Updated: 2 hours 30 min ago
According to Walk Score, Downtown, University Circle and Ohio City rank as the three most pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in Cleveland. What makes these neighborhoods so walkable? And more important: What can we do to make other areas more friendly to residents who prefer to walk and ride than drive?
In a New York Times post titled “The Cure and Feeding of Small Business,” writer and economics professor at UMass explains that while big business is still able to garner generous grants and tax incentives by promising jobs within political boundaries, it often comes at a price to small business and other civic services. Once such model that is working well to foster success for the smaller enterprise as well as create jobs for the community is the worker-owned cooperative, like those at Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. “Promotion of worker-owned cooperatives is a way to create entrepreneurs and jobs at the same time. The Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland represent a stellar example, recently called out by the Federal Reserve Board member Sarah Bloom Raskin as an effective model of local economic development.” Check out the full story here.
Near West Theatre's new home will be nothing if not active when it opens next year. It will be filled with youth and adults rehearsing for its signature brand of community theatre -- large ensemble productions that bring the arts to youth and city residents. And when its shows are running, it will draw up to 275 patrons per show into a new, state-of-the-art theatre that caps off a string of investments in the Gordon Square Arts District. The building not only will be active -- it will be "passive" when it comes to energy consumption. It will boast a super-insulated, passive design common in Europe but still relatively new in the U.S. The 24,000-square-foot ultra-energy-efficient theatre will be the first of its kind in the U.S., featuring super-thick walls, an energy-efficient heat recovery ventilation system, and a 75,000-watt array of solar panels. "It will be unlike other buildings in the neighborhood," says Hans Holznagel of the new Near West Theatre, which will be located at W. 67th and Detroit in the Gordon Square Arts District. "We hope people will see the sign and say, 'Wow, that metal building looks pretty cool. What's going on in there?'" Philanthropists Chuck and Char Fowler earmarked a special gift for the building's passive design, which is expected to save more than 35 percent in energy costs, or about $1.2 million over 50 years. That kind of savings appeals to long-term users. "In a typical commercial building, 30 to 35 percent of the heat going into the building is just to offset air leakage," says Adam Cohen, a Virginia-based architect and passive house consultant who worked on the project. "There's more interest in passive design now, especially from end users who are going to own the buildings." The project was far from simple. Most passive commercial buildings have fairly static loads, unlike a theatre whose use varies widely. On any given day there could be people working in offices or large casts rehearsing. Cohen helped NWT to develop a high-efficiency mechanical system that can handle such fluctuation. Holznagel says the theatre will finally realize its dream of moving into a new home (with air conditioning, he says with glee) that offers the right amount of rehearsal, dressing room and backstage space, not to mention modern administrative offices. "We'll feel very much at home in this energy-efficient building," he says. Source: Hans Holznagel, Adam Cohen Writer: Lee Chilcote
Town Hall will be the newest addition to Ohio City's growing list of food- and beer-centric establishments when it opens later this month. The bar and restaurant boasts a swanky interior with polished concrete floors and colorful wood tables imported from Indonesia. The venue also features a lengthy wooden bar and an open, airy feel thanks to garage doors up front. But Town Hall is more than just another taphouse on a street that's now full of them, promise its owners. It aims to bring a new fast-casual dining concept to the street. "There are a lot of good restaurants on the street, but we offer something different," says Christa Fitch, manager of Town Hall, which is owned by Fabio Salerno (Gusto, Lago), Bobby George (Barley House) and Sean Heineman (Ballantine, Willoughby Brewing Co.). "This is a place where you can grab soup, salad and a glass of wine or have a meal in the restaurant. We think it's the best of both worlds." The space, which was gutted down to the studs and rebuilt, last housed Alaturka and Villa y Zapata. The new owners cut an opening between the two storefronts to create two connected businesses: a cafe and bar-restaurant. The cafe side will feature a juice bar and menu items including flatbread pizzas and gluten-free salads. Comfortable chairs and a well stocked magazine rack invite lounging. The cafe, which is counter service-only, will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant will feature mostly fast-casual fare along with "supper plates" like grass-fed steak and scallop tacos. A good portion of the food will be locally grown and organic. The bar will feature 25 rotating taps of beer, many of them local. Town Hall features both a front and a rear patio, the latter with a beautiful wooden gazebo that echoes the natural wooden decor found throughout the interior. Fitch says she already has hired 35 people, many from the near-west side neighborhoods, and will likely hire more as the venue gets up and running. The opening is presently set for May 27, with a grand opening weekend planned for June 20. Source: Christa Fitch Writer: Lee Chilcote
The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, a nationally-recognized research organization, service provider and policy advocate that works with older adults and caregivers, is set to open a new 6,000-square-foot administrative headquarters and training center. "What's new about the facility is that we intend to broaden the scope of our training to a couple of new audiences," says CEO Richard Browdie of the building at Fairhill Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. "There are many professions that interface with older people and their families on a routine basis but may or may not have any training available to them." The building also provides Benjamin Rose with the first permanent home for its training programs. Traditionally, such programs had been conducted at off-site locations. Browdie finds it poetic that the organization is building its home in the Shaker-Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland where they've been for many years. "The board just really came back to the conclusion that, no matter what they did, they wanted to remain here in the city," he says. "We have replications of our evidence-based practices all over the country, but our home is in Cleveland." The building cost about $7.5 million and the project cost $11.4 million. Funds came from the sale of another facility to Kindred Hospital, New Markets Tax Credits and other sources. Browdie says the facility will also be available for rent for retreats and other events hosted by nonprofits organizations with compatible missions. The hilltop location offers sweeping views of downtown Cleveland. Benjamin Rose will celebrate with a free afternoon celebration on Sunday, May 19th from 2-4 p.m. The new BRIA training center is located at 11890 Fairhill. Source: Richard Browdie Writer: Lee Chilcote
Building on the success of the book “Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology,” a collection of essays and images about Cleveland edited by Anne Trubek and Richey Piiparinen, and subsequent blog, the publishers announced that they will launch an online magazine, Belt, this coming September. “There was so much interest in 'Rust Belt Chic' that we really wanted to continue to have a space for people to contribute,” says Belt editor-in-chief Trubek. “We wanted to have an outlet that could provide long form pieces as well as criticism and commentary about things around town.” Trubek describes the magazine as having a cultural and urbanism focus that will appeal to both Clevelanders and readers in other Rust Belt cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. “We realize something is happening in the Rust Belt,” says Trubek. “It’s becoming sort of an interesting place nationally.” The content of Belt will cover many interest areas. “It cuts across different demographics in Cleveland,” adds Trubek. “Our readership is a mix of young people living in the city with a DIY attitude and ex-pats around the country looking for good, meaty writing about Cleveland, but also people interested in the history of Cleveland and how history is important in terms of where we’ve been and what we are doing.” Right now Trubek is looking for financial investors. Belt just launched a Kickstarter campaign to get the magazine off the ground. Source: Anne Trubek Writer: Karin Connelly
Soccer, creative writing and volunteerism might seem like an odd mix, just don't tell that to the students helped by America SCORES Cleveland, an organization that has been providing unique after-school programming for almost 10 years. The local chapter of America SCORES, which launched in 2004, serves more than 500 youths in 10 Cleveland public schools. The program is designed to create "poet-athletes" through an innovative triple threat of soccer, poetry and service learning, says executive director Debi Pence-Meyenberg. The tri-curricular approach creates well-rounded students, maintains Pence-Meyenberg. Soccer was chosen for its accessibility and minimal equipment needs. Writing and performing poetry, meanwhile, gives youths an emotional outlet and promotes creative thinking. Finally, volunteerism instills in children a sense of compassion, social responsibility and personal worth. "We want urban youth to lead healthy lives and be involved in their community," says Pence-Meyenberg. Public school students in grades three through eight can stay engaged through sports and creative writing, notes the chapter head. Participants also choose their own neighborhood-based service projects, like working at a community garden or raising money for Haitian earthquake victims. On June 22, Cleveland's student-poets will collaborate with Cleveland artists during an event at 78th Street Studios. The Inspired Art Project will showcase the poetry of local youths through original artwork from Cleveland creatives, with sales of these items going to America SCORES. The program, along with the other activities America SCORES offers, can have a positive impact on the culture of an entire school district. "Our kids and becoming healthier and more engaged," Pence-Meyenberg says. SOURCE: Debi Pence-Meyenberg WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
Writer and Cleveland resident John Hyduk offers up a personal tale of what it means to grow up a sports fan in this town and -- spoiler alert -- it ain't pretty. In the poignant New York Times essay, Hyduk shares an emotion shared by many here: We've been disappointed since 1964. "As a Cleveland sports fan, I hold these truths to be self-evident: no matter how promising the plan or how high the draft pick, someone will screw it up," he leads off with. Sure, there's mention of The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Red Right 88… but also that glimmer of hope that rolls around with the start of each season. "The first pitch of spring slaps leather, the Indians hang around first place in May, and sports again becomes something beyond a balance sheet. A kickoff sails high into the autumn air, and for a moment, anything’s possible. This year will be different. And for a few hours, you hardly notice the days of your life piling up at your feet." Read the rest here.
A great sign does more than announce a business name and brand; it welcomes all who see it into the establishment. Fresh Water photographer Bob Perkoski has a soft spot for attractive bar and restaurant signs, and here's a slideshow of some of his favorites.
In a Salon story titled “Cleveland: Ground zero for the housing bubble,” Edward McClelland shares a compelling tale of how the housing collapse hit Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood with a first-hand account from a lifelong resident. “If houses go to heaven, then Classen Avenue, in the Cleveland neighborhood of Slavic Village, has been the scene of a mass Rapture. Ted Michols watched it all happen. A retired trade magazine editor, a bachelor, a man who likes to sit on his porch and share the neighborhood with passersby he’s known fifty years, Michols has lived his entire life in a little square house his grandfather bought in 1923.” McClelland writes of Michols experience from the very beginning of the end up to modern day troubles and turmoil in his lengthy feature. Read the complete piece here.
In a The Wall Street Journal feature titled “Rust-Belt Cities Reach Out for Immigrants,” writers Mark Peters and Jack Nicas touch upon how rust belt cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit were a draw to immigrant workers who knew they would be able to find manufacturing jobs. As time went on, those jobs disappeared, populations began to decline, and immigrants no longer looked to those cities to begin their new life in the United States. “During the fresh immigration surge in recent decades, however, newcomers largely bypassed Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis as manufacturing there -- and other cities in the region -- dwindled. They opted instead for cities such as Phoenix and Dallas.” Peters and Nicas go on to explain the steps many rust belt cities are taking in an effort to grow their populations, one of which is luring immigrants back into the area through various grants and other programs. Read the full feature here.
Last month Trinity Health, the fourth largest Catholic healthcare system in the country, hired Explorys to manage its healthcare data analytics in its hospitals, outpatient facilities and other facilities. Trinity will implement Explorys’ suite of cloud-based big data analytics solutions to manage the company’s clinical data. The deal puts Explorys, which already is a leader in big data, on top in the clinical data market. Explorys has been rapidly growing since its inception nearly four years ago, and continues to grow. “We’re excited about Trinity,” says Charlie Lougheed, Explorys president and chief strategy officer. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the past year alone, as well as the last three and a half years. The whole healthcare industry is in the midst of this transformation and big data is in the middle of that.” Explorys’ big data solutions allow hospitals to better manage their data and therefore improve patient care. Trinity is the latest addition to more than a dozen healthcare companies that use Explorys’ solutions. “Trinity recognized they needed to select a platform that is going to expand into the future rather than solve a problem right now,” explains Lougheed. “They were looking for a platform that would grow and develop within their network, and Explorys met that need for them.” Explorys continues to grow in its Cleveland offices. The company has close to 100 employees right now and has new-employee orientations every other month. “We plan to continue to hire people over time,” says Lougheed. “By the end of the year I expect, conservatively, to be at 120 people.” Source: Charlie Lougheed Writer: Karin Connelly
Jewels Johnson dabbled in a few different career paths before she found her true calling: baked goods. She grew up in Shaker Heights, went off to London, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Chicago before returning to Shaker in 2006 to work as a teacher at Shaker Heights High School. Then, in 2011, armed with her grandmother’s recipe box, Johnson opened Sugar Plum Cake Company. “I’m a self-taught baker; my grandmother taught my mom and my mom taught me,” she says. “My inheritance was a 1937 KitchenAid mixer, the oldest known certified one that still works.” Sugar Plum specializes in custom made cakes, cupcakes and other goodies. Everything is custom made to order. Johnson’s baked goods are so popular she quit her teaching job this year to concentrate on Sugar Plum full-time. “For me, baking was really something to do during the summer,” Johnson says. “But it allowed me to quit my job two years later.” The business has taken off, and customers usually have to order at least a week in advance. Sugar Plum has 600 clients, with more than 400 being repeat customers. Johnson reports that sales have increased by at least 50 percent per quarter. Earlier this month, Sugar Plum Cake Company was named the grand prize winner of the Spring 2013 Bad Girl Ventures Business Plan Competition. Johnson received a $25,000 loan to grow her business. Johnson recently teamed up with Fresh Fork Market to develop a line of baking mixes using locally sourced flour and natural sweeteners, called Devour! Gourmet Baking Mixes. The line features a variety of cake, brownie, pancake and bread mixes. The line is available through Fresh Fork Market and Sugar Plum. Johnson is working with some additional retail sites to carry the Devour! line. Johnson in the in the process of looking for a permanent location, where she intends to offer pop-up space for local artists while selling her cakes. She employs seasonal workers during peak times to help with deliveries and plans to hire three permanent employees this year to help with the Devour! production. Source: Jewels Johnson Writer: Karin Connelly
A local business wants to give some financial comfort to the three long-missing women found alive in Cleveland earlier this month. Angelo's Pizza in Lakewood will donate 100 percent of its sales today (May 16) to kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. This includes dine-in, take-out and delivery sales. In addition, Angelo's employees will donate their hourly pay to the survivors. The promotion was conceived by owner Tom Kess after learning that the Berry family ordered a pizza from his restaurant for a celebratory meal. Kess hopes to raise as much as $25,000, money he plans to split up and personally deliver to the impacted families. "I expect to sell 400 pizzas an hour," says Kess. "I want to use my shop as a vehicle to raise money." Kess was out of town when he learned about the escape and rescue, and was especially surprised and touched that one of the Berrys' first meals came from his establishment. "I was so taken by that, I just wanted to reach out to these girls," he says. Along with the one-day fundraiser, the effected families will also eat free at Angelo's for life. The father of a teenage daughter himself, Kess aims to send a message to the trio of young women who spent so many years in captivity. "We're showing them there's people that care," he says. "I couldn't fathom what their families went through. I felt I had to help in any way I could. This is the least I could do." SOURCE: Tom Kess WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
When every sector of a populace thrives, so does the community as a whole. The local chapter of a national philanthropic organization plans to shine a light on this and other issues during a series of programs in 2013. Philanthropic support of black male achievement will be the subject of the Foundation Center's first Rising Tide program on May 22, says director Cindy Bailie. Nearly every major indicator of economic, social and physical well-being shows that black men and boys in the U.S. do not have access to the structural foundation and opportunities needed to succeed. However, a flood of philanthropic support and social innovation is addressing these challenges head on. "There's work happening locally aimed at black men of all ages," says Bailie. "This is our chance to change the situation." The program will consist of three speakers and a panel discussion. The center has also launched a website to spotlight the topic. Connecting people to those working on the problem is only part of the plan. "We want people to leave inspired," says Bailie. "This is a call to action." The New York-headquartered Foundation Center is a source of information on U.S. grantmakers. Locally, the organization acts as a library/learning center for those seeking knowledge about the nonprofit sector. The black achievement program is the first of a planned series of quarterly events "showcasing new ways of solving old problems," says Bailie. Future events could touch on such topics as the impact of arts and culture on the community. "These [programs] aren't just conversation-starters," Bailie says. "What will you do to keep the conversation going?" SOURCE: Cindy Bailie WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
Building off the buzz created by Shaker LaunchHouse, an entrepreneurial incubator, the City of Shaker Heights has partnered with LaunchHouse, Cuyahoga County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland to renovate two homes on Chelton Road into affordable housing for entrepreneurs. The homes at 3553 and 3599 Chelton Road, directly behind Shaker Launchhouse in the South Moreland neighborhood, were vacant before the city acquired them. Shaker renovated the homes using $250,000 of Neighborhood Stabilization Funds, and is now in the process of transferring the properties to Neighborhood Housing Services. The agency, which specializes in affordable housing, will own and manage them. The houses feature a total of nine "units" (a bedroom in a shared house with ample common space) that can be rented for $395 apiece. Amenities include high-speed Internet, free utilities, a comfortable green home with air conditioning, hardwood floors, free laundry and a ceiling projector hook-up in the living room for presentations. The homes are part of a multi-million dollar investment the city has made in the South Moreland community. "We already have more applicants than we have units," reports Kamla Lewis, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization with the City of Shaker Heights. "We wanted to create a concentrated, collaborative community -- an environment for startups in the neighborhood, but a place where they could afford to live, as well." Lewis says the first tenants will move into the completed homes as early as this week, and she expects all nine units to be fully occupied by June 1. Applicants must be entrepreneurs at Shaker LaunchHouse. Its accelerator program begins this summer and has attracted entrepreneurs from outside of Northeast Ohio, who move here while engaged in starting their companies. Lewis says the project is the first of its kind that she is aware of, and that the city's investment in South Moreland has already attracted further private investment, including several new businesses and a new $5 million apartment complex. Source: Kamla Lewis Writer: Lee Chilcote
When Geoff Thorpe founded NDI Medical in 2002 with his neurostimulation device for bladder control, he saw a market with a lot of potential. The company sold its MEDSTIM device to Medtronic in 2008, kept the NDI name and branched into developing and commercializing new neurostimulation device companies. The move has proved successful. NDI has launched two companies and has grown to 32 employees, 21 of whom work in NDI’s Cleveland headquarters. The company also has offices in North Carolina and Minnesota. Most recently, NDI Medical named Marilyn Eisele as president of the company. She has been with NDI about a year, previously serving as vice president of finance and CFO. “What attracted me to the company was the innovation coming out of the collective enterprise,” Eisele says. “We took a step back after we sold the company in 2008 and decided to reinvent and continue the business as a development company where we develop new therapies.” Since selling the company and regrouping as a developer of new technologies, NDI Medical has raised $17 million in private equity and another $9 million in grants and loans. In 2010, the company launched Checkpoint Surgical, which makes a device that allows surgeons to locate nerves and muscles before making an incision, and SPR Therapeutics, which develops nerve stimulation devices for pain management. Sales have doubled each year since Checkpoint was launched. “In some ways we are a development company, and in some ways we’re an incubator company,” says Eisele. “We’re able to develop medical devices so each portfolio company doesn’t need its own team of engineers. It’s a very cost-effective way to use research.” NDI Medical is in the process of launching a third company in the next few months. Source: Marilyn Eisele Writer: Karin Connelly
The month of May has brought a stretch of warm weather to Northeast Ohio. The presence of sunny days is a happy coincidence for folks wanting to visit the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, re-opened by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority on May 1. The 88-acre wildlife haven had been temporarily closed during environmental remediation of five acres on the site. New soil and seeds were added to the acreage, while a loop trail meandering through the space has also been re-opened to the public. Since the park's comeback, about 200 nature lovers already have visited the preserve, reports Brian Lynch, the port authority's vice president for planning and development. May is the beginning of the spring bird migration season and a prime time for visitors to walk the trails of the former dredging containment facility along Lake Erie. Feathered creatures aren't the only animals flocking through the park. According to the port authority, the preserve is also packed with various species of mammals, reptiles and insects, not to mention a healthy stock of plants, trees and shrubs. "The life cycle is remarkable," says Lynch. The preserve remediation project was conducted by the port in partnership with Cuyahoga County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA, and the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. Once the newly refurbished five acres officially becomes green space, Lynch can see the entire park becoming an even bigger destination for birders and people wanting to access the lakefront. "It's great having this green space on the lake," he says. SOURCE: Brian Lynch WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
Cuyahoga County residents needing food assistance now have some healthy alternatives thanks to a new program developed by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition. Twenty farmers markets and two farm stands throughout the county are partaking in the “Double Value Produce Perks” initiative, which offers incentive dollars to customers utilizing the Ohio Direction Card. Produce Perks are tokens given to customers at participating farmers markets who use the card to purchase food. Customers swipe their cards at a central terminal, with the market providing tokens for the transaction in addition to Produce Perks that can be spent on fruits and vegetables. The incentive is a dollar-for-dollar match to every dollar spent (up to $10) using an Ohio Direction Card at the market. The project addresses healthy food gaps in the region, says Erika Meschkat, program coordinator for community development at Ohio State University Extension-Cuyahoga County, one of the entities making up the local food policy coalition. In creating the program, the coalition has partnered with several Greater Cleveland philanthropies as well as Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit focusing on food access in underserved communities. "Some people don't feel comfortable using their Ohio Direction Card at a farmers market, or there's a perceived cost barrier," says Meschkat. "The program incentivizes them to have a good experience." The impact of Produce Perks has grown since its inception in 2010. Last year, 16 farmers markets contributed to over $27,000 in Ohio Direction Card sales with over $18,000 in incentives redeemed to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. "We want 2013 to be even bigger," Meschkat says. SOURCE: Erika Meschkat WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
A Cleveland School Board member who has helped revitalize Ohio City and turn it into a destination for young families has proposed using funds from the sale of the district's headquarters to create a new school downtown -- and believes he's got the votes to do it. Eric Wobser, an Ohio City resident and parent who is Director of Ohio City Inc., wants to reinvest $4.5 million from the sale of the district's headquarters into serving the growing base of young families in downtown and near-downtown neighborhoods. "Downtown is growing quickly and so is the number of families," he says. "Campus International has a 70-person waiting list in a 400-seat school, and they'll outgrow their current facility by the end of next year. Because downtown is accessible to all parts of the city via public transportation, a school could serve the entire city." The resolution that Wobser is introducing, which will be voted on at the board's May 14th meeting, will direct the HQ sale proceeds to be used towards a new downtown school. However, it does not stipulate what kind of school or where it would be located. Instead, if it passes, board and district officials will work with downtown stakeholders to create a decision-making process with public input. Funds could be used to help existing schools expand or create a new school. Although Wobser introduced the proposal, he says he's got the support of school board chair Denise Link and believes others will back him. He acknowledges that the issue has been controversial, with some public opposition at meetings. Although Wobser sees an opportunity to serve a diverse set of families and keep them in the city, critics have called it elitist. "They say you're doing this for rich kids who don't exist yet, and I think those arguments fall short of what's possible. How do we turn five-year residents of the city into 50-year residents? If you want to build a complete community downtown, you can't do that without a school." The school would serve the entire city, he says. "Downtown has the ability to reach a broad community of families in the city." As evidence, Wobser cites the fact that the number of young families in Ohio City has grown within the past 10 years, but contrary to popular perception, they're not all young professionals. "Some are relocating from other parts of the city to these areas for perceived opportunity or access to employment," he says. Wobser cites an increase of 4,000 new 25-34 year olds in downtown and near-downtown neighborhoods compared to 10 years ago, and a bump in hispanic and black families. "Where will they go?" Although Cleveland's population declined 17 percent and the city lost 30 percent of its school-age population from 2000 to 2010, Ohio City experienced a one-percent bump in the number of families. Families downtown rose 25 percent to 539. Wobser also argues that a downtown school will leverage state matching dollars and be catalytic for downtown, whose property taxes help fund the schools. Yet the main point, he says, is to serve Cleveland families and keep them in the city. "We know the flight exists," says Wobser. "The idea is to stop the flight." Source: Eric Wobser Writer: Lee Chilcote