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group plan commission announces details, first major grant for new park

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:00am
Internationally renowned landscape architect James Corner recently unveiled his new plan for Cleveland’s Public Square at the City Club. The square’s four quadrants will be connected via swaths of green space and a pathway, closing Ontario and limiting Superior to buses. It will include a water feature that will allow visitors to dip their toes in the cooling waters, sloped seating embedded in a hillside for concerts or movies, a café and natural landscaping.   Now, thanks to an $8 million gift from the Cleveland Foundation, the long-planned changes are one step closer to reality. LAND Studio, a local nonprofit that helps to design vibrant public spaces, will receive grant funding to help implement the Group Plan Commission’s design. The award is part of a special series of grants the foundation is making to celebrate its centennial. The south plaza of the park will be named “Cleveland Foundation Centennial Plaza.” "This is important because it's the Cleveland Foundation taking a leadership role and saying this transformation is critical for the city’s future," says Jeremy Paris, Executive Director of the Group Plan Commission. "It's a way for them to impact the city for this generation and generations to come, and a validation of the work we’re trying to do. In addition, the gift itself is catalytic for our funding goals." Paris says the goal is still to break ground on the project this year, and to complete the Public Square redesign by 2016, in time for major events occurring that year. In his City Club presentation, Corner outlined the importance of public space in an economy where cities are competing for tourism and residents: “Cities are reinvesting, in a bid to retain a competitive edge, in the public realm.” With the recently renovated mall atop the convention center, Cleveland now has an opportunity to create signature public spaces connected to the lake.     Corner presented key aspects of the design. The northern half of the mall will feature a manmade hill with seating seamlessly cut into it. It will also include additional foliage and gardens, with trees positioned to avoid interrupting views yet also to keep the park visible from the surrounding streets. The new water feature will be a reflective pool, yet it will also have jets. As in many other cities, Cleveland will soon have a fountain where kids can play on hot summer days.   When the next Polar Vortex returns, this area can be transitioned into an ice skating rink so that Clevelanders can take advantage of winter activities on Public Square.   The cafe will be located on the south side of the park. The concept and operator have not yet been chosen, but it will likely be a fast-casual sandwich and coffee shop. The Sailors and Soldiers monument will be well preserved and improved as part of the project. New lighting will highlight the historic monument and the design will open up the space around it to provide uninterrupted views.    In his talk, Corner called attention to the importance of simply populating parks, as well as offering creative, interactive programming. “People love to simply lounge, to be with other people and see others,” he explained.   Closing Ontario and limiting Superior to buses remains somewhat controversial, with some wanting not to close the streets and others wanting to close Superior entirely. Corner noted that Superior could be closed occasionally and lined with tents for farmers markets or festivals in the summer months. Design elements will help make crossing Superior a pedestrian-friendly experience. “Our traffic engineers are nationally renowned for traffic planning, and in their estimation, what we’re doing is a good thing in terms of how traffic works in Cleveland,” Corner stated. Finally, Corner noted how public space can generate economic development in cities. James Corner Field Operations previously had worked on the High Line in New York City. This revolutionary park transformed an abandoned elevated rail line that was once seen as a blemish in the neighborhoods through which it ran. It was about to be torn down until a neighborhood group had the visionary idea to turn it into a park. The High Line is now the second most visited tourist attraction in New York City, attracting 4.5 million people in 2012. It has spurred $2 billion in economic development and 12,000 new jobs in neighborhoods flanking the park.   “These are significant investments that aren’t only beautifying, aren’t only socially enriching and enhancing, but also will boost the economy of the city if not the region," Corner stated.

waterloo arts district announces launch of new businesses, including bright coffee bar

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:00am
Every great neighborhood has a great coffee shop. Yet the evolving Waterloo Arts District, home to the Beachland Ballroom and a bevy of art galleries and record stores, currently lacks one. That's going to change soon, as Kimberly Homan, originator of Beachland's popular Sunday brunch, is planning to open Bright Coffee Bar on Waterloo's east end. "I'm pretty invested, having put a lot of time in on Waterloo," says Homan, who has worked on the street for more than eight years. "I love the atmosphere and attitude. It's still a work in progress but we're all kind of growing together." Bright is just one of several new businesses that will open on Waterloo later this year or early next year as part of Operation Light Switch. Waterloo Brew, the new neighborhood-inspired craft beer that will be brewed in the reworked Slovenian Workmen's Home, will hold a launch party on Friday, October 3rd. Restauranteur Tom Bell of the Flying Monkey Pub in Tremont has announced that his newest project, in the former Harbor Inn, will be called the Millard Fillmore Presidential Library. And Satellite Gallery and Ink House are under construction on E. 156th Street. With the new streetscape set to be unveiled this fall, Waterloo is ready to celebrate and welcome these new businesses, which will only add to the street's revitalization. Other new launches either under construction or soon to break ground include the fiber and textile studio Praxis, the ceramic studio and gallery Brick, and the long-awaited restaurant Crop Rocks, led by well-known chef Steve Schimoler. Bright Coffee Bar might not open until next year -- the construction schedule is still fluid -- but Homan says it will add a much-needed piece to the Waterloo development puzzle. Regular amenities such as coffee shops and restaurants will help to drive more consistent traffic on the street. Homan, who originally is from Collinwood and lives in the neighborhood, couldn't be more excited about returning to the street as the proprietor of a new business. Bright will be small and cozy, a community hub with excellent coffee and baked goods. The entire building is being renovated inside and out by Northeast Shores Development Corporation. Homan plans to incorporate healthy, seasonal and local food, and will purchase her coffee from Solstice Roasters in Midtown. "They do wonderful things with coffee," she says. "They really bring out the flavor profile of the beans they roast, which are done in small batches. They focus on medium roasts, not the Starbucks culture where they're all burnt. They're flavorful, bright coffees." Bright also will feature baked goods from Goody Two Shoes Bakery, including vegan and gluten free options. Homan also plans to offer vegan hot chocolate. The space will have large bay windows with seating. There will also be seating at the coffee bar and a few tables in the front room. In the back room, there will be a lounge area with chairs and couches. The entire place will seat 24-30 people. It will be connected to Brick ceramic studio and gallery, which is opening in the same property. Homan has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get Bright brewing.

new energy drink kicks all that sugar and acid to the curb

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
Brothers Jarred and Brandon Smith were avid hockey players in college, and like most athletes, they used sports drinks to supplement their energy needs.     However, as a college senior, Jarred eventually began to experience acid reflux as a result of the elevated acid content in traditional sports drinks. So the brothers, graduates of Miami and Brown universities, sought to create a healthier sports drink without all that sugary acid.   Along with partner Chris Cummins, the brothers toiled for over a year creating an electrolyte-based drink, eventually unveiling NOOMA, which is shorthand for “No More Acid.”   NOOMA relies on a healthier, minimalized approach to formulation. “NOOMA doesn’t have any acid or preservatives, which gives it a light, smooth taste,” says Jarred. “It also has a very appealing formula with only 10 calories and two grams of sugar, a blend of five electrolytes with a high level of potassium. There are no GMOs, artificial flavors or sweeteners, meaning it’s gluten-free and vegan.”   Last fall the Smiths introduced NOOMA in Northeast Ohio. “We decided to bring NOOMA to Cleveland first because it is our hometown,” says management. “Being from Cleveland we know the power of this community and the support that Clevelanders give each other, something we definitely have felt since we launched last fall.”   Right now, NOOMA is headed by the Smiths and Cummins, with one other employee. The brothers wish to grow into a national brand while keeping the principles of health in the forefront, beginning with distribution in Northeast Ohio yoga studios, CrossFit gyms, and Heinen’s stores.  ?

with historic influx of urban residents, cities are seeing a rise in amenities

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
After decades of population loss, cities like Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Pittsburgh are now growing faster than the rest of their metro areas. Urban developers are trying to attract the right amenities to support the new wave of urbanites. So what’s needed to sustain a dense and vibrant city? The answers might surprise you.

wall street journal digs into cleveland's lakefront development plan

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
In a feature titled, “In Cleveland, Developer Puts Down Stakes by the Lake,” Wall Street Journal scribe Chelsey Dulaney writes about the ambitious lakefront development plans currently taking shape in downtown Cleveland.   “Cleveland's longtime dream of developing its Lake Erie waterfront took a step forward last month when its City Council approved plans for a $700 million development,” she writes. Spurred by increasing residential demand from new residents interested in a more urban lifestyle, the project is on its way to fruition. “The downtown's population has risen by 88% since 2000 to more than 12,500, according to a Downtown Cleveland Alliance report published in April. Restaurants, microbreweries and art galleries dot Cleveland's once-lifeless streets.” Among the plans is a school, boutique hotel and restaurants. Apartment rents will range from $1,000 to $2,000 a month, “making them affordable to young professionals, empty-nesters and families.” "When I left Cleveland after college, downtown wasn't the place to be," Mr. Halloran said. "Now everybody coming back to Cleveland wants to be downtown. There's life there." Read the rest right here.

fresh water and burning river fest team up for water-themed photo contest

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
Burning River Foundation and Fresh Water are sponsoring a photo contest in honor of the 45th Anniversary of the last burning of the Cuyahoga River. In anticipation of the upcoming Burning River Fest, we want to see your best water-themed photos -- from the winding Cuyahoga River to majestic Lake Erie -- that show how far we’ve come since that fateful summer of 1969.

for those about to rock, tri-c's music curriculum prepares you for a music-filled career

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
Any teenager with a smartphone and some ingenuity can record a song and download it to SoundCloud or YouTube. But Cuyahoga Community College’s recording arts and technology program prepares students for all types of positions within the audio industry.

new york times takes a shine to cleveland's reuse policies

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:00am
In the Travel section of the New York Times, writer Peter Larson details the robust reuse approach to development taking place in Cleveland. Titled “Cleveland, a City Repurposed,” the article describes various projects in the city that made use of vacant historic structures. “If there had to be a slogan to describe Cleveland as it is today, ‘what’s old is new again’ would undoubtedly be it,” Larson writes. “In the last few years, locals and businesses in this Midwest metropolis have been repurposing historic buildings from its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and turning them into restaurants, stores and draws for both residents and tourists. Many of these structures had sat empty for a decade or more before restoration efforts began infusing a vibrancy into this once-somewhat-downtrodden city.” Examples given include Cowell & Hubbard, Zack Bruell’s upscale French restaurant that opened in a former jewelry boutique of the same name. The Horseshoe Casino, which now occupies the first four floors of the former Higbee’s department store. Ohio City’s Transformer Station, which was built in 1924 as a power-converter station for the local streetcar line. And the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, also built in a defunct power station. Read the rest right here.

bloom & clover wax studio extends lorain ave's westward retail march

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:00am
Some might say that the opening of a waxing studio in the former home of the Speak in Tongues music club signals a seismic shift in the Ohio City neighborhood it calls home. To owner Danielle Fuller, it simply fills a need for those looking to get pretty.   On Tuesday, July 8, Fuller opened the doors to Bloom & Clover Wax Studio at 4309 Lorain Avenue, the former home of the infamous rock club Speak in Tongues, which closed in 2001. It has remained vacant ever since. “You wouldn’t believe the random stuff we found in this place,” says Fuller. Walk in there today and you’ll find a hip, contemporary space with three employees eager to depilate clients in style and comfort. The former S.I.T. space was divided into two 1,000-square-foot properties. “The space is a little industrial, mid-century modern mixed with hard edges,” says Fuller. “It has its rough edges, but with pretty pieces -- just like me.” Fuller, who lives in Ohio City and has a child who attends Campus International, is a skilled aesthetician with years in the business. But all of those years have been spent in suburbs, where all of the salons and studios tend to be located. “The problem is that there isn’t anywhere for girls -- and guys too -- to go in the city for these services,” she says. “All the salons are in the suburbs. With all the young professionals moving into the neighborhood and downtown, it seemed like the perfect timing to open.” In addition to making customers baby-smooth, Bloom & Clover will also offer spray tans. “We want to keep people out of the sun and healthy,” she adds. In addition to old cassette tapes, Fuller unearthed the old bowling alley addition in the back, which doubled as “home away from home” for many touring musicians. That old lumber was turned into furniture. As for the name, Fuller says she was just looking for something “fun and quirky, not all new-agey.”