Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘infrastructure’ Category

South Euclid Council says :Big Box Retail-It’s a Good Thing

without comments

 

oakwood cfo image

may just have something to say about all that.

As more people opt for walkable bikeable communities with boutique commercial districts, South Euclid’s elected officials buy into an outmoded business model with the promise of it  “being green”.  You tell me how taking 144/54 acres of green space and replacing it with much less is  “being green”.  Obviously, someone is keeping South Euclid’s government occupied so they don’t see all the studies showing that those communities with parks for walking and biking are the ones where people are now settling.  I haven’t seen any studies lately on the hordes of people moving to be close to “big box retail”. I have seen a lot of news articles about the eyesores and blight left behind when “the big box” moves to the next community willing to sell its soul.

I am thankful for my friends Susan and Carla and so many others  willing to devote precious free time to combating Mitch Schneider’s latest venture to make his investors and himself rich and to make South Euclid/Cleveland Heights poorer.  Here is the link to their face book page:

 https://www.facebook.com/#!/citizensforoakwood

Here is an email I received from Susan earlier today.  I asked her if I could post it on my blog because I want her reasons for standing up against this development known.  Please sign her petition asking for sustainable land use and take the time to read what she has to say. It’s good stuff. Oh and those of you talking about “class warfare” shame on you.  We are into this together and when we allow what makes us all “rich”- the beauty of our land to be plundered- those “selling out”  for the short term are the ones who are waging class warfare. You are taking what made our area prosperous and selling us all into poverty.  

If you feel that we have enough big box retail in the Heights Hillcrest area and need not destroy precious green space to build more, you may wish to add your name to the petition linked here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-ripping-up-green-space-to-build-shopping-centers-support-sustainable-land-use?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email

Here’s the long story of why I’ve directed so much time and attention to this:

You may or may not know that I have been involved with a group called Citizens for Oakwood. We’re trying to save 144/54 acres of green space – the former Oakwood Country Club. We’d like to see it become a public park (and improve it’s ability to be a sponge for stormwater by allowing it to be a passive park). First Interstate/Legacy Capital Partners would like it to be big box retail. Of course, Jane Goodman, city council person in South Euclid where he’s begun the rezoning for big box process, promises that this will be a green infrastructure exemplar. Since South Euclid is in such a fiscally dire situation, it is clear to most that it is not a lack of retail, but rather downward (economic) pressure that is driving this. I think most adults know that we can’t buy our way to prosperity. Some are still fooled I guess. What was that Bush said about fool me once, keep right on foolin’ me – I’m feelin’ foolish?

It has raised three issues for me and for many of us.

1) Golf clubs are dying – Landerhaven was first, Oakwood is now, Acacia is next (now that it’s out of litigation). Then which golf/country club private course will fall to a developer? Seneca just sold to Metroparks. Hmmm… Which golf course will go next? While the focus will undoubtedly be on our poor relation, the City of Cleveland, you are aware, I’m sure, that poverty is creeping outward, just as population has. Now it’s also the inner ring that’s feeling the pressure. Please consider the golf courses and work with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to help these clubs to stay green space. By the time all the planners have finished their studies and identified the "value" of green swathes to our Lake, big box retail may have ruled the day and the tiny municipal governments in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights despite our efforts. I have tried to make the argument that this is more valuable to South Euclid and Cleveland Heights as open green space from a water quality and quality of life standpoint, but I don’t have the metrics. Tacit knowledge is much harder to convey in a world where everything is a transaction. South Euclid just rewrote their entire comprehensive plan to accommodate this development. They did it in two weeks with two people. For golf courses, the WRLC exemplar is Orchard Hills – admittedly "out there", but still a good example of what could be "in here".

2) The downward pressure might be lessened if these balkanized municipalities had merged years ago. I’m going to keep exploring this for our future. It would be good to fold in the value of water absorbing green space when that muni mapping becomes a part of that discussion. The idea? What if Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights and South Euclid were one suburb? What white collar efficiencies might be gained? And could those efficiencies result in some greater resiliency and redundancy in our shared green space?

3) At a forum sponsored by Future Heights on land use and Oakwood, Terry Schwarz mentioned that the metric for jobs and parkland is 1 job per acre. I realized that agricultural land has no metric. Why is this important? Because, growing food, farming in the city has no value. It may not now, but it will shortly. The day will come (sooner than later in my estimation) when refrigerated trucks from the valleys of California will not arrive in NEO. We will need to be reliant on what can be grown and raised locally. We may tear down buildings just to be able to farm. Impending doom – energy crisis? Yes. It is upon us. We may look back and say, "Boy! We sure wish we’d saved this land for growing food!" 154 acres is a substantial bit-o-farmland. I’ll be meeting with farmland and farming experts to discuss how to discover per-acre metrics for ag land so that local food can enter these planning discussions.

In an article in Ecowatch Journal, it is noted that new project efforts at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens will include this issue: "Based on existing work being done in the region and success stories in other cities, identify barriers to implementation of green infrastructure as targets for future action and develop strategies to overcome them." Funny. I asked NEORSD if there might be a land use aspect to their big stormwater plan. You know like, residents of municipalities that have retained green space would get a tiny automatic  credit. They said – no, NEORSD doesn’t get into land use. I guess NEORSD will be in these discussions though. Land use and such best management practices as downspout disconnects where appropriate (most places in NEO) are the low hanging fruit of addressing our water quality issues. Mother earth is a filter. We have abused her mightily, no doubt, but she is still there, still willing like any mother to help her children.

It may be too late for Oakwood unless we all come together to stop this madness. We’re not giving up, but South Euclid’s government seems to have. They’re in a deep hole at Cedar Center – $19 million deep. What could be another piece of Ginny Aveni’s County Greenprint – the Emerald Lace that connects our Emerald Necklace, the Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie, may be paved to put up a parking lot. No pink hotel, no boutique – big box retail. We don’t plan to stop our arguments now and we hope you’ll raise your voice as well and participate in this democratic practice. We need to do everything we can to keep the bulldozers from rolling over Oakwood. At rallies for SB5 I heard the now familiar chant, "This is what democracy looks like!" Letting our elected officials know how we feel is democracy. Democracy isn’t just voting; it’s a state of being, a way of life.

My son has graduated from college and moved away to Seattle for work. There he can take public transportation, ride his bike, pay his college loan instead of a car loan and visit the wonderful parks that the city has protected. How I hope that someday he can move back to Cleveland Heights and appreciate similar amenities here – NEO – the region that woke up and got busy turning what seemed like a burden into a blessing! This  would be an even better story of how Cleveland beat Wall Street. That’s the story I want to hear when I’m passing into another world.

Currently we’re all feeling the downward pressure. It’s palpable in Cleveland and the region, in the state, in the nation. We just want our fellow citizens to look farther, longer and with an eye to water quality, air quality, quality of life. We want them to see that there is a world water crisis that will not bypass the Great Lakes. We want them to think not so much about the hardship they’re enduring, which will increase in the near term, but to consider the outcomes in the long term, however difficult that may be. We’d like to make a gift to future generations. As Ellie Strong said speaking of the "little old ladies in tennis shoes" who saved the Shaker Lakes, "to each generation there is something to save."

Susan

Eight Days and Counting. . .

without comments

until March 31, 2010 when the time for public comment is closed on Mineral Mining Permit Application #10428 which would allow strip mining for sand and clay  between Sky Lane and Bradley Road.

Here is the letter I sent to the Chief of Mineral Resources at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Feel free to use it in its entirity adding your own concerns, use parts of it our write you own letter.  Just WRITE!

March 22, 2010

Chief John Husted

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Division of Mineral Resources Management

2045 Morse Road, Building H3

Columbus, OH 43229-6693

Dear Mr. Husted:

I object to the application #10428 Request for Mineral Mining between Sky Lane and Bradley Road in the City of Cleveland. My reasons include but are not limited to the following:

Effect of Strip Mining on Neighborhood: How will the strip mining affect residents of Sky Lane and Bradley Roads? How much noise, dust and traffic will be created? Can the infrastructure handle the strain of heavy machinery and trucks? What impact will this have on property values and even the ability to sell at all? How far into the neighborhood will this effect reach?
Effect on Watershed: Will the ecosystems of two creeks be compromised?  What will ensure that they are not?   What is the Ohio EPA’s position on covering over streams?

Effect on Air Quality: What particulate matter will be added to the atmosphere?

Effect on Community: Will this set a precedent for other vacant land within the city limits of Cleveland? What rights do the City of Cleveland and its citizens have in such a matter?

Need for Transparency: What is Ty Inc. and what assurance do we have that the corporation has the expertise to take on this undertaking? Who will the partners be in this operation? How will the public be assured that they will not be burdened with a failed enterprise? What will the transparency of such a major undertaking be? Will all contracts be approved in the light of day? What assurances will the public have that the corporation and partners are financially able to underwrite the endeavor?

I request a public hearing to be held so that the residential neighbors in this area as well as their fellow Clevelanders can ask questions and speak to the impact the awarding of a 15 year permit for mineral mining would have on our city and the community of Old Brooklyn.

Sincerely,

Today’s Cleveland City Council Meeting is of major importance for those community members who are lobbying for pedestrian and bicicyle access on the planned Innerbelt bridge. Rally at 6:30 on steps of City Hall.

During the City Council Meeting which starts a 7 pm Councilman Brancatelli will be introducing a  formal objection to introucing mineral mining with Old Brooklyn.

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 22nd, 2010 at 3:20 pm

ODOT Meetings On Sound Barriers on I-71 Between Pearl Road and West 47th Street

with 2 comments

There will be two community meetings for neighborhood residents to comment.

 The first: Wednesday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m.  at Applewood, 3518 W. 25th Street.

The second: Thursday, July 23. It will be on the Agenda of the BCCA meeting to be held at Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist Church, 2705 Archwood Ave. also at 6:30.

The Item to discuss:  Noise Barriers along I-71 in the Brooklyn Centre Neighborhood .  Here is where they would be placed.
Northside of I-71 from W. 25th Street/Pearl Road going west to Denison overpass, and
Southside of I-71 from W. 25th Street/Pearl Road going west to Fulton Road and also from Westside of Denison (other side of overpass) to the first railroad crossing overpass by the small residential section containing W. 46th and W. 47th and Denmark Avenue.

Here is the email that Councilman Brian Cummins sent out earlier about these impending meetings.

Please spread the word…
See message below regarding ODOT funding for mitigation of noise issues for I-71.  The map  can be found  here..  OBCDC and ODOT will be doing outreach and mailers to the immediate areas and we’re asking civic associations and block clubs to help spread the word.  Meetings will be forthcoming.  If you have any question please let me know. 
So far I have attended one preliminary meeting.  In discussions over the years about noise walls, most people have stated they do not want them and a few want them very much.  It was brought up in the meeting with ODOT what other alternatives could there be?  If walls are not put up, other mitigation actions could be taken nut only 15% of the total allocated funding could be used.
Another big issue is that the access roads to the freeway between Fulton and Pearl Roads were initially part of the innerbelt plan and then dropped.  ODOT confirmed that lowering the access roads, is no longer in their plans.  I think most of the comments about not wanting the barriers is that homes (other than on Smith and portions of Riverside and Mapledale) are fairly far off the freeway and that the options of barriers could impact the tree lines that are currently in place.  One suggestion was to see if ODOT could put up nicer privacy fencing or something else other than a barrier wall of 12 – 14 feet.  There will be a lot to discuss in the up coming meetings.
We’ll be getting a lot more information and will share it when it comes.
Regards,
Brian.

Written by Gloria Ferris

July 19th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Conversation Adds Wealth to My World

with 3 comments

Recently, I have had the opportunity to participate in some extraordinary conversations with some very talented individuals.  I am learning new ways to say things, new ways to think about issues and realities, and gaining new insights by comparing book reviews, listening to questions and answers at Meet The Bloggers interviews, and really enjoying every moment of interaction with others that I encounter.  These encounters happened at bus stops, on street corners, in coffeeshops, in the homes of friends, and at area libraries.  Here are just a few examples of some things that I wish to share with others.

Cleveland Heights Public Library Conversation-It is always good to think positively.  People have a tendency to use negative qualifiers when praising people.  For instance,  that was a great speech, BUT- but becomes the negative, the word that puts just a little bit of twist to the compliment.  Why not stop with the positive .  Chances are the person will ask you for input on what and how to improve their skill set.  And however, however is just but in a tuxedo.

Gypsy Beans and Baking Company- A Cleveland teacher-What do I see for my students?  I see a life of poverty, jail, death, drug addiction for many of them how do I change that? Despair overcame those engaged in the conversation, and then, the life coach spoke.  She said  I see it as a need for an intervention, a chance not to change but to transform.  And hope entered the room.

Brooklyn Centre Garden Club Meeting–I wanted to talk about disconnecting downspouts from the storm sewer system and redirect the water to water lawns, gardens, and flower beds, but decided that I would just talk about joining the National Wildlife Association and how easy it is for us to become wildlife habitats.  And then as I sat there, one after another after another began talking about water filtration, the importance of our watershed–our lakes and streams and how some of them already are watering lawns, ponds, and filtering water through their properties.  Are we at a tipping point?

And finally, last night’s Meet The Bloggers interview with Councilman Joe Cimperman where 15+ listened to Joe answer questions and then, someone else would ask a followup on the same issue for clarification, and whether we were a supporter of Joe’s campaign became less and less important and the issues facing our country and cities moved to the forefront and the exchange of ideas became the reason to be there instead of a political campaign.

And today, who knows where today’s conversation will lead us when the second Midtown Brews of 2008 kicks off at Insivia, with added dimensions-live chats, video broadcasts, and a hookup with Smaller Indiana in the mix.  Go to Midtown Brews, for the details. 

Written by Gloria Ferris

February 7th, 2008 at 4:36 pm