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Why is CSU ditching its green roof? What Sewer District has in mind for 'greening' MLK site

Marc Lefkowitz  |  06/09/14 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Green buildings

A round up of news on green building, green infrastructure, and clean water issues in Northeast Ohio for this day, June 9, 2014

Gone green<br />Cleveland State University reportedly will not keep its green roofPop up over parking<br />Cleveland Warehouse District is looking for ideas for pop up retail in recycled shipping containers like these in New York's Dekalb market.

Green building advocates were disheartened to learn this week that Cleveland State University plans to dig out and throw away its green roof on its Recreation Center. In 2009, LeeAnn Westfall and Erin Huber, leaders of the school's student environmental group, helped cut the ribbon after a two-and-a-half year effort that ended with the school committing $250,000 to install a green roof. A load of volunteers even helped place the modular system with sedum, a type of hardy grass, around a large seating area. It was hailed as the city’s first multi-purpose green roof. But, the roof reportedly needs repairs, and “they have currently decided to not reinstall the green roof after necessary roof repairs,” says Westfall. The graduate has started a petition at MoveOn to ask CSU President, Ronald Berkman, to keep the green roof, and continue the school’s commitment to sustainability.

Green pocket park

The Sewer District will host a public meeting tonight (Monday, June 9) to gather input on its green infrastructure project for the corner of Fairhill Road and MLK Drive (near the future extension of the Lake to Lakes Trail). As part of its agreement with federal authorities to capture stormwater with green projects, the Sewer District is proposing to build a bioswale and pocket park at this highly trafficked corner.

Big sprout

Cleveland is looking for a full-time coordinator for its community gardening program, Summer Sprout.

Climate preparedness and resilience

Cleveland State University Levin College of Urban Affairs just announced that Paula Brooks, Franklin County Commissioner and Ohio member of the bipartisan White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, will discuss this important topic on June 23.

End to Safe Routes?

With interest in biking and walking growing, it was inexplicable to supporters why Congress zeroed out the popular Safe Routes to School program in its transportation budget. While a few local communities like Cleveland and Cleveland Heights got their application in under the wire, it is unlikely to reach the funding levels of the past, observers in those cities tell GCBL. As a stop-gap, the national group Transportation for America is working with House and Senate sponsors to introduce legislation to create a “TIGER-like” program in each state. If it survives the legislative process, It would take funding off the top of a number of transportation programs and then require the state DOT to set up selection panels and criteria, and hold competitions for local transportation projects.

Small box, big ideas

GCBL wrote about the Warehouse District’s Small Box project which will recycle shipping containers into micro-retail “stores” over neatly landscaped parking spots. The District says it has two retailers lined up for its 2014 launch, and is looking for more ideas on what will serve the downtown neighborhood. Stop by W. 6th and St. Clair and jot down your thoughts—the District placed an idea board at the corner.

Plastic beads in Lake Erie, and in your water glass?

At the 2013 Cleveland Museum of Natural History Museum’s Conservation Symposium, Dr. Sherri Mason revealed that 60% of the plastic she found in Lake Erie were micro-beads. The primary culprit is make-up and facial cleansers. Mason was recently featured on NPR for her research, and her plans to look at the impact to human health of micro-beads in our drinking water.

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Rapid T.
3 years ago

@Marc, If the pocket park is at the intersection of Fairhill and Stokes, I think it is solely a Cleveland issue. That intersection, incidentally, is one of the most dangerous segments (there any many) of the Lakes to Lake Trail. I look forward to your continued reporting on this project.

Marc
3 years ago

@Rapid T. -- thanks for your comments. You have a good question about the funds that individuals donated to make the CSU green roof possible. I think we should email all questions like this to CSU President, Ronald Berkman, whose email is provided in the blog post above.

I, too, wonder about the location of a park at the corner of Fairhill and MLK because of all of the horrendous car traffic. I would like to see that corner calmed, but I'm not sure that a pocket park alone could achieve it. I would be nice if the city of Cleveland and Shaker Heights viewed this as a priority area for promoting more biking and walking. Their initial investment in the Lake to Lakes Trail shows promise, and with the bigger Rudy Rodgers park just downhill and plans to turn the now demolished RTA bus turnabout into a park, there's so much potential for rethinking this entire corridor, including this intersection, so that its design isn't so car oriented.

Rapid T.
3 years ago

Nice post, Marc. A couple of things to point out:

1. With respect to the green roof at CSU, in addition to the money put up by CSU and the volunteer work, individual donors also contributed money to the project. Will CSU be refunding donors who contributed to the project?

2. With respect to the plaza contemplated by the Sewer District at Fairhill/Stokes and MLK, it is important to note what kind of traffic makes that corner a "highly trafficked corner" and that traffic is motor vehicle traffic. I'm all for plazas and bioswales but let's put plazas where they make sense -- i.e., a location that gets a lot of pedestrian traffic, like a location near shops and businesses and a high concentration of apartments or residences. Additionally, it's hard to imagine folks seeking to hang out at the site of some of the east side's most aggressive driving.

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