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grants and appropriations News Archive

The International Mountain Bike Association awarded $10,000 in planning and design services for a mountain bike park at Kerruish Park, in Cleveland's Lee-Harvard neighborhood. The matching grant will be used to prepare a conceptual site plan and report for the proposed bike park.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency allocated $49.5 million in federal Hardest Hit Funds to 11 counties with established land banks. The Cuyahoga Land Bank received $10.1 million. Last year, the state obtained permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to use a portion of the foreclosure-prevention funding to demolish blighted properties. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a smart investment in stabilizing neighborhoods."

Meanwhile, the Ohio Attorney General's office awarded an additional $3.8 million from the 2012 national mortgage settlement to support demolition programs in 87 counties. Cuyahoga County received $602,202. Counties must use the funding by the end of September.

In his final State of the County address, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said that he "directed [his] staff to find an additional $50 million in bonding capacity to fund the most sweeping effort to not just demolish, but to demolish, protect, and restore our neighborhoods."

In addition, an Ohio coalition is seeking $200 million from a $13 billion federal mortgage-fraud settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase. The proposed Ohio Plan (PDF) would use $144 million to support demolition programs. A Plain Dealer editorial concluded that it "may be a long shot, but it's a shot."

The 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 Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency awarded $998,000 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants. Of the 29 planning studies submitted for consideration, NOACA selected 13 for funding, including nine in Cuyahoga County. The largest award, $118,000, went to support the Eastside Greenway initiative. Other awards went to studies in Collinwood/Euclid, Parma Heights, and Rocky River. NOACA staff also will provide technical assistance for six transportation studies in five Cuyahoga County cities.

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.

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

Enterprise Community Partners awarded a $40,000 grant to Burten, Bell, Carr for its Kinsman EcoDistricts and another $40,000 grant to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Corporation to support its Cleveland EcoVillage. They also helped secure funding for the City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability.

ArtPlace America awarded $15.2 million in grants to 54 projects in the U.S., including $375,000 to support the UrbanUpcycle program in Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. The new program uses an arts-based approach to creative placemaking, and is part of an effort to emphasize upcycling as a community reinvestment strategy. The Collinwood Rising project received an ArtPlace grant last year.

Update: updates are available at ArtPlace and at the Upcycle St. Clair blog.

A $175,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation enabled the the Cleveland 2030 District to hire architect Jon Reidy as its executive director (PDF). He's working to increase membership of the green building organization.

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)).

The Gund Foundation's most recent round of grants included $3.75 million for Neighborhood Progress Inc., $250,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, $180,000 for the Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy, and $150,000 for the Nature Conservancy.

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).

The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area awarded $121,000 in grants to eight projects through its Strategic Initiatives program. The awards included $23,000 to University Circle Inc. for development of its planned CircleWalk and $15,000 to LAND Studio for Lake Link Trail design and engineering work.

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.

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 Foundation awarded $21.6 million in its third-quarter grants. The awards include $10 million for a new medical school at Case Western Reserve University and $500,000 for the St. Luke's Pointe project. The CWRU grant is the foundation's largest ever and first in a series of large grants the foundation will make to mark its centennial in 2014.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will direct $12 million toward the relocation of West 73rd Street and the construction an underpass, part of the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. It's the final piece of funding needed to link West 73rd Street with Edgewater Park. Construction of the $34.8 million project is scheduled to begin next summer.

The U.S. EPA awarded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for two Greater Cleveland projects, giving $996,902 to the Ohio EPA and $770,250 to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners. The Ohio EPA will use its award to implement green stormwater control practices in Cuyahoga County, and the Chagrin River Watershed Partners will use its for green infrastructure projects in Lake County. Meanwhile, the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition issued a report that highlights successful environmental restoration projects in Greater Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County awarded nearly $1.5 million in competitive municipal grants. The CDBG-based funding includes $350,000 for infrastructure improvements in Maple Heights, $350,000 for sewer separation in Newburgh Heights, and $150,000 to Parma Heights for a connector trail.

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.

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 U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it is freeing states to use $473 million in unspent highway earmarks. The funds were appropriated by Congress between 2003 and 2006, but remain unused. States can now use the money for other other transportation projects, and must identify plans by October 1. Ohio's share of the funding is $12.5 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.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $35.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 18 recipients. Two of the projects are in downtown Cleveland: a $1.6 million for a partial residential conversion of Rosetta Center (the former National City building at 629 Euclid Avenue), and $1.8 million for a mixed-use redevelopment of the vacant Truman Building at 1030 Euclid Avenue.

The Cleveland Foundation announced $19.9 million in grants for a variety of programs, including funding for economic development activities, $150,000 for the intergenerational housing project in Fairfax, and $400,000 for a partnership that will work to leverage Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District investments to make neighborhood improvements. The Storm Water Management Partnership includes LAND Studio, Neighborhood Progress Inc., and the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

In the fourth round of the federal TIGER program, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a total of nearly $500 million to 47 transportation projects. Although local officials applied for funding, construction of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland was not selected for funding.

ArtPlace, a national partnership to support the arts, awarded $15.4 million in grants to 47 projects across the country. Among the awards was a $500,000 grant to support the Collinwood Rising initiative in Cleveland. Northeast Shores Development Corporation will "work with artists to establish replicable development models for artist space in older industrial cities." Meanwhile, businessman Alan Glazen said he intends to simultaneously launch five restaurants in the neighborhood.

In its first round of funding, Ohio's Local Government Innovation Council awarded $3.4 million in grants and $2.9 million in loans (PDFs) to a total of 51 projects. Cuyahoga County received a $100,000 grant to support the merger/shared services study for Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. South Euclid received a $51,386 grant for a five-city emergency services dispatch study, and the Chagrin/Southeast Council of Governments received a $55,000 grant for a joint communication center. Jill Miller Zimon of the EfficientGovNetwork discussed the awards with Randy Cole of the Ohio Controlling Board.

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."

As part of its mid-biennium review, the Ohio Senate added $42 million for the Clean Ohio program. The spending bill includes $36 million for greenspace preservation and $6 million for farmland preservation. Earlier legislation had budgeted only $6 million for trail maintenance.

In the final round of funding from the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund, the Ohio Department of Development awarded more than $19 million in grants to 11 projects. The City of Cleveland received $1.3 million for demolition and remediation (PDF) at the former Van Dorn property on East 79th Street. The Orlando Baking Company plans to expand onto the property. Food service supplier S.S. Kemp in Cuyahoga Heights was not awarded a grant.

Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that Horsburgh & Scott completed brownfield remediation of its 1.4-acre property (PDF) on Hamilton Avenue in Cleveland.

Update: Governor Kasich signed Ohio House Bill 487, the mid-biennium review.

Under guidelines released by the Ohio Attorney General's office, Cuyahoga County is eligible to receive $11.85 million of the $75 million the office budgeted to assist communities in the demolition of abandoned houses. The funds will be awarded on August 1. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the Cuyahoga Land Bank is the "perfect entity to administer the demolition grant."

The Ohio Department of Development approved $10 million in grants for nine projects through the Ohio Job Ready Sites Program. The City of Cleveland will receive a $1 million grant to support infrastructure and building improvements to the Victory Building on Euclid Avenue.

Ohio City Incorporated was named the winner of the inaugural Enterprise Community Innovation Award. The CDC will will receive a $25,000 grant (PDF) to support its Market District initiative.

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."

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 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.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded $40.8 million to improve access to the country's national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. The FTA funds will support 58 projects, including $3.2 million for five Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad projects. The largest of the five awards is a $1.4 million grant for a pedestrian bridge across the Cuyahoga River.

CMHA received a $300,000 federal planning grant to develop a plan for revitalizing the Cedar Extension public housing development in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. It was one of 13 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants awarded by HUD across the United States. Choice Neighborhoods is a signature program of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

Demolition of the Cleveland School of the Arts building in University Circle is scheduled to begin soon. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to build a new school on the site.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $14.9 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for 13 rehabilitation projects. Eight of the projects are in Northeast Ohio, and four are in Cleveland. The Victory Building at Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street received a $4.38 million credit, the Park and Southworth Buildings on Public Square received a $1.98 million credit, the Rialto Theater on West 25th Street received a $484,108 credit, and the Gifford House on Prospect Avenue received a $108,914 credit. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial supports the tax credit program.

Congress approved $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2012. It also authorized $533 million in low-interest loans for Great Lakes states to address combined sewer overflows. The National Wildlife Federation called it "a significant victory for fish, wildlife and the Great Lakes," while an editorial in Toledo's Blade said "it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

Update: a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial adds that it "sounds like a substantial sum, but it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

In the third round of its TIGER program, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $511 million to 46 projects across the country. RTA received $12.5 million for its planned new rapid transit station at Mayfield Road and East 119th Street in Little Italy. Construction of the $17.5 million project could start in early 2013. RTA received a TIGER grant last year for the reconstruction of its University Circle rapid transit station.

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.

State officials awarded more than $27.5 million in Clean Ohio Fund grants for 15 brownfield cleanup initiatives, including two local projects. Cuyahoga County received $2 million for demolition and remediation of Cleveland State University's Viking Hall and Wolfe's Music Store building. The university now plans to build a health and life sciences building on the site. The City of Cleveland received $2.99 million for infrastructure, demolition, and remediation in the Miceli Dairy expansion. The project broke ground in October.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson wants to save the Wolfe's Music Store building.

The board of the Gund Foundation awarded $7,425,902 in grants at its November board meeting. The 75 grants included a two-year $775,000 grant to LAND Studio and a $60,000 grant to Bike Cleveland.

Update: the award will enable Bike Cleveland to hire an executive director.

Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. received a $759,374 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its MC2 Food Access Initiative. It's intended to address the food desert in Kinsman by establishing a fresh food center with a market, cafe, and community kitchen.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded $928.5 million for more than 300 transit projects across the nation. RTA received three grants for a total of $7.1 million.

The St. Luke's Foundation awarded $1.8 million in grants (PDF), including $37,063 to the City Club to conduct a series on the geographic aspects of health disparities. The first event in the four-part Why Place Matters series will feature Dr. Gail Christopher (PDF) of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on October 21. The Levin College Forum will host an event on health disparities on October 20.

Update: audio (MP3, 52.8 MB) and video of Dr. Christopher's talk are now available.

Update 2: guests on WDOK's Cleveland Connection show also discussed the topic.

Funding for the planned new American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake will come from several sources. The Cleveland International Fund intends to raise $65 million for the project, and the state will provide a $15 million loan and a $2.5 million grant. State officials also awarded a $1 million grant to the City for associated road improvements.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $13.3 million in grants to six cities through its Brownfields Economic Development Initiative. The City of Cleveland received a $3 million grant and a $10 million loan for cleanup and redevelopment of the Warner & Swasey site on Carnegie Avenue.

As anticipated, Team NEO was selected to coordinate economic development activities for the JobsOhio program in 18 Northeast Ohio counties. Team NEO will expand its staff to manage the additional work, and added 13 new trustees, doubling the size of its board. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission gave $4.1 million to Team NEO for 2012. Mark Kvamme, JobsOhio's chief investment officer, visited Independence to explain the changes to local officials. Channel 3's Tom Beres interviewed Mark Kvamme.

NOACA's governing board approved a $34,100 grant to Cuyahoga County to support a study of the potential merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission will conduct the study.

The U.S. EPA announced $4.5 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for 11 projects in Ohio. The awardees include the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (PDF). Work is underway on a project at Huntington Beach, one of the projects funded last year.

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.

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture selected North Collinwood for its Artists in Residence initiative. The $500,000 pilot program will provide grants and loans over the next two years, focusing on the relationship between artists and the Waterloo neighborhood.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

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

With funding provided by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, communities in Cuyahoga County are creating rain gardens, bioswales, and other projects to control stormwater and create neighborhood greenspace.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $27 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grants for 17 brownfield cleanup projects. Cleveland received two awards, $3 million for asbestos remediation of the John Hartness Brown Building on Euclid Avenue and $1 million for remediation and demolition for a mixed-use project on East 66th Street.

Update: WKSU has more details.

The two-year state budget signed by Governor Kasich includes an extension and expansion of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the new Innovation Fund intended to support local government restructuring efforts, and the option to pursue a lease of the Ohio Turnpike.

Update: the National Trust for Historic Preservation has more information about the tax credit renewal, and the Blade has more on the possible lease of the turnpike.

The Cleveland Foundation announced $18 million in grants, including $3 million to economic development organizations.

Cuyahoga County received a $500,000 grant for community-wide brownfield remediation from the U.S. EPA. It was part of the $76 million the agency awarded for cleanup projects (PDF) in 40 states.

The Ohio Department of Transportation did not apply for federal reimbursement for $1.4 million spent on planning studies for the canceled 3C Corridor passenger rail line. The U.S. Department of Transportation withdrew $385 million of its $400 million grant for the project in December when it became clear that Governor Kasich would not support its construction.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $25.6 million in the second round of the Ohio New Markets Tax Credits, including $2 million to the Cleveland New Markets Investment Fund II. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded $300,033 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants, including $13,545 for Rocky River sub-watershed protection and restoration plans and $21,000 for the Tinkers Creek Watershed Community Engagement Project.

The Ohio EPA awarded 10 grants through its Section 319 program to help communities address nonpoint source pollution. The $2.8 million in grants included a $184,429 grant (PDF) to Mayfield Village for the Chagrin River watershed, a $478,075 grant (PDF) to the City of Aurora for the Upper Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River, a $169,000 grant (PDF) to the Medina County Park District for the Chippewa Lake watershed, and a $57,078 grant (PDF) to Bath Township for the Yellow Creek watershed.

The agency also declared that brownfield remediation has been completed (PDF) at the Steel Slitting site on Aetna Road in Slavic Village, and issued a covenant not to sue.

Update: the Sun Messenger has more details about the grant received by Mayfield Village.

RTA received an additional $2 million in federal funding for the reconstruction of the University Circle rapid transit station. Construction bidding for the project is scheduled to begin this fall. RTA has not been as successful in securing funds for the planned new East 120th Street rapid transit station in Little Italy.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $290,345 Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct an environmental assessment at Water Tower Park on Coit Road. The 24.6-acre former Fisher Body property is one of the largest contiguous brownfield sites (PDF) in Cleveland.

The Foundation Center reports that grants for economic development activities in Ohio grew by 152% between 2005 and 2008. The largest contributions over that period were made by the Knight Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation.

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.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $206,675 Clean Ohio grant to the City of Cleveland for a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment of the former Warner & Swasey property on Carnegie Avenue.

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.

The Gund Foundation awarded nearly $3.5 million in grants at its March meeting. They include awards of up to $250,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, $180,000 over two years to the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, $100,000 to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, and $60,000 to the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation.

On Friday, NOACA awarded $845,000 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants to 13 transportation projects (PDF) in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties. Eight of the selected planning studies are in the City of Cleveland, and the others are in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Euclid, Eastlake, and Elyria. Eastlake City Council refused its grant.

Update: the Sun Press described the projects in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency board approved $350,000 in funding for St. John's Village West Family Homes, a 40-house development that is part of the Villages of Central in Cleveland.

Governor Kasich's proposed fiscal year 2012-2013 budget includes higher than anticipated cuts to the state's local government fund. Cuyahoga County leaders are promoting cost-saving regionalism initiatives.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the budget will force local governments to collaborate.

The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded $1.385 million in grants at its meeting last week. The awards include a $500,000 grant to support Northeast Ohio's Sustainable Communities Initiative.

The Charter One Foundation and the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation awarded around $40,000 to seven small businesses in the Cleveland neighborhood. The grants, awarded through a competitive process, are part of the Market District initiative.

Two Northeast Ohio funds received a total of $53 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit allocations, part of the $3.5 billion awarded nationwide. The Cleveland New Markets Investment Fund received $35 million in tax credits and the Northeast Ohio Development Fund received $18 million.

The Kresge Foundation awarded $6 million in grants, including $750,000 to a coalition in East Cleveland that will work to improve the health outcomes of young people. The East Cleveland Teen Collaborative will address the social determinants of health for the City's youths.

URS Corp. will conduct engineering studies for the Mayfield Village Green Corridor this year. Construction is scheduled for 2012 and 2013. The project received $600,000 in Transportation Enchantment funds in December, as one of 17 selected for funding (PDF).

Ohio Department of Transportation leaders announced that the agency will rescind a large portion of the funding it pledged for public transportation, reducing the three-year, $150 program to $80 million. RTA will lose the $2.2 million in funding it received in January, and will not be able to initiate planned new services.

ODOT Director Jerry Wray added that Ohio will not be participating in the proposed new $53 billion federal high-speed rail initiative. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said that the state's absence will not harm the program.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the decision to cut public transit funding is a mistake. A Blade editorial said that it "may cost the state tax revenue from business activity in the long run."

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew wrote that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be among the federal programs targeted for funding cuts in President Obama's proposed 2012 budget. Congress has not yet approved the 2011 budget, and could make further reductions in spending. Great Lakes advocates continue to support the initiative.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that it's "an example of how misguided the budget debate has become", while Tom Henry said that "if the lakes are to ever reach their potential, there's got to be more than just money."

Brownfields news:

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.

Miceli Dairy Products received a $5.49 million loan through the Small Business Administration's 504 program. The loan will permit the company to proceed with the planned expansion of its Buckeye Road plant in Cleveland.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources finalized its update of the Coastal Erosion Area maps. They include projections for recession rates over the next 30 years. In addition, ODNR's Office of Coastal Management is accepting applications for two lakefront land acquisition programs, the Great Lakes Areas of Concern Land Acquisition Grant program and the Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a $120,000 grant to Heidelberg University's National Center for Water Quality Research to monitor water quality of four Lake Erie tributaries, including the Cuyahoga River. Cleveland State University received a $34,983 grant to continue its support of the Ohio Balanced Growth Program's Best Local Land Use Practices guidance.

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 NOACA Governing Board approved $9 million in Transportation Enhancement funding for 17 bicycle and pedestrian projects in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. Nine Cuyahoga County initiatives will share about $5 million: projects in the Flats, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Larchmere, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Village, Tremont, University Circle, and the Warehouse District. In Summit County, AMATS approved two $50,000 grants through its new Connecting Communities Planning Grant Program.

Update: the Sun Press described the Larchmere project.

The Gund Foundation awarded $8 million in grants, which included a $100,000 grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and $70,000 to the Trust for Public Land. The Fund for Our Economic Future announced a $50,000 grant to the Regional Prosperity Initiative.

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.

In addition to the two funding announcements made earlier this week, RTA received $4.2 million from the Federal Transportation Administration. The award was part of the $776 million State of Good Repair discretionary grant program. RTA will use its funds to upgrade equipment and facilities at three garages.

Through a program called 21st Century Transit Partnerships for Ohio's Next Generation, the Ohio Department of Transportation will provide $150 million over the next three years to public transit agencies in Ohio. RTA will receive $5.4 million each year, for a total of $16.2 million.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch has more information.

Congressional offices have revealed some recipients of TIGER II grants, and the U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to officially announce the awards later this week. Sherrod Brown announced that RTA received a $10.5 million grant for the planned reconstruction of the University Circle rapid transit station.

Update: 75 projects in 40 states received funding. The RTA project was the only one in Ohio. An RTA press release offers more details.

Northeast Ohio was one of 45 areas selected for funding through HUD's $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. The consortium of 21 entities from 12 counties was awarded $4.25 million to "develop a cooperative regional plan to address housing, transportation, environmental impact and economic development for Northeast Ohio." The consortium consists of MPOs, housing authorities, and county and city governments, plus the Levin College of Urban Affairs, the Regional Prosperity Initiative, and the Fund for Our Economic Future, which helped to fund and organize the application.

The U.S. EPA awarded $4 million in grants for communities to develop area-wide approaches to brownfield redevelopment. The City of Cleveland was among the 23 recipients, and will use its $175,000 award to facilitate community involvement (PDF) in prioritizing brownfield remediation along the route of the planned Opportunity Corridor in Kinsman and Buckeye.

In one of its occasional rescissions, Congress required states to return transportation funds to the Federal Highway Administration. Ohio was one of 30 states to make a disproportionally large cut in funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. While Ohio was required to return 5.8% of its annual apportionment, it cut 33% from its Transportation Enhancement Program.

Charter One announced that it will provide $130,000 in grants to support the market district initiative in Ohio City, with $75,000 going to the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation and $55,000 to Cleveland Public Art. The bank plans to make further investments in the district.

Update: a Charter One press release has more information.

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.

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.

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.

The U.S. EPA awarded the first competitive grants under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The awards include a $1 million grant to the Ohio EPA for Cuyahoga River cleanup efforts. Next year's funding level for the program remains in question.

A coalition of 20 Northeast Ohio stakeholders submitted an application for a regional planning grant from the federal Sustainable Communities Initiative. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation filed $259 million in grant requests through the federal TIGER II program, including a request for $12.3 million to develop a statewide electric vehicle readiness plan. None of ODOT's 12 projects are specific to Cuyahoga County.

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.

Cleveland's OneCommunity received a $44.8 million federal stimulus grant to expand its fiber optic network in 27 Northeast Ohio counties. The award will fund 64% of a nearly $70 million project that will add about 1,000 miles of new cable, including 111 miles in Cuyahoga County.

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.

One of the 13 Cuyahoga County water quality improvement projects funded by GLRI/SWIF grants is a green infrastructure demonstration project on the grounds of Mayfield Heights City Hall. The City received $231,000 to create a rain garden, install pervious pavement, and plant bioswales.

The State of Ohio awarded a $3.5 million grant to the MidTown Tech Park, a 128,500-square-foot office, laboratory, and research project in the Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor. Developers intend to break ground in November for the $22 million development, formerly known as the Euclid Tech Center. The project was one of 14 sites that received grants from the state's Job Ready Sites program.

The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved $5.5 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to complete the purchase of 635 acres of undeveloped land surrounding Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.

FEMA awarded a $1.17 million grant to the Village of Valley View to protect houses from Cuyahoga River flooding. Thirteen homeowners are eligible to use the funds from FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program to elevate their houses. The grant will cover 75% of the costs.

The Plain Dealer looked at how local government agencies intend to use Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to reduce bacteria levels at area beaches. Meanwhile, the ODNR Office of Coastal Management awarded $311,835 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants.

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.

On Wednesday, the Fund for Our Economic Future announced the winners in the second round of the EfficientGovNow program. The projects that received the most votes were the land bank for Mahoning County, 911 dispatch for Stark County, and the renewable energy SID in Cuyahoga County. The Fund also chose to fund a multi-county GIS cooperative. The four projects will share $331,420 in grants. Voters cast more than 17,400 ballots.

Update: Channel 3 described the Renewable Energy Special Improvement District in Cuyahoga County, while editorials in the Repository and Plain Dealer praised the competition.

The U.S. EPA announced the finalists for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant funding. The EPA is expected to spread $161 million across 270 projects, including $17.2 million for 28 projects in Ohio. The Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office received two $1.5 million grants for Cuyahoga River habitat restoration.

Update: Jane Goodman described the Cleveland-area projects.

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.

Representatives of each of the 10 finalists in the EfficientGovNow competition described their projects on the Sound of Ideas this morning. The Mahoning County Land Bank project continues to lead the voting, which concludes on May 31.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial praises the initiative.

As of Wednesday, the Mahoning County Land Bank project was leading the voting in the EfficientGovNow program. The 10 competing finalists are promoting their entries to potential voters. In Cuyahoga County, the Sun Press described the solar power project, while the Sun Star Courier wrote about the road salt project.

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.

Public voting in the second round of the EfficientGovNow competition began on Saturday and will continue through May 31. Two of the 10 finalists are projects in Cuyahoga County: a solar power project in Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs, and a road salt collaboration for four south side suburbs.

The State of Ohio approved $30 million in stimulus bonds for the Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County will use the bonds to reduce its borrowing costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are now 27 proposals for governmental collaborations in the second round of the EfficientGovNow grant program. The Fund for Our Economic Future will announce the finalists on April 30 and public voting will begin on May 1.

The U.S. EPA today announced $78.9 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states. The Cuyahoga County Land Bank received a $400,000 grant to conduct brownfield assessments.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information.

A grant from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association will fund the fourth year of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard program in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The program drew a record 21,500 cyclists in 2009.

Organizers of the EfficientGovNow program disqualified 19 of the submitted abstracts, and the backers of the 31 remaining projects will be invited to submit final proposals.

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.

The Temple–Tifereth Israel and Case Western Reserve University announced that the congregation's historic University Circle synagogue will be renovated as the Milton and Tamar Maltz Center for Performing Arts. It will be the home of the University's performing arts programs, while continuing to serve as a place of worship on holidays and other occasions. The Maltz Family Foundation donated $12 million for the $25.6 million project.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a win-win -- and then some."

Chagrin Falls Village Council voted to accept a $68,000 TLCI grant for the Chagrin Falls Region Alternative Transportation Study. The $85,000 study will be conducted by Behnke Associates.

Marc Lefkowitz considered the challenges that Greater Cleveland could face when applying for grants from the federal Sustainable Communities Initiative.

WCPN's Eric Wellman spoke with organizers and applicants in round two of the EfficientGovNow regionalism program, and Bob Paynter classified the 50 applications. The finalists will be announced on April 30 and public voting will occur in May.

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.

While other Great Lakes ports received millions of dollars in federal stimulus grants, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority did not receive funding. The Port Authority applied for a TIGER grant, but was not one of the selected projects. It was the only application that the Port submitted. The Port Authority also dropped its plans to fill a slip and build a warehouse. Interim President Peter Raskind said, "The bottom line is we do not believe it's a good use of public money."

Local governments in the 16-county Northeast Ohio region submitted 50 projects in the second round of the EfficientGovNow grant program. Sixteen of the applications are from Cuyahoga County communities, including a proposal from Moreland Hills, Orange Village, and Pepper Pike that would fund implementation of a forthcoming municipal collaboration study.

Update: organizers encourage public input on the project ideas.

Northeast Ohio governments have so far submitted five projects in the second round of the EfficientGovNow program. The application deadline is February 26. Journalist Bob Paynter will be writing about the process.

The Plain Dealer explored the reasons behind the Cleveland Foundation's decision to greatly reduce its contributions to the Fund for Our Economic Future and the choice's subsequent repercussions. Brent Larkin thinks that the decision was harmful to regional collaboration.

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.

Despite a reduction in support from the Cleveland Foundation, the Fund for Our Economic Future is proceeding with plans for its third phase, and recently received a $3 million grant from the Knight Foundation to support local government reform efforts. The Fund also launched round two the the EfficientGovNow program yesterday. Local governments have until February 26 to submit a proposal for a collaborative project for the competition. The Fund listed 10 ways that residents can support the program.

Update: the Fund shared more information about the Knight Foundation grant.

The Chagrin Falls Region Alternative Transportation Study was one of the 13 projects awarded a TLCI planning grant earlier this month. The study will begin in January, and will develop a plan for a trail network in eastern Cuyahoga County and western Geauga County.

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 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 Ohio Lake Erie Commission approved six Balanced Growth Strategy grants for local watershed plans, including two in the Lake Erie watershed.

The Ohio Department of Transportation reallocated $293,153 in unused federal stimulus dollars to Lorain County Transit. The Lorain County Commissioners will use the funds to preserve some LCT bus routes.

Update: the commissioners may also contribute county dollars. A Morning Journal editorial says that a long-term solution must include more state support for public transit.

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

NOACA awarded a total of $777,250 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants to 13 projects in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. The NOACA Governing Board also added the 3-C Corridor passenger rail line to its long-range transportation plan.

The Fund for Our Economic Future approved a second round of the EfficientGovNow program today. The Fund's Brad Whitehead described reactions to the first round in an Akron Beacon Journal op-ed.

Update: up to $330,000 will be awarded to governmental collaborations. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial supports the program.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant to the City of Lyndhurst for brownfield remediation at the northeast corner of Mayfield and Brainard roads. The site will be redeveloped as a Key Bank branch. Cuyahoga County also received a $2.5 million grant for remediation at the Ben Venue Laboratories expansion in Bedford. The State awarded a total of 16 grants.

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

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

The 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.

The U.S. EPA issued a request for proposals through the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The competitive grant process will "provide funding to address the most significant Great Lakes ecosystem problems". Projects must be submitted by January 29.

WCPN looked at how the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Ohio EPA have invested their federal stimulus dollars.

A new report from Policy Matters Ohio examined the distribution patterns of transportation projects funded by federal stimulus dollars. One of its findings is that 63% of the funds distributed by the state's metropolitan planning organizations went to suburban and exurban projects. The report recommends reviewing decision-making processes to ensure that MPOs do not encourage urban sprawl.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is compiling a list of projects (PDF) for potential funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It includes funding for the removal of two dams on the Cuyahoga River.

John Austin of the Brookings Institution thinks that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be "a major shot in the arm" for the region's metropolitan areas. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "great news for the Great Lakes".

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.

On Friday, President Obama quietly signed the appropriations bill that included $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $4 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Update: officials with the Trust for Public Land believe it will take several years to complete the Blossom land purchase.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded $6.25 million in grants from the Clean Ohio Trails Fund to 25 projects, including three in Cuyahoga County. Bedford Heights received $374,726 for the Richmond Road All-Purpose Trail, Cuyahoga Heights received $500,000 for the Cuyahoga Heights Multi-Use Trail, and the West Creek Preservation Committee received $103,125 for the O'Malley-Henninger Greenway.

As anticipated, Congress approved $475 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Members of President Obama's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force discussed the program on Thursday when they held their sixth and final regional public meeting in Cleveland. Joe Koncelik fears that the initiative's local match requirement could create problems.

Update: WKSU also reported on the meeting.

Congress appropriated $4 million toward the purchase of 635 undeveloped acres surrounding Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. The property, the largest remaining private parcel within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, would be incorporated into the park.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial applauds the announcement.

While a Congressional conference committee recommended funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at the full $475 million level, environmental advocates say that the lakes need additional protections. Others identify a need for a national policy on oceans and waterways. The public will have an opportunity to provide input at the regional Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force meeting (PDF) in Cleveland on Thursday.

While Congress passed an one-month extension of SAFETEA-LU, the 2005 transportation law, it did not remove the $8.7 billion rescission included in the old bill. The cuts have hit alternative transportation projects especially hard, and Ohio is among the states canceling funding for transportation enhancements, CMAQ, and trails projects.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges Congress to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at the full $475 million level approved by the House instead of the $400 million authorized by the Senate.

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.

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.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority was one of 36 public housing authorities (DOC) awarded federal stimulus grants. CMHA will receive $17.7 million for the redevelopment of its Garden Valley Estates in Kinsman.

The City of Cleveland is seeking $37 million in federal stimulus funding for the planned reconstruction of the West Shoreway.

State and local governments committed $54 million in new public loans and grants for the stalled Flats east bank project, which may enable developers (PDF) to resume construction of a downsized first phase next spring. Formerly a $500 million project, the $270 million development now includes a 450,000-square-foot office tower, a 150-room hotel, a 3-acre riverfront beach, and 14 acres of greenspace.

Update: two Plain Dealer reporters discussed the announcement, and an editorial said it "seems like a win-win".

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."

The Fund for Our Economic Future is considering a second round of funding for the EfficientGovNow program and is gathering feedback from first round participants.

Update: the survey results are now available.

Ohio Rail Development Commission officials are quickly trying to fulfill requirements for federal funding of the proposed 3-C Corridor passenger rail line. They intend to apply for up to $450 million of the $8 billion in stimulus funds available for high-speed rail. The requests of Midwest states that would be served through the Chicago Hub Network are expected to be among $102 billion in requests from 40 states and Washington, D.C.

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.

A New York Times editorial describes the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as an important start and "a small down payment on a project that could ultimately cost $20 billion."

The Ohio Department of Transportation's Transportation Review Advisory Council authorized an additional $10 million in funding for preliminary planning of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial about the EfficientGovNow awards says that they "demonstrate just how far this region has to go when it comes to government collaboration and also how much low-hanging fruit is within reach of communities", while a Sun Post-Herald editorial says that the proposed Westshore Regional Fire District "could not be more timely."

Great Lakes Echo reports that funding from the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will not be available to address combined sewer overflows or for other sewer system upgrades.

The Fund for Our Economic Future announced the three winners of EfficientGovNow grants today. The Mahoning River Corridor Redevelopment will receive $57,451, the Westshore Regional Fire District will receive $100,000, and the Mahoning-Youngstown Regional Information System will receive $120,000. The Fund's Chris Thompson said that the government efficiency program "has helped the region take another step in its progress toward a more vibrant economic future."

Update: the awards attracted media attention from across Northeast Ohio.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the Great Lakes require sustained attention and development" and that the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative needs to provide long-term financial support for their recovery.

The largest portion of the proposed $400–$475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be targeted for environmental cleanup of the lakes and the 30 remaining areas of concern in the United States. The Brookings Institution continues to support the investment, saying that multiplier effects will at least double its impacts.

Today is the final opportunity to cast a vote in the EfficientGovNow program. As of yesterday, the Westshore Regional Fire District project was in first place.

About 150 people attended the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative stakeholder meeting in Cuyahoga Heights on Monday evening. Agency officials heard feedback about the proposed $475 million restoration program. The EPA is also gathering suggestions online.

Update: Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer summarized the recurring themes of the meeting.

Ohio officials submitted applications for federal funding of the proposed 3-C Corridor passenger rail line. They indicated that income from the state's highway advertising program would help pay for its operation. 40 states and the District of Columbia submitted proposals. Meanwhile, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved $4 billion for high-speed rail construction, which would be in addition to the $8 billion in federal stimulus funds.

The six Cuyahoga County cities in the Westshore Council of Governments and the City of North Ridgeville hired Emergency Services Consulting International to study the proposed Westshore Regional Fire District. The proposal is one of nine finalists in the EfficientGovNow grant competition.

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.

Late last month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $5.7 million in federal funding for projects in Ohio, including $4 million for the purchase of more than 600 undeveloped acres at Blossom Music Center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

A New York Times analysis of state spending of federal transportation stimulus dollars "offered vivid evidence that metropolitan areas are losing the struggle for stimulus money" to rural areas. The article used the funding for the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland as an example. A recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (PDF) reached a similar conclusion, leading mayors to register complaints with the White House.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch also published an article on the subject.

The City of South Euclid will use a $270,000 First Suburbs Development Council grant to purchase, rehabilitate, and sell abandoned houses. The City will concentrate on five streets north of Cedar Center and the Bexley-Rowland area.

The Fund for Our Economic Future announced the nine finalists in the $300,000 EfficientGovNow grant program. Up to three of the governmental collaboration projects will be funded. The only finalist in Cuyahoga County is the proposed Westshore Regional Fire District. Public voting on the proposals opened today and will continue until the end of the month.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information, and editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal say that area residents should cast a vote.

It appears likely that funding for the Ohio Urban University Program will be cut from the Ohio budget, which will lead to a loss of research programs at Cleveland State's Levin College.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is promoting a fix-it-first philosophy for infrastructure investments, but a new report from Smart Growth America identified Ohio as one of only five states to allocate over half of its federal stimulus road budget to new construction.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $311,000 to the City of Lakewood for the implementation of some components of the Detroit Avenue Streetscape Plan.

Brad Whitehead of the Fund for Our Economic Future encourages Northeast Ohio residents to participate in the EfficientGovNow grant program, which will open to public voting on July 1.

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."

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 published another editorial about funding for the Ohio Urban University Program, and again urged Ohio legislators to keep the program alive.

At the request of federal transportation officials, the Ohio Department of Transportation reassigned $57 million in federal stimulus funds from highway planning and design work to shorter-term construction projects, including the $20 million that had been designated for the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. ODOT officials said that the planning projects will be supported with non-stimulus funds. In April, ODOT redirected $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds initially assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project.

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.

Cuyahoga County is distributing $1.3 million in federal funds to suburbs with populations below 50,000. The money is being used to demolish distressed housing.

Governor Strickland and ODOT Director Jolene Molitoris were in Washington, D.C. yesterday to promote Ohio's high-speed rail plans. They're seeking $400 million in federal funds for the planned 3-C Corridor.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch offers more details.

The Ohio EPA awarded nine 319 grants, including a $329,208 grant to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to restore an unnamed tributary of Tinkers Creek (PDF) in Hudson and a $249,984 grant to Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to restore sections of Furnace Run (PDF) in Richfield. Meanwhile, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission gave a $15,000 grant to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute for a land use planning project, and gave a $14,900 grant to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners to develop a clean water web portal.

ODNR's Office of Coastal Management awarded more than $1 million in Coastal Management Assistance Grants to 10 organizations and government entities (PDF). The grants include $50,000 to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for its Walworth Run Green Infrastructure Feasibility Study and $68,250 to the Cleveland Metroparks to develop a shoreline management plan for Huntington Reservation.

Update: West Life has more details.

The proposed seven-city Westshore Regional Fire District is one of the projects competing for funding through the EfficientGovNow program. The Westshore Council of Governments would use the money to conduct a six-month study of the concept.

Update: the COG is interviewing consultants for the study.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $3.2 million loan to the City of Cleveland for environmental cleanup and and public improvements at the Flats east bank site. Work on the project could resume later this year.

Update: developer Scott Wolstein hopes to restart construction within 60 days.

Sean Logan of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Jeff Skelding of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition were the guests on Monday's Sound of Ideas program, where they discussed President Obama's proposal to supply $475 million for Great Lakes restoration efforts. Allegra Cangelosi of the Northeast-Midwest Institute writes that the "Great Lakes Region is ready, willing, and able to turn those dollars into visible improvements".

The Plain Dealer offers more details about the entries in the EfficientGovNow grant competition. Public voting will begin on July 1.

WCPN reported on green infrastructure initiatives in Northeast Ohio and the way the relate to federal policies and positions.

Last week, the U.S. EPA announced $111.9 million in grants, of which $5.6 million will be for projects in Ohio. Cuyahoga County received a $1 million grant to conduct brownfields assessments at about 35 sites. The grants were "bolstered by funds" from the federal stimulus bill.

While President Obama's budget document revealed few details about his plans to invest $475 million in Great Lakes restoration efforts, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson shared some information about the proposal.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details about the plans.

Of the 65 projects submitted to the EfficientGovNow grant program last month, 45 met the qualifications to proceed. Expanded abstracts and proposals are now available for reading and comments. Complete proposals must be submitted by May 31.

Details of President Obama's plans to spend $475 million on Great Lakes restoration activities may be revealed this week. A Plain Dealer editorial says the proposal "offers a welcome lift" for the lakes. Meanwhile, Senators Levin, Voinovich, and six other co-sponsors introduced the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2009, which would increase funding for the cleanup of contaminated sediment to $150 million per year. The House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial urges Congress to adopt President Obama's proposal to invest $475 million in a Great Lakes restoration initiative, saying that "lawmakers on the budget and appropriation committees must ensure the money finds a secure place in the federal spending plan."

The Ohio Development Financing Advisory Council recommended awarding a $9.7 million loan to Mitchell Schneider's 79th Street Properties LLC for the development of Shoreway Industrial Park on the site of the former White Motors complex at East 79th Street in Cleveland. The loan will be forgiven if the project is completed within two years and it generates 105 new jobs within three years.

The Ohio EPA yesterday announced plans to invest $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds and low-interest state loans in water and sewer infrastructure projects. Approximately $46 million will go to projects in Northeast Ohio, including $5 million for two NEORSD sewer projects. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled plans for $750 million in stimulus funds, of which the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will receive about $7.8 million. The award will fund five projects in the Park. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the dollars (PDF) will help address the Park's maintenance backlog. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will reallocate $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds it recently assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland to 52 other projects across the state. ODOT officials say that the funding will be replaced with other state and federal dollars.

Senators Voinovich and Brown introduced the Clean Water Affordability Act of 2009, which would establish new rules and supply funding for addressing combined sewer overflows. They introduced a similar bill last year, but it was not enacted.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and News-Herald have more information.

Editorials in the Plain Dealer and the Canton Repository are upbeat about the projects submitted to the EfficientGovNow program.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial is also positive about the news.

The Fund for Our Economic Future received 65 project abstracts for proposed government collaborations across the 16-county Northeast Ohio region. The projects are competing for $300,000 in grants available through the EfficientGovNow program. The next stage is the public comment period, which will begin on May 1.

A Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority committee selected the New York firm of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects to develop a master plan for the redevelopment of the Port's current downtown Cleveland facilities. The firm has worldwide experience in urban waterfront planning, including an award-winning master plan for Battery Park in New York City. PA Consulting Group of London was picked to prepare a market analysis of the site. Port Authority committees also learned that the Port should receive $15 million in stimulus funds, which is less than the $26.5 million it was seeking.

The proposed elimination of the Ohio Urban University Program would lead to layoffs at Cleveland State University. A Plain Dealer editorial again urges state lawmakers to save the program.

Budget committees in the U.S. House and Senate included President Obama's proposal for a $475 million Great Lakes restoration fund in their budget resolutions. An editorial in the Blade says that "protecting and restoring the Great Lakes is not a luxury but a critical necessity," and in a Detroit Free Press op-ed, Rich Bowman of the Nature Conservancy suggests investments in natural systems.

A bipartisan conference committee of state legislators crafted a compromise biennial transportation budget, and although a disagreement prevented a vote on Tuesday, the Ohio House and Senate both passed the bill yesterday. Governor Strickland signed the budget bill late last night. The final version kept $250 million for passenger rail along the 3-C Corridor.

Most Greater Cleveland communities are not taking a regional approach with their requests for federal stimulus funds. However, Mayor Kelley of Cleveland Heights recently suggested combining his city's fire department with those of Shaker Heights and University Heights.

On Thursday, the Cleveland Foundation announced $10 million in first-quarter grants. The awards included $450,000 for three Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority initiatives, $827,000 for Neighborhood Progress Incorporated's Strategic Investment Initiative, $167,000 for the Cleveland Housing Network, and $450,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. The Gund Foundation also awarded $1 million in grants, including $42,000 for the OSU Extension's Community Gardening program, $70,000 for the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, and $50,000 for the GreenCityBlueLake Institute.

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 of the Fund for Our Economic future expect that the recession will prevent the organization from raising the $30 million it was able to collect in earlier phases. Member organizations may not be able to contribute as much because of substantial declines in the value of their endowments.

The Ohio Senate passed the two-year transportation budget bill, but removed some of Governor Strickland's proposals. Funding for the 3-C Corridor was retained. A compromise bill is expected to emerge from a joint Senate-House conference committee. The Governor's office says that another provision in the Senate bill threatens $96 million in federal stimulus funds.

Update: in an editorial, the Plain Dealer backs the commuter rail plans.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish is urging ODOT to assign $200 million in federal stimulus funds for repairs to the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

The water quality improvement bill passed by the U.S. House last week includes an increase of funding for the Great Lakes Legacy Act, raising the authorization from $54 million to $150 million per year over the next five years.

Last week, NOACA approved allocating $43.6 million of federal stimulus funds for 21 infrastructure projects in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina counties. The largest awards were $14 million for the reconstruction of Bainbridge Road in Solon and $4.2 million to widen State Route 611 in Sheffield. An additional 32 improvements were named as reserve projects. NOACA also selected four projects to receive $9.8 million in federal CMAQ funding, including $6.25 million for replacement RTA buses.

As of yesterday, the State of Ohio had received over 20,000 proposals for investing federal stimulus dollars. The Akron Beacon Journal identified the suggestions for the Akron area. Several application deadlines have already passed, and the state encourages applicants to submit proposals as quickly as possible. In addition, the Ohio Senate unanimously approved spending $360 million of stimulus funds on brownfield remediation, trails, parks, and other items. The Ohio House is also expected to pass the bill. NOACA will receive nearly $44.2 million in stimulus funds, which will be divided proportionately among its five-county service area. The agency's RTIS will select the projects that will be funded.

Last week, the Ohio House passed a two-year transportation budget bill that would allocate $7.6 billion, plus $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds. It includes $250 million for the 3-C Corridor passenger rail proposal. The Ohio Senate is now debating the plan. GreenCityBlueLake describes it as "a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild our transportation system", while WKSU commentator Paul Gaston provides a historical perspective.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges state leaders to restore proposed cuts to the Ohio Urban University Program, saying that "the research done by the Levin College and the others is a bargain."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial also says that the program deserves to be saved.

The Fund for Our Economic Future officially unveiled the $300,000 EfficientGovNow grant program on Monday. Local governments in a 16-county Northeast Ohio area can apply for funding of government collaboration and efficiency projects. The deadline for submitting project abstracts is April 15, and final proposals are due by May 31. Finalists will be announced on July 1, and public voting will end on July 31. WCPN's Eric Wellman spoke with the Fund's Chris Thompson, and WKYC's Tom Beres spoke with Brad Whitehead about the program.

The Ohio House may pass a $7.5 billion state transportation budget this week. It includes funding for the 3-C Corridor, a proposed passenger rail line connecting Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. The Ohio Senate does not have a vote scheduled.

(via Ohio Passenger Rail)

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will receive $35 million in federal stimulus funds, and eight other Northeast Ohio public housing agencies will receive an additional $18 million. Fifteen area cities and counties will also receive a total of $12.5 million in Community Development Block Grants. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $10.1 billion.

Republicans in the Ohio House want to wait until a study of the proposed 3-C Corridor is finished before pursuing the project. However, they lack the votes to delay it, and passenger rail supporters counter that waiting could hurt the state's chances of receiving federal stimulus funds.

Governor Strickland's proposed two-year budget suggests cutting $5 million from the Ohio Urban University Program, which would result in a $1.6 million reduction for the Levin College of Urban Affairs. Cleveland State University officials are lobbying the state to restore the funding or reduce the size of the cuts.

President Obama's proposed 2010 budget for the U.S. EPA includes $475 million for a new multi-agency Great Lakes restoration initiative.

As of last Friday, Ohio officials had received nearly 7,500 proposals for federal stimulus funds, adding up to about $28 million in requests. The state expects to receive about $8 billion. By yesterday, the number of requests had topped 10,000. GreenCityBlueLake has suggestions for greening the stimulus investments. The list (XLS, 8.3 MB) is available at the state's stimulus website, and Cleveland.com also posted the database.

Ohio passenger rail advocates are urging the Ohio Department of Transportation to apply for federal funding of high-speed and intercity rail projects. ODOT must submit a strategic plan before April 18.

Update: WKSU has more information.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's $26.5 million request for stimulus funds would enable it to convert dock and warehouse facilities for use as a wind turbine manufacturing plant. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners also requested stimulus dollars for the proposed demonstration wind farm in Lake Erie. Meanwhile, the Port Authority anticipates a $661,000 drop in revenue due to cutbacks at ArcelorMittal's Cleveland plant.

WCPN shared more details about the Fund for Our Economic Future's upcoming government collaboration and efficiency grant program.

Update: the Fund will launch the program on Monday.

While most government agencies are waiting to learn what they will receive from the federal stimulus package, RTA officials know that their agency will receive $42 million. The funds will be used to build the East Side Transit Center, replace two rapid transit stations, and to overhaul Red Line rail cars.

Scientists continue to collect data for the proposed demonstration Lake Erie wind farm. They recently positioned a sonar device that will gauge the thickness of ice on the lake and used a LIDAR unit to measure wind shear above the lake. The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force announced the receipt of $672,000 from the Cleveland Foundation and that Steve Dever will take a leave of absence from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to serve as the Task Force's executive director.

The City of Euclid has joined the City of Cleveland in asking HUD to demolish distressed houses it owns instead of reselling them. Euclid intends to use its $2.6 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds award to rehabilitate 24 homes and demolish 65 others. Meanwhile, South Euclid City Council authorized officials to purchase properties at up to $25,000 without prior approval from City Council. Officials say that they will use only dollars from grants for the purchases.

Cuyahoga County's $420 million wish list for federal stimulus dollars includes gray and green infrastructure projects, green energy initiatives, and social service programs. The State of Ohio is accepting suggestions for stimulus projects at a special website.

Update: this week's Sun Newspapers have more details about the requests made by Euclid and Broadview Heights leaders.

Eleven Greater Cleveland cities made requests for federal stimulus dollars through a report compiled by the United States Conference of Mayors. The Plain Dealer lists their proposals. Ohio leaders have been actively lobbying for funding, and the state may receive $6.8 billion.

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.

Last week, consultants for the City of South Euclid presented an analysis of the City's market potential. They examined lifestyle indicators and determined that in the near future, the City will be most appealing to younger couples and childless singles. The methodology (PDF) and indicator descriptions (PDF) are available for download. South Euclid officials are also seeking funding for a concept for renovating the City's bungalows.

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.

The Plain Dealer has more details about how Ronn Richard will help to coordinate the distribution of federal stimulus dollars.

Governor Strickland appointed Ronn Richard of the Cleveland Foundation as Ohio's infrastructure czar. In the temporary, part-time position, he will guide the process to select projects and distribute funds from the federal stimulus package. Frank Jackson is pleased with the selection.

Cuyahoga County leaders are seeking federal stimulus money for the proposed offshore wind turbine demonstration project in Lake Erie. A European wind turbine manufacturer is willing to pay for half of the project, so the County is requesting $28 million to erect the turbines and $17 million for a warehouse that would be used to assemble and ship turbines.

The Fund for Our Economic Future's 2008 Barometer of Economic Attitudes survey included questions about regionalism. Of the 2300 Northeast Ohioans surveyed, 82% favored increased government collaborations, and 67% favored government consolidations. In March, the Fund will introduce a $300,000 grant program for government collaboration and efficiency programs. Area residents will be able to vote on the recipients. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "investment will pay off if it sparks creative thinking among local governments and engages the public in the exercise." Earlier surveys were conducted in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

In addition to the other requests for anticipated federal infrastructure stimulus dollars, Environment Ohio compiled a list of 100 renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation projects in Ohio.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Mayor Jackson should include more green projects in his wish list and develop a "cohesive plan that pulls together a variety of initiatives to 'brand' Cleveland as a green city and help to establish it as the world center of freshwater wind-power development, engineering and manufacturing."

Cuyahoga County awarded a $1 million brownfield redevelopment loan to Mitchell Schneider's 79th Street Properties for cleanup of the Shoreway Industrial Park, the former White Motors plant on East 79th Street in Cleveland.

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.

Grants of up to $3 million are available to communities seeking to acquire land for preservation or recreation within Ohio's Lake Erie watershed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will refer up to three projects to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for consideration. The application deadline is February 17.

Update: WKSU shares more details.

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.

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.

NOACA has drawn up a list of 65 "shovel ready" infrastructure projects that would use $197 million of the anticipated federal economic stimulus package. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed out that Cleveland is among the cities that have not submitted a list of projects to the United States Conference of Mayors. Other area cities, like North Royalton, have participated. The National Parks Conservation Association has also prepared a list of recommended investments, which includes a project in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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.

The Fund for Our Economic Future approved $1.2 million in new grants, including $300,000 for a new government efficiency initiative, $250,000 for Team NEO, and $106,300 for Cleveland State University to produce the 2009 Dashboard of Economic Indicators.

Update: the government efficiency program will have two elements: grants for intergovernmental collaboration, and a public engagement component.

President-elect Obama's economic recovery plan includes "the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s," and on Friday, NOACA's Governing Board will consider a resolution urging Congress to "target additional infrastructure funding to states with the highest unemployment." Officials in Geauga and Lake counties are preparing lists of "shovel-ready" projects.

Ohio Rail Development Commission officials are optimistic about the possibility of receiving $100 million in proposed federal infrastructure stimulus funds for the planned 3-C Corridor.

The City of Brooklyn received a $5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the construction of a diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road. City officials are seeking federal funding for the $12 million project.

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.

The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission approved $1 million to the Great Lakes Science Center for the walkway that will connect the museum and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. Construction of the 400-foot walkway will cost an estimated $3.4 million.

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 City of Euclid will receive roughly $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding in 2009, the same amount it received this year.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded over $1 million in grants for local watershed protection programing. The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District received $54,000 for work on Euclid Creek, Grand River Partners received $140,000, and NEFCO received $100,000 for work on the Middle Cuyahoga River.

The Ohio Department of Development announced the 15 recipients of Local Government Services and Regional Collaboration Grants, including six projects in Northeast Ohio. The cities of Cleveland and Parma were the awardees in Cuyahoga County. Initiatives of the Northeast Ohio Mayors & City Managers Association and the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium were not selected for awards.

NOACA awarded $869,600 in TLCI grants for 15 transportation planning studies in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Medina counties. The awards include $50,000 to the City of Parma for planning a multipurpose trail along the First Energy corridor near the City's southern border, and $48,000 for planning a bicycle path in Medina.

Update: Maple Heights will use its award to study ways to make Broadway Avenue friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded a grant of as much as $1.5 million to NorTech, the technology advocacy group that recently narrowed its focus, and gave up to $600,000 to the Northeast Ohio Mayors & City Managers Association for support of its work on revenue sharing and regional planning.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more information about the award to the Mayors & City Managers Association.

The Blade's Tom Henry says that Bush administration and federal EPA officials "lobbied against our best interests by calling upon both chambers of Congress to reject the House version of a bill that would have reauthorized the Great Lakes Legacy Act at up to $150 million a year."

(via Great Lakes Law)

Update: President Bush signed the reauthorizing legislation.

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 Ohio Rail Development Commission was one of 15 recipients of intercity passenger rail grants from the Federal Railroad Administration. The $62,500 award will help pay for an Amtrak study of the proposed 3-C Corridor, a line that would link Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a two-year reauthorization of the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The Senate bill was at the current funding level of $54 million per year, not the $150 million per year approved by the House earlier this month. The House adopted the Senate version of the bill on Sunday.

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.

By a vote of 371-20, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The reauthorization bill now moves to the Senate. If enacted, it will triple the annual funding for cleanup of contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

The Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium is seeking funding from the state's Local Government Services and Regional Collaboration Grant Program for a new study.

On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board voted to distribute $11.2 million in emergency funds to area public transit agencies. RTA received $9 million and Laketran received $1 million. Smaller amounts went to Lorain County Transit, Medina County Public Transit, Geauga County Transit, and the Brunswick Transit Authority.

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."

Leaders in the Youngstown area are encouraged by the prospect of federal funding for the Ohio Hub plan, which would provide rail service to Youngstown and Warren via a line between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

RTA leaders anticipate that the expected infusion of funds from NOACA will eliminate the need for major service cuts in the short term. The agency is now planning modest cuts and a fuel surcharge of 25¢ in place of the 50¢ surcharge proposed earlier. RTA will revisit the cuts next year if the state budget does not include increased funding for public transportation.

Update: Medina County Commissioner Stephen Hambley wants to see a greater percentage of the dollars allocated to the public transit agencies of Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina counties.

The Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association is preparing to move into the second phase of the Regional Economic Revenue Study. The City of Hudson and the Village of Richfield will apply for funding from Ohio's Local Government Services and Regional Collaboration Grant Program to support the study.

Two NOACA committees will recommend allocating $10.5 million in federal funds to the area's five public transit agencies. RTA is expected to receive the bulk of the money. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Ohio leaders must find a long-term solution to public transit's fiscal crisis.

The Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium is seeking an $80,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development to assist with economic development efforts in its member cities. The funds would also be used to improve the organization's advocacy and outreach capabilities.

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.

FEMA awarded the City of Valley View approximately $1 million through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The funds will be used to elevate up to 21 homes and for the acquisition and demolition of two others that have suffered repetitive flooding.

A 2009 appropriations bill recently approved (PDF) by a U.S. Senate committee includes $500,000 for an environmental impact study of the Ohio Hub plan. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Ken Sislak of All Aboard Ohio advocates for increased funding of high-speed rail.

The Gund Foundation announced its latest round of grants, which include $50,000 to the West Creek Preservation Committee for the West Creek Confluence Project.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $767,193 to the City of Cleveland for road construction at the Flats east bank development. The funds will be used to relocate Front Street and Old River Road and to build a new street and a trail.

The Kresge Foundation awarded a $1 million challenge grant to Great Lakes Theater Festival for the renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

Governor Strickland directed $4 million in state funds to the planning of the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. Financing sources for the $250 to $500 million project remain unclear.

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.

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.

In addition to the other projects mentioned earlier, the Ohio capital budget bill includes $500,000 for lakefront development in Euclid.

Update: the bill also includes $150,000 for the renovation of League Park, $100,000 for the redesign of the Euclid Beach Pier, and $15,000 for the completion of a walking trail in Parma Heights.

Yesterday, the Fund for Our Economic Future awarded four grants totaling $4.98 million to spur regional economic development efforts. The Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association received $50,000 for further analysis of revenue sharing and regional land use planning through the Regional Economic Revenue Study.

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."

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Development announced the creation of the new Local Government Services and Regional Collaboration Grant Program, which will make $900,000 available to local governments that are interested in studying regional cooperation. The application deadline is July 29.

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 Western Reserve Land Conservancy reached a deal to purchase an eight acre forest along the Lake Erie coast in Bratenahl. The group has secured about $1 million from in grants and donations, and the mature forest will be preserved as a bird habitat if they can raise an additional $718,000.

Ernst & Young confirmed that it will move to a new office tower in the Flats east bank development. The 21 story building will be known as Ernst & Young Tower. A Plain Dealer editorial says that this "means that the mammoth task of revitalizing the Flats" east bank "is really going to happen." Developers also unveiled new conceptual images of the planned mixed-use project, and announced that they secured $4 million from HUD for an unidentified supermarket in the development. Half of the award is a grant, and the other half is a loan.

U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Carl Levin introduced the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 on Thursday. The bill would expand upon the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 and provide $150 million annually over the next ten years for the cleanup of the 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The funding increase is one of the recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Council approved a $1.5 million, 30 year low-interest loan for the rennovation of the Capitol Theatre at Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street.

The Plain Dealer reviewed the history of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the controversial decision to cap its funding at $120 million, and the program's potential direction in the future.

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.

Several Ohio property owners are suing the Ohio Department of Development, claiming that the agency's decision to halt the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program was illegal. The proposed Ohio stimulus package may include additional funding for the program.

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.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $1 million grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for public road improvements in the Flats east bank development.

The City of Parma Heights will build a walking path in Greenbrier Commons. The construction, funded by a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant, should be completed by mid-June.

The City of North Royalton received another one year extension to meet the job creation requirements of a 1998 CDBG grant that was used for the expansion of York Road industrial park.

The Gund Foundation's latest round of awards includes a $40,000 grant to the City Fresh program, a $90,000 grant to the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy for its farmland preservation efforts, and a $100,000 grant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to evaluate the economic impact of the pilot Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

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.

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.

With Rob Briggs of the GAR Foundation stepping down as chairman of the Fund for Our Economic Future, David Abbott of the Gund Foundation was elected to succeed him. The fund also awarded several grants.

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

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.

Through initiatives like the Fund for Our Economic Future, foundation grants for economic development activities in Ohio have tripled over the last decade. Foundations gave $24.6 million in grants to Ohio economic development programs in 2005.

If Euclid's population falls below 50,000 in the 2010 Census, the City may lose its status as an entitlement community and the $1 million it receives annually in Community Development Block Grants.

Fogg Corporate Properties is in the process of purchasing the 83 acre PMX site in Euclid from Commercial Development Co. of St. Louis, and plans to redevelop the property as an industrial park. The company obtained a $1 million brownfields cleanup grant from Cuyahoga County last week, and is seeking a $5 million grant from the Ohio Job Ready Sites program.

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.

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.

The current and former mayors of North Royalton asked Ohio's senators for assistance in obtaining another extension for meeting the job creation requirements of a federal grant the City received in 1998 for the expansion of York Road industrial park. If the extension is not granted, the City may assess property owners to cover repayment of the grant.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $21.2 million in grants, including $3.6 million to Case Western Reserve University for the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation, $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future, $525,000 to ShoreBank Enterprise Group Cleveland, and $750,000 to the Great Lakes Theater Festival for the Hanna Theatre renovations.

A Plain Dealer editorial praises the Greater University Circle Initiative's homebuyer assistance program, concluding, "When local employers help workers put down roots and revitalize neighborhoods, that helps all of Greater Cleveland."

Major University Circle employers cooperating (MP3) through the Greater University Circle Initiative will offer $5 million in grants and forgivable loans over the next five years to employees who purchase, rent, or renovate homes in University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods. The program is an expansion of Case's Employer Assisted Housing Program.

The Gund Foundation awarded $6.5 million in grants, including $1.2 million to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization for the Gordon Square Arts District and $1 million to University Circle Incorporated for the Bring Back Euclid Avenue campaign. The Foundation also gave $300,000 to Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland and $70,000 to Entrepreneurs for Sustainability.

The Fund for Our Economic Future will provide $2.1 million to Team NEO over the next two years. The grant will cover about a third of Team NEO's budget in 2008 and 2009.

The Saint Luke's Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to ParkWorks to create walking trails, an outdoor reading garden, public-art displays, and performance areas in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood. The former hospital building will be at the heart of a five-acre learning campus.

Broadview Heights City Council rejected a $69,000 TLCI grant for planning a greenway connector trail along Chippewa Creek. It's the first time a city has refused a TLCI grant.

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.

North Royalton officials will request another extension for meeting job creation requirements in a grant the City received for the York Road industrial park. The City will have to repay the grant if it is unable to obtain the extension.

Cleveland City Council is expected to vote on a $1.5 million Core City loan for the planned $6.7 million renovation of the Capitol Theater at West 65th Street and Detroit Avenue.

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.

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners received a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to conduct a bioswale demonstration project in Orange.

The City of Broadview Heights was awarded a $69,000 TLCI grant to conduct a feasibility study on the creation of a greenway connector trail between The Fields and the Cleveland Metroparks Brecksville Reservation.

If North Royalton officials are unable to generate about 100 low- to moderate-paying jobs at the York Road industrial park, the City may need to return a $181,597 CDBG grant it received in 1998.

The Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force refined its recommendations at its meeting on Monday, and is expected to adopt them in two weeks. The suggestions include providing $50 million to help communities with planning, and targeting money to cities that prioritize neighborhood redevelopment over assisting scattered property owners.

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 Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency awarded $750,000 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants to 12 neighborhood transportation planning studies (PDF) in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lorain Counties.

As expected, Westlake City Council accepted a state grant for the widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two to four lanes.

The City of Strongsville did not receive a requested state grant to extend Foltz Industrial Parkway in the Strongsville Business Park, and City officials plan to apply for a $4 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant next year.

All Aboard Ohio reports that U.S. Representative Betty Sutton secured $350,000 in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for the West Shore Corridor rail/bus transit alternatives analysis.

(Update: The Sun Herald offers more information.)

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the acquisition of conservation easements for 132 acres of riparian buffers along the East Branch of the Rocky River in Summit and Medina Counties, and to Grand River Partners for the restoration and protection of 300 acres of riparian buffers and wetlands in the lower Grand River watershed in Lake County.

The Gund Foundation awarded $5.9 million in grants, including $250,000 to the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation for the redevelopment of the former Langston Hughes Library at East 79th Street to house Senior Outreach Services. The Foundation also gave a $500,000 loan to Neighborhood Progress Inc. for the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Hospital site.

The St. Luke's Foundation awarded $1.4 million in grants for programs aimed at building healthy communities, including $150,000 to ParkWorks for the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $11.1 million in grants, including $500,000 for the rehabilitation of the Capitol Theatre in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, $500,000 to redevelop the former Langston Hughes Library in Fairfax as the headquarters for Senior Outreach Services, and $200,000 for the planned visitor center and a development feasibility study for University Circle. The Foundation also gave a $750,000 loan to MidTown Cleveland for the acquisition and redevelopment of key parcels.

The State of Ohio offered a $16 million financial incentive package to Continental Airlines to attract a potential $50 million expansion of their Cleveland Hopkins hub.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a $10,000 grant to Cleveland State University to study the nutrient structure of the Cuyahoga River, and a $9,999 grant to the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District to establish riparian buffers on residential properties in the Rocky River watershed.

WKSU examines how the budget bills passed by the Ohio Legislature will affect the state's cities.

Areas of Cuyahoga and Lakes Counties were awarded $543,000 by the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct flood damage reduction studies.

(Update: The Plain Dealer has more details.)

The City of Seven Hills approved spending $75,000 and opening bids for the construction of a mile-long multipurpose trail that will eventually link to the West Creek Greenway. Construction of the $800,000 trail should be completed this summer. Meanwhile, Broadview Heights officials are applying for grants that would permit them to examine the feasibility of building trails.

By a vote of 2-1, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners decided to rescind $200,000 in funding for the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office. The organization was recently awarded $335,000 by the Fund for Our Economic Future.

The Cleveland Green Building Coalition received $450,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $150,000 from the Cleveland Housing Trust Fund to build five houses designed by architects in their Emerging Green Designers program. The two and three-bedroom houses will be built in the Cleveland EcoVillage, and will be priced from $105,000 to $135,000.

In addition to adding a green building component, the Gund Foundation will require nonprofits to submit a climate change statement as part of grant applications. It will not be initially used to determine awardees.

The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded grants to local initiatives and economic development organizations, including $90,000 to the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association for a study of regional tax sharing and other collaborations, $200,000 to NorTech for work with the Cuyahoga County Energy Task Force on the Lake Erie wind turbine feasibility study, and $335,000 to the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office. In addition, the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization received a $49,954 grant from the Ohio EPA to conduct a public awareness campaign about watersheds.

The City of Cleveland has exhausted the $36 million budgeted for phase one of the Home Acquisition Program for the planned expansion of Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The Brook Park houses in zones one through four were purchased, but zones five and six were shifted to phase two.

Continental Airlines also announced that they may expand one of their three U.S. hubs. The Ohio House earmarked $1.5 million for a $45 million Hopkins expansion, and the state awarded the airline a $900,000 grant to help pay for new equipment and machinery. Continental would cover most of the remaining expenses.

The Ohio Department of Natural resources awarded $250,000 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants. The awards included $19,950 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to conduct the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan, and $11,000 to Northeast Shores Development Corporation for the Euclid Beach Fishing Pier Feasibility Study.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources was awarded $1.014 million by NOAA for the purchase of two properties in Bratenahl totaling 19.5 acres. The Lake Erie Coastal and Riparian Forest Preserve, a partnership between the Village of Bratenahl and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, will include mature forest, a riparian corridor, and the 100-year floodplain of Dugway Creek. Acquisition of the land will cost $2.2 million.

(Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.)

The City of Cleveland received two $200,000 brownfields assessment grants from the US EPA. The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments of eight sites in the City's industrial land bank.

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 Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded approximately $2.3 million in NatureWorks Grants for park and recreational improvements. The recipients included a number of projects in Northeast Ohio.

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.

The Cleveland and Gund Foundations jointly announced that they will only award capital grants to building and renovation projects that employ green building techniques.

The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 24, which changes the rules of the Ohio Job Ready Sites program so that applicants in certain counties cannot excluded from applying for grants. Earlier rules included a minimum property requirement size that prevented urbanized counties from competing.

The latest round of grants from the Cleveland Foundation includes $4.2 million for Neighborhood Progress Incorporated, $450,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and $200,000 to help fund a feasibility study for Lake Erie wind turbines. Also, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded $9,974 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to inventory land use regulations of communities in the Cuyahoga River watershed.

The latest round of grants awarded by the Gund Foundation includes over $200,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance for a variety of projects, and $125,000 to the Institute for Conservation Leadership to provide training and assistance to Ohio environmental organizations.

U.S. Representative Ralph Regula introduced a bill that would extend the authorization for the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway for 15 years and provide an additional $10 million in federal funding. Legislation approved in 1996 authorizes federal support until 2012, but the $8 million made available since 1996 is near the federal maximum.

The APA Advocate provides an agency-by-agency analysis of the 2008 budget proposed by President Bush and its impacts on planning-related programs, saying it "contains scant good news for planning, outlining cuts for most non-defense, non-homeland security domestic discretionary spending."

Building a New Energy Future (PDF, 11.4 MB), the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force's report recommending Lake Erie wind turbines, is now available online. In addition, Governor Strickland announced that $5 million in grants will be available for wind power projects.

Environmentalists say that funding cuts in President Bush's proposed federal budget will hinder efforts to improve Great Lakes water quality and to address issues identified by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

President Bush's proposed federal budget includes a $1 million funding increase for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Park officials plan to use the funds to boost maintenance, educational programs, staffing, and security.

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

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded $9,999 to Cleveland State University to study transfer of development rights in Northeast Ohio.

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