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[5 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]
Evaluating the Actual Design of the Opportunity Corridor

Ever since the state said it was going to award close to $300 million in borrowed turnpike money to the Opportunity Corridor, a project Cleveland’s planning and development leaders had been pushing for more than a decade, it’s been sort of a mad scramble to get shovels in the ground.

Project leaders now have the final federal approvals that they need to begin construction. In a few weeks they’re going to put sections 2 and 3 — the actual new road portion — out to bid on a quickie design-build contract that gives the engineering firm a good deal of leverage over the design details. And that will be the end of it as far as that goes, I believe. $331 million in spending will turn into a road that will be part of Cleveland’s landscape for decades. Pretty much all the leaders involved ceased discussing the design details of the the road months and months ago and have turned their attention toward the development they hope will follow.

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[10 Feb 2015 | No Comment | ]
The Cleveland Clinic Just Doesn’t Get it

Disappointing but not entirely surprising news from the Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland’s largest employer recently announced that it is closing Lakewood Hospital, in the cozy inner ring suburb, as it expands operations in sprawling Avon. This seems to be fitting with the nonprofit’s model of building a new hospital at every interchange opened in the sprawling hinterlands while winding down its hospital locations in the more populous areas of the region. All these hospitals, despite being entirely inaccessible outside of a private vehicle, are LEED certified for their “green” building practices.
The …

Featured, Headline, Real Estate, The Housing Crisis »

[10 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]
Confronting Urban Population Decline

The fact that many American cities are experiencing significant population decline is old news. This trend has been occurring since 1950, particularly in the older cities that were once part of the “Great American Manufacturing Belt” that stretched across the northern tier of the country from New England to just west of the Mississippi River.

What is not old news, however, is that many of these same cities are now experiencing serious problems with vacant and abandoned properties.

These problems are relatively new in many places, and unlike population loss per se, the loss of taxpaying households poses an existential threat to the fiscal healthof these cities.

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[23 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]
East Liverpool and the Unforgiving Economy of Rural Appalachia

About 100 miles Southeast of Cleveland, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, along the Ohio River sits the small city of East Liverpool, Ohio. Once known as the pottery capitol of the world, many of the China and glassware factories have closed, as have the steel mills where many East Liverpool residents once worked. In its heyday during World War II, almost 50,000 people lived in East Liverpool. Today the city’s population tops off at just above 10,000.

Nearly 30 percent of all residents live below the poverty level. The per capita income is just more than $16,000.

Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline »

[13 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]
Milwaukee’s Effort to Build a New Industry Around Clean Water

The three lake sturgeon in Discovery World’s “touch tank” aren’t given official names, but that hasn’t kept at least one employee in this newish Milwaukee educational center from christening them female superhero names like Tank Girl and She-Ra. As a Michigan native, I’d heard of Sturgeon before, but I wasn’t prepared to fall for them the way I did when I put my hand in the tank.

Sturgeon are big – in the wild, they’ve been known to reach up to seven feet long. And they’re unlike any other fish I’d seen. Their rough skin is scale-less and their spine is bony like dinosaurs you’ve seen pictured in kids’ books. In fact, sturgeon have been around for at least 200 million years. It’s a mind-blowing story of survival.

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[12 May 2014 | No Comment | ]
The Faithful Press on Cleveland’s Giant, Outdoor Chandelier

Here‘s Cleveland’s “architecture critic” Steven Litt defending the construction of a giant, outdoor chandelier in downtown Cleveland.
The crux of Litt’s argument seems to be if a woman from Vermont was standing under it and taking a picture of it, criticisms of this project can’t be legitimate. Litt reported on this project many times and each time he alluded to unnamed “critics” who think the project is tacky and/or a waste of money (The city of Cleveland, which has a 54 percent child poverty rate, contributed $1 million to the construction …

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[9 May 2014 | No Comment | ]
Wealthy Suburbs Help Keep Pro Sports on Cleveland’s Payroll

The battle over Issue 7, whether or not to renew the sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes, revenues from which finances upgrades to our professional sports facilities, ended up being the main event in Tuesday’s primary here in Cuyahoga County. Ultimately, Cuyahoga County residents voted 56%-44% to continue the tax for another two decades.

The arguments for and against the sin tax, at least as it is currently defined, have been laid out quite effectively and ad nauseum; I’m not here to rehash them. It was nearly impossible for anyone watching, listening to, or attending a Cavs or Indians game to avoid being hit over the head with pro-Issue 7 ads.

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[2 May 2014 | No Comment | ]
Do Sports Facilities Make Downtown Cleveland “Strong?”

By Roldo Bartimole
The claim is that we need more public investment to keep Cleveland strong. Does the evidence prove this? You know the answer.
On Sunday April 6 the Plain Dealer ran an article based on a study done for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was meant to measure the value of sports facilities to our community.
Hiring a firm whose business essentially serves the industry it is asked to assess suggests you don’t really want a straight answer. You seek a rigged game.
The truth is the study done by a Texas based …

Featured, Public Transportation »

[22 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]
Baltimore’s Waterfront to Get Yet More Parking

Fancy office towers, hotels, museums, and tourist attractions line the contours of Baltimore’s Chesapeake Bay harborfront. So too, do massive parking garages and interstate-sized roadways that feed them. What does the future hold? According to a new plan, still more parking.
Like much of America, Baltimore waterfront development since the age of cars has been designed for the age of cars. That looks likely to continue as the waterfront grows.
The Greater Baltimore Committee and Waterfront Partnership hired architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross to prepare Inner Harbor 2.0, an overarching new plan for …

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[17 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]
Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati and Recovery from the Recession

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland just released a report showing economic data from Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The idea was to track how these three cities are recovering from the recession.

Here’s the three area’s employment rates, before the recession and currently.

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