Updated: 4 hours 54 min ago
The Flats water taxi of the '80s and '90s that ferried riders from the east bank of the Cuyahoga River to the west bank could be reborn as soon as summer of 2015 -- and in its new incarnation, it will connect not only spots in the Flats but also places along the river and lakefront. Imagine biking or taking the RTA to the new Flats East project, having a beer by the boardwalk, then hopping a water taxi to Nautica or Rivergate Park – bike in tow -- and you're starting to see the full picture. Eventually, organizers say, you'll be able to take a boat from the Flats to Voinovich Park, enjoying the splendor of Lake Erie and a vista of downtown along the way. A team of Leadership Cleveland graduates is working with the Cleveland Metroparks, Trust for Public Land, Bike Cleveland and other entities to figure out a feasible plan for reviving the water taxi. That proposal, which is expected to be completed by June, will include logistics, cost estimates and potential funding sources. The Metroparks and Trust for Public Land will take the lead from there. "We are in," says Brian Zimmerman, CEO of the Cleveland Metroparks, which assumed management of the lakefront parks last year. "We are playing a role [in bringing back and also managing the water taxi], as well as other agencies." "When we looked at the Metroparks strategic plan, certainly connecting communities and places became one of our core themes," he adds. Phase I of the project likely will involve transporting people between the east and west banks and Rivergate Park, which is now under construction and about 25 percent complete. As the taxi rolls out and demand increases, additional destinations like Voinovich Park could be added to the mix. Zimmerman says a property on the east bank has been identified as a possible multimodal hub. The facility could house a bike share program and be a port of entry for the water taxi. It's conveniently located along the Waterfront Line. It's premature to talk about costs or even funding sources, he adds, since those are issues that the Leadership Cleveland team currently is working on. Pam Carson, Director of the Ohio office of the Trust for Public Land, says the water taxi is essential to implementing a plan to connect a system of parks and paths along the river and lakefront. TPL is in the quiet phase of a $30 million campaign that will help to complete the Lake Link Trail and a pedestrian bridge to Whiskey Island. "This is part of a whole network that will light up and create vibrancy for the Flats, Ohio City and Tremont," she says. "It's a system of trails and parks that will give residents, tourists and employees places to go play and recreate." "Think about it -- it's sweet!" she adds. "The water taxi is such a beautiful thing." Carson believes that there also is further development potential at Flats East and other stops along the water taxi route. She envisions an ice cream shop, for instance, at the Flats East entry point, similar to what exists along major trailheads in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The project definitely will require public and private subsidy, not only to get it up and running but to operate it long-term, Carson says. Whether or not the service will be free or not is up in the air. A small fee might be charged, such as $2, but organizers also want to maintain access for low-income residents. Source: Brian Zimmerman, Pam Carson Writer: Lee Chilcote
The development partnership behind the Music Box, a forthcoming supper club on the west bank of the Flats that will offer live music on two stages, will break ground this week. A demolition permit has been issued by the city, and the club will hold a soft opening in August and have a full concert lineup by September. "The best part has been the breadth of support from around Cleveland," says Mike Miller, a boomerang who returned from Chicago with his wife, Colleen Miller, an experienced concert promoter. "People saw this as an important development for Cleveland, a new concept right on the river. While Cleveland has some great rock clubs spread out across the city, there isn't a downtown concert venue except for the House of Blues. If we’re going to have the Rock Hall and be the city that discovered rock, we should have another venue, and one that’s centrally located." To pull off the project, Mike and Colleen Miller assembled a team of over 20 investors, including the Jacobs Group, owner of the former Club Coconuts space where the Music Box will be located. They also obtained financing from Key Bank and funding from the City of Cleveland's Vacant Property Initiative. Krill Construction will handle the build-out. The architect is Dave Krebbs from AODK and the interior designer is Scott Richardson of the Richardson Group. The basic architecture of the space, which has huge windows overlooking the Cuyahoga River, Flats East Bank and downtown, will remain the same. Construction will add new flooring and finishes, mechanicals, restrooms, two stages and an outdoor deck where guests can enjoy dinner and drinks overlooking the city. Miller highlighted the support of the Jacobs Group and their vision for the west bank. Jacobs has already begun repositioning the Nautica complex as major event space to capitalize on the tourism wave that's hitting downtown Cleveland. Currently, the developer is working on a new master plan for the area. The Music Box is located directly across from the new Flats East development, and plans are in the works to revive the water taxi service to better link the two areas. Source: Mike Miller Writer: Lee Chilcote
Detroit-based writer Matthew Lewis travels to Cleveland to check out the RTA HealthLine, one of the premier BRT systems in the nation. As his city debates its public transportation future, leaders can look to Cleveland as a beacon of hope, a place that has embraced transit and is now enjoying the benefits of its investments.
Craig Lewis, Andrew Schad and CJ Valle, CWRU and Cleveland Institute of Art students and founders of Sprav Water, won the 2014 Ohio Clean Energy Challenge at Cleveland State last week for their wireless water meter. Sprav won $10,000 and will advance to the regional competition in Chicago in April, where they will compete for the $100,000 grand prize and a place in the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C. this summer. Although Lewis says the competition was “fairly stressful,” it was a good opportunity to showcase Sprav. “I think it means a lot because we’re entering a beta phase where we’re going to start testing it,” he says. “And the cash prize helps.” The Sprav meter helps users conserve water in the shower by measuring water temperature and usage and relaying that data to a smartphone or tablet. NorTech director of Cluster Acceleration Rick Earles served as Sprav’s mentor during the competition. “He was really helpful and added a lot of value,” says Lewis. “He gave us access to contacts at manufacturers in Northeast Ohio, which will be very valuable moving forward.” In fact, Sprav is now a part of NorTech’s Speed to Market Accelerator. “It’s a lot of fun working with promising startups like Sprav Water,” Earles says. “These guys are so passionate about what they do. They have created a beautifully designed product and really understand what it takes to get it to market.” Sprav just signed contracts with CWRU and Baldwin Wallace to test the meters in 60 of the universities’ showers. “We want to see how people’s behavior changes when they have real-time feedback with our device,” says Lewis. Eight other teams from around the state competed in the Clean Energy Challenge, five from CWRU, and one each from University of Cincinnati, Wright State University and Ohio University. Sources: Craig Lewis, Rick Earles Writer: Karin Connelly
In advance of the Cleveland Orchestra's upcoming performance in Austin, Texas, the Austin Chronicle published a sort of behind-the-scenes peek at the logistic of travel. "The Cleveland Orchestra is known around the world for its rich sound, but some of the most important members of the organization don't play an instrument and are never seen or heard by the audience: They're with Operations, the team responsible for all of the behind-the-scenes planning for the orchestra," writes Natalie Zeldin. That work falls on the lap of Julie Kim, director of operations of the Cleveland Orchestra, whose job it is to oversee transportation, hotel bookings, meals… "But that's only the easy half. There's a second whole itinerary for the cargo: the assortment of precious cellos, basses, harps, gongs, and even all of the tuxedos that need to be transported for the performances." "The goal," Kim is quoted as saying, "is always to make sure the cargo and people get there before the concert!" "So when you hear the Cleveland Orchestra play -- and you should -- don't forget to clap for the people you don't see, too." Read the rest of the article here.
Tremont West Development Corporation is pushing a plan to reconfigure W. 14th Street, which for decades has been a busy thoroughfare for residents and commuters, into a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly street that will spur business growth. Under the proposal, the current configuration of two lanes in each direction (plus parking in some places) would be reconfigured to one lane in each direction plus a turning lane. This would create a dedicated parking lane and bike lane. According to Cory Riordan, Executive Director of Tremont West, the proposal was warmly received by residents and stakeholders at a recent community forum. The next steps are to further refine the plan, respond to feedback and seek funding. Riordan wants to see the project done before the I-90 ramp reopens in 2016. "Now's the time," he says. "There's an opportunity to reconfigure the street prior to the opening, have traffic calming measures in place and create a new experience." W. 14th is an uncharacteristically wide street for Tremont. Additionally, it serves as a gateway to the community, yet the majority of businesses are located along Professor Avenue or other side streets. Finally, the street can be both confusing for drivers and hazardous for pedestrians. Riordan believes there's a win-win-win opportunity for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and businesses. "We have a crosswalk at St. Augustine Church, but when people drive 50 miles per hour down the road, it's not a very safe crosswalk," he quips. "The bike community has expressed how dangerous they feel W. 14th is." Depending on the final plan and available funding, there might be opportunities for streetscape enhancements including public art, decorative crosswalks, curb bump-outs and reconfiguration of the Steelyard Commons roundabout. The good news is that Tremont has seen a transformation of W. 14th Street in recent years from a place considered hard to do business in to a sought-after location. As Professor Avenue storefronts have filled up, W. 14th storefronts have become more valuable. Riordan believes that's a sign of things to come and sees the potential for even more commercial growth along that street. Source: Cory Riordan Writer: Lee Chilcote
Larchmere Boulevard might just be Cleveland’s best-kept secret. This classic commercial strip has never earned the attention of Coventry, W. 25th Street or East 4th Street, but it offers one of the best examples of a “complete” neighborhood in the region, chock full of retail and residential within a walkable, transit-friendly neighborhood.
As more field service employees rely on their mobile devices for scheduling and to check in with the office, TOA Technologies is keeping up with increased demand. The provider of field service management software experienced record growth in 2013 thanks to the launch of its ETA direct software, landing global telecom company Telefonica as a new customer, and securing a partnership and $66 million investment from Technology Crossover Ventures. “It’s just a reflection of an ongoing need for people to have scheduling solutions and support,” says John Opdycke, TOA’s vice president of worldwide marketing. “Our goals were not just about revenue growth. We entered new vertical markets and new geographies. We’ve increased our breadth and expansion of our presence throughout the world.” TOA entered five new countries last year: Finland, Argentina, Chile, Sweden and the Philippines. It experienced 50 percent growth over 2012 in new deals. And had 30 percent staff growth, which translates to 68 employees in the Cleveland headquarters and 514 worldwide. Over the past three years TOA has grown its global team by 71 percent and its Cleveland team by 127 percent. “You always go into any year budgeting for a year of growth and, yes, we went into last year knowing we were on track to increase business,” says Opdycke. “And we met all of our goals. But if someone had asked me, ‘Will you increase business by 50 percent?’ I would have said, ‘No, that’s a dramatic increase.’” The Telefonica deal was the largest service deal in the history of the mobile workforce management software industry. TOA is in the process of expanding its Cleveland offices, with plans to more than double its size to accommodate its growth. Every TOA employee around the world comes to Cleveland for training. Opdycke says he expects 2014 to be an equally successful year. “We continue to push forward and we really feel we’re on the right path,” he says. “ Source: John Opdycke Writer: Karin Connelly
Antiques & Fine Art magazine writes that "The Cleveland Museum of Art announced that it has received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor to further strengthen the institution's mission and core principles, which focus on scholarships, artistic excellence and community engagement. Thanks to the donation, the museum has established two endowments -- one to support community engagement activities and another for interpretation of its permanent collection." Fred Bidwell, interim director, was quoted as saying, "This incredibly generous gift really touches upon the fundamental initiatives of the Cleveland Museum of Art." Check out the entire article here.
Brian Cook, a real estate developer who lives in Shaker Heights, has always had a passion for Doan Brook. It's a little slice of wilderness that cuts through the otherwise urban environments of Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Cleveland, and nowhere is that respite from the concrete world more apparent than on the western part of North Park Boulevard. Here, the brook cascades down the hill from the Heights, while informal pathways allow residents and visitors to take a stroll and escape into nature. One day, Cook was hiking with his son, talking about big dreams and plans. They stopped by the falls to take a rest and enjoy the view. Wouldn't it be neat, Cook wondered aloud, if they could somehow rebuild the historic footbridge that once spanned the gorge, linking the three cities of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Cleveland? That was Father's Day of last year, but Cook didn't focus on that dream until his son approached him two weeks later. "He says, 'How is that bridge coming, Dad?'" Cook recounts with a laugh. "I said, 'Oh, I’m actually going to have to do this.'" Since then, Cook has talked with officials from all three cities, met with nonprofit leaders such as Victoria Mills of the Doan Brook Watershed Partners, and begun to recruit a committee of a dozen or so volunteers. The next step is to develop a conceptual proposal for the new footbridge, including an estimated budget, and begin the process of seeking funding, partnerships and approvals. "Everyone we've talked to is very interested," says Cook. "This is a legacy project." The original bridge was torn down in the late 1950s or early 1960s after it fell into disrepair. The footers are still in Doan Brook, causing occasional problems when it floods. Cook's proposal is not to build on the existing footers or recreate the original; rather, he wants to find a cost-effective means of spanning the gorge to allow cyclists and walkers to easily travel between North Park and Fairhill. "People from Cleveland Heights tell me they'd go to Shaker Square more often if there was an easier way to get there," he says, citing the fact that Coventry is the nearest cut-through street. "There are many ways this would benefit the area." The footbridge also would create a recreational amenity for walkers, runners and cyclists, and offer a picturesque point for photos. Cook had his holiday photo taken here, and many people couldn't believe the falls were in Cleveland. The bridge also could offer opportunities for environmental education, and history markers could educate visitors about the legacy of the Doan Brook. Cost estimates are not yet available, but an earlier proposal developed as part of the Lakes-to-Lake Trail study suggested that a new footbridge could cost $1.5 million. Cook is hosting the first meeting of the footbridge committee this week, and hopes to use the meeting as a springboard to further develop the proposal. If you're interested in getting involved, email Brian Cook here. Source: Brian Cook Writer: Lee Chilcote
Phoenix Coffee, a popular independent brand known for advancing coffee culture in Northeast Ohio over the past few decades, is opening a cafe in Ohio City. The new Phoenix will be housed at 3000 Bridge Avenue, in the former West Side Community House, which is being renovated into 21 apartments. Coffee Director Christopher Feran says the location appealed to Phoenix because of the vibrancy of Ohio City, the area's artisan food culture and the developers' vision for the property. Ohio City resident Damon Taseff and Bluewater Capital Partners are renovating the building into a showcase of bike-friendly living. "We've been pretty involved in the bike community, and it's in our mission to promote sustainability and sustainable causes," says Feran. Additionally, the firm's owners liked the idea of having a coffee shop that is nestled within a community, slightly off the main commercial district on W. 25th Street. The 1,000-square-foot shop, which Feran hopes will open this summer, will have about 35 seats and a dedicated patio. The entrance will be located on Bridge, and bike and car parking will be available in an adjacent lot and on the street. The cafe will focus on artisan coffee and tea and offer pastries from Bonbon Cafe. Although details are still being worked out, Feran says the new Phoenix will have its own distinct feel. "We’ve intentionally made it so that each one of our cafes has a little bit of a different vibe. It will have a warmer, more inviting atmosphere. We've created a concept that's pretty special, that will transport people out of their daily lives, into a space that makes them feel more present in the moment." Feran is especially excited about the momentum that's building behind Cleveland's coffee culture. "We’ve been trying to build coffee culture in Cleveland for a long time," he says. "It's starting to feel like it’s alive, like it’s here. There are whispers in the industry that Cleveland is an up and coming town for coffee. We're excited to show that you can have two roasters within a mile and thrive." The other Ohio City roaster that Feran is referring to is Rising Star, which recently announced plans to open an east side location in Little Italy. Source: Christopher Feran Writer: Lee Chilcote
Fresh Water Cleveland is one of 22 publications run by Issue Media Group. Week in and week out, our sister sites cover all the latest news in urban innovation and development. This is the first in a new monthly series that will aggregate top news stories from around our network and profile "What’s Next" for cities.
Anthony Trzaska was born and raised in Slavic Village, where his family owns Fortuna Funeral Home. He left Cleveland to go to college, then returned home and settled in Lakewood. Exploring the city as a young twentysomething, he became actively involved in efforts to improve Slavic Village. He watched as areas like Ohio City boomed with new development, and yet his beloved neighborhood continued to slide downhill. "Every year, it was a much different neighborhood," says Trzaska, describing the foreclosure epidemic that devastated the streets where he'd once played as a kid. "I graduated from law school in the worst economy since the Great Recession, and that was layered on top of what was happening with the neighborhood." Today, Trzaska is a business attorney who has reinvested in Slavic Village. He serves on the board of the Slovenian National Home (The Nash) and purchased a building on Fleet Avenue that he plans to fix up for a new commercial tenant. He doesn't believe that Slavic Village needs to be Ohio City, but rather, "the new wave of the Old World," where the past is respected yet change is embraced. "I look at what's happening with the regentrification of historic neighborhoods, and I think that makes what I'm doing more probable and even likely," he says. Trzaska's efforts to open up the Nash to more people and make it a joint that welcomes everybody from hipsters to longtime regulars recently was detailed in Scene. The Nash's Facebook "likes" jumped by 42 percent thanks to that article, Trzaska says. He's expecting a good crowd at Friday's Open Bowl, where $10 buys you shoe rental and all-you-can-bowl for three hours. There's a cash bar, good tunes and Lebowski on the television. Trzaska himself has introduced Nash Nosh, updated versions of classic Slovenian food like stuffed and fried pierogis. Trzaska also is heavily involved in revitalizing Fleet Avenue, which he views as one of Slavic Village's best shots at renewal. The city soon will spend about $8 million to transform Fleet into its first complete-and-green street, including bike infrastructure and green infrastructure, and there's already been some new investment in the area, he says, in the form of properties changing hands. Fleet Avenue already is home to classic ethnic delis like Seven Roses and butcher shops like Krusinski's. Trzaska sees an opportunity to add newer businesses to the mix, including an updated, younger version of the butcher shop. His building at 5014-16 Fleet Avenue will house the construction crew during the streetscape rebuilding. Once it's been completed, Trzaska will bring in a new tenant. While there are many challenges to redeveloping Fleet Avenue, including convincing existing owners that change is needed, Trzaska sees the area as one with potential. With projects like Slavic Village Recovery underway, he believes that he can leverage neighborhood activity to achieve a new vision for the area. Source: Anthony Trzaska Writer: Lee Chilcote
Writing for Trib Total Media, Mark Kanny takes his Western PA readers on a winter-themed road trip to Cleveland. "Perhaps the only way Pittsburgh doesn't mind being beaten by Cleveland is in annual snowfall," he writes. "Located on Lake Erie, Cleveland always wins that contest because of lake-effect precipitation." "Taking challenge as opportunity, Cleveland Metroparks offers many winter activities, including tobogganing. In addition, there's a free skating rink in University Circle and the local Boston Mills/Brandywine ski resort just south of the city." Also highlighted are the Rock Hall, Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall. Check out all his great wintertime suggestions here.
The 2014 Gay Games kick off August 9th with an expected 8,000 to 10,000 participants competing in some 40 sports. The comprehensive event will serve as the latest memo to the world that Cleveland is a sought-after host for large-scale events that add millions to the local economy.
With the loss of the United Airlines hub in Cleveland, LeanDog Software owner Jon Stahl say's he's discovered a way perhaps to cut down on the size of his team while traveling to visit clients. It's a robot named Gilligan -- made by Double Robotics – that roams about the LeanDog boat, checking in with team members on a project. The investment might be one solution to reduce air travel for businesses that go to customers or bring customers to their offices. Stahl got Gilligan in January to cut down on the number of team members he needs when traveling to call on customers. “Instead of taking a large team to customer sites, we can send less people and then drive the robot around the boat and talk to anyone we need to,” Stahl explains. “I don’t need to have as many people travel with me just in case I need them in a meeting.” Gilligan also helps Stahl stay in touch with his staff when he’s on the road for long stretches of time. “I can also use the robot to look at our visual management walls, attend our daily standup meetings, and just make an appearance,” he says. “We have been on the road for three weeks straight, and it’s nice to pop in when we can.” Stahl finds the robot to be a more flexible alternative to video conferencing, which requires scheduling a time for the meeting. “With Gilligan, we can wake him up and drive him around the boat and talk to someone at any time,” he explains. “Soon, we can even drive it to the recharging docking bay. We tried to use Skype phones in the past and gave them to our customers – we bought 20 of them, but you need someone to answer the phone, so that solution didn’t work so well." The only disadvantage to Gilligan is that he can’t climb stairs; he has wheels for legs. LeanDog has a client in San Francisco who also is trying out the robot. Together, the two companies are experimenting with their robots to see if they might replace, or reduce, travel and improve communication. Source: Jon Stahl Writer: Karin Connelly
Since 2001, Cleveland Public Theatre's Big Box program has been fostering original work by independent Northeast Ohio artists by providing access to CPT's resources. Next up for the program is "La Femme," which runs in the James Levin Theatre this weekend. Here's slideshow preview.
In a feature titled, "Getting a Market Buzz in Cleveland," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Diana Nelson Jones compares the West Side Market to her city's eclectic Strip District, as that city plots a course for a grand future marketplace of its own. "Except for the selection of dried beans at Urban Herbs, the West Side Market in Cleveland doesn’t sell anything you can’t find in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. What they have that we don’t have is a grand work of marketplace architecture," she writes. She adds that "the trip prompted many thoughts about what we have and don’t have and led to a rumination on the potential of the Pittsburgh Public Market and the Terminal Building on Smallman Street to be long-term additions to the scene." "As I toured the West Side Market, I caught myself oohing and aahing, wondering why at first and then realizing why -- the intensity of consolidation. It is Wholey’s, Penn Mac, Stamolis, Parma Sausage, Sam Bok, Stan’s, Labad’s, La Prima and every farmers’ market all together in one big teeming, gleaming -- and at times overwhelming -- place." "But the certainty I came away with from Cleveland was that a great city needs a great indoor market scene and any city that still has its old-world market house is blessed, lucky, farsighted or all three." Read the rest of the story here.
Here’s what Fresh Water found in the latest Cleveland hiring news: OnShift, a developer of staff scheduling software for the healthcare industry, is looking for a couple of quick-minded people to help in its rapid growth. The company needs a mid-level UX/UI designer with two years of software and user experience design to work on development of new mobile and tablet interfaces. The enterprise software salesperson will travel 50-70 percent of the time, selling software to assisted living facilities, home health care agencies and retirement communities. For more information, go to OnShift’s careers page. RegulatorydeBinder, which makes document management software for clinical trials, is looking a self-starter to fill a sales rep position, selling software-as-a-service products to the academic medical world. There’s room for advancement, and the territory in unlimited. To apply, contact Meera Juneja.. LineStream Technologies, which develops embedded control software, is looking for five engineers in a variety of disciplines. For more information about the openings, go to LineStream’s careers page. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the company, contact Mehves Tangum Embrace Pet Insurance, a Beachood-based online provider of comprehensive pet insurance, is in need of an ASP.net developer to improve customer experience and make the company more efficient. Embrace is also looking for an online demand generation manager to attract and convert pet owners to online pet insurance. Contact Alex Krooglik to apply. Policy Matters Ohio, a think tank dedicated to creating a more vibrant, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio, needs a development manager to carry out a fundraising plan, build a donor program, manage grants, and help the executive director increase revenue. See more here. Have hiring news? Email Fresh Water Cleveland and send us the information or careers links! Writer: Karin Connelly