A round up of news including: The multi-modal case for Opportunity Corridor is dealt a blow; five innovative mayors and what sets them apart; and choice time for the region's sustainability initiative.
- Northeast Ohioans have a chance to pick the future they most want at a series of Vibrant NEO workshops starting tonight at the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo. See the impact of our current development trends. Weigh in, would you like to see a collective vision around vigorous redevelopment of existing communities or more "business as usual?" Maps and analysis will detail how much our decisions drain or add to natural resources like cleaner land, air and water, as well as the threat level to each of our community’s fiscal health.
- This month’s Metropolis highlights five, innovative big-city mayors as picked by the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. The emergent theme of the article is, innovation can be defined as staking out an agenda for the future, and setting an ambitious goal and program to get there. Kansas City, Baltimore, Providence, Lexington and Fort Worth all (but the latter) struggle with poverty and disinvestment in the core. Mayors all have a lot on their minds. From keeping lights on and trash picked up. But what sets these mayors apart is the way they transcend the hardships and focus on a big idea—whether its redeveloping a core area, pushing for a transformative transit project, or tackling blight with a set of “carrots and sticks.” They’ve chosen to be defined as focused on a long-term vision for the future, not merely caretakers of today.
- Ohio has a solar thermal rebate program available for commercial projects and educational institutions. Designed to stimulate an estimated $750,000 worth of new commercial solar thermal installations in Ohio, Green Energy Ohio is offering rebates up to 20% of the solar thermal project costs. Submit your application in coordination with a qualified commercial installer.
- Word is spreading that the E. 79th Street Rapid station on the Red Line will be permanently closed. The midway point between University Circle and downtown, the station ridership is reportedly too low to qualify for an ADA compliant rebuild, and so RTA decided to close it. This station is also part of the multi-modal proposal for Opportunity Corridor, a highway extension that was aiming to expand access to transit, rail in particular. Access to the E. 79th Street station would have been one of the stations aided. Opponents now see even fewer reasons for Opportunity Corridor, which offers no new funding for transit nor expanded service. Sources familiar with Opportunity Corridor say RTA has agreed to run commuter bus service from distant suburbs like Strongsville. But, without a new infusion of funds, RTA lacks the resources to add service to Opportunity Corridor, and recent statements from the transit agency’s CEO Joe Calabrese that it would not expand ahead of improving existing service in denser parts of town mean the transit argument for Opportunity Corridor effectively has been dealt a blow.
- Summer is the season of the streetscape, and we saw two worthy of mention: Tremont's Professor Avenue and downtown's W. 6th Street. Combined the two projects garnered more than $1 million for Transportation Enhancements like the bio-cell bump outs now calming traffic on Professor, and expanding the sidewalks for the bars and restaurants (as well as adding impressive public art, new trees and crosswalks) on W. 6th Street.
- Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. today announced that it is seeking proposals for the second annual Enterprise Leadership in Community Innovation Award to recognize organizations creating new and lasting community development solutions in greater Cleveland with a $25,000 grant. Enterprise has a new ripple this year—it will also award $10,000 to help an individual “bring an innovative idea to fruition.” Nurture an Idea Award finalists will be selected to participate in a fundraising campaign on Crowdrise, an online fundraising site. Ohio Savings Bank will provide up to $10,000 in matching grant funds to the group or organization that raises the most funds and then pair them with a technical advisory team to develop their idea.
- Beyond the Brook photography exhibition seeks entries Northeast Ohio photographers age 16 and older are invited to submit print or electronic photographs and short videos to a juried exhibition, Beyond the Brook: Images of an Urban Watershed, co-sponsored by the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership and Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, as part of its Art on View series. An opening reception and awards presentation will be Friday, October 4 at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. For an entry form and more information, please visit the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, or Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, or contact Mary Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.