Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cleveland maintains 1st place ranking in new housing construction

Community Development
Joseph Skrabec, Community Development

For Immediate Release:

Cleveland maintains 1st place ranking in new housing construction

November 28, 2006 – City of Cleveland officials working with Calabrese, Racek, and Markos, Inc. (CRM) Development Research today announced that Cleveland issued a total of 183 new for-sale residential permits during the first three quarters of 2006, the most in Cuyahoga County. Tied for second place in Cuyahoga County were Westlake and North Royalton with 79, followed by third place Berea with 73.

“This is further evidence that, together, we can create neighborhoods of choice in the City of Cleveland,” says Mayor Jackson. “Cleveland has a lot to offer. We want to make sure developers, potential homebuyers, and business know that we are a great City with quality affordable and market-rate housing in our neighborhoods.”

Cleveland also moved up to third place from sixth place in the seven-county region. The first place city was North Ridgeville City with 283, followed by Avon City with 201.
CRM Development Research is a subsidiary of Calabrese, Racek, and Markos, Inc., a full service appraisal firm. This division monitors market activity for new residential development throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

For more information on the City of Cleveland’s new home construction, please visit or call 216-664-2869.

(216) 664-4597,
Trista McClelland, CRM Development Research
(212) 696-5442 ext. 403,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cleveland Colectivo in the News

AP contacted the Colectivo to contribute to a story about giving, or social circles. At least two news sites picked it up.
The Palm Beach Post and the Seattle P.I.

But not the PD, of course.

Column: Social circles practice charity


NEW YORK -- Every other month, Karlene Grabner joins about 20 women for a pot luck supper that may seem like a social gathering but actually has a much more serious purpose.

Grabner is part of a group that calls itself the GEMS, an acronym for Giving Empowers My Sisters. Formed more than a year ago, the GEMS pool their money to donate to charitable causes in their community, Oshkosh, Wis.

The GEMS are part of a growing cadre of charitable giving circles that gather people interested in philanthropy and enable them to pool their money and time so they can have a bigger impact than they would by donating individually.

"We've funded the symphony," Grabner said. "We funded a sports complex going in at the university - we bought a couple of bricks. ... We're looking at an environmental project."

The group isn't limited to institutional philanthropy. Touched by the plight of a single mother whose three children were badly burned in a house fire, the GEMS voted their $250 collection from one recent meeting to the family's care.

Scott Simpson, a program associate with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, a charitable network based in Washington, D.C., said the forum has identified some 390 giving circles so far, but believes there are far more across the country.

"Many are small and operating under the radar," Simpson said. "It's truly grass roots philanthropy."

Still, a few things are known about giving circles from the list the forum has compiled, he said. Most have been formed since 2000 and they're located in almost every state. Often they're made up exclusively of women. And while some are church connected, most often the circles are nonsectarian and focused on community activities.

Most concentrate on pooling small donations, Simpson said, but others have gathered hundreds of members who give of their time or sponsor major fundraising activities. "The giving circles have given at least $37 million to charities that we know of - and we think that's just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Members of the GEMS, who try to donate $20 at each meeting, are organized much like an investment or book club. Meetings rotate among members' houses, and the women take turns bringing appetizers, wine and other food.

"Generally, five people are asked to bring forward a cause that they feel some money should go to, and we all talk about it," Grabner said.

Many of the giving circles form spontaneously, but others are brought together by major charities. Among these are women's programs under the wing of the United Way of Central Maryland in Baltimore.

Elise Lee, director of the group's major gifts division, said one circle, the Women's Leadership Council, is made up of more than 100 women who each donate $10,000 a year or more. Another circle, WINGs, or Women's Initiative Next Generations, is for those committed to giving $1,000 a year each; it now has some 3,000 members.

"Both provide opportunities for women to come together," Lee said. "And it gives us a chance to educate them to opportunities to get more involved in philanthropy."

She said that in September, for example, members of the leadership council were invited to a reception to look at United Way programs supporting child care and preschools that promote school readiness.

In addition to raising money, many of the women also participate in volunteer activities.

Some of the giving circles are part of national groupings, such as Dining for Women, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in developing countries. Others have an ethnic bent, such as the Latino Giving Circle in Chicago and the Asian Women Giving Circle of New York City.

Some, like the Cleveland Colectivo, try to break new ground close to home.

In its first grant-making year, Cleveland Colectivo raised more than $7,000 that went to an internship that creates neighborhood murals, a community program for refugees, a car-sharing service to provide a transportation alternative, and a "learning" garden to be planted and maintained by neighborhood youth.

The Cleveland circle was founded in 2004 by Walter Wright, who works for the nonprofit Neighborhood Progress Inc., and his wife Judy, who works with Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland. They had attended a number of local events focused on community development but didn't feel connected to any of them.

"So we thought, what if we got together with friends and pooled our money and did something with concrete focus to it," Walter Wright said. "The idea was, let's stop talking and do something."

The Cleveland Colectivo's several dozen members - mostly young professionals - meet monthly. Each participant donates about $400 a year.

"We want to keep this as a small network because it allows us to really discuss ideas - really learn about initiatives in our community," Wright said.

One goal of the circle, Wright said, was to get people started on a lifetime of philanthropy.

"We hope people learn about giving at an earlier age and in a more direct way than simply writing a check," Wright said. "And as people move up through their career, this experience will be value to them as they become leaders in their professions."


On the Net:

Friday, November 03, 2006

DIVERSION: " Future of the National Mall: Symposium & Lecture"

I have been busy with school, kids, work and such the past week or so and will be out of town for the next ten days in various cities for various reasons. So there will not be much posting here unless I find something that can be easily copied and pasted with little trouble. For example, this bit of news from Richard Laymen in Washington, D.C.and his blog, Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space.
It is unfortunate that the American Planning Association is not involved, at least not directly

Tomorrow - off to Boardman, Ohio for their design charrette. (See previous post.)

Future of the National Mall: Symposium; Lecture

National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial
The National Park Service is hosting a one-day symposium to kick off national dialogue in determining the future use, appearance, and landcape of the National Mall:

November 15, 2006
9 am - 5 pm
Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

A related website on the Symposium, its agenda, and public participation opportunities will go live after November 1st.

2. Also, the local chapter (Latrobe) of the Society of Architectural Historians is sponsoring a related lecture the night before:

Tuesday, November 14
The Washington National Mall

Lecture by Peter Penczer, Independent Scholar
6:30 P.M. – reception; 7:00 P.M. – lecture
The American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, N.W., boardroom, 2nd floor
$10.00 for Latrobe Chapter members and full-time students (with ID), $17.00 for non-members.

Peter Penczer introduces his book, The Washington National Mall, the first general history of one of America’s most important urban parks. Penczer will trace the history of the Mall in a lecture illustrated with more than 100 photographs, most never before published. The book, self-published in full color, is due in spring 2007. The lecture will focus on the Mall’s three lives. For most of the nineteenth century, it was little more than a pasture. Then, in the 1870s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the landscaping in a naturalistic style inspired by Andrew Jackson Downing’s 1851 plan for the Mall. For sixty years the Mall was filled with ornate Victorian buildings, winding paths, and heavy vegetation. That was swept aside in the 1930s in favor of the classical landscaping envisioned by the McMillan Plan of 1902. Penczer is also the author of Washington, D.C., Past and Present.

Reservations are not required. For general information about the event, please contact
Andrew Drabkin at 202-277-7106.

3. Of course, the National Coalition to Save the Mall is another resource for this topic.
001Image of a new National Mall, extended south from the U.S. Capitol.

This vision has been suggested by the Legacy Plan produced in the late 1990s by the National Capital Planning Commission, and is being promoted by the Coalition through their "Third Century Initiative."
Smithsonian Folk Life FestivalAP photo by Nick Wass.

Index Keywords:

Boardman, Ohio Design Charrette

The planning students from the Maxine Goodman-Levin College of Urban Affairs and the Kent State University architecture program will be working with the community to help define their needs and assist in creating a direction for the township. You are invited to take part.

Designing Our Future
Boardman Township invites all residents and interested stakeholders
to participate in a series of Community Meetings on:


At the Boardman Public Library
7680 Glenwood Ave, Boardman, Ohio 44512

A summary presentation will be given outlining the findings from focus groups, key leader interviews, and other data collection that the design team and Trustees have been engaged in over the past two months. Residents will be able to give additional ideas and share concerns regarding the needs of Boardman Township.


At the Boardman Public Library
7680 Glenwood Ave, Boardman, Ohio 44512


At the East Ballroom of the Boardman Holiday Inn
7410 South Ave, Boardman, Ohio 44512

A presentation of the designs for Boardman Township developed over the weekend from public input will be given by the design team.

For more information contact:
Patti Choby, Adjunct Faculty, Public Input Consultant at 216.849.6333
Robyn Bowman, Student Coordinator at 330.774.5383