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The hand-carved carousel that entertained the masses at historic Euclid Beach Park, though hasn't operated in decades, is getting a makeover. The newly restored gem is set for a November unveiling at the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) in University Circle. When the restored 1910 Euclid Beach Grand Carousel opens in the Glass Pavilion of the History Center, it will be one of the few working carousels in town. Visitors will be able to purchase a ticket to ride what was deemed "the finest carousel ever made" when it first debuted over a century ago. "This project has been 13 or 14 years in the making," says Alyssa Purvis, Communications Assistant with WRHS. "We still have people coming in and saying, 'I have a picture of my mom standing next to that horse. It's in my wallet.'" The carousel also introduces a major new amenity to University Circle, providing yet another reason to visit WRHS. This nonprofit institution has undergone major renovations to its Crawford Auto Aviation Room to help reach a new audience and recently garnered a "Building the Circle" award from University Circle Inc. The restoration of the historic carousel was undertaken in collaboration with the Cleveland Carousel Society, which helped recover the carousel from a park in Maine. The carousel operated in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland from 1910 to 1969, when Euclid Beach Park, a major attraction for generations of Clevelanders, shut down. The colossal structure is remarkable, and it's housed in a stunning, light-filled room. The horses, which are some of the largest wooden carousel horses in the country, according to Purvis, are captured in dynamic running and jumping poses. Surrounding the horses are hand-painted chariots that also have been recently refurbished. The centerpiece of the carousel, currently being restored by Carousel Works in Mansfield, is a massive automated music box that soon will crank back to life. "The park was a real landmark in Northeast Ohio," says Purvis. "We felt that it was important to keep the carousel here in Cleveland and to make it run again." WRHS has announced that the carousel will be ready to ride on November 22nd. Source: Alyssa Purvis Writer: Lee Chilcote
In a Huffington Post blog post titled “Galvanized into Positive Action: This Week in Seeding the Change,” contributor Ari Nessel writes of the various projects taking place across the globe in an effort to create a more peaceful and sustainable world. Cleveland gets a nod thanks to the work of Christopher Kennedy and Marilyn McHugh, who together created the Cleveland Seed Bank. “Cleveland is home to a growing local food movement, including urban farms, but lacks a local resource to promote, grow and build a seed saver network. Working with the Cleveland Public Library, The Cleveland Seed Bank will host a number of 'seed libraries' around the city, as well as an extensive social media campaign to educate the public on these resources.” Check out the rest of the post here.
In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Cleveland Gives Asia Its Due,” writer Lee Lawrence details the recently completed eight-year, $350 million renovation and expansion at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Lawrence writes of Cleveland’s reputation for having one of the country’s finest Asian collections, while noting that many of the works were squeezed into less frequented spaces in the basement. “The art now has the crowd-attracting galleries it deserves," he writes. "Taking up the entire west and half of the north wings, a suite of large, airy galleries accommodates close to 600 treasures, some 10 percent of the museum's Asian holdings.” The piece goes on to detail various time periods and geographical locations of the vast Asian collection. Check out the full story here.
In college, Glenn Harbold followed family tradition and pursued a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. While he was interested in the manufacturing process, Harbold quickly realized that he possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to be a part of bringing new products to market. That curiosity and spirit led Harbold to buy into Zounds Hearing as a franchisee. He is opening his first of six stores in the area on February 10th, in Brooklyn. “My career has been a bit of a winding road, but I’m really into entrepreneurship,” Harbold says. After a stint in engineering, Harbold went on to earn an MBA and moved to Cleveland to work with two local technology startups. “I enjoyed getting up every day knowing that the future was in the hands of a small group of people.” Then last year, Harbold began looking for companies to acquire. He met Sam Thomasson, a fellow engineer and founder of Zounds Hearing. “Sam is an electrical engineer and I loved his passion,” says Harbold. “We really hit it off.” Harbold was so impressed with the quality and affordability of Zounds hearing aids that he decided to buy into the company. “The price and quality of the technology are really special,” he says. “We’re going to make it a lot easier for some people who couldn’t previously afford high quality hearing aids.” After the Brooklyn store, Harbold plans to open five more stores in the area. He will employ two people at the Brooklyn store, including an audiologist and a client care specialist. Long-term, he predicts he will employ 12 to 15 people in the six stores. Source: Glenn Harbold Writer: Karin Connelly
How hot is the rental market in and around downtown Cleveland? Not only are there wait lists at most downtown apartment buildings, but developers are scrambling to bring more units online. But more than just beds, these new developments are boosting the vitality of urban neighborhoods while bringing with them much-needed retail.
On Monday, January 20, the Cleveland Museum of Art released to much anticipation an iPhone version of its award-winning iPad app, ArtLens. “We’re really excited because lots of people have been waiting for the smartphone version,” says museum CIO Jane Alexander. “ArtLens for iPad got great reviews, but we found people really like using their own devices.” ArtLens for the iPhone has some added features, such as a search function. It also can make recommendations based on user preferences. “You can hold the iPhone up to something you like and it shows you hotspots of other works,” Alexander explains. “It’s kind of like Amazon -- if you like this, you might like this.” Visitors to the museum can go to the Collection Wall, the 40-foot interactive wall with images of the museum’s collections, and select their favorite works. The app will then take the visitor on a guided tour of the selected works. The iPhone app also includes Top 10 lists of favorite works selected by both museum curators and visitors. The original ArtLens app was released on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2013, to coincide with the opening of Gallery One, where technology and art merge. Alexander says that commingling technology and fine art reduces the intimidation many people feel when they walk into the museum. An Android version of the ArtLens app is planned for a spring release. Source: Jane Alexander Writer: Karin Connelly
GreenBiz, a publication devoted to helping companies integrate environmental responsibility into their operations, included Cleveland in a recent listing of "Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Meetings in 2014." Thanks to the massive environmental footprint of air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and more, the meetings and event industry is one of the most wasteful sectors in the US. But the news is not all bad, states the article. "A handful of destinations recently debuted new or renovated meetings facilities with an environmental focus, making the new year a particularly exciting one for green meetings." "These 10 cities in particular stand out as top choices for sustainable events in 2014:" 10. Cleveland "Last year, Cleveland welcomed two neighboring meeting venues along its revitalized waterfront: the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, which hosts medical events. Both were designed with an eye on sustainability; features include 138 bike racks, water-efficient landscaping, motion sensors and low-flow washroom fixtures. The convention center has a green roof with extensive plant life and soil materials, while the Global Center includes a white reflective roof. Half of the nearly nine-acre site used for the buildings has been preserved as open space, and 97 percent of debris was recycled during construction. The venues are currently seeking LEED Silver certification." "Sustainability is not just addressed in the design of these venues -- sustainability is the design of these venues," says Sarah Blanchard, spokesperson for LMN architects, which designed the facilities. "Displaying the future of health and health care and welcoming visitors from across the globe to a state-of-the-art convention center are civic hallmarks that demand a design centered on efficiency and technology." Read the rest of the green news here.
RA Washington has been embedded in Cleveland's art scene for more than 20 years. He's been the poet-in-residence at the Cleveland Museum of Art, co-owns the indie bookstore Guide to Kulchur, and recently was named a 2014 Creative Workforce Fellow. Fresh Water caught up with this self-billed "culture worker" to hear his take on Cleveland's creative scene.
Gizmag, a long-running technology publication, recently highlighted PlayhouseSquare's forthcoming outdoor chandelier in a feature titled, "World's Largest Outdoor Chandelier to Illuminate Cleveland's PlayhouseSquare." Writing for Gizmag, Brian Dodson states, "PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland's historic theater district is erecting what is claimed as the world's largest outdoor crystal chandelier. With a height of 20 ft (6 m) and comprising some 4,200 crystal pieces." The 20-ft tall chandelier will contain 4,200 crystal pieces and tens of thousands of LED lights and lighting modules. The chandelier will be permanently suspended 44 ft (13.5 m) above the street from a special steel support system. "The biggest surprise is that General Electric, which is designing the chandelier, believes it will stand up to Cleveland's extreme weather." That includes temps that range from -20° F (-29° C) to 104° F (40° C), with winds as high as 85 mph (137 km/h) – not to mention the occasional severe thunderstorm, tornado, and roaming hurricane. The unveiling is scheduled for May 2, 2014. Read the rest of the story here.
Tonight, January 23, FlashStarts will be hosting Global Pitcher Night at the January TechPint event at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. Don't come expecting free pitchers of beer; the night is about providing budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to get up and pitch their business ideas for a chance to take home $5,000. “We call it a karaoke-for-entrepreneurs concept,” says FlashStarts co-founder Charles Stack. “It’s an irreverent approach to a business competition. Pitchers will get a few minutes at the microphone, then the crowd will hoot and holler.” Six pitchers will be selected to present a three-minute pitch, followed by two minutes of Q&A from the audience. A team of judges from FlashStarts and sponsor Arsenal Venture Partners will decide how the $5,000 will be awarded, either winner-take-all or by dividing it up among multiple winners. The audience also will get to provide input. “It really is as informal a process as you will see, but we’re taking it seriously,” says Stack. “We’re trying to brew up new ideas.” Interested pitchers should email 100-word pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org up until 4 p.m. today. Stack says they’ve already received more than a dozen applications. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the pitches begin at 5 p.m. Those who show up before 5:30 p.m. get an extra drink ticket. Stack and Doug Hardman, founder of SparkBase, will speak after the pitch presentation, followed by an after party. Tickets are $15 and include a free pint of beer and some food. Source: Charles Stack Writer: Karin Connelly
The developers behind University Place Townhomes, a 19-unit project on E. 118th Street in University Circle, have broken ground on their new project. With two sales in hand, they're laying the foundation and intend to start vertical construction in the spring. "The demographic is pretty much what we thought it would be," says Russell Lamb, a principal with Allegro Realty and partner in the project, which includes several Allegro principals. "The buyers are either people who work in the Circle, particularly medical institutions, people who want to move back to an urban environment who are downsizing, or young professionals." "We're the only for-sale project in University Circle," he adds. "We're pretty comfortable with where we are right now." The developers hope to obtain several additional sales in the spring so they can start construction on additional units. While much of the action these days is in the rental market, the for-sale market also is showing signs of renewed life, says Lamb. He believes University Circle is a particularly strong, underserved market, in part because there's so little developable land. The parcel on E. 118th was a rare vacant property within the district's boundaries that could be developed. The units range in size from 1,100 square feet to just under 2,100 square feet, with prices starting at $250,000 and climbing to $450,000. Lamb describe the prices as "expensive for Cleveland, but not expensive for University Circle," an area that commands a premium. The project design features five separate buildings around a central, European-style courtyard utilizing modern building techniques including cementitious exteriors. Dimit Architects designed the units. The interiors, while not extravagant in terms of square footage, are "modern, open and airy; there's a good use of space," Lamb says. Uptown has been a particular "center of gravity" for the project, he adds, providing much-needed amenities that will attract the home-buying set. What's needed to complete the Circle? "More people," Lamb says. "If any place in Cleveland has got it all, it's gotta be University Circle." Source: Russell Lamb Writer: Lee Chilcote
Although Heinen's is still mapping out the details of its planned grocery store in downtown Cleveland, co-owner Jeff Heinen recently shared with Fresh Water conceptual plans, while acknowledging that opening a 20,000-square-foot grocery downtown is anything but a slam dunk and will require fine tuning to reach the right market. Last year, Heinen's announced plans to bring a long-sought-after, full-service grocery to downtown Cleveland. Later this year, that store will open at the historic Cleveland Trust rotunda at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, which first opened in 1908. The shopping experience promises to be unlike any other, with shoppers selecting produce beneath a glorious stained glass dome. Heinen's is conducting plenty of research to ensure the store fits local market dynamics, Heinen explains. "We're taking a space that's not a traditional grocery store and creating a grocery store offering," he says. "We're spending time making sure that we're not bringing a suburban store to an urban location." The downtown location will be about half the size of the typical Heinen's, which poses challenges. "There's a reason why grocery stores are diverse and carry 40,000 items. Our challenge is to find items that please the highest percentage of people." Heinen also acknowledges that "based on traditional metrics, there are not enough downtown residents to open a grocery store." Yet he was convinced to plunge into the market to help settle the classic chicken-and-egg quandary ("Which comes first, residents or retail?") after witnessing soaring demand for downtown living. "This is a unique location," he notes. "East 9th and Euclid used to be the center of downtown Cleveland. They don't make 'em like this anymore. If you add the residential living momentum happening downtown, this project makes sense." He adds, "We're ahead of the curve, but hopefully not too far." While Heinen's likely will lose money in its first few years -- every new store does -- the owner believes the concept will catch on and he'll be able to tap into the growing base of downtown residents and office workers living and working downtown. "Even now, there's plenty of competition," he admits, citing Dave's, the West Side Market, Constantino's and others. "The vast majority of downtown residents have cars, so it's not like you have a captive audience. We'll have to earn our business." Heinen's will do that by offering a customized product mix catered to urban residents, including the kind of organic, local and fresh produce it's known for. The company also will try and make shopping downtown as convenient as possible, while acknowledging that shoppers will not enjoy suburban-style parking. A parking garage that will serve Heinen's and The 9 is located about a block away, though the store will have curbside pickup along Euclid for shoppers to have their groceries loaded. There will be valet parking as well. Heinen's also will sell and promote the old-school two-wheeled carts common at the West Side Market and urban grocery stores in other cities. "The average suburban person wants to drive up close," Heinen says. "But we also know that people in urban environments get the fact that the parking won't be next door." To be successful, however, the store must pull from surrounding neighborhoods and not just rely on downtown apartment dwellers, who now number close to 14,000. "If people won't drive here, we'll lose a lot of money," he says. Of course, shoppers also can utilize public transportation, such as the RTA's free and popular downtown trolley service. Heinen plans to request a stop outside his front door. For those who want to learn more about how the store will be configured and what it will offer, details will be released in a few months. "It will be very similar to shopping in our Hudson store," he says of that efficiently designed concept. "We'll make downtown as much of a full line store as we can make it. The reality is, it's half the size of most of our stores, so there will be trade-offs. We may not have a 24-pack of Charmin, because downtown dwellers don't want a 24-pack." "We think people will be able to do a full week's shopping here," he adds. "We know who grows most of our product, and we know how it was grown. The woman with six kids and the single person -- we want to serve everyone." Source: Jeff Heinen Writer: Lee Chilcote
Despite huge improvements in the city's bike culture, miles of new bikeways, and more two-wheeled commuters than ever before, the City of Cleveland has been criticized for lagging behind peer cities like Memphis and Detroit in adding new bike infrastructure like bike lanes. But the City is vowing to pick up the pace. At Bike Cleveland's annual meeting, Sustainability Chief Jenita McGowan announced an ambitious plan to add 70 new miles of bikeways by 2017. The improvements are included as part of the city's capital improvements plan, which gives advocates confidence that they'll actually get done. "What I like about the plan is that it's ambitious and it's tied to the capital improvements plan," says Jacob Van Sickle, Executive Director of Bike Cleveland, an advocacy group that has gained considerable clout despite a small staff thanks to a cadre of noisy bike advocates. "Yet while the plan is exciting, it's still up to advocates to communicate that... we need bike lanes and protected bike lanes." The devil's in the details, as they say. While the city has pledged to create new bikeways when it repaves or resurfaces streets or by restriping existing streets, it hasn't said what kind of bikeways it will create. Bike Cleveland advocates believe that "sharrows" -- street markings that remind drivers to share the road with cyclists -- are less effective at creating a safe cycling environment than bike lanes and protected bike lanes. "My hope is that we're starting to make a shift -- with the city and in terms of public perception -- and they're realizing that sharrows don't cut it," says Van Sickle. For its part, the city has said that the types of bikeways will be determined based partially on public input, and that community meetings will be announced. Currently, Cleveland has 47.5 miles of bikeways. About 3.7 miles are streets with sharrows, 10.3 miles are bike lanes and 34.6 miles are off-road trails, often shared with pedestrians. By comparison, Detroit added nearly 80 miles of bike lanes in 2013 alone. Cleveland's bikeway system also has been criticized as being largely disconnected: For instance, cyclists can ride across the Lorain-Carnegie bridge on a protected bikeway, but it doesn't link to anything at either end of the bridge. Some of the streets that are slated to obtain bike lanes in the next year include W. 41st Street, W. 44th Street, Triskett Road, Puritas Avenue and Denison Avenue. The city's bikeway network was developed in collaboration with Bike Cleveland and the Complete and Green Streets Task Force. The city plans to add about 45 miles of bikeways in the next two years, and 26 miles in 2016 and 2017. An additional 82 miles have been identified, but have no funding allocated to them. The goal? McGowan says that within a few years, it should be possible to traverse much of the city using a system of interconnected bikeways. Now that's progress. Van Sickle says that while he is excited about the city's ambitious new plans, "The work isn't done yet. We really need to make sure we're getting people out to public meetings in support of bikes." That's because capital improvement plans can shift, and Bike Cleveland wants to make sure that additional bike lanes are added. Van Sickle claims that while some non-cyclists initially are skeptical of bike lanes, when they are educated on the benefits, many become supporters. He cited a recent public meeting to discuss adding bike lanes to Puritas Avenue in which cycling advocates converted a few more skeptics. At Bike Cleveland's annual meeting, the organization also touted its "Ride Together" safety campaign, the awarding of three bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community awards to Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Cleveland, and a recently completed bike share feasibility study, among other accomplishments. Source: Jacob Van Sickle Writer: Lee Chilcote
Dan Young, owner of DXY Solutions, has been a busy man. The mobile app developer has hired additional staff, opened West Coast and international offices and is expanding his company's breadth of capabilities. “We started off as a mobile company,” explains Young. “Mobile apps are very popular, but we’re looking to put mobile technology in the palm of the user’s hand. We’re looking at design and connectivity to the user’s environment.” One area where DXY has thrived is in the medical field. For instance, the company designed an interactive iPad application for the Cleveland Clinic to better assess concussions. The app works with sensor devices to provide more accurate and comprehensive information than solely relying on human observation. Young also is developing apps that interact with home automation devices and interactive android-based kiosks to help with way finding on large hospital campuses. “Users can walk up to the kiosk and they are directed where they need to go,” Young says. “We’ll be ready to deliver to clients this summer.” To facilitate all these projects, DYX opened offices in Seattle and Berlin and brought on seven new employees, bringing the total to 23, 20 of whom are in DXY’s new Ohio City offices. Kate Hawk, who was brought on as marketing manager last summer, moved to Seattle to oversee business out west. The Berlin office came out of a group of interactive designers Young employs there. “Berlin is the hot technology scene right now in Europe,” notes Young. “Last year was quite a bit of growth. It’s been stressful, but it’s been a fun ride.” The coming year is shaping up to be just as exciting. DXY will launch an interactive web site for the Akron Public Schools in February, is launching this spring a new version of its virtual historical tour guide Curatescape, and will continue to grow its relationships in the medical community. Source: Dan Young Writer: Karin Connelly
In 2013, the 83-year-old Cleveland Botanical Garden attracted more people than ever to its University Circle properties. During the past 12 months, 188,669 people visited the Garden, marking a 17 percent increase over the prior year’s record attendance figure of 160,000. It marks the sixth straight year of attendance increases. Garden President Natalie Ronayne attributes the growth to the success of two new seasonal events, Big Spring and the holiday spectacular Glow. “It’s really great to see Northeast Ohioans embracing the Garden as relevant to their lives,” Ronayne says. “One of the most appealing things about the Garden is that it can be many different things to many different people -- a place of celebration, a place of solace, a place for making new family memories. I love that people are taking advantage of that.” Next up on the schedule for the Garden is the 11th annual Orchid Mania, slated to run February 1 through March 9.
Long winters (and the occasional polar vortex) are just something we have to live with around here. However, those bold enough to venture into Cleveland's great white waste will find a flurry of cold weather activities that extend beyond the usual realm of skiing, inner-tubing and tobogganing.
Over the past decade, personal office space has dropped in size by 30 percent per person. That downward shift has accelerated as corporations seek to become more efficient and productive by embracing a mobile, open and collaborative workplace culture.
Running late for a business meeting at the local coffee shop? Not going to make it to happy hour with your friends? Prezto eases the guilt by allowing the user to instantly send a cup of coffee, cocktail or even a cupcake to the person on the other end awaiting your arrival. “The app allows you to give a gift to a friend remotely and immediately,” explains Anne Jiao, founder of Prezto. “It’s a way to share spontaneous moments on a daily basis.” The concept is simple: Users download the app, select a participating establishment and gift to give, and then send it to a friend. The friend simply presents a code for scanning and receives the gift. Jiao came up with the idea for Prezto after working in Los Angeles. “I noticed that most of my bosses hosted meetings outside the office and there was a lot of anxiety around getting to the right place at the right time,” she says. “I thought, what’s an easy way to get a meeting off on the right foot?” She also reluctantly admits that a scene in the Hunger Games movie, in which the character Katniss received medication through a teleport device to win the game, also helped spark the idea. “It’s the idea of people who are not there being able to affect a person’s life,” she says. Jiao went through the LaunchHouse Accelerator program last fall to hash out her idea for Prezto and still keeps an office there (in addition to coffee shops and a rented desk downtown). She employs a CTO and an intern and is looking for a second intern. She also uses five developers on a contract basis. About 40 merchants already have expressed interest in Prezto, mostly in the Coventry, University Circle and Cleveland State areas. The app is in beta testing now and Jiao plans to use her interns to sign on more merchants before the app officially launches this summer. Source: Anne Jiao Writer: Karin Connelly
Pet owners are beginning to realize the value of quality pet insurance, resulting in rapid growth for Embrace Pet Insurance. With that growth comes new hires, a change in investors and a partnership with a celebrity veterinarian. While less than one percent of U.S. pet owners insure their pets -- compared to 25 percent in the UK -- founder Laura Bennett is working to change those numbers by going to vets and educating them about the benefits of insurance and encouraging them to recommend Embrace to their clients. Embrace partnered with some comprehensive insurance companies last year. Most recently, Bennett signed on several large, well-known insurance companies to offer Embrace pet insurance to their clients. To keep up with its growth, Embrace hired 17 employees last year. “I was like, holy moly,” says founder Laura Bennett. “And we have a number of positions open too. We’re now at 47 employees from 30. That’s growth of more than 50 percent.” Most of the hiring was in the claims, customer service and tech departments. Amid all the hiring, Beauvest US, a private equity investor from Canada, bought out Embrace's venture investors. “Our prior investors had been in for over five years and were ready to move on per their investment guidelines,” says Bennett. “It’s good for Embrace in that our new investor is prepared to invest more money for us to grow and become more efficient. This person used to work in the insurance industry in Canada and sold his businesses. He understands our business.” Earlier this month Embrace announced that the company has partnered with celebrity veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker, known as “America’s Veterinarian,” to help spread the word about the importance of pet insurance. “He basically approached us,” Bennett says. “It builds awareness to our product in general and brings a lot of credibility to the Embrace brand.” Later this year Embrace will move offices to accommodate its growth. Source: Laura Bennett Writer: Karin Connelly
This month, the Cleveland Foundation -- the world’s first community foundation -- officially kicked off its year-long centennial celebration by unveiling the first in a series of monthly “Cleveland Foundation Day” birthday gifts. The foundation's first gift is a day of free ridership for all on the Greater Cleveland RTA, which takes place today, Thursday, Jan. 16. “We feel the best way to honor our 100th birthday is to give back to Greater Cleveland, to celebrate the generations of donors who have supported us through the years and partnered with us to give $1.7 billion in grants to our community,” Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation said in a statement. “Through the organizations involved in our monthly surprise gifts, we’ll be highlighting community assets the foundation and our donors have played a role in building or enhancing through the years.” Upcoming “Cleveland Foundation Day” birthday gifts will be announced on or around the second of each month. Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world's first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $1.86 billion and 2012 grants of $91 million.