Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"First Glimpse of the Designs for Cleveland's New Casino"

The company developing Dan Gilbert's Cleveland casino hasn't shown anyone what it will look like. But this video prepared by Rock Ventures and shown to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offers a glimpse."

I realize there are many people who don't give a flying leap about this and others who disagree with the what is happening with area around the proposed parking garage. Regardless, I find this pretty interesting that it is out now. We can tell it is old because Lebron is all over the place in the background.

Now if only the silliness in Columbus would stop.

"Cleveland Skate Park in the Flats Wins!"

From Public Square Group and

Cleveland Skate Park in the Flats Wins!

Monday evening Cleveland City Council had a heated discussion about the fate of the planned Cleveland Skateboard Park in the Flats. In the end only ONE council person voted against the skate park. 
Thanks to all who wrote emails, called and most importantly attended the committee and council meetings. There is nothing better than showing up and getting involved. It's still going to take lots of work to get this park open so please do what you can as we finish raising money for the landscaping and final items. 
Cleveland rolling ahead with Flats skate park
Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 12:55 PM     Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 11:50 AM
Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The city will press ahead with plans to build a skateboard park in the Flats, 
City Council voted Monday night to issue bonds for various improvements, including the $550,000 skate park. Despite whispers of a revolt among lawmakers upset by the proposed cutbacks, only Councilman Jeff Johnson opposed the measure.
The city is threatening to shutter Cory Recreation Center in west Glenville, which Johnson represents. Johnson called the skate park a "misplaced priority" that will serve a "niche community.
"There is a niche community over in west Glenville that is losing in this equation," he said at an afternoon committee meeting.
The concrete skate park is expected to open next year on the east bank of the Flats, next to the Rivergate Park rowing facility.
The new skating area will replace a worn-out plywood and steel model formerly located on the East Ninth Street pier. A California foundation started by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk has pledged $25,000 to the project.
City officials said the new park will require little maintenance and provide a designated space for a pursuit now practiced randomly on Cleveland's streets, sidewalks and other public property.
"The question is not whether we are enabling the activity," Ken Silliman, chief of staff for Mayor Frank Jackson, said at the committee meeting. "The question is whether we are enabling the activity in the safest and most responsible fashion."
Councilman Joe Cimperman, whose ward includes the park site, said skateboarding is "no more a luxury or a niche than baseball." He rallied skating enthusiasts who packed the hearing room in the afternoon and applauded the evening vote.
Vince Frantz of Lakewood heads the volunteer Public Square Group, which helped design the park. He said skating is a "force of nature" that will draw visitors and help revitalize the Flats.
Many of the skaters who attended the committee meeting work for Jakprints, a fast-growing printing company at East 30th Street and Chester Avenue.
Co-owner Jacob Edwards said more than half of his 128 employees are "active skaters," and that having the park nearby would be an incentive to continue commuting from the suburbs. He expressed frustration after the committee's debate.
"We have been asked to leave Cleveland many, many times," he said. "This is one more reason to question why we stay. Where is the benefit?"
Follow Thomas Ott on Twitter @thomasott1
Plain Dealer Reporter Michelle Jarboe contributed to this report.

LegislationLegislative Action: 10th District and State - 05212011

From Megavote:

In this MegaVote for Ohio's 10th Congressional District:
Recent Congressional Votes
  • Senate: Motion to Proceed; Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act
  • Senate: Motion to Proceed; Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011
  • Senate: Cloture Motion; Nomination of Goodwin Liu to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit
Upcoming Congressional Bills
  • Senate: PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011
  • Senate: House Budget Resolution, FY2012
  • House: Defense Authorization, FY2012

Recent Senate Votes
Motion to Proceed; Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act - Vote Rejected (52-48)

The Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed to consideration of this bill that would end certain tax breaks for large oil companies. The bill may resurface as part of the upcoming budget negotiations.

Sen. Rob Portman voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Motion to Proceed; Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011 - Vote Rejected (42-57, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to take up this bill intended to increase offshore oil production. The bill is similar to the offshore oil bills passed in the House earlier this month.

Sen. Rob Portman voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Sen. Sherrod Brown voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Cloture Motion; Nomination of Goodwin Liu to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit - Vote Rejected (52-43, 1 Present, 4 Not Voting)

The Senate rejected this cloture motion on the nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a federal appeals court judge. A cloture motion requires 60 votes to end debate and move on to a final vote.

Sen. Rob Portman voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes
PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 - S.1038

The Senate is scheduled to take up this four-year extension of provisions in the Patriot Act that are set to expire on May 27. The House may also take up its version of the bill.

House Budget Resolution, FY2012 - H.CON.RES.34

The Senate is expected to vote this week on the House’s 2012 fiscal year budget resolution.

Defense Authorization, FY2012 - H.R.1540

The House is scheduled to work on this bill authorizing defense spending in the next fiscal year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cleveland Flats and UCI to Get Port Funding

From WKYC:

Port Authority to help finance University Circle, Flats East Bank project

Written by

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has approved Port Authority OKs two financing agreements to help develop a new hotel in University Circle and advance the Flats East Bank project.

The Port Authority's bond fund will provide $2.5 million in taxable tax increment financing revenue bonds for a 153-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel to be constructed in University Circle.

The bonds will help pay for costs associated with public improvements at the site.

The board also agreed to issue an additional $5 million in taxable first-mortgage revenue bonds for The Flats East Bank project. Proceeds will be used to fund additional project costs. The Port Authority has previously issued more than $130 million in bonds associated with the project.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MedMart Construction Update: 05122011


Construction Update - 5/12/11

The demolition and haul out of materials and debris from the five buildings on the future Medical Mart site has been completed. The 113 Building was demolished in April, the last structure to be demolished at the corner of St. Clair and Ontario. In three months, crews demolished the Justice Center parking deck, the Chicago Title and County Annex buildings, the Sportsmans Restaurant, and the 113 Building. Soldier pile installation has been completed around the former 113 Building while backfilling, lagging and tie-backs continue. 
Demolition is also proceeding on schedule on the Convention Center and Malls B and C. On the north side of Lakeside Avenue, Mall C roof demolition is 95% complete. Interior demolition in existing Exhibit Halls C and D on the lower level of Mall C is roughly 95% complete. Demolition of the loading dock connection at Lakeside Avenue and the East Stair Tower began earlier in the week.
The balance of remaining demolition work on Mall B is located on the southeast corner of the project. Continued demolition of the topping slab and 4’ interstitial sand volume is approximately 85% complete. The highly-visible metal sheeting project along St. Clair Avenue continues moving to the west.
Read more here:

Legislative Action: 10th District and State - 05162011

From Megavote:

In this MegaVote for Ohio's 10th Congressional District:
Recent Congressional Votes
  • Senate: Cloture Motion; James M. Cole to be Deputy Attorney General
  • House: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act
  • House: Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act
  • House: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011
Upcoming Congressional Bills
  • Senate: Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act

Editor's Note: The House is in recess until Monday, May 23.
Recent Senate Votes
Cloture Motion; James M. Cole to be Deputy Attorney General - Vote Rejected (50-40, 10 Not Voting)

The Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate and move to a final vote on the nomination of James M. Cole to be deputy attorney general. Cole was given a recess appointment in December 2010.

Sen. Rob Portman voted NO......send e-mail or see bio 
Sen. Sherrod Brown
 voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes
Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act - Vote Passed (263-163, 5 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill that would expedite the permitting process for lessees seeking to drill for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico. The Interior Department would be required to review applications within 30 days, with the option of extending the review period to 60 days. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act - Vote Passed (243-179, 9 Not Voting)

This House bill would require the Interior Department to open certain unused areas of the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and natural gas drilling. The bill is unlikely to advance in the Senate.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 - Vote Passed (392-15, 24 Not Voting)

The House approved this bill authorizing intelligence-related programs for the current fiscal year. Funding levels authorized for the 16 intelligence gathering agencies are classified, but it is estimated to be around $80 billion. The Senate version of the bill is currently at a standstill.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes
Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act - S.940

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a bill to end some tax breaks for oil companies that gross over $1 billion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Ohio: 2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects

Although understandable, it is still sad to not see Ohio anywhere on this list. 

DOT 57-11
Monday May 9, 2011
Contact:  Brie Sachse
U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects to Grow Jobs, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Transform Travel in America

Unprecedented Investment in the Northeast Corridor, Expanded Service in the Midwest and New, State-of-the-Art Rail Equipment Top List of Rail Dollar Recipients

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $2 billion in high-speed rail awards providing an unprecedented investment to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expand service in the Midwest and provide new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars as part of the Administration’s plan to transform travel in America.

Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications, competing to be part of an historic investment that will create tens of thousands of jobs, improve mobility and stimulate American manufacturing.

"Earlier this year, President Obama and I made a commitment to improve and expand America's transportation system, including the development of a modern, national high-speed rail network," said Vice President Biden. "And today, we’re announcing investments that will continue our progress toward making this vision a reality.  These projects will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and railcars."

“President Obama and Vice President Biden’s vision for a national rail system will help ensure America is equipped to win the future with the fastest, safest and most efficient transportation network in the world,” said Secretary LaHood.   “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”

Broadcast quality video and audio of Secretary LaHood discussing today's high-speed rail announcement is available for download via the following links:

The Department’s Federal Railroad Administration selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects as part of a nationwide network that will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years. The dedicated rail dollars will:

·         Make an unprecedented investment in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), with $795 million to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections of the corridor.  The investments will increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour on critical segments, improve on-time performance and add more seats for passengers. 
·         Provide $404.1 million to expand high-speed rail service in the Midwest.  Newly constructed segments of 110-mph track between Detroit and Chicago will save passengers 30 minutes in travel time and create nearly 1,000 new jobs in the construction phase. Upgrades to the Chicago to St. Louis corridor will shave time off the trip, enhance safety and improve ridership. 
·         Boost U.S. manufacturing through a $336.2 million investment in state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest.  “Next Generation” rail equipment will deliver safe, reliable and high-tech American-built vehicles for passenger travel.
·         Continue laying the groundwork for the nation’s first 220-mph high-speed rail system in California through a $300 million investment, extending the current 110 mile segment an additional 20 miles to advance completion of the Central Valley project, the backbone of the Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor.     

Nearly 100 percent of the $2.02 billion announced today will go directly to construction of rail projects, bringing expanded and improved high-speed intercity passenger rail service to cities in all parts of the country.  Thirty-two states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors to link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and annual appropriations have, to date, provided $10.1 billion to put America on track towards providing rail access to new communities and improving the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines.  Of that, approximately $5.8 billion dollars has already been obligated for rail projects.

A strict “Buy America” requirement for high-speed rail projects ensures that U.S. manufacturers and workers will receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. In 2009, Secretary LaHood secured a commitment from 30 foreign and domestic rail manufacturers to employ American workers and locate or expand their base of operations in the U.S. if they are selected for high-speed-rail contracts.

Rail project highlights include:

Amtrak – NEC Power, Signal, Track, Catenary Improvements – $450 million to boost capacity, reliability, and speed in one of the most heavily-traveled sections of the Northeast Corridor, creating a 24-mile segment of track capable of supporting train speeds up to 160-mph.   

Maryland – NEC Bridge Replacement – $22 million for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge, which currently causes frequent delays for commuters due to the high volume of critical maintenance.      

New York – NEC Harold Interlocking Amtrak Bypass Routes – $295 million to alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation. 

Rhode Island – NEC Kingston Track, Platform Improvements – $25 million for design and construction of an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, RI, so high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 150-mph can pass trains on a high-volume section of the Northeast Corridor.

Rhode Island – NEC Providence Station Improvements – $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station.  These upgrades will enhance the passenger experience, keep the station in good working order and improve transit and pedestrian connectivity.   

Connecticut – New Haven to Springfield Track Construction – $30 million to complete double-track segments on the corridor, bringing added intercity rail service to a route that plays an important role in the region, connecting communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts to the NEC, as well as Vermont.
  Massachusetts/Maine – Downeaster Track Improvements – $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, MA.  Track upgrades will increase schedule performance and dependability for passengers traveling on the Northern New England Downeaster corridor.   

New York – Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements – $58 million to construct upgrades to tracks, stations and signals, improving rail operations along the Empire Corridor.  This includes replacement of the Schenectady Station and construction of a fourth station track at the Albany - Rensselaer Station, one of the corridor’s most significant bottlenecks.   

New York – Rochester Station and Track Improvements – $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor, connecting passengers with additional transit and pedestrian options.   
Pennsylvania – Keystone Corridor Interlocking Improvements – $40 million to rebuild an interlocking near Harrisburg on the Keystone Corridor, saving travelers time and improving passenger train schedule reliability. 

Next Generation Passenger Rail Equipment Purchase – This state-of-the-art rail equipment will provide safe and reliable American-built vehicles for passenger travel, while boosting the U.S. manufacturing industry. 

·         Midwest Corridors – $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and 7 quick-acceleration locomotives for 8 corridors in the Midwestern States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri.

·         California Corridors – $68 million to acquire 15 high-performance passenger rail cars and 4 quick-acceleration locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, and Capitol Corridors in California. 

Illinois – Chicago - St. Louis Corridor – $186.3 million to construct upgrades on the Chicago - St. Louis Corridor between Dwight and Joliet, IL with trains operating at 110 mph for more than 220 miles of track.  This investment will reduce trip times, enhance safety and add more seats on the corridor, increasing the number of people who can conveniently travel by train. 

Michigan – Kalamazoo-Dearborn Service Development – $196.5 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems, bringing trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times by 30 minutes.      
Michigan – Ann Arbor Station Project – $2.8 million for an engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor, MI, that will better serve passengers and allow more than one train to serve the station simultaneously.

Minnesota – Northern Lights Express – $5 million to complete engineering and environmental work for establishing the Northern Lights Express – a high-speed intercity passenger service – connecting Minneapolis to Duluth, with 110-mph high-speed rail service.  

Missouri – Merchant’s Bridge Replacement – $13.5 million to advance the design of a new bridge over the Mississippi River on the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor, replacing a bridge built in the 1890s.   

North Carolina – Charlotte to Richmond Service Enhancement – $4 million for environmental analysis on the Richmond to Raleigh section of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR).  This advances the goal of extending high-speed rail service on the NEC into the southeast, with 110-mph capable service.   
Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston Core Express Service – $15 million for engineering and environmental work to develop a high-speed rail corridor linking two of the largest metro areas in the U.S., Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston. 

California – Central Valley Construction Project Extension – $300 million for a 20-mile extension along the Central Valley Corridor.  This will continue to advance one of the highest priority projects in the nation that will ultimately provide 220 mph high-speed rail service from Los Angeles to San Francisco.    The work funded in this round will extend the track and civil work from Fresno to the “Wye” junction, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the West and Merced to the North.     

Oregon – Eugene Station Stub Tracks – $1.5 million for analysis of overnight parking tracks for passenger trains on the southern end of the Pacific Northwest Corridor, adding new capacity for increased passenger and freight rail service.   

Washington – Port of Vancouver Grade Separation – $15 million to eliminate a congested intersection and bottleneck between freight and passenger tracks.  By elevating one set of tracks over the other, travel along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor will experience reduced delays and passenger trains will not have to wait for crossing freight traffic.

# # #