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The overhaul of the Shoppes at Parma, formerly Parmatown Mall, began in earnest with the demolition of the 305,000-square-foot former Macy's store. The upgrades include the construction of a new, larger Dick's Sporting Goods store, an expansion of the Walmart store, and the construction of six outbuildings. Mall owner Phillips Edison & Company (PDF) intends to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Cleveland.com looked back at the history of the mall and considered what may lie ahead.

Mayor DeGeeter of Parma established a 15-member Town Center Task Force. The group is charged with developing recommendations (PDF) for the area around the intersection of Ridge Road and West Ridgewood Drive. Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Executive Director Glenn Coyne is serving as its facilitator.

A ribbon-cutting celebration for the Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek was held in June. The 18,000-square-foot building "is dedicated to promoting healthy urban watersheds through science, education, research and restoration", and was developed through a partnership between the Cleveland Metroparks, NEORSD and the West Creek Conservancy (formerly the West Creek Preservation Committee). They anticipate it will receive a LEED Gold rating. The facility in Parma is open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free of charge.

Plans for senior housing developments:

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

Parma's Stearns Homestead is partnering with Cleveland Crops to establish a 17-acre urban farm at the historic site. The farm will grow fruits and vegetables, and will be the largest of Cleveland Crops' eight urban farms.

The Parma Planning Commission approved plans for Parmatown Mall's new facade and for one of six proposed outbuildings. City Council passed 18 zoning variances for the construction of the outbuildings. The renovated mall will be renamed The Shoppes at Parma.

Local housing news:

General Growth Partners, the owner of Beachwood Place, would like to rezone 11 parcels along Richmond Road from residential to retail. The rezoning could be the first step in an expansion of the mall, but the company hasn't presented any plans. The mall was last renovated in 2007.

In North Olmsted, Westfield Great Northern officials announced plans for a 55,000-square-foot expansion that includes a 10-screen movie theater, three new restaurants, and a new main entrance. They're scheduled to open in December.

In Parma, the redevelopment plans for Parmatown Mall include the construction of six outbuildings along West Ridgewood Drive.

Update: the work at Parmatown Mall will include the demolition of the Dick's Sporting Goods store and the former Macy's store. A Sun News editorial said it "seems real progress is being made".

Update 2: Demolition is underway at Great Northern.

Phillips Edison & Co., the new owner of Parmatown Mall, is assembling a design team to develop plans for the mall. The company expects that the redesign and redevelopment process will take three years.

Update: the company's plans include indoor mall and exterior-facing storefront components.

The City of Parma and the Cleveland Metroparks received a $149,164 state grant for a constructed wetland project in the Big Creek Reservation. The Metroparks plan to design the wetland this winter and create it next summer.

The Cleveland Metroparks are nearing completion of the Watershed Stewardship Center at the West Creek Reservation in Parma. Work on the $11.37 million improvement project began in March 2011. The park also opened three new bridges along a trail, and the West Creek Conservancy finalized its purchase of a small lot at the park's southern end.

The West Creek Preservation Committee soon may purchase a 60,800-square-foot lot near the southern end of the Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation in Parma. Adding the property to the park will create more options for extending the West Creek Greenway Trail.

Participants in a recent City Club panel discussion talked about state budget cuts and ways that local governments can achieve efficiencies by sharing services. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Mayor DeGeeter of Parma highlighted his city's participation in regional collaborations.

Update: the latest Civic Commons radio show also explored the subject.

Macy's announced that its store at Parmatown Mall is among five locations it will close this spring. The 288,000-square-foot store opened in 1960.

Update: Parmatown's court-appointed receiver says it could make the mall more attractive to developers.

Parmatown Mall was placed in receivership at the request of its mortgage lender. The mall will be put up for sale. Mayor DePiero of Parma said that he remains cautiously optimistic (PDF) about the future of the mall.

Update: City officials have recommended redeveloping the mall.

A pair of local investors purchased the former General Motors transmission plant in Parma. They intend to redevelop the 527,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 60 acres for industrial users.

In addition to its Ukrainian Village established in 2009, the City of Parma may designate a 0.9-mile stretch of Ridge Road as its Polish Village. It could be dedicated as early as this May.

Update: Parma City Council approved its creation.

Within two weeks, the Cleveland Metroparks will begin construction of a multipurpose trail, a visitor center, and other improvements at the West Creek Reservation in Parma. Work is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.

Update: groundbreaking is scheduled for March 7 (PDF).

A Plain Dealer editorial supports Cuyahoga County Executive-elect FitzGerald's call for increased municipal collaboration. Mayor DePiero of Parma also backs the idea.

Parma Heights City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Big Creek Watershed Balanced Growth Plan, a document completed earlier this year by the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization.

Update: Parma City Council also passed a resolution of support. The plan recommends preserving an 168-acre greenspace in southern Parma.

Update 2: It also makes recommendations for the Brook Park portion of the watershed.

The City of Cleveland Heights is using its federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to to renovate 12 houses and demolish 12 others. The City of Parma is using its award to demolish more than 20 houses.

Under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and 14 states, the old General Motors will commit $773 million for the environmental cleanup of 89 former manufacturing sites. Five plant properties in Ohio will share $39 million: $25.8 million will go to the facility in Moraine, $7.3 million to Elyria, $3 million to Mansfield, $2.6 million to Toledo, and $746,000 to Parma.

The Parma Planning Commission approved expansion plans for the Wal-Mart store at Parmatown Mall. The store will become a supercenter, and the 10,034-square-foot addition will increase its size to 161,840 square feet.

Information about some planned demolitions in Greater Cleveland:

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

The Plain Dealer looked at the history of the Cleveland Metroparks' West Creek Reservation in Parma and the projects underway at the park.

Update: the Parma Sun Post published more details about the planned $14 million of improvements.

More than 150 sites were selected to participate in a two-year pilot program for the Sustainable Sites Initiative. The interdisciplinary initiative is an effort to establish a national rating system for sustainable landscape design. The projects in Ohio are at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, the West Creek Reservation in Parma, and the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details about the Botanical Garden's participation.

Update 2: the Parma Sun Post described the project at the West Creek Reservation.

The Ohio EPA awarded grants for restoration of stretches of the Chagrin River and Little Cuyahoga River (PDFs). The Geauga Park District received $400,000 and the Lake Metroparks received $349,584 for projects along the Chagrin River, and the City of Akron received $400,000 for work along the Little Cuyahoga River.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal published more information about the project in Summit County and WKSU has more details about the Geauga County work. The Ohio EPA also awarded a $394,000 grant (PDF) to the West Creek Preservation Committee.

RMS Investment Corp.'s plans for Parmatown Mall include the construction of five freestanding buildings in the parking lot around the mall, and a 10,034-square-foot expansion of its Wal-Mart. The Parma Planning Commission approved a portion of the proposal.

The final report (PDF) of the American Institute of Architects' Sustainable Design Assessment Team for Parma makes a variety of recommendations that cover topics including land use, economic development, historic preservation, and transportation. The report is the result of work conducted in 2008. Related documents are available from the AIA.

Parma City Council approved a rezoning that will allow the construction of the planned senior housing development on State Road. It's the first time the City has used its new mixed-use zoning classification.

The proposed senior housing development on State Road in Parma includes two 50-unit apartment buildings and 12 duplexes. Franciscan Communities hopes to begin construction in 2011.

The owner of the assisted-living Mount Alverna Villages on State Road in Parma wants to build a senior housing development adjacent to it.

Five ordinances introduced in Parma City Council were developed by students in the sustainability program at Baldwin-Wallace College. The legislation would establish a mixed-use zoning classification, legalize rain barrel installation, permit green roofs, allow bicyclists to use the sidewalks in some areas, and enhance recycling in City buildings.

Leaders in Parma are considering the creation of a mixed-use zoning category. It is one of several recommendations from students in the sustainability program at Baldwin-Wallace College.

Citing a lack of support from residents, the City of Parma canceled the planning study for the proposed Avon-Juniper Multipurpose Trail.

Trail projects in Brooklyn Heights and Cuyahoga Heights were among the 15 Ohio projects awarded grants through the Recreational Trails Program.

Update: one of the planned trails is a portion of the West Creek Greenway and would connect the Henninger House in Parma to Brooklyn Heights Village Park.

URS Corp. prepared a feasibility study for the proposed Avon-Juniper Multipurpose Trail in southern Parma. It identified several possible routes for a trail that would connect the Big Creek Reservation with the West Creek Reservation. However, many residents object to the concepts because of worries about privacy and crime.

The City of Parma and the West Creek Preservation Committee will acquire and preserve a 2.78-acre wooded lot at Brookdale Avenue and West 16th Street. $63,000 of the $95,000 purchase price was provided by the Clean Ohio Fund.

Update: a Parma Sun Post editorial concluded that the "partners certainly are demonstrating their commitment to preserving natural green space, something that future generations of residents will appreciate for many years to come."

Parma and Parma Heights leaders continue to work with Baldwin-Wallace College on a proposal to combine the cities' fire departments. The College is expected to present a recommendation within 30 days.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded a $27,000 grant to the City of Parma from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund. It will be used for the acquisition of a 2.85-acre riparian site near West Creek.

Although the proposed regional fire district has dwindled from seven cities to two, Mayor Zanotti of Parma Heights intends to proceed with the concept. He hopes that Parma and Parma Heights will be ready to implement the plan in January 2010.

The proposed seven-city joint fire district is down to two communities now that Brook Park has pulled out of the the study. The Cities of Parma and Parma Heights are the only remaining participants.

The Veterans Administration announced plans to build an outpatient health clinic on the site of the Brookpark Golf Driving Range on Brookpark Road in Parma. Construction of the $7 million, 67,000-square foot building is expected to begin in the spring and end in mid-2010. The Brecksville outpatient clinic will be closed.

Crain's Cleveland Business looked at the storefront renovation programs in Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, and Parma.

The AIA Sustainable Design Team's visit to Parma last week culminated in a public meeting where they presented information about their process, the City's assets and challenges, and their suggestions (PDF, 13.2 MB). The team will prepare a final report for the City.

The Parma Sun Post reports on the public meetings held earlier this week with the AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team.

Architects and planners from the AIA's Center for Communities by Design will return to Parma next week for a series of round-table visioning sessions about practical sustainability ideas. The public is invited to participate (PDF) in the focus groups and town hall meetings (MS Word). The Sustainable Design Assessment Team will present their recommendations at a meeting on October 22.

The partners working on the proposed Big Creek Trail and Neighborhood Connector hope to select a preferred alignment next month. About 100 residents attended an August public meeting about the trail.

Several potential routes have been identified for the planned Big Creek Trail and Neighborhood Connector, and residents are invited to provide input about the proposals at a public meeting this evening in Brooklyn City Hall. The greenway would link the Cleveland Metroparks Big Creek and Brookside Reservations by running through Parma, Brooklyn, and Cleveland.

Members of an AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team visited Parma last week to learn more about the City. Earlier this year, Parma was selected as one of ten cities to receive technical assistance. The team will return in October to share their recommendations.

In a class called "Parma 2.0: Re-thinking the Suburb", 15 Kent State graduate architecture students envisioned creative ways of remaking the aging inner-ring suburb. Their projects are on display at Parmatown Mall.

(via ClevelandDesignCity)

The City of Parma was one of ten cities selected by the American Institute of Architects to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team program in 2008. The City intends to develop a sustainability plan.

(via Blog on the City)

Parma officials decided to invest at least $240,000 over the next three years to draw attention to the Ukrainian Village that has emerged along State Road.

Work on the West Creek Confluence Project in Independence is scheduled to begin this summer, and the restoration of the site should be completed by 2010. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is also involved in several related projects in Parma and Brooklyn Heights.

The City of Parma will study the concept of creating a Ukrainian Village along State Road between Brookpark Road and Grantwood Avenue.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Strickland administration "must commit the resources to back up its rhetoric about urban areas," and in a second editorial, says that Parma would be wise to enact a proposed assessment to maintain the City's infrastructure.

The City of Parma will host a public meeting on February 14 as part of the Day Drive Corridor Enhancement Study.

The West Creek Preservation Committee recently purchased five acres of forested land off of Parkhaven Drive in Parma. The area will be leased to the Cleveland Metroparks and used to expand the West Creek Reservation.

The City of Parma is working to redevelop vacant retail properties, including the planned construction of a new Giant Eagle on the site of former Tops and Circuit City stores on Day Drive.

With funding in place, work on the first phase of the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan is beginning. It's expected to continue through spring 2008.

Brooklyn officials obtained a $60,000 TLCI grant to help pay for a feasibility study for a three mile extension of the Big Creek greenway trail. In Middleburg Heights, work on the Lake to Lake All Purpose Trail will begin in September. The trail will link Lake Abram to Lake Isaac. In Shaker Heights, construction of the Shaker Boulevard median trail started earlier this week.

In multipurpose trail news:

Mayor DePiero of Parma feels that the Census Bureau population estimates overstate the City's loss of population.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District committed $3 million for the construction of the planned Watershed Stewardship Center at the Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation in Parma. Meanwhile, the City of Independence purchased the former Seaman's Furniture Warehouse at the confluence of West Creek and the Cuyahoga River. The structures on the 10 acre property will be demolished and the site will be used for parkland, open space, riparian restoration, and flood control.

The City of Brooklyn will apply for a $75,000 TLCI grant to conduct an alignment study for a proposed trail linking the Cleveland Metroparks Big Creek and Brookside Reservations.

The West Creek Preservation Committee and the City of Parma received a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Historical Society for the continued restoration of the historic Henninger House on Broadview Road.

Last week, representatives from the Global Country of World Peace unveiled plans for a $7 million "Peace Palace" at the intersection of Huffman and Stumph Roads in Parma. The site is currently zoned for retail.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges Cleveland City Council to maintain its current tax abatement rules. Meanwhile, officials in Parma are trying to obtain financial compensation from a company that reneged on a tax abatement agreement by closing.

Some people in Northeast Ohio are leery of Maharishi's plans to build Peace Palaces in Brecksville, Mayfield Heights, Parma, and Strongsville because of poor experiences with properties he formerly owned in North Randall and Avon Lake.

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