Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fulton Road Bridge to Come Down Soon

Looks like WTAM beet the other news outfits on this one. I can't wait to see the final designs on this. It should pretty nice.
This is the way to keep the public involved in a project. (even if it is going to result in the taking of portions of some residents property)
Fulton Road Bridge Bid Is Under Estimate

Demolition of 74-year-old span will commence this winter.
$45.8 million. That's the apparent low-bid for the Fulton Road Bridge contract in Cleveland. That's about 3% below the ODOT estimate of $47.6 million.

Bids were opened Wednesday morning from contractors who wanted to tear down the old bridge over the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and build a new one.

Once the bid from Kokosing Construction of Fredericktown, Ohio, is reviewed, it will likely be awarded within a week. A pre-construction meeting will then be held with all groups that have a vested interest in the project. ODOT's Michelle Proctor says demolition will happen this winter, when zoo traffic is at its lowest. Then construction will take two to three years.

The Fulton Road Bridge was built in 1932, and has been crumbling for years. It was built in 1932, and has been crumbling for years. There is even a protective cover over the zoo pedestrian paths. Two lanes of the bridge have been closed to traffic since March of 2004 due to structural issues.

The new bridge will continue the arch design of the current span. Funds from the state and federal governments will cover about 80% of the costs.

Click here for more information about the Fulton Road Bridge project.

Notice: The Fulton Road Bridge website has not been updated in quite some time - but it does have nice renderings.

In July, i took some photos of the crumbly bridge which you can see here.

CSU Recreation Center Ribbon Cutting

Over a hundred members of the CSU community gathered for the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new recreation center. Many people started using the facility right away. Below are a few of the pictures.
To see the whole set, go here.
I imagine there will be an article in the PD soon as there were at least three reporters present, including Architect Critic, Steve Litt.
My own impression of the building? I love it... most of it.
It's great that it is green (Silver LEED). But I am not happy with the way the building meets Chester Avenue. It is not a pleasant walk in the summer; I can't imagine what it will feel like in the winter, particularly where the ventilation system is - not well thought out.
And what's with the gravel where the trees are?
One other issue of concern is the free weight are on the third level and the cardio area right below that. It will be great for those who do that sort of thing to be able to do it with an incredible view, but what is it going to feel like at 5:00 on a clear day. The sun is going to be glaring right into your face. I have a feeling the staff will end up placing those shades restaurants have that will let you see outside but block some of the sun.
Besides those three things, the building is beautiful and I intend to take full advantage of it.
God knows I need it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

So You Missed the Fenn Tower Ribbon Cutting...


In case you missed the offical ribbon cutting from Fenn Tower this week at Cleveland State University, I have a large photo set on Flickr for you to view. Some of the photos are from early this year taken during constuction and a few are b/w copies from the last century.

Photo set is here.

The next official ribbon cutting will be for the new, LEED Certified, Recreation Center. That will be at 12:00 on August 28. The first 300 individuals to register for annual memberships will receive a complimentary goodie bag (a $75 value) including a long sleeve t-shirt, sport bag, four free guest passes, and a free instructional program pass.
RecFest will be held Thursday, August 31 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with free food, games, prizes, and events.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Possible Changes in Flats Traffic Patterns - and Other Flats News

From the Flats Oxbow Newsletter:

Patrol Officer John Hategan of the 2nd District presented a traffic plan for the West Bank. (Sergeant James O’Malley wrote the plan but could not be in attendance today.)

During recent West Bank of the Flats details, heavy traffic led us to determine that the current traffic patterns may be outdated and in need of review. Gridlock is a common occurrence during busy weekends and special events and with the increase of residential properties in the area, we feel that if changes were made, emergency services could respond in an efficient, safe manner without the constant monitoring and street closing by law enforcement at key intersections. It is our opinion that some or all of the below changes could be effective:


1. Make Center and Main a four way stop intersection. This would assist in traffic flow and create a safe option for entering Main Ave. Several obstructions from parked cars and hills lead to a traffic hazard.
2. Place stop signs at Main & Elm, creating a three way stop intersection to assist in traffic flow.
3. Make Elm St. one way North from Elm to River St.
4. Make Center St. one way south from River to Main Ave.
5. Make Hemlock one-way East from Mulberry to Elm St.
6. Make Spruce one-way West from Elm St.

The addition of one-way streets would allow law enforcement to maintain a safe flow of traffic and would assist if street closures are needed.

Essentially, it’s easier to close and secure a one-way street than a two way street. Less officers and cars are needed. This allows other officers to enforce traffic laws and maintain police visibility in the area.

(NOTE: This type of closure is often utilized when traffic backs up so that emergency services can proceed to an assignment without undue interruption.)

Special Issues / Considerations

1. Parking on these streets would need to be reviewed. Permitting curb parking in areas previously restricted may be necessary.

2. The width of Elm and Center streets would need to be considered. They are basically wide streets when the curbs are clear. We would not want to create an opportunity for drag racing or illegal passing. Painting solid lines or lane markings to force “one lane” may resolve this issue.

River Street would need to remain a two way street due to the mines. NO OUTLET signs at Center and River may be needed.

These recommendations come after several years of maintaining traffic in these areas during heavy traffic times and would assist law enforcement in effectively maintaining a safe traffic flow for public safety and emergency response.

There were questions on how long it would take to implement the plan.

Commissioner Rob Mavec (City of Cleveland – Traffic Engineering) had a suggestion to limit the times to only late evening early morning. The majority of people in attendance agreed that it should be 24/7. Commissioner Mavec said he would meet with Sergeant O’Malley. This could possibly be in place by next weekend.
There was a request for speed limit signs on the viaduct.

Rhona Allen requested a Handicap sign for in front of her shop on Old River Rd. There will be a meeting at the Imrov on August 2, 2006 at 9am regarding the W. 28th/W. 25th/Washington/Division area by ODOT.
In other Flats news:

The Design Review Committee passed the façade & signage for Larry Flint’s Hustler Club @ 1041 Old River Road as originally presented on June 20, 2006 and approved it on July 5, 2006 when the applicant presented the additional information the Committee sought. The Design Review Committee further advised the applicant that any changes to the buildings on Front Street would be considered new submissions to Design.
Scott Wolstein’s Flats East Bank project has a new partner. The redevelopment team will be working with Building Cleveland by Design to explore ways to incorporate art, park design, and sustainability into the $230 million project. Building Cleveland by Design, managed by ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art, has been awarded a two-year, $440,000 grant from the George Gund Foundation to provide resources and expertise in these areas to regional development projects.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

August Project Status Report for Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University Project Status Report

Recreation Center
o Punch list underway.
o FF&E delivery and install underway.
o Final inspections complete.
o Occupancy attained.
o Building opens August 28th.

Fenn Tower
o Furniture delivery and assembly in progress.
o Design of retail space moving forward.
o Building opens August 15th.

Parker Hannafin Administration Center / Hall
o Cast stone delivered and to be installed.
o Interior framing inside Parker Hannifin Hall underway.
o Brick façade work on the exterior of Administration Center continuing.

East Parking Garage
o Glass installation underway.
o West façade brick install underway.
o Electrical installation progressing.
o Elevator installation slated to be complete end of July/beginning of August.
o Bridge from Garage to Recreation Center to be installed the week of August 12th.

Main Classroom Stair Tower Phase 1A
o Foundation installation has begun.

Main Classroom Plaza Build Out Phase 1B
o Bid documents have been received and are being reviewed.

Student Center Phase II
o Schematic Design kicked off August 2nd.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

African-American Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

This week in the Sun News, Ken Prendegrast broke the story that has been rumored for a while that there is a strong likelyhood of a new cultural institution coming to Cleveland

City could hit home run with sports hall of fame
By Ken Prendergast
Staff Writer

In a city already rich with cultural attractions, Cleveland could soon add another to celebrate sports legends. But a team of supporters coming together with the goal of building an African American Sports Hall of Fame and Museum doesn't simply want to create another attraction. They said they want a venue that also motivates young people to excel in life.

Hall of fame founder and Warrensville Heights native Lamont Robinson says the facility should do more than celebrate sporting legends' records of accomplishment on the field or court. It would also hail African American athletes for their accomplishments in their communities and across the nation.

"The story needs to be told," said Robinson. "A lot of the young kids today need to know about these athletes. They need to find out whose jersey number they're wearing. We're standing on the shoulders of these great athletes."

Cleveland was fortunate to have a number of African American athletes who fought great odds merely to play on the same fields as white athletes. Ultimately, their successes were enjoyed by Americans of all backgrounds.

During the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Adolf Hitler's so-called master race couldn't master Clevelander Jesse Owens in track and field. He won four gold medals and proved the Nazi's racist ideology was false.

In 1946, fullback Marion Motley helped desegregate professional football by joining the Cleveland Browns. The next year, Cleveland Indian Larry Doby broke the color barrier in baseball's American League. And, Satchel Paige, often considered the greatest pitcher in the Negro Leagues, joined the Indians a year after Doby. Both men helped the team win the 1948 World Series.

"It just makes sense to have it here," Robinson said. "There's a lot of history here. I've been thinking about it (the hall of fame) for a couple years now."

Robinson, who earned the nickname "Showboat" while playing professional basketball in the United States and Europe, is chief executive officer of the Harlem Road Kings. The touring basketball team combines comedy with life lessons to young people, emphasizing how important it is for kids to choose life, education and family over drugs, alcohol and gangs.

If built, Cleveland wouldn't have the only hall of fame celebrating African American sporting legends, however. There are the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., an African American-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in Oakland, Calif., and the International African American Sports Hall of Fame, in Detroit. But none is considered a national hall of fame for African American athletes.

Seven potential sites in downtown Cleveland and the near-east side are being evaluated by BMS Planning Consultants for the hall of fame. A 200,000-square-foot facility could include a museum, learning center, theater, gift shop, juice bar, sports bar, plus athletic facilities and possibly even a youth hostel.

Les Wolff, chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Smart Marketing Group which is developing the hall of fame's marketing campaign, said he has received interest from another Midwestern city in landing the hall of fame. But he declined to identify the city and said Cleveland was the hall of fame's first choice.

In the spirit of full disclosure, three friends and I are responsible for the planning study and will continue working on the project until it is ready to go to bid for design, engineering and construction.

There have been a a couple of changes already since this article was published.
I can say that none of the sites mentioned in the study are likely to be in the running. A new site will be the focus of the next phase.
More on that as details develop.

A draft copy of the planning study is available here.

Here are some renderings I made.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

July 21, 2006 Summary of the Cleveland Planning Commission

Cleveland Planning Commission Summary - 21 July, 2006




  1. Ordinance No. 377-06: Changes the use of parcels on the East side of West 117th Street between Governor Avenue and Thrush Avenue to a Local Retail Business District; also to change the use of parcels on the West side of West 117th Street South of Governor Avenue to a Two Family Residential District and a ‘B’ area District.


  1. Ordinance No. 1119-06: Authorizing the Director of Economic Development to enter into contract with Krather Place, LLC to provide economic development assistance to partially finance the historic renovation of property located at 4138 Pearl Road.
  2. Ordinance No. 1124-06: To vacate a portion of Starkweather Avenue and portions of West 7th Street.
  3. Ordinance No. 1125-06: To vacate a portion of East 109th St.
  4. Ordinance No. 1172-06: Authorizing the Director of Port Control to enter into a Lease Agreement with Hopkins Partners for the lease of office space at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.


DRC 06-096: Fleet Avenue Transportation & Design Study. (approved with accommodation)

The purpose of this project is to study and address traffic and transportation problem on Fleet Avenue Between I-77 and East 56th Street. This is a full street replacement (building-line to building-line) that will incorporate stamped and colored concrete, bump-outs at most intersections, new sidewalks and bike lanes. There will also be new concrete benches and trash receptacles. This is Phase one of the process.
The next phase will incorporate funding and final design. The final phase will be final funding and construction. Currently they are working hard on funding. The street has not had any significant repair work done in nearly 15 years, so it is possible some city funds could be secured. It is estimated the cost will be upward of $7 million.
Some of the concerns include the removal of trolley tracks that still exists under the pavement on Fleet, and the learning curve that will take place as people begin driving under conditions that will be new to the Cleveland area.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Extension (approved)

Resolution No. 07/21/06 In Support of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Extension To Downtown Cleveland (See resolution below)

This asked for the endorsement of the plan and encourages the City Planning Commision to stay involved throughout the implementation.

DESIGN REVIEW (all approved)

DRC 06-090: 1600 Buhrer Avenue, Buhrer School K-8, New Construction, Conceptual Review

A K-8 & Pre-school near the Clark/Scranton interchange. It will hold 350 students within its 54,000 sq ft. It is mostly a one-story building and every room is proposed to have natural light.

The architect was encouraged to rethink how the north parking lot and the playground are located (the playground is proposed to be near the freeway edge). It was also suggested the designer think if he playground as more of an asset to the neighborhood and not just a function of the school.

DRC 06-080: 885 East 146th Street, Wade Park School K-8, New Construction, Conceptual Review

A K-8 & Pre-school at East 146 and 147th Street in the Collinwood neighborhood. The current building is said to be the oldest in the Cleveland School District. The original part of the building was built in 1890 with an addition built in 1920. The existing building is two and three stories with 42,000 sq ft. The new building will be two stories, be a total of 64,000 sq ft and house 450 students.
The proposed new construction will have off-site parking due to the lack of land. There will also be a portion of the building that will remain open for the public to use while maintaining security for the school portions.
Part of of the existing building will be retained for use in the new building as a result of citizen comments.

DRC 06-094: 7600 Wade Park, East Clark School K-8, New Construction, Conceptual Review

This new school in the Wade Park neighborhood will replace a building originally built in 1974. The existing building is very fortress like. The new building, which will house approximately 550 students, will create a more open feeling.

Lillian Kuri informed the architect about existing art pieces in the courtyard and would like for the design firm to either incorporate the pieces in the new building or return them to the artist.

DRC 06-095: 1240 East 9th Street, J. Celebrezze Federal Building, Plaza Modernization

This addresses the rebuilding of the plaza surrounding the federal building at the corner of East 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue. Design work is being done through a collaboration of people from R. Fleischman, Olin Partnership and Westlake Reed Leskosky.

Directors Report
Regarding the Cleveland Clinic's proposal to close Euclid Avenue: We will work with the clinic to keep the street open.
Regarding the West Shoreway: The big issue is money. Currently the cost is approaching $70 million dollars. Concerns about the proposed options for the West 25th and 28th Street intersections.
Regarding Debbie Berry: Linda Henrechson and Scott Franz will take over her work.
Regarding the City Wide Plan: There will be a meeting at the end of July with all CDC's
Regarding Opportunity Corridor: The Mayor has OK'd a plan to work with ODOT.
Landmark issue: The rectory for St. Agnus will likely come down. The new developer for the land wants to build a CVS. The bell tower will remain.




WHEREAS, Cuyahoga Valley Preservation and Scenic Railway Association, d/b/a “Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad” (CVSR), is a private sector, volunteer supported, non-profit corporation that has operated excursion passenger rail service in the Cuyahoga Valley since 1972; and

WHEREAS, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is Ohio’s only National Park and, with over 2.5-million visits per year, it ranks eighth among National Parks across the country in annual visitation; and

WHEREAS, CVSR operates in partnership with CVNP, which owns and maintains 26 miles of CVSR’s track and provides interpretive and other support to CVSR, including regularly scheduled service, educational field trips and special events through the Park; and

WHEREAS, CVSR and CVNP are essential elements of the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway, a National Heritage Area stretching 110 miles from Cleveland’s Lake Erie shore to Dover/New Philadelphia, with CVSR as the “Steel Spine” – one of three transportation connectors within the Canalway; and

WHEREAS, CVSR has grown as a regional attraction and as an essential element in CVNP and the Canalway, with ridership averaging more than 100,000 annually in the past 5 years; and

WHEREAS, CVSR and CVNP have invested over $30,000,000 in infrastructure, railroad rolling stock and related capital assets to create the capacity to move toward fulfilling the vision of CVSR as a heritage attraction and alternative transportation into and through the Park and across the Canalway; and

WHEREAS, in 2003, CVSR and CVNP worked in partnership with Akron Metro RTA to extend passenger rail service 25 miles from the southern boundary of the Park in Akron to Downtown Canton to provide a continuous 51-mile rail transportation route linking the National Park in Independence/Cuyahoga County to Akron/Summit County and on to Canton in Stark County; and

WHEREAS, CVSR and CVNP are working to extend service an additional 8 miles northward to Downtown Cleveland providing a one-of-a-kind regional asset in Northeast Ohio – excursion passenger rail service connecting three major metropolitan areas – Cleveland, Akron and Canton – and Cuyahoga Valley National Park; and

WHEREAS, broad community support is essential to accomplish the challenging task of extending CVSR’s excursion passenger rail service to Downtown Cleveland; and

WHEREAS, the City of Cleveland supports the concept of alternative transportation to, from and within CVNP, and is pleased to evidence its support for this effort.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Cleveland City Planning Commission:

Section 1: That the City of Cleveland hereby embraces the regional vision of connecting Cleveland, Akron and Canton with excursion passenger rail service and supports extending said excursion passenger rail service from its present northern terminus within Cuyahoga Valley National Park at Rockside Road in Independence, Ohio to Downtown Cleveland as alternative transportation to, from and within the Park.

Section 2: That the City of Cleveland shall work in concert with the Federal Transit Administration, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Department of Interior, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Rail Development Commission, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, consulting parties and other local stakeholders to advance this project and work cooperatively with all parties to plan for and provide the final 8-mile long connection to downtown Cleveland, thus benefiting all residents of the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

Section 3: That CVSR and CVNP be and they are hereby authorized to list the City of Cleveland as a supporter of this project, and can call upon the Director of the City Planning Commission for further assistance and evidence of that support.

Section 4: That the Director of the City Planning Commission be and hereby is authorized and directed to support the planning, design and implementation of extension of excursion passenger rail service from Cuyahoga Valley National Park to Downtown Cleveland in partnership with CVSR and the National Park Service.

Section 5: That this resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption.

OHIOHUB.COM IS LIVE: "The light at the end of the tunnel might be a train."

For Immediate Release:

The Ohio Hub Website ... ... is now officially on line, as are the Power-Point Presentations from our recent Ohio Hub Station Development Workshop.
Hope you enjoy it and stand by for more new things in the coming weeks.

Stu Nicholson
Public Information Officer
Ohio Rail Development Commission
50 West Broad Street
15th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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High Speed Rail Arrives on the Web
Ohio Hub Debuts New Logo & Website

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Stu Nicholson

(Columbus / August 3, 2006) --The concept of fast trains needs a fast message in a wi-fi world. Now you can get on track and up to speed with the state’s major passenger and freight rail plan through the first-ever website dedicated to the Ohio Hub Plan: .

As it advances through the planning process, it was decided that the Ohio Hub Plan needed both its own identity and a strong presence on the Internet. The design firm of Neil Motts & Associates developed a stylized high speed train logo that looks like it’s flying without leaving the ground. That logo is now part of the Ohio Hub letterhead as seen above. The design team also developed the website, which includes an animated home page.

Now, you can get on board with a click to see the latest planning updates, maps, meeting information and even an Ohio Hub video. also offers downloads of the plan itself, as well as Power-Point presentations on both the Hub Plan and by visiting experts in the field of passenger & freight rail development.

The website made its debut at the July 14th ORDC “Ohio Hub Station Development Workshop” and was well received by the over 80 invited guests from all over Ohio and four neighboring states. Among the attendees were representatives of city and county planning departments, metropolitan planning organizations, mayors, land use officials, transit authorities, engineering consultants and transportation choice advocates. The aim is to get community leaders and planning officials to begin thinking ahead about not only where Ohio Hub trains could make station stops, but if they are ready for the kind of rail-oriented development that grows around stations and along rail corridors.

Among the featured speakers were Scott Bernstein (President / Center for Neighborhood Technology), Patricia Douglas (Executive Director / Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority), Alex Metcalf (President / Transportation Economics & Management Systems), Phil Hanegraaf (VP / HNTB) and James Seney (Executive Director / Ohio Rail Development Commission). All of their presentations can now be accessed at .

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The 2006 Preservation Awards

The Cleveland Restoration Society annouced the 2006 Preservation Awards

On Thursday, July 20, 2006 the Cleveland Restoration Society announced the winners of its 2006 Preservation Awards at the "Celebration of Preservation." The awards recognize exemplary preservation projects and individuals who have made a significant, positive impact in Northeast Ohio.

This year the Society presented 12 awards:
Cleveland award recipients include the Bingham Building for Adaptive Use to Multi-Family Housing;
Josaphat Arts Hall and the Nottingham- Spirk Innovation Center for Adaptive Use of a Sacred Landmark;
the Idea Center at Playhouse Square for Community Revitalization;
John Hay High School
for Historic School Building Renovation;
Shiloh Baptist Church
for Sacred Landmarks Preservation and homeowners
Tony and Tracie Vitantonio
for Neighborhood Home Preservation.

Projects honored outside of Cleveland include:
First Congregational Church of Akron
for Sacred Landmarks Preservation;
the Brownstones at Derbyshire in Cleveland Heights for Adaptive Use of a Sacred Landmark;
Lorain Palace Civic Center
for Ongoing Stewardship of a Historic Property;

and homeowners David and Georgiana Gray of Cleveland Heights for Heritage Home Preservation.

The Society's Trustees Award for Preservation Achievement was awarded to the Howard M. Metzenbaum United States Courthouse.

(Photo Courtesy of