Four projects in Cleveland and one in Chagrin Falls received awards in the 10th round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. In Cleveland, the Fairmont Creamery redevelopment received a $3.12 million tax credit; the final phase of the St. Luke's Hospital redevelopment received a $506,600 tax credit; and residential conversions of two adjacent buildings on Huron Avenue in downtown Cleveland, the Starr Gennett Building and 1220 Huron, received tax credits of $422,001 and $3.55 million, respectively. The Spillway project in Chagrin Falls received a $1.65 million tax credit.
22 August 2013
The Avon Lake Municipal Utilities are preparing an agreement for supplying water to the City of Westlake. City leaders want to transfer away from the Cleveland Water Department.
The Cleveland Institute of Art broke ground on the $33.5 million second phase of the expansion and renovation of its Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts in University Circle. The four-story, 79,000-square-foot addition will allow the college to unify its campus in a single location. Work is scheduled to be completed in fall 2015.
Developers have resumed the $50 million renovation of downtown Cleveland's Schofield Building. The 14-story building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue will become a 122-room Kimpton hotel and 55 luxury apartments. They expect to complete the project by the end of 2014.
An Ohio State University professor received a $909,200 grant from the National Science Foundation to study 64 vacant lots in eight Cleveland neighborhoods.
Regenerating America's Legacy Cities, a policy report by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, explores the challenges to redeveloping America's older industrial cities. It examines 18 selected cities, including Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Youngstown. It urges the cities to avoid 'silver bullet' ideas and advocates for a framework they call 'strategic incrementalism'.
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Cleveland Metroparks will have tax levies on the November ballot in Cuyahoga County. The Port Authority's board of directors voted to place a 0.13-mill renewal issue on the ballot. Voters rejected a 0.67-mill levy last year. The Plain Dealer published an op-ed by Ed FitzGerald and Frank Jackson in support of the issue, and another by Jack Boyle and Jim Trutko in opposition.
The Cleveland Metroparks commissioners voted to place a 2.7-mill levy on the ballot, a 1.8-mill renewal and a 0.9-mill increase. The Metroparks' last levy request was in 2004. Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman recently spoke about the parks at the City Club (video, audio (MP3, 51.5 MB)).
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count report showed that poverty remains an issue for Ohio's children. In 2011, 24% of Ohio children lived in poverty, up from 19% in 2005.
The $7.7 million reconstruction of Fleet Avenue in Cleveland includes $1 million in green infrastructure improvements. The complete and green street will feature bike lanes, tree plantings, bioswales, and pocket parks.
Members of Northeast Ohio's congressional delegation, including Senators Brown and Portman, are urging state leaders to seek a waiver for diverting federal foreclosure-prevention funds to support housing demolition programs. Federal officials approved a similar request in Michigan. Some housing housing counselors and foreclosure-prevention officials object to the proposal. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "smart public policy."
As Ohio communities try to meet an end-of-year deadline to spend state housing demolition funds, some Cleveland councilmen are calling for an approach that includes saving houses with 'good bones'. In a pair of Plain Dealer op-eds, Councilman Jeffrey Johnson advocated for rehabilitation and Jim Rokakis made the case for demolition. He also spoke about demolition efforts on the public radio program Here & Now. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto wrote about the "need to focus on the demand side of the market."
The increasing number of bicyclists in Greater Cleveland is creating tension between divers and cyclists. Bike Cleveland launched a public awareness campaign intended to improve motorist awareness of cyclists. Participants in a recent edition of The Regina Brett Show discussed the issues, and NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci promoted sustainable transportation alternatives in a Plain Dealer op-ed.
Meanwhile, Angie Schmitt of Rust Wire criticized the City of Cleveland for the way it implemented its complete streets policy on downtown's Ontario Street. A local coalition developed an alternative, the Ontario Street Bikeway plan, that would add bike lanes to the street. Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake also considered the reasons why the region hasn't built a second bus rapid transit line.
A ribbon-cutting celebration for the Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek was held in June. The 18,000-square-foot building "is dedicated to promoting healthy urban watersheds through science, education, research and restoration", and was developed through a partnership between the Cleveland Metroparks, NEORSD and the West Creek Conservancy (formerly the West Creek Preservation Committee). They anticipate it will receive a LEED Gold rating. The facility in Parma is open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free of charge.
12 August 2013
Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that Asian Americans were the country's fastest-growing ethnic group in 2012. The estimates also showed that for the first time, more white Americans are dying than being born, and that the nation is poised to become a minority majority country by 2050, sooner than predicted. Asian Americans were also the fastest-growing ethnic group in Ohio.
Local officials celebrated the ribbon-cutting for the new Cleveland Convention Center in mid-June. Shortly after opening, it hosted the 2013 National Senior Games. The attached Global Center for Health Innovation (formerly known as the Medical Mart) is scheduled to open in October. Steven Litt said that the two buildings "project an image of Cleveland as a city able to complete large projects in a timely, efficient manner." Project managers discussed the development on WCPN's The Sound of Ideas.
Management of the former Cleveland Lakefront State Park was formally transferred to the Cleveland Metroparks. Edgewater Park, Gordon Park, and the East 55th Street Marina formed the Metroparks' new Lakefront Reservation, while Euclid Beach Park, Villa Angela Park, and Wildwood Park became part of Euclid Creek Reservation. The City of Cleveland continues to own the parks, leasing them to the Metroparks at $1 per year for 99 years. Visitors have noticed improvements in the condition of Edgewater Park.
Update: Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman outlined his vision for the lakefront parks.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that they would work together to implement plans for downtown Cleveland development. The $350 million investment includes a 600-to-700-room hotel on the site of the County Administration Building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The $260 million hotel would be attached to the new convention center. The action plan also includes implementation of plans for Public Square and the Malls, plus the construction of a lakefront connector bridge and a parking garage.
Seventeen architecture firms responded to Cuyahoga County's request for qualifications, and a committee recommended that Cooper Carry of Atlanta should design the hotel. Representatives of the firm were in Cleveland on August 8, where they gathered input from residents at a public forum.
Steven Litt said that "Cleveland finally seems to be getting the message" about the importance of vital public spaces, and said that the City should establish a set of urban design guidelines to preserve and enhance downtown views. He also said that the hotel represents "one of the most important design challenges in Cleveland in many years." In Crain's Cleveland Business, Jay Miller said that the partnership's success "will depend on continuing cooperation between city and county government," Stan Bullard compiled reactions from hotel operators, and Brian Tucker said that the new hotel must be more than "another lifeless rectangular box in our skyline." A Plain Dealer editorial praised the plans, while Roldo Bartimole denounced them.
A new Shaker Heights bicycle advocacy group met for the first time in June. Members of Bike Shaker will educate about the benefits of cycling and work with City officials to improve bicycling infrastructure. They hope to see the city named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
In its second annual ParkScore index, the Trust for Public Land rated the park systems of the nation's 50 largest cities. It gave the City of Cleveland a score of 50/100, the 25th-highest ranking. The top-ranked cities were Minneapolis and New York. Fresno and Louisville received the lowest scores. Cleveland was not included in last year's rankings.
Writing in The Huffington Post, Richey Piiparinen described how abandonment has harmed communities like Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood. In The Plain Dealer, he criticized Cleveland's emphasis on play and image as economic development strategies. At Cool Cleveland, he said that authenticity and distinctiveness are good ways to attract in-migration.
A planning study identified (PDF, 13.5 MB) a site near the Ohio City Red Line rapid station for a potential transit-oriented development. The Market Plaza shopping center at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue could be replaced by a mixed-use building with as many as 244 residential units. The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the concept.
Ideastream hosted conversations about waterfront plans in Cleveland, discussing the issues on The Sound of Ideas, and continuing with a Cleveland Connects community conversation. The keynote speaker at the Cleveland Connects event was Lisa Schroeder of Riverlife in Pittsburgh. Participants discussed the opportunities and potential for lakefront development.
The City of Cleveland, meanwhile, unveiled plans for a new transient marina at North Coast Harbor. It's scheduled to open this fall. The City also issued a request for qualifications for developers interested in managing and financing development at Harbor West and North Coast Harbor.
For the third consecutive year, Preservation Ohio's list of the state's most endangered historic sites included the Warner and Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland.
Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are partnering to build a medical education building on the hospital's main campus in Fairfax. The 165,000-square-foot building will be at the northeast corner of East 93rd Street and Euclid Avenue, currently the site of the Cleveland Clinic Guesthouse. Foster + Partners of London is designing the $80 million building. It's scheduled to open in 2016. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a praiseworthy collaboration."
The reforestation process is underway at the Cleveland Metroparks' new Acacia Reservation in Lyndhurst. It may take 40 years for the 155-acre park to mature. A Sun News editorial called it "exactly the best outcome for the Acacia property."
The U.S. Census Bureau published its annual population estimates for incorporated places, covering the period between July 2011 and July 2012. The data showed that the nation's large cities grew faster than their suburbs for the second consecutive year and experienced accelerated growth rates. The figures also showed that the fastest-growing large cities were in the South and West.
All of Ohio's major cities, with the exception of Columbus, lost population between 2011 and 2012. Cleveland's estimated population fell from 392,694 to 390,928, a 0.4% decrease. Figures for all Cuyahoga County communities are available.
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.
In their new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, co-authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube "paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it." The book explores the reasons behind the growth of suburban poverty in the United States and offers examples of promising policy models to address the issue. Their research presents profiles of metropolitan areas, including Greater Cleveland (PDF), and they highlight the challenges facing the City of Lakewood. Meanwhile, the Urban Institute posted a mapping tool that displays changes in poverty and race in metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2010.
18 July 2013
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.
Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examined urban decline in Rust Belt cities, and included a closer exploration of the changes in Greater Cleveland. Another report from the Federal Reserve Bank offered an analysis of housing policy "areas that merit careful consideration in Ohio" and "identified some opportunities for Ohio to improve its ability to deal with foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties."
The federally-funded Wildwood Lacustrine Refuge Stream and Wetland Restoration Project in Cleveland is in its final stages. The Euclid Creek Watershed Program Partners planned a July 10 celebration, but it was rescheduled due to inclement weather, and will now be a part of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District's annual Conservation Day on September 21.
For the first time, the League of American Bicyclists included Cleveland in its list (PDF) of Bicycle Friendly Communities, awarding the city a bronze-level designation. Bike Cleveland's Jacob VanSickle celebrated the announcement, but noted that much work remains. Marc Lefkowitz said that "Cleveland needs to 'name and claim' bike progress." Meanwhile, the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy produced a video about how "Cleveland is riding the bike boom all the way back to prosperity."
Update: the League of American Bicyclists published a community feedback report for Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed investing $7 million from the County's Casino Revenue Development Fund to support three downtown Cleveland projects. He recommended supplying $4 million for planned Playhouse Square improvements, $1.5 million for the second phase of the Flats east bank project, and $1.5 million for the residential conversion of the East Ohio Building. County council approved the two latter proposals.
The NOACA Governing Board adopted Connections+ 2035, the five-county agency's long-range transportation plan. It "proposes $9 billion in major transportation investments to meet the needs of the traveling public" and emphasizes the need to maintain the region's existing transportation infrastructure. The previous plan was approved in 2009.
With the completion of the Ernst & Young Tower at the Flats east bank project, Crain's Cleveland Business looked at the potential for more office tower construction in downtown Cleveland.
Developer Andrew Brickman of Abode changed his plans for redeveloping the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property in Fairview Park, dropping his proposal for townhouses and proposing a new 60,000- to 80,000-square-foot office building. The concept requires approval from the Cleveland Metroparks, who control an easement on the property. A residential-to-office rezoning is also needed, which voters will decide in November.
The renovation of Victory Center (formerly the Victory Building and the Arts Building) in Midtown is scheduled to be finished this month. The 150,000 square-foot building at 7012 Euclid Avenue is being marketed to biomedical and technology companies. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA declared that brownfield remediation was completed at the adjacent 2.16-acre 7000 Euclid Avenue site.
Plans for senior housing developments:
- Brecksville residents may vote on a rezoning for a proposed 91,000-square-foot assisted living facility on 3.5-acre Brecksville Road property adjacent to St. Basil the Great Catholic Church.
- A proposed assisted and independent living facility at Broadview and Akins roads in Broadview Heights would provide 101 units on a six-acre site.
- The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority recently celebrated the opening of its new Lee-Miles Senior Building. It provides 40 units of affordable senior housing.
- A groundbreaking ceremony for the Garnett Health Campus in Fairview Park was held on July 16. Construction of the 118-bed skilled nursing facility on Lorain Road is expected to take about one year.
- Parma City Council approved a rezoning for a three-story apartment building on Huffman Road near Stumph Road. The building would offer 125 units for independent seniors. The Parma Planning Commission approved plans for the 5½-acre property, and the Board of Zoning Appeals approved five zoning variances.
- A local developer is using the initiative process to place a rezoning on the ballot in Strongsville. They hope to build a $10 million senior housing development on Howe Road at Tracy Lane.
In its annual report on foreclosures, the Ohio Supreme Court said that foreclosure filings in Ohio decreased by 1.5% in 2012. In Cuyahoga County, the figure fell from 11,544 in 2011 to 11,427 in 2012, a 1.0% decrease, but still the largest number in the state. Policy Matters Ohio used the data in its annual foreclosure report. It said that "Ohio foreclosures remain at crisis levels" and that the "number of filings remained more than four times higher than it was in the mid-1990s." Meanwhile, Slate published an excerpt of Edward McClelland's Nothin' but Blue Skies about the origins of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood.
Residential project roundup:
- Local developer Abode proposed building luxury condominiums near the intersection of Cahoon and Wolf roads in Bay Village. In order to proceed, it needs a rezoning to be approved by City Council and by voters. Mayor Sutherland said it should be tax-abated, and City Council is considering the proposal.
- Construction is underway at two apartment buildings in Beachwood. Work on the new Commerce Park Apartments began in May, and it will offer 318 units at Chagrin Boulevard and Green Road. Construction of new apartments at the Four Seasons is also underway, and the new four-story building near Beachwood Place will include 141 units.
- In Brecksville, developers revived plans for the Woodlands of Snowville subdivision. The Brecksville Planning Commission approved plans for phases 1 and 1A, which call for 55 single-family houses on a 60-acre property at Snowville and Dewey roads.
- Plans for the Hidden Hills subdivision, also in Brecksville, are back underway after a multi-year delay. The plans for the development at Hillsdale and Parkview drive call for building 46 units.
- Conversion of the former Embassy Suites hotel at Reserve Square will add 218 units to downtown Cleveland's supply of apartments.
- Mariner's Watch is a planned high-end apartment building on Detroit Avenue between West 30th and 32nd streets. Developers anticipate that the four-story, 62-unit building will open in fall 2014. An earlier proposal called for developing condominiums on the site.
- Construction of the Langston at Cleveland State University is scheduled to be finished by August 1. Its first 100 apartments opened last year, and the completed project will include 318 units.
- Work is underway on the Trailside Slavic Village subdivision in Cleveland. The development between Aetna Road, East 71st Street, and East 72nd Street is slated to include 95 single-family houses, townhouses, and cottages. Meanwhile, the Ohio EPA announced that brownfield remediation has been completed at the Morgana East property.
- Local developers unveiled plans for the University Place townhouses, a 20-unit for-sale development on East 118th Street in University Circle. Another Cleveland developer plans to convert a building at Euclid Avenue and East 115th Street into housing for Cleveland Institute of Art students.
- Plans for the five-unit second phase of the Clifton Pointe townhouses were approved by review boards and Lakewood City Council. The City also approved a 10-year, 100% tax abatement. Construction is expected to begin shortly.
- The Strongsville Planning Commission okayed two Pulte Homes projects. Developers in Strongsville are seeking approval for several housing subdivisions.
Building upon its earlier Dashboard of Economic Indicators, the Fund for Our Economic Future issued its What Matters to Metros report, an analysis of 115 metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2011. It's intended to "help community leaders identify factors that are associated with economic growth in mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas in a post-recession economy," and noted that "growth is not a one-size-fits-all proposition for America's mid-sized metros." Deborah Hoover of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation said that "the data clearly indicates that it is not enough for our economic strategies to focus merely on job creation."
30 June 2013
The 12-county Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium introduced its "business as usual" scenario and hosted a series of public workshops. The "business as usual" scenario presented a vision of how the region would look in 2040 if current development patterns continue. It said that urban sprawl combined with flat population figures would lead to the abandonment of 10.5% of the region's housing stock. Research by Tom Bier of Cleveland State reached a similar conclusion. Nearly 600 people attended the six public workshops, participating in several planning exercises. A Plain Dealer editorial noted that "there's still time to reverse course."
The scenario planning exercise continued with the release of ImagineMyNEO, an interactive tool built on the open-source CrowdGauge framework. It places users in the role of a regional planner, asking them to identify their priorities for the region, select policies and practices, and allot limited resources. The NEOSCC will hold more open houses and workshops later this year.
NOACA conducted an evaluation of its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) program (PDF). The report examined the program's accomplishments and shortcomings, and made recommendations for improving its effectiveness.
West Life looked at how Lakewood's Birdtown neighborhood has become home to independent businesses and an urban farm. Lakewood City Council is considering a proposal to create a mixed use zoning overlay for the neighborhood.
Update: residents and city officials discussed neighborhood issues at a community meeting.
In the annual State of the Air report from the American Lung Association, Cuyahoga County again received an F for its ozone levels, and its grade for 24-hour particulate levels improved to a C. The report ranked the eight-county Cleveland metropolitan area as having the nation's 20th-highest levels of year-round particulate pollution, an improvement over last year's 14th-place ranking. The area experienced a spike in the number of poor air quality days in 2012, but both the region and the country generally have seen increases in air quality.
The first annual report of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities, commonly known as SC2, says that its "teams are helping each pilot city to think more creatively about how programs could better work together to help achieve local goals, and they are learning lessons and testing new approaches that have national applicability." Cleveland is one of seven cities participating in the program. HUD also selected a consortium to operate the SC2 National Resource Network.
Parma's Stearns Homestead is partnering with Cleveland Crops to establish a 17-acre urban farm at the historic site. The farm will grow fruits and vegetables, and will be the largest of Cleveland Crops' eight urban farms.
29 May 2013
Mayor Summers of Lakewood and Mayor Clough of Westlake participated in a recent League of Women Voters forum (PDF) on regionalism. While they agreed on some aspects like service delivery, they offered different views on topics like tax-base sharing and the role of the central city.
Tony Hull, a planner helping to develop Cleveland's bike sharing plans, said that the City "can no longer claim the mantle of being first. At this point, it would be better served to get it right."
The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt drew connections between a series of seemingly-unrelated headlines to outline the "compelling overall narrative" of Northeast Ohio as a region "at odds with itself as it tries to figure out how to meet the 21st century."
Cleveland City Council approved transferring management of Cleveland Lakefront State Park to the Cleveland Metroparks (PDF). The 99-year lease agreement covers Wildwood, Villa Angela, Euclid Beach, Gordon, and Edgewater parks and the East 55th Street Marina, plus the transfer of $14 million in state funding to the Metroparks.
Update: the Cleveland Metroparks Commissioners approved a step toward completing the transfer. Endorsement of the final agreement is expected in June.
In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Jim Rokakis described the region's problems with abandoned houses and presented the arguments for a strategic demolition program.
The latest report on job sprawl by Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution said that the recession "helped drive a slight uptick in urban core job share in more than half of the nation's largest metro areas between 2007 and 2010." However, job sprawl was more pronounced in the five-county Greater Cleveland area (PDF) from 2000 to 2010. Of the nation's 100 largest metro areas, Greater Cleveland had the 19th-highest share of jobs located in outer-ring communities.
The Housing Research & Advocacy Center issued two of its yearly reports. The 2013 State of Fair Housing in Northeast Ohio (PDF) said that 2012 was the fourth consecutive year with a decline in the number of housing discrimination complaints, but estimated "that there are annually at least 33,690 instances of housing discrimination" in Greater Cleveland. Its Racial & Ethnic Disparities in 2011 Ohio Mortgage Lending (PDF) report said that "African Americans and Hispanics continue to have limited access to fair and equal credit."
Leaders in Strongsville hope that funding from the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission will be used to build more noise barriers along the Ohio Turnpike and Interstate 71. In addition, a Strongsville city councilman says that the City should pursue funding for a new highway interchange at I-71 and Boston Road.
While skeptics have questioned whether the phase two casino in downtown Cleveland will ever be built, City officials are confident it will proceed. Casino owner Dan Gilbert dismissed critics in a series of tweets and at a Positively Cleveland meeting. He said that it's currently in the design stage, but wouldn't reveal details.
27 May 2013
Voters in Broadview Heights and Solon passed zoning issues in the May 7 primary election. Issue 1 in Broadview Heights established a a conversion corridor along Royalton Road, and Issue 2 in Broadview Heights created the Town Center Special Planning District. (The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt recently critiqued the town center plans.) In Solon, Issue 8 rezoned a 2.5-acre parcel from retail to office and Issue 9 rezoned a 5.7-acre property for an auto dealer expansion. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has complete election results.
Meanwhile, Lorain County voters rejected a countywide transit levy. The County will return more than $1.5 million in unused federal transportation funding because it has not fulfilled its 20% local match.