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Subway deck slash art space campaign; urban land conservancy informs Oakwood debate; Porchfest is a Cleveland original

Marc Lefkowitz  |  06/23/11 @ 8:16pm

·Cleveland Public Theater and Ingenuity Fest co-creator James Levin calls the Detroit-Superior Bridge "one of the most prominent features of Cleveland's urban landscape." Levin is trying to help Clevelanders rediscover the bridge's lower deck, where streetcars ran until 1954, by using it as a dramatic backdrop for Ingenuity. Now he's teaming up with the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative to draw up plans for the lower deck span as a hybrid of performance space and multi-modal corridor. "This 0.8 of a mile span is dense with nooks and crannies that could harbor art, music, food carts and more," he writes. Already secured: a $50,000 Transportation for Livable Communities grant for designs. They're campaigning for the National Trust's This Place Matters $25,000 competition ? if you like the vision, vote for it online here.

·Local artist Nicole McGee has launched another "pop-up" boutique in a vacant space, offering reused art & handmade goods by Cleveland artists. Collective Upcycle has taken over a storefront in the NearWest Loftworks building at 6710 Detroit Avenue now until July 3rd. McGee, who hatched her idea initially at the city's sustainability summit, brings together 30 Cleveland-area artists & craftspeople who repurpose existing resources & leftover materials into jewelry, tote bags, flowers, furniture, candles, garden stakes, sun catchers, decorations, photo frames, stationary, wind chimes, magnets, accessories, art and more.

·Speaking of pop-ups, downtown Cleveland's "pop-up park" at E. 4th Street in front of Harry Buffalo has its first Party in the Park tonight (Thursday, June 23) from 4:30-7 p.m. with live music and beverages.

·Greenhouse Tavern chef/owner Jonathan Sawyer catches the 'pop up' fever this weekend, popping up his ramen shop Noodlecat in a soon to be permanent space on E. 4th Street. Of the venture with chef LeAnn Wong, he tells the daily meal: "We love the location, love being downtown, we really believe in downtown Cleveland."

·When GreenCityBlueLake blogged that the grassroots Citizens for Oakwood should engage West Creek Preservation Committee in their campaign to preserve a hundred and fifty acre golf course as a park connecting South Euclid and Cleveland Heights, next Thursday's speech by their executive director Dave Linchek is exactly what we had in mind. Linchek will share the story of how their group shifted minds in Parma and Seven Hills around the need for green space. Against the backdrop of South Euclid City Council voting on Monday, June 27, most likely to approve a big box development covering most of the open space, Linchek will describe the creation of the West Creek Preserve and Greenway, a 500-acre natural park and regional recreational trail network led to a partnership with the Cleveland Metroparks and served as a springboard for the group to form an urban land conservancy, perhaps the first in the city, the Greater Cleveland Urban Land Conservancy. Hear Linchek speak at the Severance Neighborhood Organization's annual meeting, Thursday, June 30th at 7 p.m. at Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 2780 Noble Rd, Cleveland Heights.

·Susan Miller of the Citizens for Oakwood writes:

I have tried to make the argument that this is more valuable to South Euclid and Cleveland Heights as open green space from a water quality and quality of life standpoint, but I don't have the metrics. Tacit knowledge is much harder to convey in a world where everything is a transaction. South Euclid just rewrote their entire comprehensive plan to accommodate this development. They did it in two weeks with two people. For golf courses, the WRLC exemplar is Orchard Hills-admittedly "out there", but still a good example of what could be "in here".

The downward pressure might be lessened if these balkanized municipalities had merged years ago. I'm going to keep exploring this for our future. It would be good to fold in the value of water absorbing green space when that muni mapping becomes a part of that discussion. The idea? What if Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights and South Euclid were one suburb? What white collar efficiencies might be gained? And could those efficiencies result in some greater resiliency and redundancy in our shared green space?

·Urban farmers at Gather 'Round Farm could use some elbow grease in preparing for this year's growing season. Volunteers are needed this Friday (6/24) for weeding, sheet mulching, soil moving, squash + potato bed building, clean up, processing branches and repairing broken stuff. Time: Noon - 6 p.m. B.Y.O. gloves, hats, sun screen, water. Gather 'Round Farm is located at 3919 Lorain Avenue.

·It's brilliant ideas like the Larchmere Porchfest that reconstitute our faith in the future of cities.

This Saturday more than 30 bands will perform on 30 neighborhood porches near Larchmere (with a three-band finale concert at 6 p.m. on Shaker Square). Porch performances kick off at 2 p.m. So bring the kids, pack a cooler, and drive, ride, walk or bike to Larchmere for this day of music and more. View the line-up, download the schedule, and get tips on how to make the most of the day online here. Bicycles and pedicabs will be available for rent-a new addition this year-and a great way to see even more bands.

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