high-performing charter school signs lease to expand into ohio city

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Near West Intergenerational School (NWIS), a public charter school that aims to serve families on Cleveland’s near-west side, will open this fall inside of Ohio City’s Garrett MorganSchool of Science.”The location in the heart of Ohio City will draw kids from the neighborhood, and many families will be able to walk to school,” says Debbie Fisher, the school’s recently hired Principal. “Cleveland has a huge need for quality, high-performing schools, and we really believe in bringing this model to kids and families.”

NWIS is being modeled after The Intergenerational School (TIS), a high-performing charter school in the Larchmere-Shaker Square neighborhood of Cleveland. In 2009, TIS received a $250,000 grant to replicate its model. After being recruited by members of the Ohio City Babysitting Co-op, a group of parents that exchange sits, TIS decided to open a new school on the near-west side.

There was one small problem, however: they didn’t yet have a building. Racing against an August 2011 deadline, NWIS staff, board members and volunteers filed the necessary paperwork with the State of Ohio to create a new charter school, created a board of directors, worked furiously to gain sponsorship by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and negotiated for space.

When it opens, NWIS will be the first charter school to be housed inside a CMSD school. The agreement has not been without controversy — the Cleveland Teachers Union urged CMSD to reject the agreement, stating that it would divide the community, and two CMSD board members voted against it.

Charter schools in Ohio are publicly funded yet privately managed, and their relationship with CMSD has been anything but cozy over the years. Nonetheless, Fisher says school leaders have been helpful throughout the entire process.

“Their attorneys turned around our agreement in one week,” she says. “There are some really good staff at CMSD that helped make this happen. They see what we’re doing as complementing their efforts to create new and innovative schools.”

Fisher recently spent an hour touring Garrett Morgan and talking with the custodian, and she found it to be in excellent condition. “It’s a beautiful building,” she says. “It has a 600-seat auditorium, and there are no broken seats.”

Source: Debbie Fisher
Writer: Lee Chilcote

effective leaders are needed for public schools to thrive, says outgoing ceo

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Interim Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) CEO Peter Raskind, who is being replaced by Chief Academic Officer Eric Gordon, offered some parting thoughts on improving urban education at a forum last week on underperforming schools.

Introducing himself as “the lamest of lame ducks,” Raskind told the audience at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs that quality urban schools are critical to reducing inequality. Then he evaluated two concepts that are often mentioned by the left and right as single solutions to the woes of public education: more money and more competition.

“Will more money help? No, not alone,” he asserted. While the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) laid off hundreds of teachers and staff this year, Raskind does not believe more resources alone would improve performance.

On the subject of fostering competition, he stated that “some competition is helpful, and charter schools and other competitors have induced what I like to call a ‘positive discomfort’ among schools. At the end of the day, we do have to compete — yet alone, competition won’t solve our problems.”

The answer, Raskind said, is effective leadership. He cited Apple and General Motors as examples of two large companies that came back from the brink of destruction to flourish after being led by strong leaders.

Yet urban schools face a critical challenge in attracting good leaders because “leaders are drawn to environments where they can apply their talents to full effect, and repulsed by environments where they feel they’ll be stymied,” he said.

“How can we attract the best principals to our schools, when they don’t have control of who they’ll be able to hire?” Raskind asked the audience.

Raskind closed by drawing a comparison between urban schools and another industry that’s been in the news a lot lately. “Like the auto industry, urban schools are also in a long slow decline,” he said. “And labor and management are locked into complex, rigid agreements that don’t function well in today’s world.”

“Our customers are defecting to more nimble and attractive competitors, particularly charter schools,” he continued. “And like the auto industry, labor and management will go down together unless changes are made.”

Source: Peter Raskind
Writer: Lee Chilcote

head of csu’s theatre department is thrilled to join playhousesquare

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Cleveland State University’s Factory Theatre is so often booked that students have to schedule rehearsals late at night. While department chair Michael Mauldinbemoans his program’s outdated facilities, he realizes that it’s a good problem to have.

Before Mauldin was hired in 2006 to breathe new life into the moribund Dramatic Arts Program, the school had only 21 majors. Campus officials had even considered canceling it. Today,CSU’s theatre program boasts 85 majors — and counting.

“We’re poised to become a destination theatre program in the coming years,” Mauldin predicts. “That’s not hubris — there’s some very solid work being produced here.”

Mauldin is especially excited about CSU’s imminent move to the three new stages at the newly renovated and expanded Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. When the theatre opens in September, CSU will share it with Cleveland Play House, which is relocating from its long-standing home near the Cleveland Clinic.

“Currently, we only have one performance stage in an old textile factory,” explains Mauldin. “We’re moving to a 500-seat, state-of-the-art theatre inside the Allen, a 290-seat flex space and a 150-seat black box theatre. It’s a dream of a space.”

Mauldin also lauded the renovation of the Middough Building on East 13th Street, which will feature classrooms, studios and rehearsal halls. “Instead of stepping over each other, we can have concurrent activities going on,” he says.

Although CSU’s program is already strong (Mauldin reports that 95 percent of its graduates are either working or attending graduate school in the field) it will only get better by being part of PlayhouseSquare.

“We’re part of the city, whose theatrical life is so vibrant,” he says. “There’s so much promise and potential to live up to.”

Source: Michael Mauldin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

gardenwalk cleveland will highlight city’s urban flowers, fruits & farms

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Buffalo is better known for its long, snowy winters than its flowering gardens. Yet last year, GardenWalk Buffalo, a free self-guided tour that bills itself as the largest garden tour in America, attracted an estimated 45,000 people to 300-plus gardens.

After learning about GardenWalk Buffalo from a Plain Dealer article last summer, Clevelanders Jan Kious and Bobbi Reichtell decided to make the trek northeast. Walking around the city and talking to its impassioned urban gardeners soon changed their views of the city. They returned to Cleveland inspired to create a GardenWalk event locally.

Those seeds first sown in Buffalo will bear fruit this Saturday, June 25th, when the first GardenWalk Cleveland takes place. It will feature over 100 residential flower gardens as well as community gardens, urban farms, vineyards and orchards sprinkled throughout four Cleveland neighborhoods: Detroit Shoreway, Harvard/Lee/Miles, Hough and Tremont. Each community will have a headquarters where visitors can find car parking, bike parking, restrooms, water and maps.

In addition to highlighting Cleveland’s efforts to create greener, healthier neighborhoods, organizers hope the event will also break down east/west and black/white divisions by bringing together people that love gardening.

Citing the diverse, grassroots group that came together to organize the event as a harbinger of success, Reichtell stated in a release, “This is a shining example of the connections that gardens and greening work create in Cleveland,” she said. “Both Clevelanders and visitors from outside the city will love getting a behind-the-scenes look at gardens and farms in Cleveland’s neighborhoods.”

Source: GardenWalk Cleveland
Writer: Lee Chilcote

noodlecat to bring ramen renaissance downtown

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Ramen noodles may have been the late-night snack that powered you through finals in college, but they’ve come a long way since you left the dorms.

From Portland to New York’s East Village, contemporary noodle houses have been springing up with abandon in recent years, offering tasty, affordable dishes that fuse Japanese and American ingredients.

Now award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer, owner of Greenhouse Tavern, is opening Noodlecat, a modern noodle house in downtown Cleveland. The 83-seat restaurant, located around the corner from East Fourth Street on Euclid, will offer traditional and modern Japanese noodle dishes from $10 to $14.

Much like the Greenhouse Tavern, Sawyer plans to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, with the vegetarian-based noodles made by Cleveland-based Ohio City Pasta. Sawyer is also angling for Noodlecat to become the second certified green restaurant in Ohio (the first being Greenhouse). The Green Restaurant Association certifies establishments ‘green’ based on such criteria as water efficiency, waste reduction, energy use and sustainable food offerings.

Inspired by the creativity of other noodle houses, Sawyer even sent staffers to train at New York’s famed Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village.

Diners can grab a sneak peek of Noodlecat during the Brick & Mortar restaurant pop-ups taking place June 21 through 24. Chef Chris Hodgson of the popular food truck Dim and Den Sum, and national food celebrity Lee Anne Wong will be the featured chefs. The restaurant pop-up concept has gained popularity recently as an affordable way for chefs to test new concepts.

Noodlecat, which is located at 240 Euclid Avenue, will hold its grand opening party on July 11th.

Source: Noodlecat
Writer: Lee Chilcote

midtown leaders say health tech corridor is gaining momentum

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When construction finally wrapped up in 2008 on the Euclid Corridor, civic leaders felt triumphant. The $200 million project to redevelop crumbling Euclid Avenue — once dubbed “Millionaire’s Row” for its opulent, turn-of-the-century mansions — would spur economic development and connect downtown with University Circle, they believed.Then the global recession hit. Banks stopped lending, businesses halted expansion plans and the nation slid into a great recession. The once-tangible vision of attracting health care and tech companies to the sparkling boulevard seemed like the stuff of dreams.

Yet at MidTown Cleveland‘s recent annual meeting, civic leaders touted recent developments showing the vaunted Health Tech Corridor is gradually becoming a reality. The Euclid Corridor has created “a globally competitive environment to attract and grow biomedical, health care and medical supply chain businesses in Midtown and beyond,” MidTown’s annual report stated.

Recent accomplishments include breaking ground on the Midtown Tech Park at Euclid and East 69th, with the help of a $3.5 million Jobs Ready Sites grant; earning a designation as an Ohio “Hub of Innovation and Opportunity” along with $250,000 in funding to implement an action plan for the Health Tech Corridor; seeing the expansion of longstanding businesses such as Pierre’s Ice Cream; and spurring the addition of new businesses like Ziska Architects, which relocated from Solon to the historic Gifford House at 3047 Prospect Avenue.

MidTown Cleveland says it’s no surprise that businesses are investing here, given the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown Cleveland, University Circle and the Cleveland Clinic. Other reasons behind the growth of the area include access to talent and research at nearby institutions and opportunities to collaborate with world-class health care and academic institutions in technology development.

Source: MidTown Cleveland, Inc.
Writer: Lee Chilcote

effort to open lower level of det-sup bridge up for coveted award

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
For decades, the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge supported the streetcars that shuttled Cleveland commuters across town. More recently, the rarely seen space has become a unique and beloved public gathering space.

In 2009, the two-day Bridge Project reopened the space to the public for one of the first times, attracting some 20,000 people. The offbeat festival of music and art featured a design charrette that solicited input for making the bridge more accessible and friendly to the public. More recently, the space has played host to Ingenuity Fest.

Those who do tour the half-mile walkway are treated to breathtaking views of downtown, the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. There were also tantalizing remnants of Cleveland history: segments of old streetcar track, an historic subway station, and a watery pool fed from a natural spring in the hillside.

Now a new effort is underway to open the bridge to the public year-round. Organizers envision a bicycle and pedestrian link that bridges downtown and Ohio City, a performance venue and an authentic connection to Cleveland’s past.

Led by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), James Levin and the Cuyahoga County Engineer, the Bridge Project has been nominated for a coveted “This Place Matters” award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Voting takes place between June 1st and June 30th. Currently, the Bridge Project is number five out of 100 projects that made the first cut.

“Since the voting started, we’ve moved from 40th place to 6th place, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be one of the three finalists to receive funding,” says David Jurca, Urban Designer at the CUDC. “We plan to use the funding to match a grant we’ve received from the Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLCI) program that will allow us to plan and design the future of the space.”

A community-driven effort is now underway to move the project into one of the top spots. First prize is $35,000; second prize is $10,000; and third prize is $5,000.

Source: David Jurca
Writer: Lee Chilcote

$75k grant will help propel detroit-superior bridge project

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Planners envision the enclosed lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge as a half-mile pedestrian and bicycle connector, gathering space and performance venue that brings Cleveland together.

Yet to transform the space — which historically served as a thoroughfare for streetcars traveling between downtown and Ohio City — it first needs to be made more accessible. Currently the entrances are difficult to find and there is no signage.

Accessibility will be one focus of a Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLCI) study by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). The CUDC was recently awarded a $75,000 TLCI grant for the planning and development study, and is currently raising matching funds to get the project underway. The group hopes to eventually open the bridge to the public year-round.

“What would it take to make the lower level of the bridge a great space for the public?” asks David Jurca, Urban Designer with the CUDC. “That’s the question we’ll be trying to answer through our planning process.”

Barriers to the bridge’s redevelopment include lack of handicap accessibility, lack of amenities such as benches, public art and viewing platforms, and the need for safety features such as retention walls to address natural flooding.

Yet Jurca cautions that planners intend to leave the bridge’s historic features mostly as is. “As a public space, we need to ensure it functions well for most people, yet we don’t want to make it dull or lose its edge,” he says. “Part of the appeal of the space is the sense of being off limits, and we need to retain that.”

As an example, he cites the fact that parts of the walkway have metal grates that allow passers-by to peer straight down to the Cuyahoga River hundreds of feet below. “Some people are uncomfortable with that, while others find it thrilling.”

The CUDC will also complete a market study to determine how the project could create spin-off development opportunities in surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to serving as a weather-resistant connector between downtown and Ohio City, planners hope that the project can help “bridge” the great east-west divide.

“The bridge is a metaphorical connection between the two sides of the river,” says Jurca. “The best part is no one owns it, so it’s a neutral space.”

Source: David Jurca
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new farmers market to help quench urban food desert

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Since Veronica Walton created an urban farm on Ansel Road several years ago, she’s been asked countless times about her lush, bountiful plots: “I’m looking for a job,” some would say. “Can I work here?”

When asked such questions, Walton, who is the Director of the nonprofit NEO Restoration Alliance, would extol the virtues of urban farming. She explained the difference between community gardens and urban farmers, who sell their crops to customers via local farmers markets. Yet until recently, she’s been unable to point to a truly local example where small-scale farmers could sell their harvest.

That’s about to change. This summer, Gateway105 Farmers Market will launch at the intersection of East 105th and Ashbury streets. The market will provide the Glenville, Hough and University Circle neighborhoods with fresh, locally grown food. It will also feature work by local artists, complementary family activities, musical performances and free health screenings from local institutions.

Organizers of the market, which kicks off on Friday, July 1st and runs every Friday through October, hope to reach local residents and University Circle employees who shop for groceries before heading home from work.

The farmers market was organized by NEO Restoration Alliance and the Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit community development organization that serves the Glenville and Hough neighborhoods and develops affordable and market-rate housing.

“This is about building a community of individuals that learn to develop entrepreneurial skills, while providing a service to the community at the same time,” says Walton.

Source: Veronica Walton
Writer: Lee Chilcote

once-grand east boulevard apartment buildings get second wind

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The apartment buildings that line East Boulevard in Glenville boast stunning architectural details such as ornate columns, artisan brickwork and broad balconies that overlook Rockefeller Park. They attest to the wealth that once existed on this grand old street.Yet for decades, East Boulevard has deteriorated as owners struggled with a soft market, much-needed repairs and soaring energy costs. Despite its proximity to University Circle and Rockefeller Park, the area was long considered “dicey.”

Now two apartment buildings have been purchased and renovated by the Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit that serves the Glenville and Hough neighborhoods by developing affordable and market-rate housing. The group has renovated 1341 East Boulevard into six apartments, each with three bedrooms and two baths. All six suites have been pre-leased, with the first tenants taking possession in July.

Although the building’s exterior has been carefully preserved — the massive columns holding up the porches were rebuilt to match the crumbling originals — much of the interior is new. The developer installed new heating, plumbing and electrical systems, replaced the old kitchens with fresh contemporary ones, added amenities like in-suite laundry, and upped storage space.

Also, many of the exquisite original details have been refurbished — including oak hardwood floors, leaded-glass windows, fireplaces (many suites have two) and natural woodwork.

David Fagerhaug, Senior Project Manager with the Famicos Foundation and a resident of East Boulevard, says that the 2,000-square-foot apartments lease for $825 per month. Although he’d like to get higher rents, he says it’s a good sign that the tenants are frequently professionals and University Circle employees.

The renovation of 1341 East Boulevard was made possible using federal historic tax credits, a $600,000 grant from the City of Cleveland’s Housing Trust Fund and $188,000 in federal stimulus funding. Fagerhaug says that he’d like to see more buildings renovated along the street, and to see rents increase so that public subsidy is not needed to justify renovation costs.

The project was also aided by a low interest rate loan from Dollar Bank in partnership with Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH), a nonprofit whose mission is to spur neighborhood revitalization through home repair lending.

Source: David Fagerhaug
Writer: Lee Chilcote

end of an era for seitz-agin hardware, a heights fixture for 56 years

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Joel Borwick has owned Seitz-Agin Hardware in Cleveland Heights for 38 of the store’s 56 years. To loyal customers, he and his staff are well-known for dispensing home repair tips, doling out contractor referrals, and selling only what shoppers need.

The store has proudly survived the onslaught of big box stores. When Home Depot and Wal-Mart opened at nearby Severance, Seitz-Agin trundled on, propelled by a loyal fan base and friendly personal service. Years of customer appreciation awards and press clippings from local publications adorn the walls.

Now, after decades as a fixture on Lee Road, Seitz-Again will close its doors for good on June 18th. Borwick has inked a deal to sell the building to Heights merchant Bill Mitchell, who owns Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates just down the block.

In the end, it wasn’t the big box stores that did the shop in, explains Borwick. Ultimately, it was the economic downturn and change in consumer buying habits that bested Borwick. The store began losing money several years ago when its contractor business dropped off. When the housing market stalled, many contractors were out of work.

Today’s homeowners also prefer to hire contractors rather than fix up homes themselves. And they look online first for products, Borwick says. This shift has made it tough for small hardware stores to keep their doors open.

Since news broke about Seitz-Agin’s departure, a steady stream of customers have stopped by each day to purchase one last can of paint or tube of caulk, and to wish Borwick and his staff well and thank them for their years of service.

Mitchell says he hopes to find a new tenant for the Seitz-Agin storefront by Labor Day.

Source: Seitz-Agin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

one-of-a-kind show offers views of cle music scene from 60s to present

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has secured Cleveland’s place in rock history, yet many of the legendary performances enshrined there would be lost forever without the artful eye of music photographers.

Now a new exhibition, entitled “Visual Music: Northeast Ohio Photographers Look at Rock and Roll,” celebrates these unsung historians of the music scene. It opens with a reception on Saturday, June 11th at the Waterloo Road Gallery and runs through Saturday, June 25th, when it wraps up with an all-day open house during the Waterloo Arts Festival.

The first-of-its-kind show includes work by George Shuba, a photographer who captured the Beatles and the Rolling Stones when they played here in the 1960s; Bob Ferrell, Stephanie Saniga and Anastasia Pantsios, who shot local stages in the 1970s when Cleveland was considered a “breakout” market for many major artists; Karen Novak, who dodged stage divers and braved sweaty mosh pits to capture the underground shows of the Euclid Tavern in the 1990s; and Bryon Miller, who has shot many of the most creative bands playing today.

“Visual Music,” which was curated by longtime music photographer and journalist Anastasia Pantsios, includes work by a dozen photographers. In a press release, Pantsios expounded on the breadth of this unprecedented exhibit.

“All of these artists have created distinctive bodies of work, many of which have never been exhibited in a gallery setting,” she said. “With over 200 prints, this is the largest survey of local music photography ever seen.”

Source: Anastasia Pantsios
Writer: Lee Chilcote


national rowing championship to be held at new rivergate park

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Cleveland rowers know the Cuyahoga River offers one of the most interesting and challenging race courses anywhere. Beneath the backdrop of the Terminal Tower, gritty piles of gravel, and lift bridges stained with a patina of rust, rowers navigate five major twists and turns, including an S-shaped curve, before reaching the finish line.

Soon, a national rowing audience will be exposed to these challenges too. At last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $3 million Rivergate Park on the Columbus Road peninsula in the Flats, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Cleveland Rowing Foundation announced that they have partnered with USRowing to create a national championship rowing competition.

The first USRowing Masters Head Race National Championship is set for September 16th, 2012 on the Cuyahoga River. Rowers will race in 5,000-meter sweep (one-oar) and sculling (two-oar) competitions.

In a press release, USRowing stated that Cleveland was a natural choice for the inaugural event due to its central location, challenging course and the community’s history of support of amateur and national sporting events.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission CEO David Gilbert touted the economic impact that the rowing event would bring to the community. The sports commission has said that it has brought $300 million in economic activity to Northeast Ohio since it was created.

Source: Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Cleveland Rowing Foundation, USRowing
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new sustainability managers at cleveland’s ‘eds and meds’ help green-up neo

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
It’s a well known fact that institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals are growth engines in Cleveland’s economy these days. A lesser-known fact is that these institutions and others have emerged as leaders in greening Northeast Ohio’s economy.In recent months, Case, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, Tri-C, Kent State, Oberlin College, Cleveland State University and the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at Case’s Weatherhead School of Management have all hired Sustainability Managers.

It’s a sign that sustainability efforts — once the domain of graduate students, volunteer committees or a staff person whose responsibilities were already stretched — have infiltrated the culture of these organizations. These full-time staffers are responsible for implementing sustainable business practices.

Take University Hospitals (UH) as one example. Aparna Bole, a staff doctor, recently replaced an all- volunteer team that has led efforts for several years. She is now working to develop a sustainability plan, add two additional full-time staff people, and ensure that all new UH buildings meet EnergyStar standards (a 15-percent energy use reduction when compared to typical construction).

Cleveland State University (CSU) has also ramped up its sustainability efforts. Recently, CSU President Ronald Berkman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, requiring that CSU develop a carbon reduction goal and track carbon emissions from  buildings. Nathan Engstrom, CSU’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator, is responsible for leading these efforts.

The new hires indicate that Sustainable Cleveland 2019, an effort launched by the city of Cleveland and environmental groups to make Cleveland a model of sustainability, is taking root in some pretty big places.

Source: Green City Blue Lake
Writer: Lee Chilcote

artist-based development goes well beyond gallery walls to build community

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
A recent study by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) examines where artists are living in Northeast Ohio. Perhaps it’s no surprise that artists tend to populate urban neighborhoods where they can find spacious, affordable housing (including space for studios), walkable streets, diversity and public spaces that foster social interaction.The report shows that Cleveland Heights is Northeast Ohio’s top community for artists — collectively, the Cedar-Fairmount, Coventry, Severance, Forest Hills, Cedar-Lee and Shaker Square neighborhoods contain 19.4 percent of the region’s artists. Other artist-rich neighborhoods include Little Italy/University Circle, Lakewood and Detroit Shoreway.

Yet CPAC’s report, entitled “Putting Artists on the Map,” also suggests that successful artist-based community development is about more than just counting galleries or lofts where artists congregate. Artist-based development builds relationships between artists and community members, fostering lasting ties that fuel the artist’s creativity while aiding the neighborhood’s redevelopment.

“Artist-based community development is more than opening an art gallery or having an artist move into a neighborhood,” CPAC’s report states. “This type of development involves the creation of a more organic relationship between artists and their neighbors.”

“This can mean a neighborhood takes steps to identify its hidden arts and culture assets by finding its gathering places and influential figures. Artists can be engaged by making beautiful and interesting public spaces and help unite residents in the process.”

The report suggests that neighborhoods like Cleveland Heights, University Circle and Detroit Shoreway should gear their community development programs and policies towards promoting artist-based community development. This spring, CPAC launched its own Artist Community Development Initiative.

To complete the analysis, CPAC mined the databases of large arts organizations such as the Ohio Arts Council to determine where artists live.

Source: CPAC
Writer: Lee Chilcote

salty not sweet boutique adds dash of spice to ohio city’s market district

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Salty Not Sweet, an independent boutique and letterpress studio, opened this month in a storefront on West 25th Street in Ohio City. It is one of several new businesses that have opened this year in the Market District, adding to a redevelopment trend in the area.

The store, which first opened a year ago in the Waterloo Arts District, features unique wares that are carefully sourced by co-owner Candra Squire, including merchandise from Megan Lee Designs (a screen-printed clothing line from Chicago) and Helen Pe (a Brooklyn artist who makes tiny original drawings in ring settings).

The new Salty Not Sweet also features vintage goods. In fact, most of the shop displays are made from vintage materials, including old soda crates, refinished furniture and tea cups that are all for sale.

The new location is primed to become a local crafters’ paradise. Co-owner Melissa Major makes soap, candles and original lines of handmade home and body goods in a studio in the back of the store. Customers can watch Major work while they browse the store’s offerings. The “Salty girls” promise to add public workshops that will be taught by area artists and crafters in the coming months.

Co-owner Candra Squire came up with the name “Salty Not Sweet” when a friend asked her to describe her work a few years ago, and it stuck. In addition to representing out-of-state artists, the shop offers Squire’s original, tongue-in-cheek greeting cards (which are plenty salty, and not at all sweet).

Salty Not Sweet is located at 2074 West 25th Street.

Source: Salty Not Sweet
Writer: Lee Chilcote

old brooklyn’s pop-up pearl will help residents imagine a more vibrant future

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Old Brooklyn has long been considered a hidden gem by its residents. Minutes from downtown and within walking distance of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the neighborhood boasts quiet, tree-lined streets and a bevy of independent shops and friendly taverns.Yet neighborhood advocates are hoping it won’t be a well-kept secret much longer. That’s why they’ve organized Pop Up Pearl, a one day block party that will fill the empty storefronts on Pearl Avenue with shops, entertainment and food vendors, and invited their neighbors to join in the festivities.

The event, which is modeled after the Better Block project in Dallas, Texas, is intended to act as a living charrette that allows visitors, residents and property owners to imagine a more vibrant future for Old Brooklyn’s downtown. They’re also hoping to attract investment after the party is over.

Pop Up Pearl, which was spearheaded by the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC), takes place on Pearl Road between Wildlife Way and State Road this Saturday, May 21st from noon until dusk. It will include a “complete streets” demonstration, adding temporary bike lanes along Pearl Road. Entertainment from Progressive Arts Alliance and other groups also is planned.

Pop Up Pearl will also feature a youth arts studio with zoo-themed artwork from local nonprofit ArtHouse, artwork fashioned from recycled materials from Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot, and a shop filled with 100 percent locally made goods from Crafty Goodness in Lakewood.

The Better Block project began when a grassroots group transformed a city street in Oak Cliff, Texas into an inclusive, pedestrian- and bike-friendly street. Better Blocks projects “increase the perception of safety in an area, stimulate economic activity in vacant or blighted corridors and help to implement ‘Complete Streets’ projects,” according to the group’s website.

Source: Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Writer: Lee Chilcote

luna bakery and cafe to begin selling sweet, sweet inventory in cleveland heights

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Flour Girl” Bridget Cavanaugh Thiebault creates artfully decorated cakes, cookies and pastries that are as dreamy to gaze upon as they are to devour. In the past, however, her delectable confections were available only through custom orders or at special events. You practically had to get married to have a taste.That will change later this month when Thiebault opens Luna Bakery and Café in the Cedar-Fairmount district of Cleveland Heights. Partnering with Stone Oven owners Tatyana Rehn and John Emerman, Thiebault has created an intimate, full-service café that will feature Flour Girl’s made-from-scratch pastries, breakfast, lunch and dinner options, and for those who didn’t get invited to the wedding, cake by the slice.

Thiebault lived and worked in New York City and Chicago as a pastry chef, food stylist and culinary consultant before returning to her hometown of Cleveland Heights to launch Flour Girl. Her business began as a creative side project while Thiebault was still living in the Big Apple, but quickly morphed into her main dish and has been going strong ever since.

Thiebault was looking for an opportunity to expand her business into a storefront when she broached the topic with Rehn and Emerman of the popular Stone Oven group of local cafes. The successful owners loved the idea and agreed to help. They promise that Luna will have its own distinctive identity, and won’t try to duplicate Stone Oven’s signature sandwiches, salads and soups.

Luna Bakery and Café will have indoor seating for about 15, with a sidewalk patio during the summer months. It will be open seven days a week and in the evenings.

Luna will be located at 2482 Fairmount Boulevard.

Source: Flour Girl
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new group plan recommendations to redefine downtown for next 100 years

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When Cleveland’s Group Plan was created a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt was President, Tom Johnson was Mayor, and the Rockefeller family still lived in town. Back then, architect Daniel Burnham envisioned a kind of outdoor civic living room that promenaded to the lakefront beneath gracious classical buildings.Needless to say, much has happened since then. Today, Public Square and the Mall are often desolate spaces one must walk through to reach downtown’s bustling centers of gravity — the Warehouse District, East Fourth Street and the Gateway District.

Yet last year, Mayor Frank Jackson convened a group of civic, foundation, corporate and sports leaders to envision a new Group Plan for downtown. With $1.5 billion in physical development either planned or already underway downtown, civic leaders recognized that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be lost if the Medical Mart, casino and other projects weren’t better connected via improved public spaces.

The Group Plan Commission recently released its recommendations, which include radical changes that if implemented would alter Cleveland’s downtown for another 100 years.

Recommendations include removing Ontario Street as an artery through Public Square and allowing East Fourth Street and casino patrons to stroll through a new, signature public space; rebuilding the Mall so that it is transformed into a beautiful park for both visitors and residents; building a pedestrian bridge from the Mall’s northern end to Cleveland’s lakefront; and closing East Third Street between Rockwell and Superior so that it can become a green space and winter skating rink.

The Group Plan Commission is currently updating the plan and preparing to begin raising funds. To have your say, visit the public input stations at City Hall, Cleveland State University and Cleveland Public Library as well as this website.

Source: The Group Plan Commission
Writer: Lee Chilcote

‘pedal for prizes’ riders to cruise for loot through old brooklyn

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Pedal for Prizes is a two-wheeled treasure hunt through Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood that will offer participants a chance to win more than $2,000 worth of prizes simply by visiting neighborhood businesses. The event takes place this Saturday, May 21st at Loew Park.Here’s how it will work: Upon check-in, bicyclists receive a map of 20 destinations and points of interest in Old Brooklyn. While exploring the neighborhood, riders make pit-stops at local landmarks like Michael’s Bakery, Gentile’s Imported Italian Foods, and Jack Frost Donuts, collecting raffle tickets at each one. They’ll return to Loew Park in the afternoon to enter the tickets into a Chinese-style raffle.

Prizes include two new Trek 7000 hybrid bikes, a one-year membership to the downtown branch of the Cleveland YMCA, a $100 Honey Hut Ice Cream gift basket, a $50 gift certificate to Steelyard Commons, and gift certificates to area restaurants.

Organizers say Pedal for Prizes will not only promote Old Brooklyn as a bike-friendly neighborhood that is chock-full of charming local businesses, but also encourage participants to come back for a closer look.

“It gives neighborhood merchants a unique opportunity to bring hundreds of new people from throughout the region into their shops,” says Old Brooklyn resident and event organizer Jeffrey Sugalski. “We hope that they’ll return and become patrons in the future.”

Pedal for Prizes is supported by Neighborhood Connections, a program of the Cleveland Foundation that provides small grants to grassroots community projects.

Loew Park is located at 3121 Oak Park Avenue in Cleveland. The free event begins at 12 pm.

Source: Jeffrey Sugalski
Writer: Lee Chilcote

idyllic italian cultural gardens break ground on expansion

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Joyce Mariani created “Opera in the Garden,” a free outdoor concert that takes place each summer in Rockefeller Park’s Italian Cultural Garden, to celebrate Italian immigrants’ contributions to the city of Cleveland and enliven the 80-year-old public space.

Although Mariani sets up 200 chairs in the idyllic garden, you might want to bring one from home; last year, over 800 people showed up.

“People find something universal in the Italian cultural experience,” says Mariani, Executive Director of the Italian Cultural Gardens Foundation. “And this is an outdoor museum to Italian culture in Cleveland.”

Mariani has launched an ambitious effort to expand the garden according to original, unfinished plans. Now that she has raised more than $465,000 towards the $750,000 fund-raising goal, work has begun on a large statue of Dante and a dedication is planned for the fall. Future plans call for filling an empty quadrant of the garden with a small pantheon, as well.

“It just goes to show that if you believe in something, people will tap into your dream,” Mariani says.

The Italian Cultural Garden was founded in 1930 by Italian-American businessman Philip Garbo. Its prominent features include a column from the Roman Forum and a bust of Virgil that was sent by the Italian government. Garbo’s company, the Italian Fresco and Decorating Company, designed and painted decorative art and frescoes in residences, churches and over 100 theaters, including the Ohio Theatre. The design of the upper garden is taken from the Villa Medici in Rome.

This year’s Opera in the Garden will take place on Sunday, July 31st at 6 p.m.  in the Italian Cultural Garden (990 East Boulevard).

Source: Joyce Mariani
Writer: Lee Chilcote

contemporary housing is attracting empty nesters to historic little italy

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Tucked between University Circle and Cleveland Heights, Little Italy is one of Cleveland’s most charming and historic neighborhoods. Aluminum-sided doubles nestle against modern pastel-colored townhomes, while art galleries and Italian restaurants dot Mayfield and Murray Hill roads.Although Italians no longer are the neighborhood’s predominant ethnic group, much of the real estate is still owned by the Italian families that settled here nearly a century ago. Popular with Case Western Reserve University students and hospital employees, the area’s mix of residents now reflects the diversity of University Circle.

Yet while today’s Little Italy may have “just as many Chinese as Italians,” says Ray Kristosik, Executive Director of the Little Italy Redevelopment Corporation, a new wave of immigrants is arriving on these shores, and they’re less likely to come from Sicily than Mayfield Heights and Solon.

“Empty-nesters are beginning to move back to the area, including Italian-Americans that have family roots in the neighborhood,” he says. “People love its proximity to University Circle, and the fact that while we have development, parts of the Little Italy look just like they did 80 years ago.”

The influx of empty-nesters has been facilitated in part by the development of new and rehabilitated housing. Townhome projects such as Villa Carabelli, Random Road Lofts and 27 Coltman have provided contemporary, upscale housing choices for professionals seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle.

Although Kristosik says that it’s important to ensure that that the area’s historic housing is preserved, he believes that the new development taking place is contributing to the area’s revitalization by attracting people to move back to the urban core.

In fact, Kristosik is looking forward to the day his own kids head off to college. “I can’t wait for them to grow up so I can move back to the neighborhood,” he says.

Source: Ray Kristosik
Writer: Lee Chilcote

murray hill market will expand indoor offerings to outdoor space

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When Murray Hill Marketopened in Little Italy in January, owner Michelle Iacobelli Buckholtz revived the tradition of the small neighborhood market that existed when her father grew up in the area.This summer, Buckholtz will bring back another grand neighborhood tradition: the sidewalk cafe and alfresco market. Having obtained her peddler’s license, she plans to add outdoor seating and sales displays this summer.

“We want to be different from Whole Foods and other grocery stores, and one way to do that is to offer a unique experience and personal service,” says Buckholtz.

Buckholtz says that Murray Hill Market, which offers fresh fruits and vegetables as well as gourmet prepared foods, has been successful at reaching a wide audience, including students living in the neighborhood, older Italian families seeking to reconnect with their roots, University Circle employees and East Siders who work downtown. “People stop to pick up dinner on their way home,” she says.

Buckholtz was inspired to create the market after a trip to New York to visit her son in college. After she observed the mouth-watering, fresh fare at every corner store, she decided to create a market in Cleveland. She knew it would work because there are no fresh, high-quality grocery stores in University Circle, an area that is on track to create 10,000 new jobs between 2005 and 2015.

Yet her international-flavored market, which Buckholtz describes as “Italian with a twist,” does not seek to recreate the past. Although Little Italy’s restaurant mix remains mostly Italian, the Murray Hill Market offers a contemporary mix of cuisine, including Jewish and French pastries, Middle Eastern dishes, and Puerto Rican rice and beans.

“This area is part of University Circle, and I wanted to create an international market with more than just Italian food,” Buckholtz says.

Buckholtz regularly serves meatball subs with her mother’s sauce, yet finds the older Italian women that shop here are often the toughest critics. “Everyone’s mother makes the best sauce,” she says with a laugh.

Source: Michelle Iacobelli Buckholtz
Writer: Lee Chilcote

judson’s intergenerational program is semi-finalist for $100k eisner prize

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Last year, Judson at University Circle tried something radically different. The nonprofit senior living campus gave two apartments to Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) students in exchange for their participation in Judson’s intergenerational programs.The students quickly found that any time they practiced their instruments in public, they attracted an appreciative audience. Over the course of a year, they developed friendships that spanned generations.

Now one of Judson’s intergenerational programs, Community Partners, has been nominated as one of 20 semi-finalists for the prestigious Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence, a $100,000 grant from the California-based Eisner Foundation.

The Eisner Prize will recognize an individual or a non-profit organization that “excels in uniting multiple generations, especially seniors and youth, to bring about positive and lasting changes in their community,” according to a press release. Members of the pulbic can cast their vote by visiting the website.

Judson created its first intergenerational collaboration with Ruffing Montessori School in Cleveland Heights 30 years ago. Today, Judson works with over 40 different educational and civic groups throughout Greater Cleveland. Judson’s senior residents volunteer in local schools and communities, and in turn, students and adults volunteer at all three Judson facilities, Judson Manor, Judson Park and South Franklin Circle.

“Judson’s intergenerational programs offer purposeful two-way learning opportunities that create meaningful relationships for all program participants,” said Rob Lucarelli, Judson’s Director of Communications, in a press release. “Using curriculum and arts-based programs that serve as a national model for connecting generations, we help to enrich lives and stimulate minds of all ages.”

Individuals may vote for Judson once every 24 hours until May 15th.

Source: Rob Lucarelli
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Photo: Lonnie Timmons III

ohio city architect preserves landmark building

Thursday, May 05, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Architect David Ellison had been watching the dilapidated cluster of buildings at the southwest corner of W. 41st and Lorain fall apart for years. His dismay only grew as copper thieves looted the property, rainwater poured through the roof, and illegal activity soared in the shadows of the boarded-up building.When Ellison learned that the City of Cleveland had granted a permit to tear the buildings down, he decided to do something. “One way to improve real estate values is to remove eyesores,” he says. “Since I’m a homeowner in the neighborhood, I wanted to protect my investment.”

Ellison had a different idea. He purchased the condemned buildings from Ohio City Near West (now Ohio City, Inc.). Four years later, thanks to extensive renovations, he has preserved an important piece of Ohio City’s history. After peeling off layers of rotting additions, he brought back to life a beautiful brick Victorian. During the intervening span, he battled city bureaucracy, cost overruns, the credit crunch and the recession.

Ellison recently moved his architectural offices into half of the first floor, and has plans to renovate the second floor as leasable office space. He has applied for financing to finish the project, but has not been able to obtain a loan in part because Lorain Avenue’s commercial rental rates make it difficult to justify the costs.

Renovating the upstairs into apartments is another option, but financing for mixed-use projects is notoriously difficult to obtain. “It’s tough to get financing for a residential project in a commercial zone,” he says.

Although he’s discouraged by the slow pace of his project, Ellison says that Lorain Avenue has steadily improved over the years, and his renovation has helped. “The street needs more occupancy so we can push the criminal activity away,” he says.

Ellison says that the rebirth witnessed in the Gordon Square Arts District can happen here. The key to success, he says, is diversifying the retail offerings on Lorain so that they serve local residents’ needs while also attracting shoppers that live outside the neighborhood.

Source: David Ellison
Writer: Lee Chilcote

bonbon pastry and cafe to open in market district

Thursday, May 05, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Pastry chef Courtney Bonning plans to open Bonbon Pastry and Café this summer in the former Athens Bakery shop at W. 26th and Lorain Avenue, further boosting available food offerings in Ohio City.

“We’ll be opening a full bakery that will serve fresh, handmade croissants and desserts as well as a European-style café,” says Bonning. “You’ll be greeted by beautifully prepared items when you walk in the door, all priced below $15.”

Bonning worked in Napa Valley, Seattle and the Cleveland Ritz-Carlton before launching her own bakery a couple years back in Detroit Shoreway. She was inspired to make the leap to the new 2,000-square-foot storefront after witnessing the momentum of the Market District. The new businesses popping up around the West Side Market will help drive traffic to her café, she says.

Bonbon will also serve a brunch-style menu featuring sandwiches, salads, small plates and egg-based dishes. In the summer months, tables and chairs on Lorain will transform it into a sidewalk café. It will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Bonning is especially excited about the businesses opening in the adjacent United Bank Building, which is owned by MRN Ltd., the developers of East Fourth Street and Uptown in University Circle. Penzeys Spices opened last year, and this summer, Crop will open its new location.

“We fell in love with the historic bank lobby, a gorgeous space with high ceilings, and we’re sold by MRN’s commitment to changing the neighborhood,” says Jackie Schimoler, co-owner of Crop with her husband Steve. “It’s a great location.”

Next door to the restaurant, the Crop Shop will feature fresh, locally grown food such as heirloom tomatoes or specialty sausages used in Crop’s dishes. Schimoler envisions it as a separate venture that feeds the restaurant, and vice-versa. “Whatever product we don’t sell at the market, we’ll just use at the restaurant.”

Source: Courtney Bonning, Jackie Schimoler
Writer: Lee Chilcote

ohio city pioneer no longer at odds with st. ignatius

Thursday, May 05, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When sculptor John Ranally set up his live/work space in a two-story building at W. 30th and Lorain Avenue, back in 1981, he was among the first wave of urban pioneers to redevelop Ohio City.Working with his neighbors, he fought abandoned storefronts, crime and a perception that the neighborhood was going downhill. “Things couldn’t get any worse than it was then,” he says. “and part of the reason why you’re seeing redevelopment on Lorain now is because of the people that people stayed.”

Today, Ranally’s home and studio are nestled amongst the St. Ignatius High School campus. The school’s commitment to Ohio City and Lorain Avenue are one of the reasons the street is beginning to see a renaissance, he says.

Yet their relationship wasn’t always so cozy. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the Jesuit academy tore down blocks of dilapidated buildings to expand its campus and create a buffer from blight, Ranally found himself in the thick of a vitriolic neighborhood dispute. He even displayed a sign on his building that asked, “St. Ignatius, why are you tearing our buildings down?”

Today, Ranally says that St. Ignatius has made amends by beautifying and stabilizing the neighborhood, providing outreach programs for youth, and constructing buildings like the Breen Performing Arts Center. “We were at odds then, but if it weren’t for St. Ignatius, things would be much tougher here,” he says.

This summer, St. Ignatius plans to renovate the publicly accessible “mall” that provides a walkway from Lorain to Carroll Avenue for the first time in 30 years. Improvement plans include upgraded lighting, drainage and landscaping.

“Thirty years ago, the City of Cleveland allowed us to close W. 30th Street in order to create the mall, which we consider our campus’ central hallway,” says Father William Murphy, President of St. Ignatius. “It’s always been open to the public. We’re very interested in and committed to the vibrancy of Lorain Avenue and Ohio City.”

Murphy cites the completion of the Breen Center as an example of new development that fits into Lorain Avenue’s context. “We made a deliberate decision to put the building right on the street,” he says. “We want it to feel like a high-density area.”

Source: John Ranally, Father William Murphy
Writer: Lee Chilcote

st. lukes redevelopment offers green amenities, speakers say

Thursday, May 05, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
At a ceremonial groundbreaking last week, Neighborhood Progress (NPI) and Pennrose Propertiescelebrated a $15.1 million project to renovate the former St. Luke’s Hospital into 72 units of affordable senior housing. The event highlighted the project’s sustainability features, the rich history of Saint Luke’s and a grassroots effort to involve youth in beautifying the building.

Ohio Housing Finance Agency Director Doug Garver told the audience that the Saint Luke’s project was selected to receive competitive Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) because of its unmatched site amenities. The renovation will be energy-efficient, and the site is adjacent to a school, a library, a public transit station, a walking path, shopping and parks. “It’s truly green in every sense,” he said.

Denise San Antonio Zeman, President and CEO of the Saint Luke’s Foundation, highlighted the rich history of Saint Luke’s Hospital. Cleveland General Hospital, as it was known then, was originally located at 274 Woodland Avenue. “Public health nurses rode around on bicycles to make their rounds,” she said. “Today, we’d call that green.”

Throughout its long history, Saint Luke’s Hospital remained committed to the needs of the community and the poor, Zeman added. “Now it’s time to change the hospital’s focus to meet the contemporary needs of the community,” she said.

The developers also highlighted artists Angelica Pozo and Anna Arnold, who recruited Harvey Rice Elementary School students to create artistic boards that will cover up windows in the portion of the building awaiting future redevelopment. “This was a way to involve the local community while also beautifying the building,” said Joel Ratner, President of NPI.

Sources: Doug Garver, Denise Zeman, Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

growhio launches effort to promote cle-area farmers markets

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Over the past few years, Cleveland’s farmers market network has grown like Jack’s proverbial beanstalk, multiplying the number of places shoppers can buy fresh, local produce while supporting food entrepreneurs. Yet up until recently, these markets have been operating largely independently of one another.

That’s starting to change. Two new organizations, Growhio and the Cleveland Farmers’ Market Guild (CFMG), have teamed up to provide joint marketing and entrepreneurial support to farmers’ markets in Cleveland, East Cleveland and Lakewood.

Growhio and CFMG are launching two new programs to educate consumers about the benefits of local farmers’ markets and also to provide technical and financial assistance to start-up vendors. These programs are being funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Program in order to promote Ohio Specialty Crops (fruits and vegetables) at these markets.

Growhio and CFMG will educate consumers about the benefits of shopping at their local farmers markets and teach them how to prepare tasty, healthy meals using fresh, affordable food. Start-up vendor assistance will include furnished incubator space, workshops on market basics such as licensing and insurance, and shared vendor space at CFMG markets.

“We needed a way to help urban farmers to dip their toes into the water without having to jump in,” says Gwen Forte, Executive Director of Growhio. “By sharing space, farmers don’t have to purchase a tent, table or chairs right away.” Forte hopes to recruit 21 new vendors to participate in the program.

Forte also hopes that outreach efforts will convince more Clevelanders to shop at their local farmers markets.  “A lot of low-income residents don’t shop at the markets, but you can get a lot of wholesome food at a good price there,” she says. Growhio and the CFMG plan to distribute 15,000 postcards, place advertisements on RTA buses, and partner with social service agencies to spread the word.

The mission of Growhio, which was created following the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit in 2009, is to “strengthen and support all aspects of Northeast Ohio’s local food economy through branding, marketing and collaboration.” Growhio and CFMG will launch these new initiatives with a celebratory event for program partners and media at the Greenhouse Tavern on May 4th.

Source: Gwen Forte
Writer: Lee Chilcote

antique sale kicks off historic buckeye theater renovation

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When the Moreland Theatre was built in 1927, the Buckeye neighborhood was home to the largest concentration of Hungarians outside Hungary. There were also six Hungarian newspapers in the area, and nearly every shop owner on Buckeye Road spoke Hungarian (and often English, too).In the past 40 years, Buckeye has struggled as businesses and residents fled to the suburbs. The recent foreclosure crisis also hit the area hard, leaving boarded-up homes and vacant lots in its wake.

Yet today, this multicultural community just south of Shaker Square is showing signs of renewal in the new Harvey-Rice Elementary School, the popular Soul of Buckeye jazz festival, and the long-planned redevelopment of the former Saint Luke’s Hospital building into low-income senior housing.

Still, the Moreland Theatre, a 1,300-seat Vaudeville theater that features an orchestra pit and flyloft, remains empty. It’s not the only one — the North Collinwood and Cudell neighborhoods also feature historic theaters. Most of them haven’t been as lucky as the recently restored Capitol Theatre in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, which is now home to a three-screen indie movie house.

You don’t have to wait for the Moreland Theatre to reopen, however, to check out this architectural gem. The Buckeye Area Development Corporation (BADC) is hosting the Buckeye Antique Furnishings Sale on Saturday, April 30th from 1-5 p.m. Bargain hunters, antique hounds and the merely curious can sift through theater seats, church pews and organs, a film projector, catering and kitchen equipment and art deco architectural details. A smorgasbord of items will be on sale, with prices starting at $1.

“This is the first time that we’ve opened the theater to the public — it’s part of our efforts to engage the community in creating a vision for the Buckeye Cultural Center,” says Deepa Vedavyas, BADC’s Associate Director for Development. “People can stop by and pick up a piece of history, and all of the funds raised will go towards the restoration of the building.”

BADC purchased the Moreland Theatre in 2007 with plans to convert it into a mixed-use arts complex, including a multi-purpose theater for concerts, plays, special events, affordable apartments for artists, and four new storefronts. Total renovation costs are estimated at $6.1 million. BADC was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Facilities Commission, and has also applied for a historic designation for the building. The nonprofit is launching a fundraising campaign for the redevelopment effort.

Source: Deepa Vedavyas
Writer: Lee Chilcote

landmark st. luke’s hospital to be renovated as low-income senior housing

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
St. Luke’s Hospital has been a landmark on Cleveland’s East Side for over 80 years. Its brick façade, neoclassical pillars and white bell tower rise up from the corner of Shaker Boulevard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, serving as a gateway to the Buckeye and Larchmere-Shaker Square neighborhoods of Cleveland.Although it closed in 1999, its buildings remained intact. Now, 12 years later, plans to redevelop the building are finally coming to fruition. New Village Corporation (NVC) and Pennrose Properties will break ground tomorrow (April 29) on a project to renovate the building into 72 units of low-income senior housing.

St. Luke’s Manor will not only rehabilitate the building and provide much-needed affordable housing, say developers, but will also contribute to large-scale neighborhood redevelopment. They cite the new Harvey Rice Elementary School and Rice Library, which opened their doors next to the hospital two years ago. Other investments include a $500,000 public pathway called the Mews and the planned $3.6 million redevelopment of the RTA rapid station at Shaker and E. 116th Street.

NVC also hopes that as the economy improves up to 80 new market-rate homes will be built on vacant residential lots around the former hospital. Only 22 homes have been built so far, as the project has languished in a slow housing market.

The $15.1 million St. Luke’s Manor project will rehabilitate the hospital’s central wing into senior apartments using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits as well as state and federal Historic Tax Credits. The project is considered Phase I of a larger redevelopment.

The developers will target senior households with incomes of up to 35 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent of Area Median Household Income (AMHI). The project will include studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom garden units with rents ranging from $281 to $678.

In total, over $80 million worth of redevelopment is planned on the former St. Luke’s Hospital site. The community is also one of the first neighborhoods in the country to be certified as sustainable and environmentally responsible by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Pennrose Properties is a for-profit affordable housing developer based in Philadelphia. New Village Corporation is the nonprofit development arm of Neighborhood Progress, an intermediary that funds community development corporations. NVC acts as deal-maker and catalyst for projects that are too risky for private developers to accomplish on their own.

A public groundbreaking event will take place on Friday, April 29th at 1:30 pm at 11311 Shaker Boulevard.

Source: Neighborhood Progress
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new tremont parking lot uses bioswales to manage storm water

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Tremont neighborhood recently celebrated the opening of a new parking lot at Jefferson and Professor avenues that will not only help alleviate the neighborhood’s parking crunch, but also help solve the region’s storm water management problem.The parking lot incorporates bioswales that will prevent rainwater from entering the sewer system. When rain falls onto the property, it runs off into carefully designed plant systems that gradually release it back into the ground.

The parking lot was developed by the Tremont West Development Corporation (TWDC), a nonprofit community development group that serves the Tremont neighborhood, in partnership with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), URS, and the City of Cleveland Sustainability Office.

NEORSD is currently working on a plan for regional storm water management that it hopes will spur more small-scale efforts like this one in the future. Storm water management solutions can help address the problems of flooding, erosion and combined sewer overflows or pollution, NEORSD says.

To acquire the formerly blighted parcel, TWDC partnered with local property owners and applied for funding from the Model Blocks program of Neighborhood Progress, a nonprofit that provides grants and technical assistance to CDC’s in Cleveland.

Under the new fee structure that NEORSD plans to roll out next year, property owners can also earn credits for innovative storm water management solutions that keep rainwater out of sewers. For more information, visit Project Clean Lake.

Source: Tremont West Development Corporation, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland public library scores sports research center

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
On April 25th, Cleveland Public Library (CPL) will celebrate the opening of the Sports Research Center, where visitors can explore favorite moments in local sports history, learn more about the history of black baseball, and meet sports icons from past and present.The Center lets sports junkies travel back in time to the Indians’ glory days. And given the Tribe’s current first-place perch in the AL Central, perhaps this isn’t just idle daydreaming.

The opening reception for the new facility and its inaugural exhibit, “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience,” will be held on April 25th at 3:30 p.m. on the main library’s 5th floor.

“Pride and Passion” tells the story of the African-American baseball players who formed the Negro Leagues after being barred from Major League Baseball in the 1890s. Some of baseball’s greatest players, including Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, played for the Negro Leagues in the early 20th century.

Negro League player Ernest Nimmons, who played alongside Hank Aaron for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952, will be on hand to talk about his experiences at the event. Nimmons now lives in Elyria.

“Pride and Passion” is organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Additional highlights of the center’s research materials include correspondence from Jackie Robinson, oral history interviews with 100+ baseball players, baseball fiction, boxing history and the Plain Dealer Historical Archive, an online sports news database.

The April 25th event is a partnership between CPL and the Cleveland Indians. The team’s Vice President of Public Relations, Bob DiBiasio, and retired Indians player and 1980 American League Rookie of the Year, Joe Charboneau, will answer questions and sign autographs.

If you happen to miss the opening reception you won’t have to “wait ’til next year.” The Sports Research Center will be free and open to the public year round.

Source: Cleveland Public Library
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Photo: Lisa DeJong

the next generation of manufacturing is here, thogus president says

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When it comes to manufacturing facilities, the first things to come to mind are not state-of-the-art gyms, free personal trainers and tech-savvy employees. Yet Thogus, a national provider of plastic injection molding services based in Avon Lake, is no ordinary manufacturer.”The perception of manufacturing facilities is that they’re full of smokestacks, dirty and capital-intensive,” Matt Hlavin, President of Thogus, told the audience at last week’s sold out TEDxCLE conference. “We’ve created a culture in which everyone is an innovator, and we want our employees to have a work-life balance.”

Thogus, founded in 1950 as a traditional tool and dye shop, got into the plastics industry in 1958. Hlavin joined the company in the late 90s and took over as President in 2009. In the past 15 years, Thogus has reinvented itself as a leader in the growing field of customized plastic injection molding.

“Today, our society is not about mass production, it’s about mass customization,” Hlavin said. “We’re the next generation of manufacturing — companies like ours take a customer’s idea and help them to create it.”

Since taking the helm, Hlavin has worked to develop the next generation of manufacturing employee by training his workers in the latest technology and providing a clean, modern work environment. Today, Thogus employees use crowd-sourcing to develop and test products, employ social media to communicate their latest product innovations, and maintain an ongoing rapport with customers. “We can make a customized iPhone cover in 45 minutes,” Hlavin said.

As another example of Thogus’ innovative products, Hlavin cited a device that will help autistic children to predict when they will get uncomfortable in their environment. The technology will help them to lead healthier and more normal lives.

Reinventing Thogus wasn’t easy. After making a decision to get out of the automotive business and focus solely on plastic injection molding, Hlavin reduced his workforce by more than half. “This helped us to become a more agile company and go after the next generation of employee.”

Source: Matt Hlavin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

historic preservation saves communities’ souls, argues tedxcle speaker

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Rhonda Sincavage has vivid memories of the day that a dilapidated shoe factory in her hometown was torn down. The incident sparked her lifelong passion for historic preservation.”My grandfather worked there, along with many people that lived in our town,” said Sincavage, Program Associate for State and Local Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, at last week’s sold out TEDxCLE event. “It was our town’s namesake and a symbol of our community.”

During her presentation, Sincavage challenged stereotypes that she encounters during her career. Preserving buildings and neighborhoods is not simply a luxury, she argued, but an economic necessity that creates jobs, boosts the local economy and creates a more sustainable future.

“When I tell people what I do, some ask if I wear period dress or if I’ve saved any buildings lately,” she said. “Yet our generation’s version of historic preservation has nothing to do with our grandmother’s version. This isn’t about little old ladies saving buildings; this is about learning from the past to preserve the future.”

She also stated that preserved neighborhoods tend to be more diverse than others, and that preserved buildings leverage additional investment, citing Cleveland’s Warehouse District as one example.

Sincavage challenged the stereotype that older buildings are expensive and inefficient. “There’s no reason why historic buildings can’t be as efficient as new buildings,” she said. “Historic buildings are the original green — they have windows that let in natural light and overhangs that provide for shade.” Preserving older buildings also reuses existing resources rather than throwing them away.

Finally, Sincavage said that preserving neighborhoods is not only a way to spur redevelopment, it also attracts residents. The “Soul of the Community” project, an effort launched by Gallup and the James L. Knight Foundation, showed that aesthetics, openness and social offerings are the most important factors for people when choosing a place to live.

“There’s really a strong correlation between someone’s emotional attachment of a place and their likelihood to stay,” said Sincavage.

Source: Rhonda Sincavage
Writer: Lee Chilcote

charter school leader vows to expand network of high-performing urban schools

Thursday, April 21, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
John Zitzner became a successful entrepreneur in the 1980s, when his software company made Inc.magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies.After selling his company to Xerox in the late ’90s, however, he decided to apply his business skills to a good cause. He created E City, a nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and life skills to urban youth. Yet after seeing first-hand the educational challenges that his students faced, he decided to start a school. In 2006 he co-founded E Prep, a high-performing charter middle school.

Two years ago, the serial entrepreneur took the next step by launching Village Prep, a tuition-free public charter elementary school.

At last week’s sold out TEDxCLE event at the Capitol Theatre, Zitzner told the capacity crowd that high-performing charter schools are needed across the city of Cleveland to provide an alternative to poor-performing public schools. “Our job is to make sure that every student graduates from high school and college,” he said.

Zitzner also announced plans to expand the network of high-performing charter schools in Cleveland. Breakthrough Schools, a coalition of several high-performing charter schools, hopes to create 20 new schools by 2020. This would allow Breakthrough to serve about 7,000 students, or 20 percent of the K-8 school children in Cleveland.

It won’t be easy, Zitzner said, because charter schools must raise millions of philanthropic dollars each year. “State charter school laws are discriminatory because they dictate that we receive no local property taxes, or one-third less funding than Cleveland Municipal School District schools that are failing,” he said. “We need to change the law so that charter schools receive local property taxes.”

Source: John Zitzner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

west creek metropark to receive $12M green makeover

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
West Creek Reservation, a 278-acre Metropark in Parma that originally opened in 2006, will undergo a $12 million makeover to be complete by fall 2012, including sustainable landscaping designed to reduce pollution and test a new national rating system.Cleveland Metroparks held a groundbreaking March 7th for park improvements, including a new visitor center, picnic shelter and all-purpose trails. The visitor center landscaping will feature a natural storm water treatment system that will help keep rainwater in West Creek, preventing flooding downstream.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative, a new national organization that is creating voluntary design standards for sustainable landscaping, will monitor and test the project. West Creek was selected to participate in the program among 175 sites nationwide.

As part of this effort, the Cleveland Metroparks will measure how much storm water is captured by the visitor center and report that information to the public. The visitor center will feature hands-on educational exhibits about water conservation.

West Creek’s new sustainable landscaping system will control how much water enters the stream by acting as a filter. As storm water reaches the center, it will descend into wetlands and enter bio-swales, or plants, landscaping and rocks that function as detention basins. As storm water is gradually released, it will run through stepped pools and wetlands before flowing into the creek.

The new visitor center will be built with environmentally friendly materials, including sustainably harvested lumber and carpeting made from recycled materials. The parking lot will also feature porous pavement, allowing rainwater to flow into the landscaping instead of the sewer.

The landscape improvements at West Creek were designed by Floyd Brown Group and Domokur Architects in Akron and Doty & Miller Architects in Bedford.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative will incorporate feedback from its 175 test projects into a final rating system that it hopes to have in place by 2013. The purpose of the rating system is to develop universal criteria for sustainable landscaping in the U.S.

Source: Cleveland Metroparks
Writer: Lee Chilcote

renovation breathes new life into 1830s farmhouse

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Times have changed since the Stanford House, an historic farm in the Cuyahoga Valley, was built in 1830 by George Stanford, one of the first settlers of the Western Reserve. Back then, the nearby Ohio and Erie Canal was the main link to the outside world. Today, the property is situated near highways and two urban centers, yet remains protected by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a natural retreat in an urbanized area.Now the Stanford House has gained renewed life following a $270,000 renovation. The National Park Service has converted it into meeting space, an educational classroom for the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center and affordable overnight accommodations for hikers and bikers.

The Stanford House was purchased by the park service in 1978, and for thirty years, it served as a hostel that accommodated school groups, boy scout troups and international travelers of all ages. Yet when Stanford Hostel closed in 2008, its future was up in the air.

Soon the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNPA), a nonprofit advocacy group that works closely with the park service, stepped in to raise funds and complete a renovation. Federal stimulus funding covered $98,000 of these upgrades, with additional funding coming from area foundations and donors.

Because the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is accessible from the Stanford House, CVNPA anticipates that the accommodations will be in demand from hikers and bikers completing longer, multi-day trips through the park. For the first time, backcountry campsites are also now available in a meadow adjacent to the property.

With a successful project under its belt, CVNPA is now eyeing the prospect of raising funds to renovate the Stanford House barn — which would make an excellent location, they say, for interpretive programs, ‘locavore’ farm dinners, and rustic meeting space.

Source: Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association
Writer: Lee Chilcote

defying retail trends, heights arts expands its gallery footprint

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
While Northeast Ohio’s retail vacancy rate remains stubbornly high at 12 percent, a Cleveland Heights nonprofit is defying this trend by expanding its art gallery into an empty storefront, adding performance space, classrooms and offices to serve the community.Heights Arts, which operates a 900-square-foot gallery next to the Cedar Lee Theatre, decided last year to make the leap into an adjacent storefront that formerly housed a Japanese eatery. The group has so far raised more than $60,000 towards its $100,000 fundraising goal. Renovations are expected to be completed this year.

The new 2,400-square-foot storefront will serve as a multipurpose arts space. Heights Arts, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, plans to host more poetry readings, concerts and art openings. The group anticipates that some events will spill out into the adjacent mini-park, a gathering place for visitors in the bustling Cedar-Lee district, aiding the group’s mission of bringing art into the community.

Cleveland-based Studio Techne Architects designed the expansion. The George Gund Foundation and the Cyrus Eaton Foundation have provided lead grants for the project.

Since being founded a decade ago, Heights Arts has completed a bevy of art projects, including the Coventry Peace Arch on Coventry, three large-scale murals, and Knitscape, a project to brighten Lee Road and Larchmere Boulevard with crocheted ‘sweaters’ on parking meters and trees. The group also manages the selection process for the Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate.

Source: Heights Arts
Writer: Lee Chilcote

tunnel vision hoops extends season for urban farms

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When Michael Walton bought a hoop house for his city farm, he envisioned an urban barn-raising of sorts. He put out a call for volunteers, and soon had 30 people who offered to help.Yet by noon on the big day, only 10 were left. The next day, there were five. Two days later, the group had been wheedled down to three hardy souls. And still the hoop house wasn’t completed.

Frustrated, Walton and his coworkers began to ask themselves: Is this really the best product available? And then, rather than wait for an answer, the team set out to design a better model themselves. That’s how Tunnel Vision Hoops, a startup manufacturer of retractable all-weather domes for growing crops, was born.

“We thought we’d just build a few each summer, make some pizza money and go on our way,” Walton told the audience at a recent entrepreneurial showcase organized by Local Food Cleveland, a group whose mission is to help grow the local food movement in Northeast Ohio. “Yet when we really started looking at the design, that’s when we decided to launch our business.”

Tunnel Vision’s all-weather high tunnels represent an improvement over existing designs, say owners Michael Walton, Carlton Jackson and Todd Alexander. They feature dome-shaped ends that help them to withstand strong winds, systems for collecting rainwater that can be used for irrigating plants, retractable end walls that allow for venting, and entrances on the sides rather than the ends, making it easier to move from one tunnel to another.

Since launching last year, Tunnel Vision has sold structures to Case Western Reserve University’s Squire Valleyview Farm and the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps program. In its first six months, the company did over $80,000 in sales.

The company also has a division called We Dig the City that is intended for backyard gardens. These tunnels start at 10 feet long and are priced at $2,000, including installation.

Tunnel Vision’s long-term goal is to aid the local food movement and keep more of our food dollars in Northeast Ohio by making the region a year-round growing center.

Source: Tunnel Vision Hoops
Writer: Lee Chilcote

heather b. moore moves into renovated midtown studio

Thursday, April 07, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Although jewelry maker Heather Moore moved into her rehabbed Midtown studio earlier this year, she’s still getting used to her spacious new digs.Maybe that’s because she’s spent the last 11 years running her fast-growing business out of her house. Granted, it was no ordinary home office: the Cleveland Institute of Art grad bought her great-grandmother’s estate, a rambling Heights mansion, after moving back from New York City in 1999.

“We just couldn’t grow anymore — I had 45 employees working out of my house,” says Moore, whose company, Heather B. Moore Jewelry, specializes in custom-made, personalized jewelry that she sells to more than 150 retailers around the world. “The workshop was in the basement, while sales and marketing were in the attic. If we needed to have a private conversation, we had to use one of my kids’ bedrooms.”

To accommodate her growth, Moore recently bought and renovated a former crane-making factory at 4502 Prospect Avenue, bringing 45 new jobs to Cleveland. In her renovation, Moore reused as much of the building as she could, including leftover crane parts that were repurposed into a dining room table that now graces the large kitchen.

Moore’s building renovation included removing ceilings to create a lofted second-floor office, installing new windows, and turning an old garage door into a light-filled window. Future plans include an art gallery, new patio and roof garden.

When asked about her decision to relocate to Midtown, Moore says, “There’s so much industry in Cleveland that you can take advantage of. A lot of what we do mixes old school techniques with newer technologies, so this is a great place to be.”

Heather B. Moore Jewelry has become known not only for its work — Moore builds relationships with her clients to draw out their stories and create highly personalized jewelry — but also for its sustainable business model. The company uses 100-percent recycled materials in their products.

Now that she’s settled into her new studio, Moore is soaking up the extra legroom — and she also doesn’t mind the short commute. “It’s seven minutes from my house,” she says.

Source: Heather Moore
Writer: Lee Chilcote

energy $aver program to make older homes more efficient

Thursday, April 07, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
A soon-to-launch program from Cleveland’s Office of Sustainabilitywill provide energy audits and retrofits that will make older homes more energy-efficient. The program, which is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is intended to spur the market for green retrofits.”There’s not enough scale or demand yet to support an industry here, but we think there’s an opportunity for a public or nonprofit entity to stimulate the marketplace,” said Paul Ettorre, regional manager for Key Bank Community Lending and co-chair of the effort, at a forum on energy-efficiency at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

Here’s how the Energy $aver Pilot Program would work: Applicants must be residents of Cleveland and owner-occupants of their homes. They would pay $100 for an in-depth energy efficiency audit (the market-rate audit price is in the $250 to $300 range), resulting in a thorough list of measures that would improve the home’s energy efficiency.

If a customer agrees to retrofit their homes, they could secure incentives such as reimbursement of the audit fee, a 20-percent credit towards measures that pay for themselves within 10 years, and low-interest financing of the cost of repairs.

Once a customer moves ahead, program staff would help him or her to select an experienced contractor. An average retrofit is estimated to cost about $6,000. The retrofits would focus primarily on items such as insulation, air sealing, HVAC repair and replacement, lighting and hot water tanks. Homeowners who wish to complete a comprehensive rehab will be able to do so using the program.

After the retrofit is done, auditors would return to the home to review the measures and ensure that the job had been completed properly. Organizers expect the Energy $aver Pilot Program to launch this year.

Source: Paul Ettorre
Writer: Lee Chilcote

sustainable cleveland 2019 champions energy efficiency in 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Making buildings more energy efficient may not sound sexy, but once owners begin to save money on their utility bills, it gets a lot sexier, said Andrew Watterson, Cleveland’s Chief of Sustainability, at last week’s forum at the Levin Collegeof Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University (CSU).”Every dollar saved from energy-efficiency measures has an impact not only on the environment but also on your pocketbook,” Watterson said at the event, entitled “Sustainable Cleveland 2019: Celebrating Energy-Efficiency in 2011.”

The forum was held to highlight efforts that are boosting the energy-efficiency of homes and buildings in Cleveland. Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a citywide effort to build a sustainable economy here by 2019, has chosen the theme of energy efficiency for this year. Sustainable Cleveland 2019 organizers hope that events like the one held last week will educate the public and spur efforts towards energy efficiency.

Nathan Engstrom, CSU’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator, highlighted the university’s commitment to making the campus more energy-efficient. “In recent years, we’ve completed an audit of every building on campus, and we’re expecting to realize a 40-percent savings on our utility costs over a 10-year period, plus a 14-percent overall return on our investment,” Engstrom said.

CSU has begun implementing 93 different energy efficiency measures, Engstrom said, including building automation, energy efficient lighting, and more efficient mechanical systems. “This is a wonderful story that we can tell to our students,” added Engstrom. “We’re on track to reduce consumption by 47-percent within 10 years, and to reduce emissions by 45-percent.”

Source: Nathan Engstrom, Andrew Watterson
Writer: Lee Chilcote

one lucky neighborhood to receive $500k support to attract artists

Thursday, April 07, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
From the Warehouse District to Tremont, artists have been harbingers of neighborhood comebacks. Now a new program aims to use artist-based development as the centerpiece for one lucky neighborhood’s turnaround.The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) on Monday announced the launch of Artists in Residence, a new program that seeks to create improvements in one city neighborhood by offering incentives for artists who live and work there.

The program is being funded in part through a $250,000 grant from Leveraging Investments in Creativity’s Creative Communities Challenge Grant Program, a one-time competitive grant program made possible through the support of the Kresge Foundation.

“Artists play a key role in the strength and vitality of Cleveland neighborhoods,” said Tom Schorgl, CPAC President, in a press release. “By leveraging artists’ skills and the extraordinary leadership of Cleveland’s community development sector, we will work to make Cleveland’s neighborhoods even more creative, more sustainable and more equitable.”

The two-year, $500,000 pilot program will provide a small loan program for artists buying or rehabbing homes in the target area, a small grant program to support artists’ work in carrying out community-based projects, and artist homeownership services such as credit counseling and saving programs.

A panel of arts, community development and planning experts will select the target neighborhood through a competitive process. Community development corporations serving Cleveland neighborhoods can apply through April 25th. CPAC hopes to announce the winning neighborhood by July 1st.

CPAC is a nonprofit arts and culture service organization that works to strengthen Greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. Some of its programs include the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute, a business training course addressing the needs of working artists, and From Rust Belt to Artist Belt, a conference series that examines the role of artists in the redevelopment of industrial cities.

Source: Community Partnership for Arts and Culture
Writer: Lee Chilcote

lakewood’s new crafty goodness sells 100% local

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
A large map on the wall of Crafty Goodness, a new Lakewood store that sells goods from artisans living in Northeast Ohio, provides a visual reminder of the store’s mission. It pinpoints all of the different communities where the items are made, stressing the owners’ commitment to the buy local movement.”We wanted to create a store that would offer an alternative to big box retail for people that want to buy local,” says Chris Sorenson, a potter who joined with artists Joanna and Matthew Orgovan to open the store at 15621 Madison Avenue.

Crafty Goodness got its start as a modern arts and crafts show that was held in Seven Hills in 2009. The success of that show inspired its creators to set up a bricks and mortar store, and a year and a half later, Crafty Goodness was born. The store, which opened in March, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, April 9th.

In addition to items such as clothing, home décor, jewelry, book bags, cards and notebooks, Crafty Goodness features an extensive art gallery on the walls, with more than 60 artists from seven Northeast Ohio counties represented. The owners selected Lakewood because of the community’s commitment to the arts and small, local businesses.

Despite being only 750 square feet, Crafty Goodness offers a wide array of merchandise. Sorenson plans to continue hosting the annual craft show and hopes to find a space in Lakewood for this year’s event.

Crafty Goodness also hosts a variety of classes, including jewelry making, needle arts and vegan baking, for consumers of all ages. The majority of the classes, which run about two hours and are affordably priced in the $20-35 range, are presented in a make-and-take format, which lets participants go home with an original work of art.
Source: Chris Sorenson
Writer: Lee Chilcote

sunflower solutions brings solar power to most impoverished

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Imagine this: A $10,000 solar-energy system powering an entire elementary school in Africa, providing enough juice for laptop computers and overhead lights. Christopher Clark, founder of Sunflower Solutions, has proved that this feat is not only possible, but also is an efficient, cost-effective way to bring power to the Third World.Recently, Sunflower Solutions moved to Shaker LaunchHouse, a former auto dealership turned business incubator in Shaker Heights. Created with just $60,000 in seed funding, the company is in its first year of producing manually trackable solar power systems. These systems allow users to move panels by hand as the sun moves across the sky, obtaining up to 42 percent more power.

Sunflower has sold its systems to nonprofit organizations in six countries, including India, Kenya and Nigeria, and Clark says the company will achieve profitability this year.

Clark first developed the idea when he was a business major at Miami University of Ohio. “I was helping some engineers develop a water pump for a village without electricity in Mali,” he says. “They installed it, and then realized that the water was too deep underground for a hand pump. If they’d used an electric pump, it could have worked, yet there was no electricity for miles around.”

The solution was solar power. Yet while trackable solar systems have been around for decades, most of them move automatically and are expensive. Clark’s invention is the first manual system. “It’s hard to do anything about poverty, health care and education in the Third World without basic electricity, yet two billion people in the world don’t have it,” says Clark. “This system allows nonprofits and charities to purchase a better, lower-cost system.”

Sunflower Solutions’ products are made locally by South Shore Controls in Cleveland and Perry, Ohio. As his business grows, Clark hopes to market his products to a wider audience, allowing his system to reach even more people in the developing world.

This summer, Clevelanders will be able to see the power of Clark’s invention firsthand. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is installing a system on its campus; the Metroparks Zoo is also interested.

Clark was selected as one of the speakers for the April 15th TEDxCLE conference, where he will talk about “electricity as a basic right.”

Source: Christopher Clark
Writer: Lee Chilcote

when restored, doan brook to become model urban stream

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The picturesque Doan Brook meanders through Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, providing walkers and joggers with a scenic backdrop. Yet the section that flows through Cleveland’s Rockefeller Park remains boxed in by crumbling stone walls.

This year, a $2.5 million project to restore these portions of the Doan Brook will finally get started. The project will remove failing stone walls and concrete dams for nearly a half-mile, allowing the stream to flow more naturally while improving water quality and increasing fish populations.

“This project could serve as a model for other communities that are seeking to create healthier streams in urban areas,” says Victoria Mills, Executive Director of the nonprofit Doan Brook Watershed Partnership.

The Doan Brook project was originally slated to receive $5.5 million, but was scaled back after bids came in over budget. The new plan addresses these concerns by creating natural terraces that improve drainage and reduce flooding without threatening portions of the gardens. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) will manage the design and construction process.

Although the project is smaller in scale than originally envisioned, Mills is excited about its impact. “I am hopeful that it will spur more improvement projects in Rockefeller Park, including a new master plan,” she says.

The Doan Brook improvement project was conceived in 2001, when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the city to restore the brook to compensate for the loss of 88 acres of wetland and more than a mile of Abram Creek at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Abram Creek was destroyed to allow for a new runway to be built. The EPA required the city to complete $15 million in restoration projects, most of which have now been completed.

The brook is rare among Cleveland’s urban streams because much of it remains above ground. The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership was formed in 2001 to coordinate the preservation efforts of the cities of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Cleveland and interested citizens. Over the years, Doan Brook has developed an active constituency dedicated to its renewal. The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will hold a clean-up day on April 17th. To register call 216-321-5935 x 237 or visit the website.

The $2.5 million project will also remove some invasive species and allow limited access to the brook, but will not address flooding.

Source: Victoria Mills
Writer: Lee Chilcote

ohio city’s new rag refinery offers vintage and recycled threads

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Rag Refinery, a new store that offers gently used, recycled fashions at affordable prices, just opened at 3904 Lorain Avenue in Ohio City. Owner Leigh Ring also manages Pink Eye Gallery in the same space, where she often rolls out the racks to host art openings.”Our focus is on vintage shoes, clothing and accessories, and we invite customers to sell or trade-in their former favorites for cash or store credit,” says Ring. “Our customers want to outfit themselves in creative and unique ways.”

Ring chose Lorain Ave. because of the proliferation of affordable vacant spaces and because Ohio City is a draw for her customers. “With the help of Palookaville Chili next door and places like Open Yoga Gallery, we hope to be a part of the revitalization that’s happening here,” says Ring.

The Rag Refinery is currently open on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. However, Ring plans to extend her hours to match those of Palookaville Chili’s April 20th opening. “There will be an open hallway between the Rag Refinery and Palookaville so that customers can both browse the shop and have a bite to eat,” explains Ring.

Ring is energized by the small-scale redevelopment trend she sees on Lorain. “There is already a draw for antiques and vintage here, but my hope is that more restaurants and shops choose Lorain, joining together to make the street more walkable.”

She also sees her store’s mission of recycled fashions contributing to the sustainability movement. “By recycling and reusing clothing and keeping it out of our landfills, we’re doing our part,” says Ring.

Source: Leigh Ring
Writer: Lee Chilcote

‘authentic’ chili restaurant to debut on lorain avenue

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Palookaville Chili, a new restaurant set to open next month in Ohio City, is seeking to reeducate your taste buds. Owner and budding chef Ian P.E., who says he makes “a mean pot of chili,” offers a blunt description of what will set his place apart.”This is gourmet chili, not the slop you’ll find at most places,” boasts P.E., who lived in San Francisco before returning to Cleveland in 2007. “Most chili is tomato-based and uses ground beef and cinnamon, whereas our beef is cubed, and we use cumin, dried chilis and poblano peppers. It’s based off classic Southwestern cuisine and pretty spicy.”

Most of the menu items at Palookaville, which will be open for lunch and dinner, are affordably priced in the $5 to $9 range. Some of the menu choices include chicken verde with fresh poblano and tomatillo, a spicy vegan chili with garbanzo beans, and a rotating special. Toppings include sour cream, onions, cheese and peppers. The menu will also include chili dogs, chili-cheese nachos, and tacos.

P.E. is an artist and entrepreneur who grew up in Cleveland’s south suburbs. In 2008 he founded the arts publication Pink Eye Magazine with his girlfriend Leigh Ring to fill a void in local arts coverage, yet all the while he dreamed of opening his own restaurant. Frustrated by the lack of quality chili in his hometown, he decided to create his own brand. “There isn’t another place in Cleveland to get authentic chili,” he claims.

P.E. isn’t worried that the vacant storefronts and slow pace of redevelopment along Lorain will deter patrons. He believes his restaurant will benefit from being close to Ohio City’s Market District, which is fast becoming a hub for local food entrepreneurs.

“Cleveland is a great place for entrepreneurs, and Lorain is cheap,” he says. “In the past, no one had the balls to put something here.”

Source: Ian P.E.
Writer: Lee Chilcote

eco-artist susie frazier sets up shop in 78th street studios

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The 78th Street Studios, a warren of creative-minded businesses located at 1300 W. 78th Street, recently welcomed a new showroom run by environmental artist Susie Frazier.Three years ago, Frazier designed the logo and public art elements for the $3.5 million Gordon Square Arts District streetscape, which perk up Detroit Avenue between W. 58th and W. 73rd streets. From markings she’d observed along the Lake Erie coastline, she created unique crosswalk patterns, amoeba-shaped benches and a distinctive new logo.

Now, under the brand of “earthminded art,” Frazier is launching a new line of up-cycled home products and gifts, including tables and lamps made from salvaged wood, decorative pillows and note cards printed with earth images, and rings made from Lake Erie driftwood.

“Today, architects and homeowners are selecting art that’s modern and simple, but reinforces their love of nature,” Frazier explained in a press release announcing the new showroom.

Frazier also creates original fine art that she sells to collectors. By using natural fragments from different habitats, she creates textural art that highlights the repetitive patterns that she identifies in nature.

The 78th Street Studios, located in a renovated loft-style warehouse that once housed American Greetings’ creative studios, contains an eclectic mix of arts-related businesses. The studios are located at the western edge of Gordon Square, a lively district with restaurants, galleries and shops anchored by Cleveland Public Theatre and the Capitol Theatre, a three-screen independent movie house

Frazier’s new studio highlights the continued growth of the 78th Street Studios, which developer Dan Bush has renovated to feature exposed brickwork, vibrant colors and a contemporary industrial aesthetic. Bush also recently opened the smART space at 78th, a 6,000-square-foot venue available for short-term rentals such as private parties and benefits.

In addition to their regular business hours, the businesses in the 78th Street Studios host festive open houses with wine and snacks every third Friday of the month from 5-9 p.m.

Source: Susie Frazier
Writer: Lee Chilcote

growing fast, urban infant launches new workshop

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The idea behind Urban Infant came to Eric Eichhorn when his sister Kelly Friedl had her first child. “All of the baby gear had ducks, bunnies or bears on it,” he recalls. “I wanted to get beyond pink and blue to something that had solid, hip colors and was edgy.”Eichhorn and Friedl, who at the time lived in Chicago, dreamed of products that would be geared towards parents “making the conscious decision to raise kids in an urban environment,” Eichhorn explains. Friedl’s expertise in graphic design combined with Eichhorn’s business background led to the formation, in 2001, of Urban Infant.

Today, Urban Infant has taken on a life of its own and sales are growing. In January, the partners leased a workshop in the 78th Street Studios, a complex of creative-minded businesses in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. “We used to work out of our homes and closets, but then we went to an L.A. trade show, got a rep and began to expand,” explains Eichhorn, who moved to Cleveland in 2004.

Urban Infant’s biggest seller is the Tot Cot, an all-in-one pillow, blanket and bed sheet that makes naptime simple for toddlers attending daycare or preschool. The Tot Cot’s bedding is made of recycled PET plastic bottles. “It’s cool to give someone something that has a previous life,” says Eichhorn, who has made sustainability a core aspect of the business.

Urban Infant also recently created a line of washable bibs made from recycled plastic bags. The bibs, each of which is unique and handmade, feature slogans such as “Thank You” and “American Greetings” (where Eichhorn now works as a business consultant). Priced at $18, the bibs are available at boutiques and museum stores across the country, as well as online.

The bibs are created by fusing together layers of plastic bags using a heat press. Eichhorn regularly scours the recycling bin at Dave’s Supermarket in Ohio City for bags, ignoring strange looks from passers-by. He has also enlisted his friends in foreign countries to help collect bags, especially unusual ones.

Although Eichhorn and Friedl have yet to quit their day jobs, Urban Infant has gained a following. In January, the company’s products were featured in Parenting magazine and on the Today Show.

Eichhorn and his wife recently celebrated the birth of their daughter Essa. Despite not getting enough sleep, Eichhorn is already working on several new product lines. And now that he has a child of his own, he’s even more dialed in to the needs of urban parents.

Source: Eric Eichhorn
Writer: Lee Chilcote

upscale barbershop adds polish to larchmere retail district

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
James Boyd has wanted to be a barber since he was 13 years old. “My dad cut our hair when we were kids, and I was the one who was fascinated by the clippers,” recalls Boyd.Boyd had a natural gift that soon grew into a flourishing business. “I started cutting hair in our house, giving haircuts to friends and Shaker High School athletes,” says the 33-year-old.

Two years ago, Boyd and business partner Lathan Bennett transformed a former garage on Larchmere Boulevard into Polished Professionals (12511 Larchmere Blvd.), an elegant, upscale barbershop.

“We wanted to create a men’s barbershop with a professional atmosphere,” explains Boyd.

Polished Professionals, one of a dozen or so barbershops and hair salons on Larchmere, is now a community hub within this multicultural neighborhood. “Barbers are very community-oriented, and we want to be a pillar on Larchmere,” says Boyd.

In the past several years, the number of barbershops and hair salons on Larchmere has grown steadily. The street, which has been an art and antiques district for decades, has in recent years added an eclectic, diverse group of services to its retail mix.

Boyd lived in Las Vegas from 2003 until 2005, when he moved home because he was homesick and missed having four seasons. “I lived the Vegas life for a while, but I wanted to raise my family here,” he says.

For Boyd, owning his own business was about “starting a legacy and controlling my destiny,” he says. “My grandfather was an entrepreneur, and everyone in my family looked up to him. It was also my mom’s last wish that I start my business.”

Source: James Boyd
Writer: Lee Chilcote

backyard chickens are easy, make you breakfast, advocate says

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
At first, John Campanelli didn’t tell his wife. No, he doesn’t have an obsession with pricey Cuban cigars or engage in secret Friday-night poker nights. Rather, he had hatched a plan to raise chickens.”My wife thought I was crazy at first, but chickens are easier to take care of than cats — and they’re the only pet that makes you breakfast,” Campanelli told an audience of 200 during last week’s Local Food Cleveland forum on raising backyard livestock.

Three years into rearing his backyard brood, Campanelli says, “My wife agrees it’s the best thing we’ve ever done — maybe even better than having kids.”

Not only is raising chickens fun and relatively easy, but backyard eggs are fresher, healthier and tastier than their supermarket counterparts, Campanelli explained. He touted other benefits too, such as using chicken droppings as garden fertilizer. Chickens also help rid your yard of insects, are great with people and kids and provide hours of entertainment.  “I’m convinced that [chickens] are the reason most rural Americans don’t have high speed Internet,” he joked.

In 2009, the City of Cleveland passed progressive “chicks and bees” legislation that allows residents to keep chickens, ducks, rabbits and beehives (but not roosters, geese or turkeys). A typical residential lot is allowed no more than six small animals and two hives.

For those interested in raising chickens, Campanelli suggested doing some online research (he cited Backyard Chickens), educating yourself on municipal zoning laws and contacting your neighbors ahead of time to avoid complaints.

While chickens are not high-maintenance, noisy or expensive, they do require food, water and a good coop that is cleaned regularly. Would-be chicken farmers should also learn which breeds are known as being cold hardy, better with people and producing tastier eggs.

For hold-outs who aren’t yet convinced that raising yardbirds is now mainstream, look no further than the local bookstore, Campanelli said. Right next to the wedding planning guides in the how-to section is where you’ll find “Raising Backyard Chickens for Dummies.”

Source: John Campanelli
Writer: Lee Chilcote

speaker shares buzz on backyard beekeeping

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Beekeeping can be a life-changing experience that lowers stress, fosters a greater connection with nature, and promotes biodiversity in your neighborhood. Oh yeah, and it provides a near-endless supply of delicious honey.Yet raising bees is not always easy, and backyard beekeepers must spend time with their bees every day.

“If you don’t pay close attention, you could lose the swarm through pests or disease, ” Karen Wishner, President of the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association, told a crowd of 200 people at last week’s Local Food Cleveland forum on raising backyard livestock.

If you are a first time beekeeper, Wishner recommends taking classes or reading articles to educate yourself, as well as joining a local beekeepers association. The first step is to find a location for the hive. It should be located near a windbreak, facing the morning sun and in a partially shaded location. Beekeepers also need easy access to water and enough room to navigate around the hive.

Start-up costs include purchasing new equipment for the hive, buying the bees, and purchasing a veil, hive tool and smoker. Once you obtain a hive, Wishner recommends paying close attention to its progress, keeping an eye out for damage and checking for the queen. A typical hive will yield one or two combs in the first year, and by the second or third year, it can produce three to four gallons of honey.

Many people find beekeeping therapeutic because bees, by their very nature, require their keepers to stay calm and peaceful. “Minimizing stress is the name of the game; that’s what bees like,” Wishner said.

Beekeeping is permitted in many communities in Northeast Ohio. In 2009, the City of Cleveland passed progressive legislation that allows residents to raise chickens and bees in limited numbers. On a typical residential lot in Cleveland, two hives are permitted. Wishner recommended that anyone interested in backyard beekeeping consult their local municipal officials before purchasing a hive.

For those interested in learning more about backyard beekeeping, the Northeast Ohio Honeybee Conference will take place on Saturday, May 21st at Baldwin Wallace College, Wishner said. The conference, which costs $25, is open to the public.

Source: Karen Wishner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

building owner improves apartments, increases rents and tenant retention

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Brian Cook stands in the oval-shaped dining room of an apartment at Ludlow Castle, a signature Tudor-style building off Shaker Square. The distinctive room has hardwood floors and opens up to a sunken living room with wood-burning fireplace and a wall of windows overlooking the street.”My wife would kill for an oval-shaped dining room like this,” Cook says, “and for the closet space in these units.”

The neighborhoods of Shaker Square have long been a popular draw for individuals and families that are seeking the conveniences and amenities of apartment living. Now, a Cleveland real estate developer is restoring and rejuvenating many of the apartment buildings on North and South Moreland, a densely populated apartment corridor.

Cook represents Crossroads Property Management, a real estate management and development firm owned by Paul Gabrail. CPM operates 14 buildings on North and South Moreland between Larchmere Boulevard and Buckeye Road — a concentration of over 300 units, or nearly half of the total units on these two blocks. Over the past few years, the owner has steadily upgraded and improved these apartments.

“We want our buildings to set the tone for the street,” says Cook.

Asked why he has chosen the Shaker Square area to focus on, Cook cites the fact that he and his wife are homeowners who are raising a family in nearby Shaker Heights. “I believe that Shaker Square and the surrounding neighborhoods have to stay strong,” Cook says. “We have a great city neighborhood — a dense, walkable community with affordable housing that’s close to public transit.”

The redevelopment of North and South Moreland apartment buildings is a sound investment, Cook and Gabrail argue, since the neighborhood continues to attract apartment dwellers and maintain relatively low vacancy rates. Tenants range from the “Meds and Eds” of University Circle to downtown-commuting professionals and long-time neighborhood residents seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle.

Cook is confident that his buildings will hold their value and prove successful over time. As the quality of the properties have been improved, he and Gabrail have been able to increase rents and improve resident-retention rates, thus garnering a more professional tenant base while maintaining the economic diversity of the neighborhood.

“These properties were built very well and the improvements we are doing will secure their place in the market for many years to come,” Cook says.

Source: Brian Cook
Writer: Lee Chilcote

innovative program fights to keep families out of foreclosure

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
For years, Community Housing Solutions(CHS) has been on the front lines of the battle to keep low- and moderate-income homeowners out of foreclosure. However, recently the battleground has shifted.As the economy has worsened, it has threatened the economic stability of working-class and middle-class families, leaving many more in danger of losing their homes.

To combat the mounting threat, CHS launched the Family Stability Initiative (FSI), a comprehensive new program aimed at keeping at-risk families out of foreclosure. It provides intensive counseling to families with school-age children. The program, housed in a Shaker Square storefront, was launched last fall and is the first of its kind in Cleveland.

“Our goal is to enhance the self-sufficiency of the families we work with,” says Andy Nikiforovs, CHS Executive Director. “We try to keep families in their homes by addressing the core problems they’re facing — such as job loss, medical bills or substance abuse.”

Prior to launching this initiative, CHS housing counselors focused on helping homeowners to achieve loan workouts with banks. These workouts consist of reductions in interest rates or loan principal, which in turn reduce payment amounts. Yet in recent years, as the foreclosure wave in Northeast Ohio reached tidal proportions, Nikiforovs knew CHS could do more.

“For years, our housing counselors listened to family members talk about the problems they faced, but we just never had the resources to address them,” he says. “As a result of this program, we hired two social workers who connect families with resources.”

Traditional loan workouts, while a crucial measure in keeping families from foreclosure, are only effective if the family is able to achieve economic stability. By the time many families reach foreclosure, it’s often too late for a workout. “There is a very high recidivism rate among families that get workouts,” says Nikiforovs. “Within six months, more than fifty percent are back in trouble.”

That’s where the Family Stability Initiative comes in. Social workers help at-risk families with finding and keeping jobs, obtaining new skills and training, and addressing financial problems such as medical bills. Though the level of support is resource-intensive, Nikiforus says it’s necessary to get them back on their feet. “This is a one-stop-shopping approach,” he says.

The Family Stability Initiative is a three-year pilot project partially funded by the Siemer Family Foundation, which is based in Columbus, and the United Way of Greater Cleveland. Nikiforovs estimates that the effort will assist about 200 families in its first year of operation.

Source: Andy Nikiforovs
Writer: Lee Chilcote

long-abandoned ohio city tavern converted to fresh new housing

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
James DeRosa purchased the old Marshall McCarron’s bar at Randall and John Avenue in Ohio City with dreams of reviving it as a hip restaurant.Then, in 2008, the economy did a spectacular nosedive. Unable to get a loan to make even basic repairs on the dilapidated property, DeRosa and his partners put their dreams on hold. A mounting list of code violations soon landed them in housing court.

“We were faced with the option of tearing the property down or fixing it up,” says DeRosa. “The neighbors thought it was important that this corner building be saved, and we didn’t want to create another vacant lot in the city of Cleveland.”

Eventually DeRosa and his partners Beth Kalapos and Thomas Stickney were able to obtain rehabilitation financing through Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH), a nonprofit whose mission is to revitalize Cleveland neighborhoods through repair and rehabilitation lending. Speculative retail was out of the question given the tight credit markets, so instead the developers turned the tavern into two new apartments.

“This project wouldn’t have happened without the CASH program,” says DeRosa. “They helped us get a reduced interest rate on our rehab loan so the project had positive cash flow.”

CASH uses Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Cleveland to subsidize rates through a linked deposit program. The interest rate that CASH offers is 3% below the typical bank rate — right now, the rate is 2.6%. The nonprofit also helps owners to hire a contractor, develop a list of repairs, and complete inspections.

Today, the old Marshall McCarron’s has been renovated into two new market-rate apartments — a two-story, townhouse-style unit on the street and a three-story apartment in the back. The developers turned the bar’s patio into an amenity for the new residents.

The tavern, which was built in the late 1800’s, has an illustrious history. The original property had likely been two separate houses, DeRosa says. They were pulled together — most likely by horses —  to create the tavern.

“When we renovated the property, we found the seam between the two original houses, and we put the dividing wall back in to create two apartments,” he says.

In the end, the historic tavern was not only saved, but handsomely restored. “We made mistakes, but we learned a lot and are proud of the project,” says DeRosa.

Source: Jamie DeRosa
Writer: Lee Chilcote

dollar bank lends to home rehabbers, defying trends

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Homeowners were taking out equity loans with alarming abandon just a few years ago, yet now many are reluctant to invest money in their homes. “With housing values falling, demand for home repair loans has also fallen,” says Larry Slenczka, Vice President of Community Development for Dollar Bank.

Yet Dollar Bank continues to finance home rehabs through a partnership with Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH), a nonprofit whose mission is to revitalize Cleveland neighborhoods through home repair lending.

“CASH has been successful in identifying projects driven by investors,” says Slenczka. “Their transactions tend to be very solid loans that have a very low default rate.” CASH offers investors and owner-occupants a reduced interest rate. Currently, that interest rate is 2.6%.

Even as the average homeowner sits on the sidelines, some rehabbers are jumping in and finding deals. And the glut of vacant properties in Cleveland has presented an opportunity for savvy investors; while foreclosure rates nationwide reached their lowest level in four years last month, Cleveland still has a backlog of empty homes.

Yet while it seems anyone with a credit card can snap up a cheap foreclosure — plumbing optional, of course — that’s just the beginning of the process. Getting a loan is no simple feat. Struggling with unsold inventories, many banks are cautious about lending to investors, while others aren’t lending at all.

That’s where CASH comes in. The nonprofit’s partnerships with Dollar Bank and other lenders help owners get financing. In addition to offering a reduced rate, CASH helps owners to pick a contractor, develop a list of repairs, and inspect the work.

“Everybody wins,” says Slenczka. “The neighborhood benefits from reinvestment, the benefits from private investment, and the bank benefits from a healthy market return.”

Source: Larry Slenczka
Writer: Lee Chilcote

installation art project being constructed at tower city center

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Greater Clevelanders are fortunate to live near an abundant source of fresh water. Lake Erie and the Great Lakes contain one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supply. Many places in the world are not so lucky — in fact, more people die each year from contaminated water than from all forms of violence and war combined.This month, a group of environmental artists are taking over a vacant space at Tower City Center to create an art display on the importance of water. The exhibit, which will be displayed during the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), from March 24 to April 3, is being organized as part of World Water Day events for Sustainable Cleveland 2019, an effort to create a green economy in Cleveland by 2019.

The sculpture, which will be crafted from decorated two-liter bottles, will educate Clevelanders about the importance of water conservation, and will also raise funds for a water well that will serve an elementary school in rural Uganda. The school, St. Charles Elementary School, is a sister school to Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy, a K-8 public school in Cleveland.

For the project, 150 students at Stokes Academy will carry their own two-liter bottle of water with them on a bus from their school to Tower City on World Water Day, which takes place Tuesday, March 22nd. It’s a gesture of solidarity with their pen pals in Uganda, who each fill their own bottles and carry them to school on a daily basis. The artists will also travel to the school to educate students on the importance of water.

Lead artist Nicole McGee and other project leaders will also work with Stokes students to help them decorate the two-liter bottles to represent the meaning of water in their lives.

Source: Nicole McGee
Writer: Lee Chilcote

local food forum illustrates rising interest in urban livestock

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
A packed house at Monday night’s Local Food Cleveland meeting on raising backyard livestock demonstrated growing interest in raising chickens, bees and other animals in urban neighborhoods across Northeast Ohio.

When audience members at the Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Tasting Room in Ohio City were asked by event organizer Peter McDermott if they currently were raising backyard livestock or were planning on it, approximately two-thirds raised their hands.

Two years ago, Cleveland City Council passed progressive “chicks and bees” legislation that allowed city residents to raise and keep certain farm animals and bees. Other municipalities in Northeast Ohio also allow residents to keep backyard livestock. Presenters urged audience members to consult their local zoning code and contact their local zoning officials with questions.

The majority of livestock owners in Cleveland tend chickens (not roosters) for eggs or bees for honey, said McDermott, a Network Weaver with Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S). While raising goats, pigs and other animals is also permitted in some places, those animals typically require more land than is available on urban lots.

Despite the growing interest in urban farming and backyard livestock in U.S. cities, many municipalities lag behind. Some zoning codes prohibit or strictly limit keeping chickens, bees and other animals, while others do not address the issue. Presenters urged audience members to educate themselves — in many Northeast Ohio communities, despite assumptions to the contrary, raising chickens and bees is permitted in some form.

McDermott cited a plethora of benefits to keeping backyard livestock, including saving money on groceries, providing healthy, locally produced foods to residents, and income generation for owners who sell eggs and other products to neighbors or through local markets.

As the local foods movement in Northeast Ohio continues to expand, McDermott challenged audience members to consciously support the infrastructure needed to sustain it, including educating wary public officials at the state and local level.

“Studies show that local food is potentially a $15 billion economy in Northeast Ohio, and in recent years, we’ve seen a fifteen- to twenty-percent increase per year in local farmers’ markets,” said McDermott. “The question is, can the market for local foods support continued expansion? Our group is interested in accelerating the progress.”

Source: Peter McDermott
Writer: Lee Chilcote

murray hill market brings fresh fare to little italy

Thursday, March 03, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Michele Iacobelli Buckholtz has treasured memories of going to lunch with her dad in Little Italy. He grew up here when it was an Italian neighborhood with markets on nearly every corner. She soaked up the old neighborhood during these childhood visits.Today, Buckholtz is recreating the tradition of the small Italian market — with a contemporary twist. She recently renovated an historic storefront at Murray Hill Road and Paul Avenue in Little Italy. It reopened as the Murray Hill Market, which is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and carries fresh produce and groceries.

Patrons of the Murray Hill Market can expect something new with each visit. The specials change daily, based on fresh ingredients and the chef’s whim. Some favorites appear consistently, however. Buckholtz offers meatball subs every Thursday, relying upon her mother’s recipe of course.

Little Italy has changed since Buckholtz’s father grew up here — there are fewer Italian families now, more students and empty nesters. The small, corner markets have all but disappeared. Yet with the growth of University Circle and sharp condos sprouting up in Little Italy, demand exists for a contemporary market, Buckholtz says. She considers it part of her mission to provide fresh, healthy foods to area residents and employees, an amenity she says is lacking at other neighborhood stores.

The Murray Hill Market is also spicing up the food offerings in Little Italy. Although Italians are no longer the predominant ethnic group here, the restaurants along Mayfield and Murray Hill Roads still offer mostly Italian fare. While Buckholtz specializes in Italian foods, she also offers an array of other ethnic foods, including Jewish and French pastries, Middle Eastern dishes, and Puerto Rican rice and beans.

Source: Murray Hill Market
Writer: Lee Chilcote

flats forum attendees voice need for improved infrastructure

Thursday, March 03, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When Jim Catanese opened Catanese Classic Seafood three years ago, he knew the building at 1600 Merwin Avenue in the Flats needed major TLC. Yet the metal bulkheading along the Cuyahoga River was in far worse shape than he thought. And the worst part was near his freezer, where thousands of pounds of fish are stored.

“It was collapsing into the river,” Catanase told an audience at last week’s forum on the Flats, which was convened by Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman and attended by area stakeholders. “This was more than we could handle individually.”

Fortunately, with the help of Cimperman and the city of Cleveland, Catanese was able to obtain low-interest financing to repair the bulkheads. He hopes that the project, which will start this summer, will also bring back an historic use of the riverside property. “We’ll be able to offload fishing boats again,” he said.

The Cuyahoga shipping channel is lined on each side with these bulkheads, a 100-year-old, man-made containment system that keeps the soil from the riverbank from eroding into the river while also keeping the river within its banks during times of flooding.

Unfortunately, many of these bulkheads are now deteriorating, and they are expensive to repair. Catanese expects to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars, a price that many owners can’t afford, he says. Maintenance of the bulkheads is necessary to ensure the channel remains navigable for shipping. Activity along the waterfront is a $1.8 billion economic engine for Northeast Ohio.

At the forum, Catanese voiced a common concern in the Flats: the need for improved infrastructure. Currently, more than $2 billion worth of development is planned or underway in areas adjacent to the river. Forum speakers said that much of the Flats’ infrastructure, including roads and bridges, is in need of an overhaul.

One of the area’s biggest infrastructure projects will require major federal assistance. Franklin Road Hill above Irishtown Bend is threatening to collapse into the Cuyahoga River, and stabilizing it will cost between $80 and $200 million.

For years, the Flats’ redevelopment has languished amidst conflicts between competing interests. While the area has evolved into a mixed-use neighborhood of industry, recreation, housing and entertainment, neighbors haven’t always been friendly.

The planning effort that is now underway, which is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Cleveland and Gund Foundations and includes major stakeholders, has the potential to link major projects, balance conflicting interests and attract additional support.

Source: Jim Catanese
Writer: Lee Chilcote

flats redevelopment must help poor residents too, says speaker

Thursday, March 03, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Malik Moore is excited about the $2 billion worth of development that is planned or underway in the Flats and adjacent neighborhoods. At the same time, however, as the area is redeveloped as a hub for entertainment, housing, offices, industry and recreation, he wants to ensure that its poorest residents are lifted up as well.

“As this neighborhood grows, we want the residents to grow with it,” said Moore, Executive Director of the Downtown Cleveland YMCA, at last week’s forum on mapping out the future of the Flats. Over 350 people attended the event.

The YMCA has formed a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). Starting in March, the nonprofit will offer several new initiatives to residents of Lakeview Terrace, a public housing project in the Flats, including the REACH program, an effort to address health disparities among low-income and minority groups. A college readiness program will also be offered to Cleveland Municipal School District students.

“Lakeview Terrace is located in the shadow of Ohio City, an area that has seen redevelopment,” said Moore in a recent interview. “As we look at ways to redevelop the Flats, we need to build bridges between communities.”

Moore says that the Y’s programs will help to lessen the physical and social isolation experienced by Lakeview Terrace residents. “Through broadening the social network these youth have available to them, we can reduce the likelihood of high-risk behaviors,” he said.

Although the proliferation of new condos and townhouses in the Flats make clear that demand for market-rate housing exists here, more than one speaker cited the need to involve residents in redevelopment efforts.

While competing interests between industry, entertainment, recreation and housing have long stymied the Flats’ redevelopment, speakers at the forum challenged the audience to work together to revitalize one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods.

Source: Malik Moore
Writer: Lee Chilcote

on quest for energy efficiency, indians swing for the fences

Thursday, March 03, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Cleveland Conserves Campaign is an effort by the City of Cleveland and local environmental groups to cut waste, save money and boost the local economy. Calling 2011 “The Year of Energy Efficiency,” these groups are promoting energy conservation efforts to individuals and businesses.The Cleveland Indians are among the local businesses championing the initiative. The Tribe has had a comprehensive recycling program since Jacobs Field opened in 1994. The Indians were the first major league team to install solar power at their stadium, a project completed in 2007. They have also installed LED lighting throughout the park.

This year, the Tribe is expanding its composting efforts at Progressive Field. The Indians began composting the waste from concession stands, restaurants and the clubhouse at the end of the 2010 season. In 2011, they will begin composting from the main seating areas.

“Cleaning crews will do three walk-throughs — for organics, plastics and trash,” explains Brad Mohr, Assistant Director of Ballpark Operations for the Cleveland Indians. “It’s cheaper to compost than it is to send organic materials to a landfill.”

In 2010, the team composted 2.5 tons of food waste from concession stands, restaurants and the club house in only six games. Cornstarch-based beer and soda cups, cutlery, and hot-serve cups are used throughout the ball park, in the front office and in the press box.

The team’s marketing message — Our Tribe is Green … Are you in the Tribe? — encourages fans to participate in green activities, including recycling. “We look at ourselves as a business and community leader,” says Mohr.

So far, the Indians are pleased with the investment they’ve made in conservation measures. The team recycled over 153 tons of materials in 2009, reducing trash pickup by over 60 percent, from 254 trash pickups in 2007 to 97 pickups in 2009.

Conservation measures not only protect the environment, they also protect a business’ bottom line. The Indians invested $30,000 in balers to make cardboard or plastic into giant cubes. Selling the cubes along with money savings from reduced trash hauls paid off the initial investment within four months.

Source: Brad Mohr
Writer: Lee Chilcote

slavic village cdc acquires, sells bank-owned homes

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
When TV crews descended on Slavic Village three years ago, the neighborhood was dubbed the “epicenter” of the foreclosure crisis. While that infamy was brief — the crisis soon expanded to other parts of the country, with California, Florida and Nevada among the hardest hit — the damage it left behind was real.However, this resilient neighborhood is now becoming known for its innovative response to foreclosures. Through its Neighbors Invest in Broadway program, Slavic Village has been acquiring vacant, bank-owned homes and selling them to qualified rehabbers.

“After the housing market collapsed, we began to look at how we could rebuild our neighborhood,” explains Marie Kittredge, Executive Director of Slavic Village Development (SVD), the nonprofit community group that serves the neighborhood.

Since launching the program, SVD has acquired 28 homes and sold 17. Eight of these homes were sold to owner-occupants. “When we launched the program, we were selling most of the homes to investors,” says Kittredge. “But recently we’ve had more owner-occupants.”

Purchasers, who must demonstrate the financial ability to bring the properties up to code, obtain the homes for $5,000. Such bank-owned properties are often stripped of plumbing and need major repairs. Due to the investment required to repair them, and because supply outstrips demand, they often hold little value. Lenders have been willing to donate the properties to SVD or the city of Cleveland.

After acquiring the property, SVD issues a Request for Proposals. It then selects the most qualified proposal, giving preference to owner-occupants. After selling the home, SVD follows up to ensure the work is completed according to the specifications.

“We want to make sure the home is decent, but it doesn’t need a new Jacuzzi or kitchen,” explains Kittredge. “We’ll work with the owner throughout the process.”

Source: Marie Kittredge
Writer: Lee Chilcote

business grad follows dream to create urban farm

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Justin Husher graduated with an MBA from Cleveland State University in May of 2008 — just in time for the collapse of the financial markets.Instead of wringing his hands, Husher considered his bleak job prospects as a sign. “I never wanted to be a banker,” he told the audience at last week’s forum on vacant land reuse at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. His college major had been botany, and he’d always dreamed of tending the soil.

That’s when Husher learned about Reimagining Cleveland, a small grants program that was launched to support the creative reuse of vacant land in the city.

Husher applied to the program, which is managed by Neighborhood Progress (NPI) and funded by the Surdna Foundation and the City of Cleveland. After he was awarded a $7,500 grant, Husher worked with Cleveland’s land bank program and Bellaire Puritas Community Development Corp. to cobble together a half-acre of land on W. 130th. Pretty soon, Old Husher’s Farm was born.

Husher, who sells his produce at the Gordon Square farmers market and other venues, has a passion for local food. “I like to grow vegetables with storylines, such as heirloom tomatoes,” he said. “It’s important to learn where our food comes from.”

At last week’s forum, the young farmer also offered recommendations for improving the business climate for urban agriculture. Husher’s wish list includes longer-term leases with property owners and an initiative to help farmers purchase land at affordable prices. He’d also like to see a cooperative stand for urban farmers to sell locally grown food at the West Side Market.

Since Reimagining Cleveland launched in 2008, the program has funded 56 projects to creatively reutilize vacant land in Cleveland. According to the Reimagining Cleveland website, there are an estimated 3,300 acres of vacant land in the city of Cleveland.

Source: Justin Husher, Reimagining Cleveland
Writer: Lee Chilcote

brooklyn centre residents plant community orchard on empty lot

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Residents of W. 33rd Street in the Brooklyn Centreneighborhood of Cleveland were tired of stolen cars, drug dealing and prostitution in the vacant lot at the end of their street.At one time, a neat row of houses stood there, overlooking the picturesque Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Then Norfolk Southern, the owner of the rail lines that traverse the valley below, bought the homes and tore them down to shore up the hillside. Needless to say, the residents liked their old neighbors better. In 15 years of absentee ownership, Norfolk Southern has done nothing to maintain or secure the property.

The residents decided to do something about it. The property was a little too big for a community garden, so they decided to plant an orchard instead.

“The clean-up effort was like waging guerilla warfare on an overgrown lot,” Darren Hamm, one of the project’s leaders, told the audience at last week’s forum on vacant land reuse at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. “We found toys, car bumpers and chunks of concrete underneath the soil.”

“Everyone was really motivated to clean up this lot, so it wasn’t hard to get volunteers,” Hamm added.

After cleaning the land and preparing the soil, Hamm and other project leaders planted neat rows of fruit trees and bushes. Among those planted were pear, apple, cherry, peach, blackberry and raspberry. As a finishing touch, a white picket fence and welcoming arbor were added.

The community orchard project, which sits on Louisiana Avenue between W. 33rd and W. 34th streets, was aided by a $5,000 grant from Reimagining Cleveland, a small grant program supporting entrepreneurial efforts to repurpose vacant land in the city of Cleveland. Reimagining Cleveland is managed by Neighborhood Progress and funded by the Surdna Foundation and the City of Cleveland.

This innovative program offered the residents more than just funding, however. At first, they couldn’t find anyone at Norfolk Southern to talk to about leasing the property. Then a group in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood that had been dealing with a similar problem found a sympathetic staff person at Norfolk Southern. Through the Reimagining Cleveland grantee network, they were able to share that information with the residents of W. 33rd Street .

“Now the person from Norfolk Southern is calling me and saying, ‘OK, that was a good project, where else can we do this?'” said Lilah Zautner, Program Manager for Reimagining Cleveland. “That story shows the power of the network.”

Source: Darren Hamm, Lilah Zautner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

capitol theatre builds audience, meets projections in year one

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Capitol Theatre, a three-screen movie theater at Detroit and W. 65thStreet that opened in late 2009, has met its projections by attracting 45,000 patrons in its first year.The pioneering venue is the only indie movie theater on Cleveland’s west side. The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DCSDO), the nonprofit developer, secured financing and broke ground on the project just a few months before the collapse of the financial markets in 2008. The theater, which contains a beautifully restored main room and two smaller rooms, is a centerpiece of the burgeoning Gordon Square Arts District.

To ensure continued viability, the Capitol must grow its audience by 10 percent per year for the next five years, says Jenny Spencer, Project Manager with DSCDO. “Right now, we’re building an audience,” says Spencer. “We’re doing about as well as we’d expected, but we need to keep growing.”

Spencer cited the strong attendance during recent screenings of Black Swan and True Grit as indication that the Capitol’s audience will continue to grow.

Since the Capitol opened, it has broken the corporate mold by offering special events, resident discounts, partnerships with local restaurants and other creative strategies to entice moviegoers. Currently, it is offering a promotion for Lakewood residents, who can see a movie for $6 through the end of March. The Capitol is run by Cleveland Cinemas, which manages eight theaters, including the Cedar Lee.

The Capitol Theatre’s growing audience will also help to attract more independent films, Spencer said. When the Capitol Theatre project was first launched, the venue was billed as the “Cedar Lee of the West Side” by promoters. However, the theater had difficulty attracting the indie hit “Waiting for Superman” because attendance wasn’t high enough. Thus, the theater has been forced to screen a mix of independent and larger Hollywood films, and Spencer says that will likely continue.

Although movie theaters across the country continue to face competition from Netflix and other online services, Spencer says that special events such as “Sunday Classic Movies” and partnerships with restaurants are attracting patrons seeking a unique movie-going experience. And while Crocker Park has 16 screens, she adds, the Capitol is still the only West Side venue where you can order a beer.

Source: Jenny Spencer
Writer: Lee Chilcote

artist goes to work on historic tudor arms

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
Artist Nicolette Capuanohas spent the past year painstakingly restoring the ornate plaster trim and low relief sculptures in the Tudor Arms building.Yet she’s doing more than simply recreating the past; she has worked closely with building owner Rick Maron and designer Cindy Rae Cohen to create her own masterpieces — original, hand-painted murals — that will grace the landmark structure.

“We wanted to highlight the beauty of this historic building while adding a more contemporary touch,” says Capuano, who started her company, Beyond the Wall Mural Design, after graduating from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2005.

“Blending the historic and contemporary is definitely a trend in interior design these days,” Capuano adds. “We wanted to create something that felt somewhat timeless.”

In April, MRN Ltd. will complete a $22 million restoration of the Tudor Arms building, converting it to a new 154-room Double Tree Hotel. The vestibule that Capuano restored will be the hotel’s main entrance, while the rejuvenated ballrooms will be used for special events. (See comprehensive Tudor Arms feature in next week’s Fresh Water.)

In addition to the mural restoration, Capuano also helped repair the building’s one-of-a-kind plaster work where it was damaged or missing pieces. This labor-intensive process required making custom molds, recreating each piece by hand, and patching it in.

When she couldn’t find the color she wanted for the trim, Capuano created one from scratch.

“The Tudor umber that we used to glaze the plaster work was hand-mixed,” says Capuano. “I went through all of the Sherwin-Williams colors, but I couldn’t find exactly what we wanted. I’m a perfectionist, so I kept mixing colors until I got it right.”

Source: Nicolette Capuano
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new mediterranean restaurant to open in university circle

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
A new Mediterranean-themed restaurant will open this April in the Tudor Arms, a landmark at East 107th and Carnegie Avenue that is undergoing a $22-million makeover to a Double Tree Hotel.

The restaurant will be owned by Samir Khouri, owner of Somer’s restaurants in Cleveland, Bedford and North Ridgeville, and Serge Elias,  owner of Cedarland at the Clinic, a popular Middle Eastern Restaurant.

Tentatively called the Canopy, the restaurant will feature a menu offering both Mediterranean and American cuisine. It will serve hotel guests as well as the visiting public. It will also have a coffee bar, a party room, and a lounge that will stay open for late-night revelry.

“In addition to serving hotel guests and providing room service, we’re marketing it as a meeting place for people who work in University Circle,” says Khouri. “We will have valet service, and we’re toying with the idea of offering a shuttle for Clinic employees.”

The new restaurant offers a testament to the buying power of the University Circle area. With almost 40,000 full-time positions, the Circle is the second largest employment center in the region. A 2010 study by Real Estate Strategies Inc. showed the area is on track to produce about 10,000 new jobs between 2005 and 2015.

Although Cedarland may eventually close — the building is slated to be demolished to accommodate the Cleveland Clinic’s ever-growing appetite for expansion — the timeline is uncertain, and Khouri says it will stay open at least another two years.

Source: Samir Khouri
Writer: Lee Chilcote

super-smarthome to break ground at natural history museum

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Fresh Water Cleveland
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) will soon break ground on SmartHome Cleveland, a passively-heated home that does not require a furnace and is designed to challenge the way that people think about the issue of climate change.

The 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom home will be presented in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Climate Change, from June to September 2011.

“The SmartHome will show that it’s possible to use dramatically less energy in our buildings — and they can be wonderful places to live,” says David Beach, Executive Director of Green City Blue Lake (GCBL), a center for regional sustainability located at the museum.

The SmartHome, which was designed by Doty and Miller Architects and will be the first of its kind in Cleveland, incorporates Passive House Methodology. This approach includes high levels of insulation, featuring wall thicknesses of up to 18 inches, a carefully sealed building envelope that combines minimal air leakage with efficient heat-recovery ventilation, and triple-pane windows.

Heated by a small, supplementary heater, the SmartHome’s energy efficient design along with the solar panels on a detached garage will make it a net-zero energy consumer.

Beach describes bringing the SmartHome to University Circle as “something of a barn raising.” While planning the project, GCBL worked with neighboring institutions and community groups to identify how the home could best fit into the community.

Ultimately, they decided that a home this smart couldn’t remain a museum showpiece for long. This fall, the home will be transported to a vacant lot on nearby Wade Park Avenue in Glenville, where it will be offered for sale to a buyer. The home, which will cost about $525,000 to build, will be priced between $300,000 and $400,000.

Beach is already honing his sales pitch for winter-weary Northeast Ohioans. Tired of paying high heating bills? “You could heat this house with a hairdryer,” he jokes.

Source: David Beach
Writer: Lee Chilcote

moca celebrates ground breaking of new home in university circle

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fresh Water Cleveland


Last week, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) figuratively broke ground on its new home at Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road in University Circle.

Yet much like spring in Cleveland, MOCA’s literal ground breaking, one hopes, isn’t too far off. The 34,000-square-foot facility, which will cost nearly $27 million to build, is scheduled to begin construction within the next two months. The grand opening is slated to follow one year later.

Like other contemporary art museums, MOCA started small. In fact, the new museum represents something of a homecoming, since MOCA’s original, late-1960s home was a rented house on nearby Bellflower Avenue. As modern art began to receive its due, so too did MOCA, expanding to the second floor of the Cleveland Playhouse on Carnegie, a spot that it has occupied for decades.

The new building, which was designed by London-based Foreign Office Architects (FOA), is itself a showpiece of modern architecture. Renderings of MOCA’s new home show a sleek black stainless steel and glass exterior, with the luminescent, gem-like building lighting up the prominent corner at Euclid and Mayfield.

“This is the prow of the ship, the entry point into University Circle’s Uptown neighborhood, and MOCA will be a beacon for something new and different,” said Stuart Kohl, the co-chair of MOCA’s capital campaign, at the groundbreaking.

The possibility of relocating to University Circle became real five years ago when Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), which owned the site, approached MOCA. “You don’t just walk up and buy land in this unique principality,” Kohl joked to supporters.

Jill Snyder, the museum’s director, said that “pathological optimism” is required to make a large building project such as this one happen in the midst of a recession.

David Abbott, President of the Gund Foundation, told supporters that projects like this one are necessary for Cleveland to remain competitive in the global economy.

“Successful communities are in competition for global talent,” he said. “Creating vibrant places is an essential part of recruiting and keeping talent in Northeast Ohio.”

Source: Jill Snyder, Stuart Kohl, David Abbott
Writer: Lee Chilcote

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