Merging suburbs and city services, schools the road to Restoring Prosperity; new rules would make deconstruction more affordable
Marc Lefkowitz | 01/17/11 @ 2:44pm
- Greater Ohio brings its Restoring Prosperity road show to Akron this Tuesday. Last year, the joint GO/Brookings report formed the backbone of a state policy reform debate that raised some eyebrows over the cost of sprawl. For example, Ohio's education spending is titled toward administration, but the answers to why uncover a state battling to keep its head above water because of too many school districts. The report calls for a reduction of districts by at least one-third. The debate revealed that, in some corners, school districts in Ohio are "already rising to the occasion to achieve greater efficiencies"-consolidating administrators and vital services. They write: Such initiatives are promising and point Ohio in the right direction. They are part of a broader call for local governance reform, and their success facilitates solving other more pressing issues facing the state, such as land use and assisting in the physical transformation of Ohio's cities. Both school reform and building stronger communities are integral in positioning Ohio for achievement in the next economy.
- By all measures for citizen activists who made the case for a system of Sharrows-and a robust debate on improving conditions for bike commuting-2010 was a banner year. The Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition meets this Wednesday to plan its next steps (its primary goals: Empower the cycling community by creating a unified voice advocating for a more bicycle friendly city; and Encourage all citizens to ride bicycles).
- The ReImagine a Greater Cleveland initiative set the stage for new thinking about vacant land in the city. But, as the wave of foreclosures crashes into the suburbs, expect 2011 to raise the volume on recycling vacant land discussions. The First Suburbs are on the front lines, and, by the look of it, OSU Extension is helping citizens interested in turning vacant lots into gardens with a session this Wednesday. "Join the over 4,000 Cuyahoga County residents that grow fruits and vegetables in community gardens. Reclaim vacant land in your city for productive use while bringing your community closer together. The Ohio State University Extension's Urban Agriculture Program can help you start a community garden in your area."
- Looking for examples of who in the inner-ring suburbs is responding to the foreclosure crisis with innovative, green ideas? We found two while surfing the Northeast Ohio Green Map. They are:
The South Euclid Green Neighborhoods Initiative is the city's innovative response to the foreclosure crises and involves the use of almost $1,000,000 in combined competitive grant funds. The City is acquiring vacant, bank owned houses and rehabilitating them using green building methods and universal design features. to reposition the post-war bungalow as a first choice housing option. The Green Neighborhoods Initiative targets the two areas of the City most severely affected by the foreclosure crises, the West Five Neighborhood behind Cedar Center and the Bexley-Rowland Neighborhood. The City has completed four homes so far. In 2011, the City will continue to use grant funding to acquire additional homes, with the goal of completing ten green rehabilitations. In cases where the vacant homes are too damaged to be saved, the City is using grant funds to raze the structures and replace them with community gardens or green infill construction. Two new community gardens have been created with additional gardens and a new infill green home expected to arrive in 2011. Visit www.cityofsoutheuclid.com for more information.
And a community garden on a vacant lot near Taylor Road and Washington Boulevard will break ground in University Heights this spring. Plots will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis by calling 216-321-7800 ext. 203.
- Bringing the cost of deconstruction in line with dumping demolition debris in a landfill is often cited as an impediment to greening the construction/demolition business. It's a particularly acute issue as Cleveland prepares to spend hundreds of thousands in 2011 to raze 1,000-2,000 condemned houses. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency could take the "cheap" out of construction demolition debris landfill equation, The Columbus Dispatch reports. OEPA introduced new rules to put liners and other environmental safeguards in place after CD&D landfills in Trumbull County caught fire and leaked into water tables. See OPEA's draft rules and post a comment.