Welcome to the Bruce blog—a weekly update
on news, events and issues affecting life in Cleveland. Reporting
as it happens on transit, development, planning, environment and
arts & culture.
Basically, we write about creative ideas forming,
talk to the people who have an inside track on the issues, and sometimes
offer a commentary of our own. (For disclosure purposes, Bruce blog
is a local, independent writer who also works part-time with nonprofit
Cleveland. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those
of EcoCity or any other organization).
This issue of Hotel Bruce
presents a potential Glenville drawn by idealistic urban planners,
green space visionaries and nonprofit civic activists. Futurists
all, its authors write about Dike 14 as a birder’s paradise,
about building a series of “counter-cultural” gardens,
about reinvigorating E. 105th and St. Clair as an RTA hub, about
recreating Charles H. Lake Elementary School as a green “Greenville
Elementary”—all in all, an impressive exercise in optimism.
I wish the future of Glenville, Cleveland, Greater
Cleveland, and Northeast Ohio was so unabashedly assured. I wish
transforming urban neighborhoods like Glenville into anything approaching
Hotel Bruce’s 21st-century new urban-main street vision was
unencumbered by present economic reality.
In the slow but steady effort to establish wind power in Northeast
Ohio, this was a giant step. The group calling itself the Ohio Wind
Working Group, led by nonprofit org Green
Energy Ohio, sent word out that on May 4, it had installed a
tower and began measuring wind strength a couple of miles off the
shore of Lake Erie. The group has set a deadline of June 24 to complete
the measurements, which are expected to confirm the level to which
Cleveland could produce power from this renewable resource. The
group is also determining how to attract a company that will pay
for wind turbines in exchange for an agreement with the local utility
company to buy the power. Email
for more information.
Cycling-as-transportation advocates had a couple
of reasons to feel good this week. First, a bike/pedestrian workshop
at NOACA, the
regional transit planning COG, drew a crowd from the target audience
of traffic engineers – the folks who often need the most help
creating streets that accommodate cars, bikes and people. Sources
who attended say that Michael Ronkin, of the Oregon Dept. of Transportation
and an expert on bike lanes and pedestrian friendly streets, fielded
the bulk of questions about how to handle bike lane design in standard
practice. Also mentioned was a proposed bike lane heading up the
hill from Little Italy, with city of Cleveland officials confirming
they are in favor of exploring it for the small segment that runs
in the city (the majority of that stretch of Mayfield is in Cleveland
Heights, which has not signed off on a study, but, observers note,
may be more willing if partnering with Cleveland).
Also, news has reached Bruce blog’s ears that
the Cleveland Planning Department has started to mark pavement locations
for the new city bike racks program. The $388,000 program (80 percent
of which is paid for by the feds) will place 500 bike racks primarily
in downtown Cleveland, neighborhood retail centers, parks, rec centers
and playgrounds. In the works for a couple of years, the bike racks
program is finally going out to bid. The city will install the racks
this fall through next summer, according to city officials. This
is another big step in Cleveland’s remaking itself into a
bike friendly city.
In its spring '05 issue,
Hotel Bruce explores the impact that demolishing storefronts for
parking lots—a technique favored by churches in the city—has
on neighborhood revitalization efforts. Check out this excellent
article penned by Hotel Bruce contributor, Lee Chilcote.
And, the dialogue continues at the
Urban Paradoxes blog, which writes, “One of the most common
and intriguing comment to come out of the series of recently completed
neighborhood visioning salons facilitated by Urban Paradoxes is
the statement: ‘The churches have ruined our neighborhood.’”
Read both articles, and send
us your comments.
Bruce blog is concerned about the state of
local retail in the Cleveland area – while mom and pop businesses
come and go, it seems like we’re in a cycle of local retail
bust. Our response is shop in our neighborhood, support our neighbors
and community, as often as possible. With that in mind, Hotel Bruce
Managing Editor Lindsey Bistline has been spotlighting a local retail
shop each month. Enjoy.
Bruce fell off the Atkins bandwagon and followed his
nose to Breadsmith
in Lakewood. Wow. If you like delicious, hearty bread, this is the
place to get it. You won’t have to worry about partially hydrogenated
oil, sugar or bleached flour here—everything is made from
scratch and it’s all natural. And even though it’s a
franchise (there are 34 Breadsmiths in the country), this is the
only one for hundreds of miles around.
The owners are native Clevelanders who renovated an
older building into a beautiful little shop with the look and feel
of a real French boulangerie. Using
ingredients from organic sources in Ohio whenever possible—for
example, their honey comes from Amish farmers in state—they
are producing some of the best bread Bruce has ever tasted. But
bread aside, the real treat at Breadsmiths is their chocolate chip
cookies. Take it from a cookie snob, you’ll be very sad if
you don’t spend the $.95 to take one home (if it makes it
Charles Chudakoff is still trying to figure out what
went wrong with his hometown. Chudakoff is locked
in a legal battle with the Village of Moreland Hills over his
proposed Owl Ridge development, which calls for a fairly dense (by
far-suburban standards) 29 single family homes on 18 acres. The
problem is his proposal challenges the village’s minimum two-acre
residential zoning, which only allows for nine homes on the same
Chudakoff, who ran a truck parts operation until 1991
when he started working with his wife’s family (The Perl’s)
business, says he’s gone beyond accommodating the village.
A flat out refusal for a zoning variance led to the courts. Chudakoff
started making news after his case got on the docket of the Ohio
Supreme Court (the hearing is scheduled for June 15).
Bruce blog spoke with Chudakoff about his case and
why it has so many people watching. Read
the interview here...
A blue-red effort to establish an Ohio version of
the national historic tax credit got a boost last week when the
bill’s Republican sponsors began touting the possibility of
incorporating it in the state budget. By combining mixed-use development
with the restoration of historic buildings, state lawmakers believe
they've found a way to inject life back into Ohio's inner cities
while combating suburban sprawl, reports the Hamilton Journal.
Bills in both houses of the General Assembly would
give tax credits for builders and developers who restore historic
structures rather than plow up green fields. Sen. J. Kirk Schuring,
R-Canton, who introduced the first bill in the Senate, said he's
excited by the prospect of restoring downtown cityscapes and giving
a boost to the economy at the same time.
"There's something special about a downtown if
it's done correctly," Schuring said. "If you combine office
and retail with some type of a living component, housing component,
that's the magic formula. You end up with folks with disposable
income that will support retail and entertainment. It becomes a
community. The synergy is pretty doggone powerful."
Bike to work day
Starting on Friday, May 20th experienced riders will join
nationwide "Bike to Work Week," leading bicycle commuters
from the east, west and south sides of the city of Cleveland, commuting
downtown. Starting at area Starbucks locations (where riders can
get free coffee), commuters can ride from: Legacy Village at 7 am,
Chagrin/Green Rd. (7:10) and Cedar/Fairmount (7:35) on the east
side; Westlake Promenade (7), Detroit Rd. in Rocky River (7:30),
Clifton Blvd. in Cleveland (8), Lorain Avenue in North Olmsted (7:15)
and Common Grounds coffee in Kamms Corners (7:40); and Arabica in
Garfield Heights (7:10).
Riders are invited to gather at the Starbucks on Public Square/BP
Building, which will provide coffee and treats. The downtown YMCA
(Prospect Ave and E. 22nd St.) will have free membership and shower
access for the day. When Cleveland Bikes, Cleveland benefits!
Sneak-a-peak at a future Cleveland
On Saturday, May 21 you can sneak-a-peek at Dike 14, the 88-acre
wildlife haven on the shores of Lake Erie in the heart of Cleveland.
Cleveland Lakefront State Park (Gordon State Park area located at
North Marginal and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd). From 7:30 a.m.
to noon, take one of the guided hikes of the dike (a layover spot
for more than 200 species of migratory birds ) and learn about plans
to make it into a nature preserve. Free parking is available at
Gordon State Park. For info, contact Chris Trepal at (216) 281-6468
Nappy Head Entertainment @
B Side Lounge
2785 Coventry Road, Cleveland Hts.
Dugg Out Thursday (every Thursday)
With DJ Know1,Kwise, and NoFace
Spinning hip hop, funk, soul, reggae and more.
Local “style maker”, druewho? will present the Fall/Winter
of Women’s and Men’s apparel on Sunday, June 12, 2005.
Part of "Artist Envy" an audio/visual artist collaboration.
Special musical performance by Chucks Junk. Pre-show presentation
by D.B.A. Fashions. For more information or tickets, call 216.470.9256
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal amendment for 'complete
Last week, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a "Complete
Streets Amendment" to the Senate transportation bill (SAFETEA).
The amendment would help ensure that state and local transportation
agencies build and maintain roads to serve everyone who uses them,
including people of all ages and abilities who are walking, bicycling,
or taking transit. It would direct state transportation agencies
to adopt complete streets policies, and includes a number of other
provisions to increase attention to walking and bicycling at the
federal, state, and local level. As America Bikes says, "This
is an important milestone: it is the first time the Senate has been
asked to vote so explicitly on fully integrating non-motorized transportation
into the transportation system." For more
information and talking points for
2005 ‘Life on Lake Erie’
Amateur "shutterbugs" and professional photographers
alike are encouraged to enter this year's 'Life On Lake Erie' Photo
Contest, sponsored by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.
Amateur and professionals will be judged separately. Under contest
rules, professional photographers are people who earn more than
51 percent of their income from photography.
The 2005 contest has no specific subject categories
and may depict any person, plant, wildlife, activity or scene that
captures the unique character of the lake's watershed. All photo
entries must have been taken between August 7, 2004 and August 1,
2005. Deadline for submitting photos is August 5. To enter, send
a 5x7" print or digital picture via U.S. Mail (along with a
completed entry form) to: One Maritime Plaza, Fourth Floor, Toledo,
Ohio 43604. Digital entries must be in jpg, gif or tif format and
be in a minimum resolution of 1600x1200. Black and white, as well
as color photographs, are encouraged. Additional information and
rules available at the commission's
Toledo office or call 419-245-2514.
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