City of Cleveland's lawsuit against 21 large investment banks. The City sued the banks in January 2008, charging that the banks created a public nuisance through their subprime mortgage lending activities. Cleveland has appealed the ruling.

GreenCityBlueLake and Cleveland Real Estate News have recaps of the "Beyond Foreclosure" event on Monday that featured author Alex Kotlowitz.

Planning Commissioners Journal Editor Wayne Senville recently made three stops in Northeast Ohio as part of his trip across the country. He visited and wrote about how the public library in Hudson has become a community hub, the flexibility and diversity of Shaker Heights, and the strategies identified in the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative. Map of the Week also reposted several images from the Re-Imagining Cleveland guidelines.

Alex Kotlowitz, author of a recent New York Times article about the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland, will appear at the second event in the Levin College Forum's "Building Our Future Beyond Foreclosure" series on May 11. Registration for the event is free.

University Circle Incorporated President Chris Ronayne wrote a Plain Dealer op-ed in which he calls on local leaders to adopt a smart growth strategy that includes city-county consolidation, regional tax sharing, and changes to state policies that enable urban sprawl.

Local bloggers provided recaps of several recent events:

The Urbanophile used personal observations and commentary from other bloggers to compile an outsider's view of Cleveland's problems. The post engendered a thoughtful conversation, which the Urbanophile highlighted and replied to in a second post.

(via Brewed Fresh Daily)

With the first event in the Levin College Forum's "Building our Future Beyond Foreclosure" series approaching, Kurt Karakul of the Third Federal Foundation and the Forum's Kathryn Hexter wrote a Plain Dealer op-ed about recovering from the foreclosure crisis. They noted that "we have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how this historic community and, indeed, Cleveland itself, can reshape its future and once again become a progressive and dynamic community."

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his strategic plan for high-speed rail in the United States. It includes two connections to Cleveland as part of the Chicago Hub Network: the 3-Corridor that would link Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, and a line between Cleveland and Chicago that would stop in Toledo. Governor Strickland said that Ohio will compete for federal stimulus dollars that have been allocated for high-speed rail.

Fast Company named Cleveland as one of its 12 Fast Cities of 2009, and called the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland program one of the nation's "loveliest urban initiatives." Seattle was the magazine's city of the year.

(via Cleveland Design City)

Cleveland City Council is reviewing legislation intended to address aesthetic and safety concerns of wind turbine installation. The rules are meant to regulate their construction in the City's neighborhoods, not the proposed offshore wind farm. Steven Litt believes that there is a need to institute design standards in order to take full advantage of anticipated investments in wind energy.

The road to Whiskey Island in Cleveland will be named Ed Hauser Way in memory of the late activist. A dedication ceremony will be held on May 2.

The Plain Dealer's recognition of the Year of the River continues with a look at how the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped to advance the environmental movement at a national level and the myths that surround it. The resulting 1972 Clean Water Act has played a large role in the improvement of the River's water quality.

In this week's Scene, Michael Gill considers the future of the churches that the Cleveland Catholic Diocese will close in 2010. Because the church buildings will lose their property tax exemptions once they are no longer used by the Diocese, the Diocese may demolish the churches to reduce its tax obligations.

Update: the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt also examined the challenges of preserving historic church buildings. The Ohio & Erie Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America will lead a tour of St. Colman and St. Stephen (PDF) churches on April 18.

The Cleveland Play House has entered into talks to join Cleveland State University's drama program in a move to the Allen Theater (PDF) at Playhouse Square. Reconfiguring and expanding the Allen Theater would cost an estimated $30 million, and the Play House's longtime home in Midtown is for sale. The Cleveland Clinic is believed to be interested in the 12-acre site, which abuts its main campus. Steven Litt notes that the future of the existing Play House complex is now uncertain. The complex includes two historic 1926 theaters and a notable 1983 postmodern addition designed by Philip Johnson, and is not protected by any landmark ordinances.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial enthusiastically supports the concept.

Pop Up City (PDF, 20.2 MB), the second volume of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's Urban Infill imprint, explores temporary urban land use in Cleveland and around the world.

The Levin College Forum at CSU will host "a discussion about the unprecedented opportunity for economic transformation on Cleveland's lakefront" on April 30. "Transforming Cleveland by Building a World Class Waterfront" will include an overview from City of Cleveland and Port Authority leaders, followed by a panel discussion.

The span of the Columbus Road Lift Bridge over the Cuyahoga River in the Flats will be replaced, and the two lift towers will be repaired and upgraded. The $49 million project is scheduled to begin in November 2011, and construction will last about a year.

The federal stimulus bill passed in February includes $3.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. The grants are available to fund projects that reduce energy use or improve energy efficiency. Ohio's share of the allocations is $84 million. Cuyahoga County will receive $5.8 million and the City of Cleveland will receive $4.5 million.

Ohio officials today announced that 149 transportation infrastructure projects in 87 Ohio counties will receive a total of $774 million in federal stimulus funds. The largest single investment was for the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland, which will receive $200 million. The other major project in Cuyahoga County to be funded is the Opportunity Corridor, which is slated to receive $20 million.

Leaders in North Olmsted and Westlake are ready to enter the second phase of a study on creating a water district. The cties are contemplating a switch in water providers, from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Mayor Clough says the cost to buy water would be 75% less.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that attempting to obtain "federal money to get out from under the Cleveland water system smacks of a political ploy."

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese released the full list of parishes that will close or merge over the next 15 months. In the eight-county Diocese, 29 churches will close and 41 others will merge to form 18 new parishes. In Cuyahoga County, 38 churches will close or merge. Most are in the City of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer mapped the downsizing plans, while WKSU and WCPN looked at the adaptive reuse of former church buildings. WCPN also devoted Monday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the Diocese's plans.

In this month's issue of Next American City, Ariella Cohen writes about the recession's impacts on American cities, and uses Cleveland as an example of the challenges and opportunities facing municipal officials.

The New York Times Magazine focused national attention on Cleveland with a feature about how the foreclosure crisis has disrupted life in Slavic Village. National and international media outlets have used the neighborhood to highlight the weight of the problem, and many expect that the repercussions experienced in Cleveland will soon be felt in cities across the country. The Plain Dealer, meanwhile, posted maps and databases of the more than 45,000 foreclosures in Cuyahoga County since January 2006, and published a story about the implications of low housing prices. While Cleveland neighborhoods no longer have the nation's highest foreclosure rate, Cuyahoga County remains in the top 35. Rust Wire has a photo essay of the impacts on Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

Update: Charles Buki says that the New York Times article illustrates the need to rethink community development processes and reimagine cities.

On Thursday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson made his fourth annual State of the City Address, titled "It's Our Time (PDF): Bucking National Trends and Building for Tomorrow". He spoke optimistically about the budget, quality of life issues, economic development, and the regional economy. He also called for a more regional approach to education. WKYC has video of the speech, and WTAM posted the audio. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey liveblogged the event.

The outdoor advertising industry is using a pair of 2007 studies conducted in the Cleveland area in their efforts to gain authorization to install digital billboards elsewhere in the nation. A study of Cuyahoga County statistics (PDF) by Tantala Associates says that "digital billboards have no statistical relationship with the occurrence of accidents." A study of Cleveland drivers (PDF) by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says that "digital billboards seem to attract more attention than the conventional billboards" but that "no conclusions can be drawn regarding the ultimate safety of digital billboards."

A coalition of local environmental and community organizations will hold the Northeast Ohio Environmental Justice Town Hall Meeting on March 7 at Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Some members of Cleveland City Council are pursing landmark designations for churches that the Cleveland Catholic Diocese intends to close as part of its restructuring. The designation would disrupt the Church's plans to remove stained glass windows and other architectural details from the buildings.

Update: City Council may expand its landmark law to cover the interiors of historic buildings. City Council will also consider legislation intended to slow down the potential destruction of closed churches.

Cleveland City Council members want the Ohio Department of Transportation to prioritize investments in urban centers.

The City of Cleveland may place a moratorium on the installation of digital billboards so that municipal officials can develop new rules. Earlier billboard legislation was tabled this month. Executives at Clear Channel Outdoor are angry at Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins, who has been active in the deliberations.

Terry Schwartz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative was one of the guests on this week's Smart City Radio show. She discussed the strategies for re-imagining shrinking cities that are being employed in Cleveland.

Prompted by a request from Councilman Brancatelli of Cleveland, George Voinovich asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to "demolish its condemned and distressed properties that it owns in Cleveland's Slavic Village and throughout the city." Carole Cohen has many questions about the suggestion.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers shared findings about the Cuyahoga River slope instability problem above Irishtown Bend in Cleveland. This summer, the Corps will offer several plans for addressing the problem.

Partners in the Opportunity Homes pilot project are going door-to-door in six Cleveland neighborhoods to help homeowners in high-risk mortgages. They intend to visit nearly 500 homes and hope to prevent 100 foreclosures per year.

In a pair of posts at Newgeography.com, Ed Morrison lays out the challenges facing Greater Cleveland and offers suggestions for strengthening the region's economic development strategies.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Council passed legislation covering urban farming and the allocation of the City's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. The farming law, which passed by a vote of 18-3, will allow more residents to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, and bees on their properties. City Council adopted Mayor Jackson's proposal for allocating the $25.5 million dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by a vote of 20-1.

Update: Cleveland City Council issued a press release about the allocation of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.

Ned Hill and Fran Stewart of Cleveland State University call for a "New City Beautiful - a model of development that emphasizes urban design and the importance of public spaces as a way of creating and holding value in private places."

In a new survey, the Pew Research Center asked Americans if they were happy with the city in which they live, where they would like to live, and why. Almost half of the respondents said they would like to live somewhere else. The top 10 cities were all in the South or the West, while the bottom five were in the Midwest. Cleveland finished second to last in the list of most popular cities.

Mayor Jackson proposed using $14.5 million of the $25.5 million that the City of Cleveland received in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to demolish 1,700 structures. He also wants to allocate $1 million for a program to convert vacant properties into community gardens and other uses. On February 12, the City will hold a public hearing (PDF) about uses for the funding.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the hillside subsidence problem above Irishtown Bend in Cleveland needs to be addressed now.

Ken Silliman, Frank Jackson's chief of staff, told a Cleveland City Council committee that closing the Innerbelt Bridge for a year would be unacceptable, and called on ODOT to build the two-bridge configuration from earlier plans. City officials also announced that they will meet next week with state and federal officials about the planned Opportunity Corridor. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland must demand promised funding from ODOT.

On February 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will present preliminary findings about the slope instability problems along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend. Mayor Jackson listed the area as one of his priorities for obtaining federal infrastructure dollars.

Update: WKSU has more details.

In a letter to Senator Voinovich, Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli asked area congresspersons to petition the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish distressed properties that it owns in the City.

Steven Litt critiqued the plans for the Towpath Trail through Cleveland, and was displeased with the design of the section at Steelyard Commons. He also commented on the way that bureaucracy is deterring creative solutions and the challenges in designing the stage 1 extension of the trail.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson unveiled an updated urban agenda (PDF) today. It identified four priority projects for which he hopes to obtain federal and state infrastructure stimulus dollars. In letters President-elect Obama and Governor Strickland, he requested $730 million for the Innerbelt Bridge, Riverbed Road, Opportunity Corridor, and West Shoreway projects. His entire list includes $1.56 billion in infrastructure investments.

Update: Henry Gomez posted Mayor Jackson's entire list and his letters.

The Washington Independent has more details about the Cleveland Housing Renewal Project's lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. The banks had the case moved to federal court, but the Housing Renewal Project is seeking to have the case sent back to Cleveland Housing Court.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cleveland's new vacant land redevelopment guidelines could be a national model for urban sustainability.

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture followed up its May summit with a new paper titled "From Rust Belt to Artist Belt: Challenges and Opportunities in Rust Belt Cites." It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of rust belt cities, what they can offer to artists, and what artists have to offer to cities. The full white paper (PDF, 13.5 MB) is available, as is an executive summary (PDF, 3.4 MB).

The Ohio Department of Development will distribute more than $83 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to communities across the state. Cuyahoga County will receive $1.3 million, the City of Cleveland will receive $9.4 million, and Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Lakewood, and Parma will also receive awards. The dollars are in addition to the appropriations directly awarded to cities and counties in September. The Ohio Department of Development also announced that Cuyahoga County will receive a $2.15 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant. It will be used to remediate property along the Cuyahoga River's Old Channel and prepare it for Great Lakes Towing Company's $23 million ship building project.

Update: Cuyahoga County and the Great Lakes Towing Company will supply local matches for the Clean Ohio grant.

The Plain Dealer examined how Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Adam Wasserman has transformed the agency's staff in an effort to make it a more powerful economic driver for the region.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission adopted guidelines for "Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland" (PDF, 9.1 MB). The guidelines were developed over the past year by the City of Cleveland, Neighborhood Progress Inc., and Kent State's Urban Design Collaborative, with funding from the Surdna Foundation. They summarized "the goals, principles and strategies for returning vacant properties to productive use at the city-wide scale" and identified "policy changes that will enable the city to better make use of this growing resource."

Last week, the Cleveland Foundation awarded $18.8 million in grants and loans for the fourth quarter of 2008. The grants include $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future, $272,500 to Cuyahoga County for the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center, and $225,000 to ParkWorks.

A subsidiary of Neighborhood Progress Incorporated is suing two banks in an attempt to prevent them from selling foreclosed houses at deflated prices. On Monday, Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a restraining order blocking the sale of 36 houses for at least 14 days.

This week's Scene includes a look at the increasing popularity of urban farming in Cleveland. Early next month, City Council may vote on legislation relaxing the rules for raising chickens and bees. At the state level, the Ohio Food Policy Council is promoting the advancement of local food systems.

Beyond REO, a new report from Case's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, tracked property transfers of Cuyahoga County houses following sheriff's sales. In 2005, 3.62% of these houses sold at extremely depressed prices. By June 2008, the proportion had grown to 42.26%. Many of these properties are in Cleveland's east side neighborhoods. The report identified the proposed countywide land banks as a potential method of returning distressed properties to productive use.

Meanwhile, a new policy discussion paper (PDF) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland describes the countywide land bank legislation. In addition, University of Missouri - St. Louis Professor Todd Swanstrom compared the ways that Cleveland and St. Louis have responded to the foreclosure crisis (PDF).

Frank Jackson did not reappoint attorney Michael Wager to the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, and instead nominated attorney Marc Krantz. Wager, who has been serving as the board's chairmain, recently spoke about the future of the port at the City Club. Audio of his talk (MP3, 20.7 MB) is now available.

Maryland Delegate Alfred Carr, a Cleveland native, took a trip on the new HealthLine and considered whether a similar bus rapid transit system could be implemented in Maryland.

A group of Greater Clevelanders traveled to Columbus yesterday to advocate for Senate Bill 353, the countywide land bank bill. Supporters hope that the Ohio legislature will approve the bill in this month's lame duck session.

Update: WCPN has more details.

Editorials in the Plain Dealer express optimism about the movement in the Medical Mart talks and about the continued reinvestment in University Circle. Another editorial follows up on the newspaper's recent feature on Pittsburgh, and says that Cleveland's leaders can learn much from Pittsburgh. However, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Colin McNickle feels that "the Plain Dealer story might go down in history as the most uninformed look at Pittsburgh ever written."

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary and Blog 5)

A Plain Dealer feature examined the ways that Pittsburgh influences Cleveland and explored redevelopment and economic development strategies employed by Pittsburgh that could be applied in Cleveland. Meanwhile, a New Orleans Times-Picayune series on the shrinking cities movement looked to Cleveland and other Midwestern cities as positive models. At Cleveburgh Diaspora, Jim Russell submits that "the fate of Pittsburgh and Cleveland are increasingly intertwined."

Legislation for countywide land banks was the subject of discussion on this morning's Sound of Ideas program. Hearings on the proposal are expected to begin soon in the Ohio legislature. The program also examined the topic in November 2007.

As a tribute to the late Ed Hauser, WVIZ will re-air the 2006 documentary Citizen Hauser twice this week, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and on Wednesday at 11:00 p.m.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier says that Cleveland will need the support of the region if it is to succeed, and that "it could be essentially gone" if regional leaders fail to cooperate. In a second Plain Dealer op-ed, law student Christopher Thomas explains why Cleveland can be an attractive destination for young professionals.

The Cleveland Public Library's Fine Arts Department shared information about their local architectural history resources.

With the foreclosure crisis increasing the supply of abandoned homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland, more of the area's homeless are squatting in the vacant houses. Advocates for the homeless are working to establish a program that would allow the skilled homeless to take possession of abandoned homes in exchange for repairing them.

The West Side Sun News describes the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center, the largest redevelopment project undertaken by the City of Cleveland's Industrial-Commercial Land Bank program. The site in the industrial valley was recently awarded a $5 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant.

The Chatter column in this week's issue of Scene includes an update on the proposed revisions of Cleveland's billboard rules.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow more residents to raise livestock and bees near their homes. City Council committees are expected to begin discussing the proposal later this month, and community meetings will be held on November 25 and December 3.

A public meeting about stage 3 construction of the Towpath Trail will take place on November 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sokolowski's University Inn in Tremont. This leg of the trail will connect Steelyard Commons to Literary Road.

Calling it "Greater Cleveland's last, best chance to end the foreclosure feeding frenzy that is consuming neighborhoods and eviscerating property values," a Plain Dealer editorial urges state and local officials to support countywide land bank legislation.

Update: Becky Gaylord feels that Cleveland needs "bold, strong action, such as creating a regional land bank."

The Ohio Department of Development awarded 12 Job Ready Sites program grants, two of which were for projects in Cuyahoga County. The City of Cleveland received $5 million for the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center, a planned redevelopment of a 57-acre brownfield site near the Cuyahoga River. Ray Fogg Building Methods received $4.3 million to assist in the development of an industrial park on the 80-acre PMX site in Euclid.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss a proposal that would allow more residents to raise livestock and bees on their properties. The Planning Commission will also review electronic billboard regulations at the meeting.

Steven Litt says that the recently-completed Euclid Corridor project "shows how smart investments in mass transit and public space can help struggling cities turn themselves around." He also calls it a reminder "that America still has the ability to tackle high-quality, large-scale infrastructure projects with style."

Update: Rob Pitingolo feels that the project also represents missed opportunities.

Regional groups of parishes in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese submitted plans for consolidating churches to the Vibrant Parish Life Committee. The greatest reduction in parishes will be in the City of Cleveland, where recommendations call for closing up to 26 of the 61 parishes. Bishop Lennon will make the final decision on closings next March.

Homebuilder Rysar Properties is struggling in the poor housing market. The company has lost $4 million and is shifting its focus from construction to renovation.

The credit crunch has pushed back the debut of the Cleveland District of Design. Cleveland State's Ned Hill said that its launch is probably a year away.

Cleveland Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins is concerned that the Jackson administration is allowing stable neighborhoods to decline by focusing too much on demolishing abandoned houses in already blighted areas.

The grand opening of RTA's HeathLine attracted crowds over the weekend, and its Monday debut experienced only minor glitches. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the corridor's real payoff will be in the surrounding development it encourages.

The credit crunch threatens to further slow the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's construction program. In addition, the Ohio School Facilities Commission has suggested enlarging an existing school instead of building a proposed west side reliever high school.

The Euclid Corridor was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the HealthLine this afternoon. Construction of the $200 million, 7.1-mile project took three years, and it was the subject of Thursday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN. RTA will hold opening celebrations all weekend.

A protracted credit crunch could force delays or cancellations of proposed commercial developments in and around Cleveland, including downtown office towers, suburban retail developments, and mixed-use projects.

The Plain Dealer looked around the United States for new economic revitalization strategies that could be utilized in Greater Cleveland.

Opportunity Homes is a new $20 million public-private partnership designed to counter the effects of foreclosures in six Cleveland neighborhoods over the next three years. In its first year, the program aims to help 100 families avoid foreclosure, demolish 100 blighted houses, and rehabilitate 121 vacant homes.

The Ohio Department of Development announced the recipients in the second round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program today. Of the 48 projects selected, 14 are in Cleveland. The Terminal Tower, St. Luke's Hospital, and the East Ohio Gas Building on East 6th Street each received credits valued at an estimated $5 million.

While black churches are facing pressure to follow their congregants to the suburbs, many of them remain committed to their Cleveland neighborhoods. The Plain Dealer used a multimedia presentation to illustrate the role of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Fairfax.

On Friday, October 17, Western Reserve PBS (formerly PBS 45 & 49) will air Living Cities, a one hour special report on the well-being of Canton, Cleveland, and Youngstown and a response to their inclusion in the Forbes.com list of dying cities.

Update: the program can now be viewed online.

Several cities and villages in northern Summit County have rejected the City of Cleveland's water main maintenance and no poaching proposal.

The Cleveland Foundation and Gund Foundation gave $18.1 million million to local projects last month. The Cleveland Foundation's awards included a $4 million loan for the Uptown development in University Circle, $550,000 to Living Cities, $1.5 million for the second phase of the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion, and $200,000 for research on proposed Lake Erie wind turbines. The Gund Foundation gave $3 million in grants and loans for the Uptown project, $300,000 for support for Greater Ohio, and $75,000 for the relocation of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative offices to Playhouse Square.

The first of three reports revealed "no major hurdles" in the feasibility of building a demonstration wind turbine project in Lake Erie. The entire study should be completed by next April. Meanwhile, Case Western Reserve University hired Dianne Anderson as the first executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.

The New York Times Magazine reports on the fledgling field of building deconstruction, focusing on the efforts of Brad Guy of the Building Materials Reuse Association and his work in Slavic Village.

Steven Litt is not impressed by the exterior architecture of the Cleveland Clinic's new Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower, but is more pleased with their interiors and the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He also writes about the work of Justin Glanville at Building Cleveland by Design.

Ohio received more than $258 million of the $3.92 billion allocated by HUD for foreclosure relief. Cleveland's share was $16.1 million, and Cuyahoga County's was $11.2 million. The cities of Akron, Elyria, Euclid, and Lorain also received funds, as did Lake and Summit counties.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hired Pam Davis to fill its new environmental/sustainability manager position.

Cleveland City Council will soon consider legislation that would permit more residents to raise chickens in their yards.

This morning, the U.S. Census Bureau released American Community Survey data covering 2007 social, economic, and housing characteristics. The data was interpreted in a variety of fashions:

Update: the Plain Dealer summarized the data for Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland and Akron metropolitan areas, Ohio, and the nation.

WKSU is airing NEO Development: Rebuilding Northeast Ohio, a week-long series that explores the future of development in the region. The first story in the series looks at the Cleveland District of Design.

Cleveland's neighborhoods may soon start to realize the impacts of community reinvestments. Several community development efforts are underway in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, including a plan to redevelop the shuttered St. Luke's Hospital. In Central, the Weed & Seed initiative is combating blight, and public improvements are being made across the city. In addition, the three neighborhoods participating in the pilot LEED for Neighborhood Development program could have their plans certified in December.

Update: the Plain Dealer published additional information about the neighborhood improvements.

House flippers are turning to eBay in attempts to make quick profits.

A report prepared for the City of Cleveland says that over the first five months of this year, City prosecutors rejected over a quarter of the cases prepared by building and housing inspectors against property owners.

Crain's Cleveland Business reports on the green bulkheads project and the installation (PDF) of CHUBs in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel. The coverage includes a story and a video report.

Mayor Jackson's Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee summarized the City of Cleveland's progress over the last year.

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released annual income, poverty, and health insurance coverage statistics from the 2007 American Community Survey. In Cuyahoga County, the median household income grew from $41,522 in 2006 to $44,358 in 2007 (a 6.8% increase), while the poverty rate rose from 14.8% to 15.5% (a 4.7% increase). The City of Cleveland's poverty rate also rose, from 27.0% in 2006 to 29.5% in 2007, the nation's second-highest figure among big cities. Detroit had the highest poverty rate for the second consecutive year.

Local government agencies are collaborating to address the slope instability problems along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend in Cleveland.

Developer profiled the efforts of five cities, including Cleveland, to revive neighborhoods damaged by foreclosures and abandonment. Some signs indicate that the housing market may be improving, as Greater Cleveland led the nation for home price gains in April and May.

(via Planetizen)

The green bulkheads project will proceed this week with the installation of up to 400 plant pockets in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel.

In this week's Scene, Michael Gill explores the controversy over the proposed changes to Cleveland's billboard rules and relates the struggle of an Old Brooklyn restaurant owner to remove one billboard.

Officials in Toledo are among those looking at the Euclid Corridor project as an example of how to implement a bus rapid transit line.

The City of Cleveland's 2010 Active Transportation Plan calls for creating a 180 mile network of bicycle routes, including a City Trail Loop connecting the City's large parks.

Some community leaders in Cleveland are upset about a proposal to modify the City's billboard regulations, and the City Planning Commission today tabled the issue until August 15 to allow more time to review and discuss the subject.

The housing bill signed by President Bush yesterday will eventually bring $26.6 million to Cuyahoga County communities for acquisition and rehabilitation or demolition of abandoned houses. The City of Cleveland is expected to receive the majority of the money.

Update: the Plain Dealer analyzed the legislation and clarified that the $26.6 million figure is only an estimate. The Christian Science Monitor also interviewed local officials about its likely implications.

The National Resources Defense Council rated the water quality at Ohio's beaches as the second worst in the nation, an improvement over last year's last place ranking. The annual Testing the Waters report placed the beaches (PDF) at Villa Angela State Park and Euclid Beach State Park among the worst ten for exceeding public health standards.

At a real estate meeting yesterday, MRN Ltd. announced plans to convert the landmark Tudor Arms on Carnegie Avenue to a hotel. The University Circle building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February.

Participants in a May planning charrette generated ideas for revitalizing vacant land in Cleveland.

On Friday, Bill Moyers Journal recounted the story of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland, focusing on the problems in Slavic Village. Video, audio (MP3, 17.9 MB), and a transcript of the PBS broadcast are all available.

Walk Score has been updated with new walkability rankings by city and neighborhood. Of the nation's 40 largest cities, the City of Cleveland was ranked as the 14th most walkable. The only Cleveland neighborhood to make the top 100 was downtown, at number 73.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland and Northeast Ohio "need something new: An aggressive repopulation strategy that emphasizes immigration" in order to reverse the region's negative population trends.

The U.S. Census Bureau's annual subcounty population estimates indicate that Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs continued to lose population. Between July 2006 and July 2007, Cleveland's population dropped by an estimated 5,067 people, about 1.1% of its total. While it was the largest numerical drop in the nation, it was a smaller annual decrease than in the last several estimates. Cleveland officials believe that the City is poised to start reversing the trends, and downtown Cleveland has been gaining population. Population tables are available for download from NODIS.

Officials from the Chicago Transit Authority are studying the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project as they prepare to launch their own bus rapid transit line next year.

GreenCityBlueLake provides an update on bicycle planning in Cleveland. The City received an honorable mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community in May, and the League of American Bicyclists provided suggestions (PDF) for earning a full designation. A complete streets resolution has been prepared (PDF) for consideration by Cleveland City Council. The City also applied to participate (PDF) in the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program if Congress reauthorizes it in the 2010 transportation bill.

Cleveland State's Ned Hill appeared on this week's episode of Smart City Radio to talk about the Cleveland District of Design. He described economic development as "the art of connecting the dots that nobody else sees."

The Free Times examines the potential for the blockage of the Cuyahoga River Federal Navigation Channel and critiques local and federal efforts to address slope subsidence and bulkhead failure issues that threaten the shoreline.

Channel 3 aired stories about the increasing popularity of community gardening in Cleveland (video) and about the Farmland Center's FarmLink (video) program.

The City of Cleveland announced $4.6 million in Housing Trust Fund allocations for ten residential developments. All employ green building techniques. The projects are evenly divided between renovations and new construction.

Update: Crib Notes provides more details.

In the fourth and final part of the Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface series of specials, WKYC looked to the future. The show examined lakefront plans, legislative initiatives, economic opportunities, and our drinking water. All four shows are available online.

Brad Masi of the New Agrarian Center describes how community gardening can be used to combat food deserts, using a new community garden at Huron Hospital in East Cleveland as an example.

Plans for the extension of the Towpath Trail from Harvard Road to Steelyard Commons include the construction of a tunnel and two new bridges. Consultant DLZ has posted materials from this week's public meeting, and is accepting public comments.

The General Environmental Management plant in the Flats will close rather than make fire safety improvements to the facility. The plant had been cited for potential violations of clean air laws and suffered an explosion and fire in 2006.

The Living Cities Consortium gave a $500,000 grant to Neighborhood Progress Inc. The funds will be used to demolish 100 houses in Cleveland and to renovate 50 others. NPI also expects to receive a $1 million low-interest loan.

The majority of people at the Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force meeting on Tuesday expressed a desire for better public transit service, and many said that Ohio needs to become less dependent on highways. The final regional Task Force meeting will be held on Monday in Akron.

Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services held a field hearing in Cleveland about the foreclosure crisis. Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters led the nearly five hour meeting, which was also attended by five members of Ohio's congressional delegation. Recent stories about Cleveland in the national media have drawn attention to the issue, and the Plain Dealer used East 144th Street in Mount Pleasant as an example of the impacts of foreclosures.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the subcommittee's Cleveland appearance "reflects the severe financial and social repercussions across the country."

Arsonists have burned 98 vacant homes in Cleveland this year. Last year, there were fires at 231 vacant homes in the City. Investigators believe that some of the blazes are tied to mortgage or insurance fraud.

A column by Becky Gaylord of the Plain Dealer says that, "Too often, Cleveland ignores owners of abandoned or neglected houses that lure crime and kill nearby home values." She feels that the City focuses too much on demolitions, and does not employ other tools, like receivership, enforcement crackdowns, and property registration.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will present the port relocation plan at a second public meeting on June 16 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer explored the interest in and potential for cohousing in Cleveland in anticipation of today's cohousing forum at CSU.

Update: audio of the session (MP3, 167.2 MB) is now available.

ODOT's Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force will hold one of its seven statewide transportation conversations at Cleveland State University on June 17. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting, complete an online survey, and provide ideas and opinions.

Yesterday, participants in the Look Up To Cleveland program presented ideas for improving three Cleveland neighborhoods. The 51 local high school students worked in teams to generate proposals for the Lee-Harvard, Old Brooklyn, and University Circle neighborhoods.

Many questions surround the siting of a proposed new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Roosevelt Coates proposed building the facility in Collinwood.

Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of urban gardening in Cleveland and the innovative programs offered through the Ohio State University Extension. Community gardening is also gaining popularity in Lakewood, and this week's Cool Cleveland looked at some techniques for turning waste streams into sustainable local agriculture.

The Plain Dealer looked into the status of the two remaining disassembled Hulett ore unloaders at Whiskey Island.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the biggest challenge facing the construction of a new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County "will be making sure local officials don't get bogged down in a long, drawn-out fight over its location. "

WCPN concluded its series on the foreclosure crisis with reports on the roles of Fannie Mae and HUD in the crisis and possible solutions to the problem.

The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals upheld the City of Cleveland's residency requirement for municipal employees, reversing a 2007 ruling by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. The Ohio Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an appeal of related cases in Akron and Lima, and the Cleveland case is also likely to reach the Supreme Court.

Living Cities, a consortium of major philanthropic foundations and financial firms, will launch a new initiative in Cleveland. The first step in the process will be for Cleveland officials to set specific goals for the program.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls the announcement "good news for this city."

WCPN continued its foreclosure crisis coverage with a report on the problems it has created in Cuyahoga County's outer ring suburbs and a discussion of the issues on this morning's Sound of Ideas program. In the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren wrote about the Jackson administration's approach to dealing with the foreclosure crisis and abandoned houses.

Michael Gill of the Free Times also wrote about last week's "From Rust Belt to Artist Belt" conference: "The bottom line is that neighborhoods that want to benefit from the arts have to be about helping artists - not the other way around. Succeed at that, and the benefits to the neighborhood will follow."

This week, WCPN is airing a series of reports about the foreclosure crisis. Yesterday's piece was an examination of the practice of purchasing Cleveland homes in bulk, and today's was a look at the impact of foreclosures in inner-ring suburbs.

A capital budget bill introduced in the Ohio legislature yesterday includes $83.7 million for a new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County. The new 300 room hospital would replace the Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facility on West 25th Street. The bill also includes funding for the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion, the Gordon Square Art Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Institute of Art, University Hospitals, and Cleveland State University.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District's revised building program still includes plans for a west side reliever high school and a new John Marshall High School. The plans do not call for any school closings, but leave the future of over 30 schools to be determined later.

Recent Plain Dealer editorials praise the regionalism agenda of the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association and the Cleveland District of Design collaboration. An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal says that "the Republican majority in the Ohio Senate stands strikingly alone" in its opposition to the Great Lakes Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, while an editorial in the Plain Dealer says that the opposition may be breaking down.

Update: an editorial in the Beacon Journal is also positive about the regionalism initiative.

Grist highlighted sustainability efforts in Cleveland today as part of its week-long Smart(ish) Cities series, noting that "Cleveland is one of a handful of cities in the Rust Belt -- including Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Columbus -- that are reinventing the region as a sort of Green Belt."

Both property owners and consumer product companies are showing interest in the proposed Cleveland District of Design. Leaders of the effort say they need commitments from six companies in order to launch.

GreenCityBlueLake is liveblogging today's "From Rust Belt to Artist Belt" summit.

Update: Even*Cleveland posted a recap of the event, and Steven Litt provided more details.

While Cleveland officials are struggling to deal with the increase in abandoned homes, they have been able to raise the number of houses that have been boarded up, condemned, and demolished. However, a Plain Dealer editorial says that the City needs to do more. In addition to the other problems caused by abandonment, Cleveland has seen a rise in arson this year.

The planned Melford International Terminal, a $300 million container cargo port in Nova Scotia, has the potential to bring increased containerized shipping to ports in Cleveland and Toledo.

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange Cleveland chapter held its second monthly meeting yesterday. The group will hold its first of four community web launches on June 21 in Buffalo.

I.D. Magazine interviewed Ned Hill and Daniel Cuffaro about the Cleveland District of Design. "The District of Design is a way to streamline, so that instead of buyers driving all over Northeast Ohio planning a product line, Cleveland would be a one-stop shop."

(via CEOs for Cities)

The From Rust Belt to Artist Belt symposium will be held next Wednesday. WCPN reported on the event and discussed it on yesterday's Around Noon show.

Case's Western Reserve Studies Symposium began its second year of Regionally Speaking conversations with a session on "how to move the region forward through economic and community development." The guests were Ronn Richard of the Cleveland Foundation, Chris Warren of the City of Cleveland, and Bobbi Reichtell of Neighborhood Progress Inc.

Cleveland's new economic development director described plans for six new or expanded programs at a City Council Community and Economic Development Committee meeting this morning.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a proposal to require one bicycle parking space for every 20 car parking spaces. The proposal also calls for reducing the number of required car spaces by one when six bicycle spaces are provided.

Yesterday, Case Western Reserve University, the City of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Clinic pledged to support and advance the principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded $2.5 million in loans to nonprofit organizations working in six Cleveland neighborhoods. The funds will be used to revitalize model blocks in Buckeye, Detroit-Shoreway, Fairfax, Glenville-Wade Park, Slavic Village, and Tremont. The Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights and North Ridge Commons (an EDEN project in Cleveland) were also awarded loans.

Although sales have been slow and the company may be experiencing financial difficulties, Gordon Priemer of Heartland Developers says that plans for the Avalon Station condominiums in Shaker Heights are moving ahead at "full force".

The project managers of Cleveland's LEED-ND program have proposed creating a green overlay district for the City's three pilot projects.

A board committee of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recommended reopening the Dike 12 confined disposal facility located northeast of Burke Lakefront Airport. The facility has not accepted new dredge material since it was closed in the mid-1970s, but settling of the fill has created more space.

The U.S. EPA awarded $74 million in brownfields grants to projects in 43 states. The City of Cleveland received $200,000 for the cleanup of the nine acre Chemical and Minerals Reclamation site on Crescent Avenue. Cuyahoga County received $400,000 to perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments at sites across the county and $1 million for its revolving loan fund.

Update: the Cuyahoga County Department of Development has more information.

James Darr, administrator of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Bond Accountability Commission, urges Cleveland residents to attend community forums (PDF) on Thursday about the District's school construction plans.

Harvard economics professor Ed Glaeser was the keynote speaker yesterday at a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He said that local leaders need to attract skilled residents to the urban core.

The Akron Beacon Journal examined the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's aspirations to begin handling containerized cargo. It notes that "Cleveland and Toledo are uniquely positioned to be spokes on such a hub system because they are as far as a ship can get into the United States without beginning a time-consuming loop up and around the Michigan peninsula to reach other Great Lakes ports."

Moreland Hills City Council has begun discussing the water main maintenance and no poaching proposal offered by the City of Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that air quality concerns in the neighborhoods surrounding the ArcelorMittal steel mill are "too big of a public health issue to ignore," and that the U.S. EPA, the Ohio EPA, and the City of Cleveland have a duty to investigate.

Nine more properties in Cleveland received awards through the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. Locally, the largest credits went to the Higbee Building ($7.8 million), the Cleveland Institute of Art's McCullough Center ($5.7 million), the Hanna Building ($4.6 million), and the Union Gospel Press building ($4.4 million). It was the third and final announcement in round one of the awards. MyHometownOhio reports that there will not be a second round because the program reached its $120 million limit. The Plain Dealer listed the status of all local applicants.

The Maltz Family Foundation gave $2 million to endow a chair at the new Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation at Case Western Reserve University. It will aid its "efforts to recruit a prominent, internationally-recognized leader from key energy-related disciplines to the institute". The gift is in addition to a $3.6 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation in December.

The U.S. EPA has been investigating air pollution from the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Local activists want the company to reduce its emissions.

Case's Baker Nord Center for the Humanities continues its explorations of the cityscapes theme at this year's Humanities Week, which runs March 24-29. It includes a film series at the Cinematheque, lectures, and a National Cityscapes Conference on March 27-29.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership published its 2008-2011 Strategic Plan (PDF). Among its suggestions is lobbying for funding of three major projects: the Port of Cleveland's relocation, the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, and a new runway for NASA's Plum Brook Station in Erie County. It also calls for closer ties with Akron.

This week's Free Times looks at the pending legislative reauthorization of the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway and the progress on the extension of the Towpath Trail through Cleveland.

Several large foundations are considering programs to address the foreclosure crisis, and may fund projects in Cleveland.

In his third annual State of the City address last week, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson highlighted a revenue sharing opportunity with the City of Youngstown and his plans to strengthen the city's transportation infrastructure. The speech did not impress some Cleveland councilmen, while a Plain Dealer editorial said it was "remarkable, in part, for what he didn't say." The address, titled "Confronting our Reality Head On: Turning Challenges into Opportunities," is available as video, audio, and text (PDF).

Representatives of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attended Cleveland City Council's Fighting Foreclosure Forum yesterday. Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland also announced that it received $600,000 to advertise and to hire more counselors.

Over a dozen out-of-state investment companies that specialize in reselling foreclosed homes are operating in Cleveland. They purchase properties in bulk from banks and then sell the houses without making improvements. The proposed countywide land bank is intended to keep homes out of the hands of speculators.

The Economist examined how major hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic have become economic drivers, and also looked at their relationships with their surrounding communities.

(via Smart Communities)

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will hold community meetings today and tomorrow about the remaining stages of the district's school construction program. The meetings (PDF) tonight will be held at all high schools, and the meeting tomorrow evening will be at prekindergarten-8 schools.

$60 Million and Counting (executive summary, 0.6 MB PDF; complete report, 20.2 MB PDF), a new report from ReBuild Ohio and Community Research Partners, says that abandoned homes cost eight diverse Ohio cities $64 million per year and cost Cleveland $35.5 million per year. The total statewide cost may be ten times greater.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone testified before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment about brownfields redevelopment funding. H.R. 5336, a reauthorization of the the U.S. EPA's brownfields program, was introduced on Tuesday.

Roldo Bartimole objects to the public subsidization of private downtown developments, using the incentives earmarked for the rehabilitation the 668 Euclid complex as an example.

Adam Wasserman will celebrate his first year at the helm of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority on Tuesday. He has received good reviews from area political and business leaders.

On Friday, Wells Fargo Bank asked a federal judge to dismiss the City of Cleveland's lawsuit against 21 major investment banks.

Cities such as Cleveland, Westlake, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, and Avon Lake are still dealing with the withdrawal of Tops Supermarkets from Northeast Ohio in 2006.

Many cities are encountering obstacles in meeting their carbon dioxide reduction goals, despite enthusiasm among citizens and city officials in places such as Cleveland. Even the best-laid plans to reduce emissions have been constrained by budgets, conflicting political ideologies, legal restrictions by states, and people's unwillingness to change.

Nearly 500 people attended the second annual "10,000 Little (micro) Ideas to Keep You Believing in Cleveland." Like last year's event, the participants shared ideas about how to make Cleveland a better city. The suggestions ranged from encouraging wind and other alternative energy to increasing inclusiveness and understanding across demographic boundaries, such as race, economics and age.

The only Ohio ZIP code on the list of the list of 100 worst hit in December by the foreclosure crisis was 44105, the area around Slavic Village. It was ranked number 51. Last June, it topped the list.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

As part of its Pop Up City program, the Urban Design Center of Northeast Ohio will conduct a workshop on temporary uses for vacant buildings and sites on February 27. Registration is $10 and limited to the first 68 participants.

One year after the opening of its first store, the Steelyard Commons shopping center in Cleveland is meeting or exceeding expectations. With 97% of the space in its first phase accounted for, owner First Interstate Properties plans to break ground on the 250,000 square foot second phase as early as this fall.

Adam Wasserman, President and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, was the guest on this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN. He discussed the Port's role in economic development, as well as the proposed move, lakefront greenspace, and the port's foray into containerized shipping.

Tracey Nichols, Cuyahoga County's Assistant Director for Economic Development, was hired as the City of Cleveland's new Director of Economic Development. She will start on February 11.

Great Lakes Urban Exchange is a new "multi-media documentary, networking, and creative research effort" intended to "tell new stories about Great Lakes cities and bring the people who love them together." Co-founders Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki recently appeared on Smart City Radio. Meanwhile, former Cleveland Tech Czar Michael DeAloia recently launched The Cool History of Cleveland, a new weblog focusing on local history.

(via GreenCityBlueLake and Cool Cleveland)

The City of Cleveland's foreclosure lawsuit against 21 large investment banks was moved to federal court after lawyers from Lehman Brothers argued that Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court lacked jurisdiction. Attorneys for the City have filed to bring the case back to Common Pleas Court.

Ohio Green Communities, a collaborative dedicated to funding to affordable green housing, named three Cleveland developments as 2007 Ohio Green Communities Projects. They are Cogswell House, Village Green Elderly, and Tremont Pointe II.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland leaders must support a countywide land bank to help counter the "devastating impact on local property values" caused by the foreclosure crisis.

The City of Cleveland announced yesterday that it was suing 21 major investment banks that "financed and cultivated the sub-prime market." Law Director Robert Triozzi said that the banks trigged the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland by creating a market for mortgage-backed securities based on subprime lending "even though they knew full well that this was not an appropriate market for this activity." The City is charging (PDF) the banks with violating Ohio's public nuisance law and hopes to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Update: the New York Times also reported on the case, which could inspire similar lawsuits from other cities.

A group of port authority and municipal officials met in Mentor to discuss the proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry and the proposed Fairport Harbor to Port Burwell ferry. A working group will assess possible collaborations on several issues.

(via Brewed Fresh Daily)

The US EPA found General Environmental Management's Cleveland plant in violation of the Clean Air Act, and that it annually emits of 17 tons of hydrogen chloride (PDF), among other violations. The company is also being sued by the City of Cleveland for operating without a permit.

Mayor Brewer of East Cleveland says that his City's water main agreement with the City of Cleveland will lower residents' water bills by about a third.

Update: WKYC and WTAM have additional information.

The City of Cleveland is seeking interdisciplinary consultants to develop the Canal Basin District Plan, which will be a conceptual study intended to "help to establish a roadmap for future public and private investment decisions that will turn the Cuyahoga River Valley into a major attraction for residents and visitors, alike."

The Cleveland Botanical Garden and the City of Cleveland are testing several varieties of low-growth grass mixes that require less frequent mowing. The Botanical Garden will also hold its third annual Sustainability Symposium on February 2.

Brian Reilly, Cleveland's Director of Economic Development, resigned today. He had been director since March 2006, and the City says he is leaving to "pursue other opportunities". Assistant Director Belinda Pesti will serve as interim director.

The Ohio Department of Development gave 11 more awards through the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, including six in Cleveland. The largest tax credit in Cleveland, valued at an estimated $1.4 million, went to the Scott A. Rogers Co. Building, part of the University Lofts development near Cleveland State University. The Capitol Theater in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood received a tax credit worth an estimated $1.1 million.

Although it's too early to judge the full impact of Steelyard Commons, the shopping center appears to be having a successful first holiday season.

A combination of several factors have put the City of Cleveland near its debt ceiling, which could prevent the City from borrowing additional money and impact major planned projects. Mayor Jackson proposed allowing early discounted repayments of UDAG loans, an idea that has been controversial in the past.

At a press conference today, officials from Merchandise Mart Properties said that they have narrowed their list of potential Medical Mart sites from 13 to three: a downtown location, a site in Midtown, and one near University Circle. Local leaders prefer a downtown location for the Medical Mart and convention center. The Greater Cleveland Partnership posted the slides from the press conference.

Update: the GCP also provided audio of the event.

Cleveland Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren presented Mayor Jackson's regional economic development platform. Speaking before a City Club audience, he said that the keys to a strong region are a supporting a strong central city, helping cities cooperate for economic growth, making certain not to overlook individual talents, and protecting the environment. Channel 3 has video of the event.

Update: the City Club posted a podcast of the talk (MP3, 24.2 MB).

This week, the Columbus Dispatch is running a special report that explores the problems facing Ohio's major cities, including a lack of support from the state legislature. The series also takes a closer look at individual cities, including an examination of Cleveland's challenges and assets.

This year's Emerging Cleveland tours will be held on December 26 and 27. The tours "highlight the best of what's happening in the City -- from new development to off-the-beaten track gems."

(via GreenCityBlueLake)

A new report (PDF) prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors enumerates the negative effects of the foreclosure crisis on cities' gross metropolitan products. The report's authors say that 2008 should be "no worse than 2007" for Cleveland. Meanwhile, figures from RealtyTrac show that there were 94% more foreclosure filings in Ohio in October 2007 than in October 2006.

The City of Cleveland will withdraw millions of dollars in deposits from JP Morgan Chase, because the bank scored poorly on the City's review of community reinvestment practices. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland must continue to monitor banks and that City Council should also update the review process.

Neighborhood Progress Inc. is working with community development corporations in six Cleveland neighborhoods to improve areas in proximity to major new investments and create model blocks.

Chris Warren, the City of Cleveland's Chief of Regional Development, will speak at the City Club on December 4 about the Jackson administration's platform for development.

IBC Solar AG, Germany's oldest solar power company, will establish its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland. The company also hopes to manufacture solar equipment in Cleveland if Ohio adopts a renewable portfolio standard.

Earlier today, Mayor Jackson proposed new standards for housing construction and renovation. In order to obtain financial assistance from the City, builders and contractors would have to meet national green building standards. Some builders worry that it would raise their costs. If Cleveland City Council adopts the proposal, the new rules would start in 2009.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says the proposal "isn't a bad idea. But it has to be done carefully.")

Several recent fires at empty warehouses have highlighted the the fire risk posed by abandoned warehouses, many of which hold unmarked cans and barrels of hazardous materials. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the City of Cleveland "needs to tackle the problem [of cataloging warehouse dangers] with more vigor than it's showing now."

The Levin College Forum at CSU will continue its Our Place in the Urban Age series with a forum titled "Creating and Sustaining Communities of Choice" on November 29 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The speakers will include Mark McDermott of Enterprise Community Partners, Chris Warren of the City of Cleveland, and Ben Hecht of Living Cities.

Recent and planned medical center construction by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals has been exclusively in suburban and exurban communities, and not in the region's core cities. The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, continues to reshape its main campus in Cleveland. Steven Litt notes that "it's far too soon to judge how good a job the Clinic is doing architecturally," but "it is a good time to start gathering impressions and to hear about the Clinic's design goals."

The BBC used Cleveland to illustrate the foreclosure crisis in the United States, devoting a detailed BBC News article and an episode of This World to the subject.

(via Foreclosing Cleveland and cleveoh)

Panelists at the City Club on Thursday said that Cleveland needs a regional approach to address its homelessness problem. Audio of the event (MP3, 26.7 MB) is available online.

A series of events will be held this month about modernist architecture, its reuse and preservation, and the Breuer Tower.

Steven Fong, dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design will leave his post in December to concentrate on opportunities at Khoury Levit Fong, his new firm. His plans to move the school's entire graduate program in architecture to Cleveland are now on hold.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County may form a joint agency that would buy abandoned houses and keep them away from real estate speculators. The role of the proposed countywide land bank will be identified in a new study.

When the new Wal-Mart at Steelyard Commons opens tomorrow, the 217,000 square foot store will become the company's first supercenter in Cuyahoga County. Dave's Markets responded by turning its store near Ridge Road and Denison Avenue into Dave's Mercado, a supermarket for the Hispanic community.

Last week, Bill Callahan launched Foreclosing Cleveland, a new weblog focused on the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland. It's intended to "document this ongoing civic disaster, its perpetrators, its consequences, and the efforts of Cleveland's people to overcome them."

The relocation study being conducted for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority identified a short list of three preferred sites for a possible move of the Port of Cleveland: a site along the west breakwall, a site at the northeast end of Burke Lakefront Airport, and a site site north of the East 55th Street marina. The new facility could be built on land created with Cuyahoga River dredge material.

Members of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society are continuing their efforts to restore the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse on West 3rd Street in the Flats.

The recent train derailment in Painesville has Cleveland officials talking again about an ordinance to reroute trains with hazardous cargo away from the City's most densely populated areas.

Cleveland Development Advisors obtained $25 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits. They will award the credits to businesses and banks that invest in catalytic developments in Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis answered questions from Washington Post readers about his recent piece on the foreclosure crisis. The Economist also looked at the crisis in Maple Heights, describing it as "a community in collapse."

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary)

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland will both benefit from the recent water main agreement.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, American City & County's County Leader of the Year, wrote an op-ed about the foreclosure crisis that appeared in Sunday's Washington Post. It begins, "Let me tell you about a place called Slavic Village and the death of a girl named Cookie Thomas. You've never heard this story before -- talk of housing markets and hedge funds, interest rates and the Federal Reserve has drowned it out."

Cleveland school officials are preparing a revised school construction plan that includes construction changes and a request for voters to approve an extension of the bond issue. They expect to exhaust the existing $1 billion budget by 2012.

Westlake City Council approved a contract for a study that will analyze the implications of switching water providers from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Leaders in Bay Village and North Olmsted are considering whether to join the study.

The latest World of Opportunity video from the Greater Cleveland Partnership is available at Advance Northeast Ohio. It highlights planned and in progress developments across the City of Cleveland.

The unstable slopes of Irishtown Bend in Cleveland forced the closure of Riverbed Street in 2005 and threaten to collapse an aging 60 inch sewer pipe. Rick Switalski, manager of sewer design for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, says that "Failure is imminent, and we have to do something right away."

The Cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland reached a deal on the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement proposed by Cleveland officials. The cities had been negotiating for over a year.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $13.5 million in grants, including $1 million to Case Western Reserve University for the development of the University Arts and Retail District, $150,000 to Neighborhood Progress Inc. to support its foreclosure prevention and abandoned property redevelopment initiative, and $70,000 to Baldwin-Wallace College for the southwest Cuyahoga County fire service regionalization project.

As Ohio remains among the states with the highest foreclosure rates, Britain's The Guardian examined the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on Cleveland. The Free Times also continued its foreclosure coverage with a look at the work of the East Side Organizing Project. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Cleveland State professor Kathleen Engel says that "Cleveland cannot afford to wait for federal solutions to the subprime problems that are dogging the city."

The new Towpath Trail segment through Steelyard Commons in Cleveland was formally dedicated yesterday. Steelyard Commons will hold a grand opening celebration (PDF) on Thursday.

(Update: The West Side Sun News offers additional details about the dedication and the grand opening.)

After receiving approval from Cleveland officials, Giant Eagle plans to begin construction of a new store at I-90 and West 117th Street in November. They hope to complete the 87,000 square foot store by June 2008.

The City of Aurora and Portage County reached a water distribution and no poaching agreement with the City of Cleveland.

(Update: WKSU and WCPN have more details.)

On Tuesday, the US Census Bureau published its annual American Community Survey figures on income and poverty. Cleveland was ranked as the fourth poorest major city in the nation, an improvement over last year's number one ranking. The data showed that poverty remains a serious issue in cities across Ohio. In anticipation of the release, Mayor Jackson appeared on WCPN's Sound of Ideas to discuss poverty and other topics.

The Plain Dealer continued its "A Region Uniting" series with a look at city-county consolidation, using Louisville, Kentucky as an example. They examined the history of Louisville's efforts, compared the demographics of Cleveland and Louisville and their metro areas, and mapped black population shifts.

Hunting Valley adopted the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. The Village has no industrial land and only one commercial property.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer expresses optimism about the future of Euclid Avenue. "The good news, obscured by the dust of the Euclid Corridor's construction these last three years, is that the first seeds of revival are not only being sown, but they're also taking root."

Scene profiles the efforts of Ohio Citizen Action to get Mittal Steel to reduce air pollution from its Cleveland mill.

Cleveland Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren outlined several ambitious ideas that the City is considering to encourage regional progress. He plans to present a formal economic development strategy in October.

The Plain Dealer examined the impacts of acute outmigration on Cleveland neighborhoods, explored the strategies proposed by shrinking cities advocates, and looked at the reactions from Cleveland politicians.

A a press conference this morning, 40 Cuyahoga County mayors endorsed the proposed Cleveland Medical Mart. WCPN examined the announcement and the recent Merchandise Mart tour. Significant negotiations are on hold while officials wait for results of the petition drive being mounted by opponents of the sales tax increase.

Merchandise Mart Properties is considering 13 possible locations for the proposed Cleveland Medical Mart, but company officials declined to identify the sites. Yesterday, a group of Cleveland business and labor leaders, government officials, and media members toured the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Meanwhile, the Free Times attempted to determine if the projections identified by Medical Mart supporters are realistic.

City Fresh and other local urban gardeners have adopted asphalt gardening techniques. In addition to providing greenspace and affordable local food, asphalt gardening can reduce the urban heat island effect and can help reduce storm runoff.

The latest program progress update from the Cleveland Municipal School District's Bond Accountability Commission says that the district's school construction project is at least a year behind schedule.

(Update: WKSU provides more information.)

Friday's City Club talk about the proposed Medical Mart is now available as a podcast (MP3, 19.7 MB). It featured Fred Nance, Dennis Roche, and Baiju Shah. Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove discussed the Medical Mart proposal with Tom Beres of Channel 3.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission tentatively approved plans for the new Giant Eagle supermarket at West 117th Street and I-90.

Giant Eagle wants to build an 87,000 square foot store adjacent to the new Target store at West 117th Street and I-90 in Cleveland. Designs for the supermarket will be presented at the Friday meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission.

The Cities of Lakewood and Bedford reached water distribution agreements with the City of Cleveland. The agreements include the no poaching clause present in similar agreements. The Cities of Bedford Heights and Euclid also recently signed water main maintenance agreements with Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that while the City of Cleveland is "doing a much better job" of boarding up and demolishing abandoned houses, the City "will have to pick up the pace if it hopes to deal with the 7,000 or more properties in need of attention."

Projected declines in enrollment in the Cleveland schools will force cutbacks to the district's school construction project. When the program started in 2002, enrollment was at 72,500. Today enrollment stands at 55,000, and projections anticipate an enrollment of 41,000 by 2015. The number of new or renovated schools will likely be reduced from the original 111 to 77 or 80. Revised plans may be revealed in two to three weeks.

Today's Plain Dealer includes a map of residential developments in Cleveland that have either been proposed, are under construction, or have been dropped.

O