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Shaker Heights News Archive

A new Shaker Heights bicycle advocacy group met for the first time in June. Members of Bike Shaker will educate about the benefits of cycling and work with City officials to improve bicycling infrastructure. They hope to see the city named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

The Shaker Heights Planning Commission and Shaker Heights City Council adopted a plan's strategies for improving the Lee Road corridor. The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan "provides recommendations for traffic and pedestrian improvements along the corridor, intersection transitions, bike lanes and connections to the existing and planned non-motorized network, and streetscape renovations for the section south of Chagrin."

The American Planning Association named Shaker Boulevard as one of its great streets for 2012, saying that the 6.75-mile stretch in Cleveland, Shaker Heights, and Beachwood "remains proof of planning's lasting value." The organization celebrates quality places each year through its Great Places in America program, and named the West Side Market as one of the nation's great public spaces in 2008.

The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan makes recommendations for transportation and streetscape improvements (PDF, 9.1 MB) in Shaker Heights. A Sun News editorial says that "the upgrades called for in the study will only enhance the city's commitment to that area."

The City of Shaker Heights hired Berusch Development Partners of Cleveland Heights to help develop plans for a walkable, mixed-use business district as part of the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection reconfiguration project.

Neighborhood Progress Inc. may begin working with communities like Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. It would be the organization's first activity in inner-ring suburbs. The City of Shaker Heights is increasing its funding for property acquisition, upkeep, and demolition.

The City of Cleveland recently began construction of the Lake to Lakes Trail. It will connect Lake Erie with the Shaker Lakes.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz described the City of Shaker Heights' plans to reconfigure the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection and redevelop the area as a mixed-use district. He concluded that it "has incredible potential to set the stage for Northeast Ohio's first significant retrofit from typical suburban shopping center to the walkable town center."

The City of Shaker Heights completed its $18.4 million funding package for the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection reconfiguration by obtaining a $4.4 million grant through the District One Public Works Integrating Committee. The City also received a $454,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration last year.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake and Fresh Water described the City's plans for the area.

The City of University Heights will establish a blue-ribbon economic development committee. Mayor Infeld will appoint its members by June 15. The City of Shaker Heights hopes to create a high-end office corridor along Warrensville Road, and hired Allegro Realty Advisors to develop economic development strategies.

A Sun Press editorial says that "neighboring municipalities are pooling resources to purchase items or utilize services that can benefit all municipalities involved" and that municipal collaboration can save money.

The City of Shaker Heights and the Village of Highland Hills reached an agreement about the planned intersection reconfiguration that is part of the Warrensville-Van Aken transit oriented development.

The City of Shaker Heights will plant an orchard on a vacant lot at the corner of Avalon and Kenyon roads. It is one of five properties where the City is using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars to make greenspace improvements where houses used to stand.

Developer Pirhl purchased a property near the intersection of Chagrin Boulevard and Lee Road in Shaker Heights for its planned Library Court senior housing development. The company intends to break ground on the 44-unit project in May.

Shaker Heights officials and John Carroll University administrators reached an agreement that establishes rules for off-campus student housing at Fairmount Circle over the next three years. The City had been considering zoning restrictions on the number of student-occupied units.

Update: a Sun Press editorial says that the agreement is good for both sides.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency used federal stimulus funds to approve more than $53 million in tax credits. Three projects in Cuyahoga County were among the recipients: Emerald Alliance V on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Independence Place at the Prospect Avenue YWCA in Cleveland, and the Library Court senior housing development on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights.

The City of Shaker Heights has secured the $11.5 million needed for the planned reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard. Construction is slated to begin in about two years. The City will provide updates at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building.

The 2010 federal omnibus spending bill includes $500,000 for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. It also includes $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects, a compromise between Senate and House versions of the bill.

The new 147,244-square-foot Costco in Strongsville is scheduled to open next week. Meanwhile, specialty grocer Chandler & Rudd in Shaker Heights closed earlier this month after 145 years of business.

Shaker Heights and John Carroll University leaders are working to resolve their differences about student housing in university-owned apartments.

An editorial in the Sun Press says that "the City of Shaker Heights is treading on dangerous ground" with its decision to restrict the expansion of student housing near John Carroll University.

The City of Shaker Heights and John Carroll University were unable to reach an agreement about the increasing amount of student housing at Fairmount Circle, and Shaker Heights City Council passed an ordinance that limits the expansion of student housing.

Yesterday, RTA's board of trustees approved several resolutions, including contracts for the design of the new Brookpark rapid station, for a study of the Warrensville Center Road-Van Aken Boulevard intersection in Shaker Heights, and for the construction of the new East 55th Street rapid station. The board also authorized spending to complete the overhaul of its light rail fleet and to purchase 6.7 acres for the expansion of the Westlake Park-N-Ride facility.

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.

Neighbors of John Carroll University remain concerned about the school's plans to grow, and recently presented their own vision to University Heights City Council. Meanwhile, Shaker Heights neighbors of the University want more information about the plans. University officials say that they are keeping Shaker Heights informed.

The Shaker Heights Architectural Board of Review approved plans for a new Blue Line rapid transit station at Lee Road.

The City of Shaker Heights is expected to approve designs for a $3.2 million replacement of the rapid transit station at Lee Road and Van Aken Boulevard. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010. The new station will serve the transit-oriented redevelopment of the Shaker Town Center area.

Update: the Sun Press shares the reactions of some Shaker Heights City Council members.

The Ohio Department of Transportation awarded a $4 million grant to the City of Shaker Heights for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection of Warrensville Center, Chagrin, Van Aken, and Northfield. The project will cost an estimated $10 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

Shaker Heights City Council confirmed its support of the redevelopment plan for the Warrensville-Van Aken area. The City will work with the Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office to obtain an ODOT grant for reconfiguring the six-way intersection.

The Shaker Heights Landmark Commission gave its 2008 Preservation Awards to First Baptist Church, Plymouth Church, and the Shaker Heights City Schools. In Strongsville, the renovated Old Town Hall was formally reopened.

The First Suburbs Development Council and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners gave the City of Shaker Heights a $300,000 grant. It will be "used to facilitate the first step in a multi-phase project that will bring housing to the Moreland neighborhood that encapsulates both best in design and new green building techniques."

Shaker Heights City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, with one councilman dissenting.

The Plain Dealer highlighted the efforts of Winslow Road residents and Shaker Heights officials to improve the neighborhood, and said that it provides "a lesson for other neighborhoods about how to turn around a declining street."

The Plain Dealer continues its "Elegant Cleveland" series with a piece on the history of the Moreland Courts towers near Shaker Square.

Instead of trying to redevelop all of the vacant residential properties in the City's land bank, Shaker Heights officials are encouraging neighbors to purchase some of the sites as side lots. Other suburbs are also interested in alternatives to replacing razed homes.

The Sun Press examined the causes of population declines in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights and how leaders have reacted to the changes.

The final draft of the redevelopment plan for the 60 acre Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district was shown to Shaker Heights City Council this week. Council members were generally positive about the plan, but had questions about finding funds for the $70 million redevelopment and reconfiguration.

Chris Ronayne of University Circle Inc. is interested in creating an "uptown community alliance" that would market Shaker Heights "as housing stock in University Circle."

The sluggish residential real estate market is making it difficult for developers to sell new condominiums in inner-ring suburbs. Several cities are offering incentives to spur investment, and developers are trying to entice buyers. Rysar is offering a free Smart car to purchasers at the Bluestone development in Cleveland Heights. Other developers have pulled out of projects. Al Neyer canceled the Terraces on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Experts predict that the market will rebound.

On Monday, Shaker Heights City Council approved plans to redevelop the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district and reconfigure its six-way intersection.

Because sales of the Lofts at Avalon Station have been below expectations, Shaker Heights City Council allocated $190,000 to be used as incentives to lure buyers to the condominiums.

John Carroll University officials presented their new campus master plan to University Heights City Council on Monday. The University is interested in expanding its footprint in order to provide additional athletic fields, residence halls, and surface parking.

At a work session last week, Shaker Heights City Council discussed the final plans for the redevelopment of the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. Council is expected to vote on the plans on April 28.

Update: the Plain Dealer provides additional details.

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".

A new house in the Ludlow neighborhood of Shaker Heights may become the first in the state and the 25th residential development in the nation to obtain LEED Gold status. The 1,754 square foot, three bedroom home is named the Dandelion House.

At the third and final public workshop last month, consultants for Shaker Heights presented a preferred redevelopment alternative for the 60 acre Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. The plans (PDF) call for turning the six-way intersection into a four-way intersection, rebuilding the area as a mixed-use district, and relocating the intermodal transit center to a site south of Chagrin Boulevard.

Neighbors of John Carroll University in University Heights and Shaker Heights are concerned about the institution's plans for growth. The University intends to unveil its new master plan in May.

The Fairmount Area Neighborhood Association presented a petition to Shaker Heights City Council. The petition notes their concerns about "gradual degradation of the Fairmount Circle area over the past 20 years and a lack of appropriate planning and oversight". Residents are particularly troubled by the behavior of John Carroll University students in off-campus housing.

At a public workshop last month, planners presented four visions for reconfiguring the commercial district and six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. The City and its partners then selected two ideas for further study. In five to ten years, the City hopes to begin transforming the area into a mixed-use TOD destination. Another workshop will be held on February 27.

The City of Shaker Heights will purchase and demolish six vacant houses in 2008. The properties will be added to the City's land bank.

The Shaker Boulevard median trail in Shaker Heights was officially completed on Friday.

Shaker Heights officials say that the main role the City can play in the foreclosure crisis is to protect neighborhoods from the effects of foreclosure.

The City of Shaker Heights agreed to pay $50,000 to settle an ADA lawsuit filed by Disabled Patriots of America. The organization filed many similar lawsuits against other local organizations earlier this year. Critics have referred to their tactics as "drive-by litigation".

Shaker Heights City Council hired The Planning Partnership of Toronto to conduct traffic study along with a land use and implementation plan for the intersection of Van Aken Boulevard and Warrensville Road. A public meeting is tentatively scheduled for next month.

The City of Shaker Heights is entering the second phase of its infill housing program with the construction of a single-family house on Lidholm Road.

Monday's presentation of a report on foreclosure trends in Shaker Heights was well attended. Meanwhile, Strathavon Road residents are troubled by the impact of the foreclosure crisis on their neighborhood.

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.

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society and the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission will host a discussion about the Shaker Lakes (PDF) on August 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Superior Schoolhouse.

The Sun Press explored the foreclosure crisis in Shaker Heights with a look at the correlation between race and foreclosure rates and a summary of a new report by a pair of Harvard researchers. The new report, titled "Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure Trends in Shaker Heights, Ohio" (PDF), will be presented on Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

In Shaker Heights, City Council unanimously approved the construction of the Shaker Boulevard median trail. Work is scheduled to begin next month. In Broadview Heights, crews have nearly finished building a multipurpose trail along Broadview Road. The City will seek a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to extend the trail to the south.

The City of Shaker Heights will install a pair of mid-block curb extensions on Avalon Road. The construction will be funded by donations from residents.

In multipurpose trail news:

The proposed multipurpose trail in the Shaker Boulevard median has elicited mixed reactions from Shaker Heights residents.

The City of Shaker Heights plans to build a 1.5 mile multipurpose trail in the Shaker Boulevard median. It would form part of a trail network linking the Heights area with Cleveland's east side. Meanwhile, Bedford officials are preparing to begin work on a trail connecting City Hall to to Ellenwood Center.

Shaker Heights City Council is discussing the water main maintenance and no poaching agreement offered by the City of Cleveland. Solon leaders are also examining the proposal, which one City Council member says is "a very onerous agreement."

At a public meeting last week, Shaker Heights residents offered their opinions about potential improvements to the rapid transit station at Van Aken Boulevard and Lee Road. The feedback will be incorporated into a plan for transit-oriented development around the station. The final meeting in the series will be held in July.

The City of Shaker Heights will hire firms to inspect and create emergency action plans for Horseshoe Lake Dam and Green Lake Dam. Horseshoe Lake Dam was designated as Class I dam by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Shaker Heights Neighborhood Revitalization Committee declared 44 properties as public nuisances. If the owners do not address the identified problems, the City will make repairs through its nuisance abatement program.

The Cedar Lee Special Improvement District is sponsoring a Cedar Lee streetscape community design charrette (PDF) on Saturday from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Main Library on Lee Road. On March 8 at 7:00 p.m., the City of Shaker Heights will host a public meeting about transit-oriented development and the Van Aken-Lee area.

When Mayor Rawson of Shaker Heights announced that she would not run for re-election this year, a Plain Dealer editorial named her "one of the most enlightened and earliest advocates of regional cooperation," and a WCPN segment noted that "her name is synonymous with regionalism" before moving on to a discussion of regionalism in Greater Cleveland (MP3).

Last month, state officials approved the creation of five Community Reinvestment Areas in Shaker Heights. Residents in the CRAs are eligible for 75% tax abatements for eight years when investing at least $80,000 in home repairs, and in four of the CRAs, new single-family houses over $200,000 are eligible for 75% tax abatements for five years.

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