Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Notes from OBCDC Annual Meeting

In case you missed it, here are some notes from OB Blogs on tonight's annual meeting. There were approximately thirty people in attendance at the Knights of Columbus hall. My comments, albeit there are not many, are in parenthesis.

Welcoming remarks and review of agenda - Greg Huth
Approval of Minutes from last year's annual meeting.

Treasurer's Report – TJ Lewarchick
Fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Audit just completed for previous fiscal year. Summary is available in the annual report in organizational documents online. Board meetings are on oldbrooklyn.com and open to public. Majority of funds from CDBG block grants, full breakdown is in annual report. The majority of expenses are for programs. KeyBank line of credit paid down substantially over the last twelve months. Paid for line of credit for TLCI study until funds were received.

Board Recommendations Regarding Code of Regulations – Greg Huth
(1) Change code to allow for more than one notification for annual meeting. Approved by membership. (2) The establishment of a green space and natural resources committee. Committee would make recommendations to the board. Language is on website. Board member John Jenkins requests insertion of “community” before word gardens. Questions from membership about powers of committee, GH says that it is appointed by board and is subordinate to it. Approved by membership. (3) A real estate development committee. Committee will make recommendations to the board. There are some items that would be necessary when presented a proposal for development. GH asks for some of the members should become involved in the committees discussed this evening. Motion to amend with word “written” (I missed exactly where). Approved by membership.

Proposed Board Members – Lynea Derwis
Introduction of 2008-2009 board members, beginning with institutional, then commercial, then residential. Introduction of Jeff Kipp, director of the Living in Cleveland Center and resident of South Hills. April Beates of Paran Management, has been marketing the neighborhood as a leasing agent of the Memphis Fulton shopping plaza. Theresa Martin, employee of KeyBank and resident of South Hills. Christina Seabold, resident and works for Cleveland Metroparks human resources. Jeff Rhodes, resident for six years and a high school technology arts teacher. The three residents, Martin, Seabold, and Rhodes, have been appointed in the last year and have been serving on the board already. At the end of meeting, it was announced that all candidates on ballot were elected to the board.

Councilman Remarks - Kevin Kelley
Unopposed for new Ward 13. Old Brooklyn had two CDCs when he was appointed and elected. The organization survived the consolidation and all of the questions that initially accompanied. Thought that one organization would be more efficient. OBCDC has emerged strongly. Was pleased with turnout of All Access and Brookstock, as well as movie nights. Plugs Fall-o-ween coming up soon. Completed TLCI study and master plan, both of which required a lot of time and input. We are in position to see results come into fruition. Within the next year, one of the projects from the plan will be implemented. (Which project could it be?)

Councilman Remarks - Brian Cummins
Thanks to board, staff, and volunteers. Happy to see level of engagement in the neighborhood. Redistricting elections are now underway. Cummins, Kelley, Cimperman (who was not in attendance), and Brancatelli (who was in attendance but did not speak) have great relationships, should not have a negative impact on future of organization. (Sounds like Cummins believes that the incumbents are shoe-ins, which seems like the case.) They will work together to get things done at city hall. The people are most important and their involvement will result in further progress.

Report on New Organizational Strategic Plan - Greg Huth
Six major areas on which the organization would like to focus. Big picture goals to achieve by 2012, they are on website along with the strategic plan.

Executive Director's Report – Robyn Sandys
Introduction of OBCDC and OBN staff. Served thousand people with programs. Over 170 block clubs. Over 800 code enforcement referrals and more than 200 housing repair referrals. Annual report is online. Master plan also online. Several areas identified for strategic investment. Org is seeking funds for engineering of downtown OB to Wildlife Way. New real estate program, bought a house on Tampa Avenue. Looking to rehab three to five houses this coming year. Example of home on Cecilia that was sided and improved, communicates community pride. Org will be putting info on Facebook to grow pride. OBN is more than 30 years old, goal to reach every household in Old Brooklyn, especially with Brooklyn Sun News discontinuing publication. If members can help sell advertisements, circulation can be expanded. BF Community Garden has won best of show at county fair and acknowledgment regionally. Fall event is this Saturday. All Access was a success, more than two hundred people participated. All Access planned to be bigger and better next year. Robyn will send presentation to members upon request because some of the photos were missing. (Not a whole lot of discussion about or reference to Brooklyn Centre by anyone. I cannot recall it being mentioned much if at all this evening.)

Closing Remarks – Greg Huth
Census is very important, one person not counted costs city $10,000 over ten years. (I missed the second point GH made.) Adjourn.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Update on a Old Post

One post on Old Brooklyn Blogs has elicited more questions, comments, and excitement from friends and community members with whom I come into contact.

Surprisingly, that's "OB Favorite Watering Holes," which I posted on March 17 of this year.

Occasionally, people will ask if I'm continuing to pursue my goal of visiting every bar or pub in Old Brooklyn, whether I've been anywhere new, or if my list of favorites has changed.

Here's my response.

While I fully intend to continue stop into every establishment in the neighborhood at least once, I haven't been going out very often and when I do, I've become accustomed to patronizing familiar, comfortable places. For the most part, I've been to everything east of the center line of Pearl Road and north of I-480, with the exceptions of The Nickel and Paradise Inn (both lesbian bars that I have no opposition to visiting, but anticipate difficulty being allowed inside) and the Broadview Road sports bar on the fringe of Downtown Old Brooklyn.

One spot new to me that I've enjoyed is Mr. Peabody's Pub on Pearl Road just north of I-480. It's large, comfy, and a little gritty. What makes Peabody's unique from other Old Brooklyn bars is that it has regularly scheduled karaoke three nights a week. Singers and non-singers alike come to belt some tunes from a very exhaustive library every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. It makes for a fun environment and sometimes draws huge crowds.

Steelyard Tavern, about which I wrote in the spring, remains towards the top of my list. However, in August, Steelyard began closing some Saturday nights for private parties until further notice. The sentiment is that no one knows when it will be open and many people decide not to risk going to find it be closed.

Maybe I'll post a few words on each of the establishments I've visited. In the meantime, where's your favorite OB watering hole?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Stuff

Good Lord! It's been almost two months since my last update!

As the weather gets cooler, I'm going to try to do more blogging about Old Brooklyn and related topics.

Here are a couple of items to start off the fall season:

* Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation has a few events coming up. The OBCDC annual meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 20 at the Knights of Columbus hall on Broadview Road. The primary purpose is to elect board members and review the organization's latest strategic plan. More information here. (Old Brooklyn Blogs will try to cover the event, in case you can't make it.)

* OBCDC, MetroHealth's Senior Wellness Center in Old Brooklyn, and a group of local merchants and institutions are also having the Fall-O-Ween Festival on Saturday, October 24. Details are here.

* Thanks for everyone who participated in one or more groups rides with the Old Brooklyn Bicycling Group. Since a few weeks after All Access, a few of us have taken weekly rides together. The riding season is nearing its end, but the group is still using this website to establish group rides and pair up cyclists looking for riding partners.

* Mark your calendars for this year's Memphis Crawl happening Saturday, November 14. It's an annual group pub crawl whereby everyone begins patronizing establishments at the west end of Memphis, and after about a half hour, traveling to the next nearest bar. For more info, check out the event's Facebook page here.

* Old Brooklyn laments the loss of the Expressway Diner previously located on Memphis Avenue.

* Old Brooklyn is being powered by the wind! In addition to the first commercial wind turbine in Greater Cleveland that has been erected on Pearl Road near I-480 by Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking, fellow OB Blogger and OBCDC board member Jeff Rhodes has installed the first residential turbine. Learn how the project progressed here.

* Finally, Carol Cohen, a local blogger and Realtor, has some excellent insights in her post, "What Is Going On With Housing In Old Brooklyn?"

Enjoy your fall season, and see you soon!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Few New Updates

Just providing a few quick updates about things related to Old Brooklyn and a few personal projects.

- Our friend Maria Dimengo has a new blog post about her summer in Old Brooklyn. She includes information about an exciting new mural she has been coordinating to be painted on the side of Mr. E's on Pearl Road just south of Memphis Avenue. To lend a hand on the mural and support her diligent efforts to revitalize the neighborhood, please contact Maria at maria.dimengo@case.edu.

- The Old Brooklyn bicycling group is now in full effect, so if you like to ride and are a community stakeholder, please join us. Our new website is http://oldbrooklynbicycling.ning.com/.

- The latest Old Brooklyn News is now available for download on OBCDC's website here. It has a really great article about this year's All Access.

- Speaking of OBCDC, the organization will be hosting a community picnic at the Benjamin Franklin Community Garden at 1905 Spring Road on Thursday, August 20 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. OBCDC will supply hot dogs and burgers (hopefully with vegetarian options!), fixings, and drinks, while attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite side dishes to share. Please RSVP to Cynthia at (216) 459-1000 or cynthia@oldbrooklyn.com by August 17.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Old Brooklyn Bicycle Group

Bicycling was such a hit at this year's Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn All-Access event that a few of us community residents would like to have group rides on a more regular basis.

The thought is that residents, stakeholders, and others gathering to bicycle en masse could be something fun, healthy, and active to organize around, give the opportunity for like-minded individuals to interact, and put additional eyes and ears on the street both in Old Brooklyn and beyond. Initial response has been great, and we're moving forward to do our part to make this vision a reality.

So we'll plan for the Old Brooklyn inaugural ride for next Wednesday, August 5, departing at 7pm. Let's meet at the southwest corner of Memphis and Pearl in front of CVS. For our first ride, we'll do some riding within the neighborhood at a pace of about ten to twelve miles an hour. We can also plan to discuss the frequency that everyone would like to get together, as well as future destinations and routes throughout the city that we can collectively explore.

Please email me at jeffreysugalski@gmail.com if you'd like to continue the dialogue around an OB bicycle group and/or would like to join us for a ride next Wednesday. And of course, feel free to pass this information along to friends and neighbors.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Honey Hut Celebrates 35 Years

Be sure to stop by Honey Hut this weekend to help celebrate its 35th birthday. What better treat for a summer day than a mint chocolate chip waffle cone? And there's no better way to thank owner Bruce Page and family for being a neighborhood institution and destination for three and a half decades than patronizing them.

For Honey Hut's menu, please click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Old Brooklyn On My Mind

Greetings again, everyone! It's been a while, but as I posted in the past, there's been quite a lot happening as of lately.

Here are a couple of items worth mentioning:

Old Brooklyn & Brooklyn Centre All-Access

Please join us for a free bicycle tour this Saturday, July 18. Co-OB Blogger Jeff Rhodes and I have volunteered on the event's bicycle tour committee for the last three or so months, and can guarantee that you'll experience both Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre in a fun, healthy, sustainable way. We'll be departing from the Gavin Lee Party Center, 3315 Broadview Road for a 6-mile tour of Brooklyn Centre around 11:30am. At 1:15pm, our group will be following a 12-mile route around Old Brooklyn. In addition to our advanced/extended rides, shorter guided tours of both communities will be offered for beginner bicyclists and families. For more information and the full agenda or to register, please visit Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation's website.

OB Businesses

Just wanted to mention a few neighborhood businesses that have been phenomenal. First and foremost, it's spectacular to have business owners like John Young of Speed Exterminating and Don Workman from Ameriflag, who acknowledge the importance of community and do substantially more than their part for Old Brooklyn. John and Don have played a crucial part in securing sponsorships for All-Access, but have done everything from attempt to organize a merchants association to physically installing flags on telephones on main corridors. Thank you for your hard work!

A few neighborhood businesses deserve a mention just because: Gentile's Imported Italian Foods on Broadview Road, Bella Pizza on Memphis Avenue, Nunzio's on State Road, and Jack Frost Donuts on Pearl Road.

And please consider patronizing the local businesses that have sponsored or contributed to All-Access!


Remember that, after All-Access on Saturday, that the 2nd annual Brookstock event will be taking place from 4-10pm. For more information, please click here.

See you Saturday, and be sure to stop and say hello!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Old Brooklyn News Now Online

The latest issue of Old Brooklyn News is now online, including the following stories:

* OBCDC conducts community meeting
* Fat Guy's Bar & Grill
* Ben Franklin Community Garden continues long horticulture tradition in neighborhood
* Inexpensive ways to boost your home's value
* A sampling of spring events in and around the Big Creek Valley

To download your copy, please click here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Projects!, RiverSweep Reminder

Yeah, we know that we haven't posted a lot lately. But Jeff R. and I have been concentrating a lot of time and effort on some pretty exciting projects.

Along with Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation President Greg Huth, we're coordinating bicycle tours of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre as part of OBCDC's All-Access Home & Bicycle Tour event to be held July 18, 2009. So in addition to trying to return to bicycling form from Summer 2008 when I rode over 600 miles, I've been speaking with friends and exploring on my own to develop routes that offer the best possible representations of our neighborhoods to those that may not have be enlightened to them. In the end, we'll have a multitude of tours - a trolley tour, walking tours, leisurely bicycle routes for families, and a 15- to 20-mile ride for more experienced cyclists that I'll be leading. Of course, there will be much, much more. So for more information, please visit OBCDC's website. Please mark your calendars and help spread the word!

We've also investigated ways in which we can better do our part in marketing Old Brooklyn's living opportunities, local businesses, and overall amenities to both outsiders and fellow residents, and have taken steps in doing so. That's about all that we can say for now, but please stay tuned for more in the future.

If you'd like to contribute content to Old Brooklyn Blogs, such as a feature on a neighborhood business or recap of an event, please drop us a line and we'll see if we can make something work.

Lastly, RiverSweep is happening tomorrow. Folks who wish to help clean up Treadway Creek and the Lower Big Creek Valley can meet at Zeleznik's Tavern at Harvard & Jennings Roads beginning at 9am, and clean-up efforts will last until approximately noon. A gathering of volunteers is scheduled to take place from noon until 2pm at the Plain Dealer Pavilion. For more information, please click here. Hope you can lend a hand!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tour Old Brooklyn's Big Creek Valley

Join the Friends of Big Creek on Saturday, May 16 from 11am to 1pm for a tour of the Lower Big Creek. The tour will allow participants to discover the watershed's confluence at the Cuyahoga River and learn about future plans for recreation and ecological restoration.

This event is free, and lunch will be provided. Persons interested in taking part in the event should meet at Zeleznik's, 4002 Jennings Road.

For more information, please visit the Friends of Big Creek website or contact Bob Gardin at (216) 269-6472 or bgardin@friendsofbigcreek.org.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Notes from Tonight's OBCDC Community Meeting

I brought my laptop to tonight's OBCDC community meeting and tried to make note of as many important points as possible. My apologies for not fully editting them before posting.

Greg Huth, OBCDC President: Membership decides how service area is defined. Current is Wards 15 and 16, proposed change is Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn.

Ward 16 Councilman Kevin Kelley: References Old Brooklyn News article from July 2005 regarding master plan. Thought six months or so, it would be done. Is a sign of collaboration, product of hard work. One of his most significant accomplishments as a councilman. Pearl Road and other OB/BC neighborhoods were originally neglected in City of Cleveland's 2020 Plan, but this plan will address it. Major capital improvements can be incorporated into mayor's capital plan.

Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins: Planning leads to results. Example of Treadway Creek and the large amount of planning required, citing that resulting projects are products of plans.

Ward 13 Councilman Joe Cimperman: Has interacted with Robyn Sandys and OBCDC staff. Master plan was referenced in police community relations awards in December, demonstrates its importance to award recipients and the community. (Ward 12 Councilman Tony Brancatelli also attended, but declined to speak in length.)

Huth: Presentation of ballot: “The Corporation;s Neighborhood is defined as the area outlined in bold on the map attached hereto as Exhibit A.” OB and BC statistical planning areas, as defined by the City Planning Commission, would become new service area in the Code of Regulations under the proposal. Area would remain unchanged by political action. Very few questions and discussion about this. (Count later revealed to be 24 for, 2 opposed)

Robyn Sandys, OBCDC Executive Director: Meeting is an update about some of the projects of OBCDC from over the last few months. OBN wants to cover interesting people, businesses from the community, and wants membership to submit ideas about them. Business directory is going into 20th year. Advertising is inexpensive for both it and OBN. Housing assistance is available from OBCDC staff. Is seeking to provide more updates on website, and information is added on a weekly basis. Mentions LiveCLEVELAND! guide with many OB and BC photos and tidbits. Walk + Roll, Home & Bicycle Tour on July 18. Movie Night Under the Stars, three movies sponsored by Councilman Kelley. One in June, July, and August through different locations in the community. RiverSweep is May 9, and OB/BC stakeholders can meet at Zeleznik's Tavern. Programs include Paint Program; Weatherization; code compliance program (surveyed 611 properties last year, 232 minor problems, with several major problems. 45 commercial properties, 15 problems); commercial programs; Benjamin Franklin Community Garden; new foreclosure prevention program (OBCDC has a list of all Ward 15 and 16 property owners with subprime loans that will increase in next two years); homebuying, purchasing, rehabbing, selling program (first home being on Tampa Avenue). Powerpoint of planning to be posted on www.oldbrooklyn.com soon after meeting. Organizational strategic plan will define the CDC's role in implementation of master plan, will be presented at a community meeting in the summer.

Kris Hopkins, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission: Plan was funded by Community Development Block Grant, occurred after mergers of CDCs. As mentioned earlier, Treadway Creek in 2007 was an outcome of a plan. Concurrent initiatives include Lower Big Creek (recreation and ecological restoration); Pearl Road/West 25th Corridor; Comprehensive Market Strategy. Master plan is umbrella for all, includes list of priorities for the next ten to fifteen years. Cornerstone was community, project team and 30-member advisory committee that included residents, civic associations, businesses, institutions. Combination of neighborhood-wide and location-specific strategies and action steps. Fourteen opportunity sites, including State/Pearl Triangle, Fulton/Memphis Shopping Area, Henninger Landfill, Harvard/Jennings area. Some implementation concepts may take a long time, will require the work of not only CDC, but city council, block clubs, civic associations.

Meghan Chaney, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission: Eight topics in plan include Housing & Neighborhood Character; Retail Services; Community and Facilities; Community Heritage and Identity; Economic Development; Recreation; Environmental Protection and Natural Resources; Transportation Connections. Each topic has multiple goals, each goal has multiple strategies, and each strategy has multiple action steps. Then, each action step has timeframe, potential lead organization, potential partners. Plan will go to OBCDC board after this meeting, then to City Planning Commission for adoption. Will be posted to website soon after. Specific contents of the plan were not presented.

Tom Collins, OBCDC Commercial Development Manager: Full Lower Big Creek meeting is on OBCDC website, www.oldbrooklyn.com. Driving factor in the plan is the neighborhood connection to Towpath Trail, from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Brookside Park. Plan components include: Adventure sports park on the Henninger Landfill, to include non-motorized action sports like rock climbing and BMX biking; Campground option; Ecological restoration and repurposing of storage yards and other industrial uses; Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Station at Harvard Avenue and Jennings Roads; Trail Route.

Donald Hecklemoser, OBCDC Residential Programs Manager: Pearl Road/ West 25th Street Corridor Plan covers Lorain Avenue to Brookpark Road. Many players involved. Plan has been completed and adopted by the City of Cleveland. Possibilities for Old Brooklyn portion could involve narrowing of street, designated bicycle lanes, trees, larger sidewalks, community gathering space near Wildlife Way. ODOT will be building a new bridge over I-71, construction tentatively to begin in 2013.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Old Brooklyn Recycling & More

Did you know that there are several places in Old Brooklyn where residents can recycle a variety of items?

The City of Cleveland has stationed recycling dumpsters throughout the neighborhood at the following locations:

Brooklyn Heights United Church of Christ
2005 W. Schaaf Road

Old Brooklyn Community School
4430 State Road

Estabrook Recreation Center
4125 Fulton Road

Discount Drug Mart
4170 Fulton Road

Ridge Road Transfer Station
3727 Ridge Road

For a list of recyclable items, please click here. Here is a list of all recycling drop-off sites citywide.

The City of Cleveland is also holding a household hazardous waste round-up at the Ridge Road Transfer Station April 27 through May 2, 2009. The purpose of the event is to help residents properly dispose of common household products, such as oil-based paints; shellacs, varnishes, polyurethanes, and wood stains; primers and sealers; spray paint; adhesives; mercury; fluorescent bulbs; automotive products; and, oven and drain cleaners. For more information and a complete list of items being received, please click here.

The city is accepting computers and electronic waste, including CPUs, monitors, keyboards and mice, printers, modems, software, and ink cartridges, now through May 1, 2009. Cell phones may also be recycled at the Computer Round Up, however, televisions and other electronics will not be taken. For more information, please click here.

Lastly, Cleveland residents can pick up free mulch made from Christmas trees at Rosby's Resource Recycling right outside of Old Brooklyn at 54 E. Schaaf Road. Mulch is available now until supplies last. For more information, please call (216) 664-2231.

For more information about these and other waste disposal programs, please visit the Cleveland Recycles website or call (216) 664-2231

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Clean Up Old Brooklyn at RiverSweep 2009

Join your neighbors and others in cleaning up parts of Old Brooklyn on Saturday, May 9 from 9am to noon.

RiverSweep is an annual event in which volunteers beautify parts of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries. Ohio Canal Corridor, a nonprofit organization charged with created parks, recreation, and economic development opportunities along the Ohio & Erie Canal from Cleveland to Zoar, Ohio, is the chief organizer of RiverSweep.

In the past, clean-up efforts in Old Brooklyn have been concentrated on Big Creek near Jennings Road.

For more information, please visit Ohio Canal Corridor's website or call (216) 520-1825.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Old Brooklyn News Now Online

The April issue of Old Brooklyn News is now posted online. In it, you'll find articles such as

* Cleveland City Council new ward boundaries affect Wards 15 & 16
* New Restaurant, Mexico Lindo, opens
* Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland announces closings and mergers
* Earth Day money saving tips
* Non-native plants becoming invasive in neighborhood wild areas and back yards

To download the latest edition, please click here. For archived issues, please visit the Old Brooklyn News page of the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Special Thanks

We at Old Brooklyn Blogs would like to take a quick time out to extend a special and sincere thanks to a few friends who have helped spread the word about us, and ultimately, everything that's phenomenal about Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

* Robyn Sandys and board and staff at Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation and Old Brooklyn News (please note that OB Blogs is not directly affiliated with OBCDC or OBN)

* Chuck Hoven of Plain Press (which is running a nice article about OB Blogs in this month's issue here and here)

* Thomas Mulready at Cool Cleveland

* George Nemeth at Brewed Fresh Daily

* Henry Gomez of The Plain Dealer and Inside City Hall Blog

* Laura McShane and Tim Ferris from Save Our Land Blog

* Will at Skorasaurus

* The folks at RealNEO.us

* Staff of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Weblog

* The people behind Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Twitter

* ...and anyone else of which we are unaware or may have forgotten

Lastly, we appreciate the assistance from all of you out there that have sent us news leads, participated or are participating in OB People (Jeff Kipp and Michelle Baran), left comments to our posts, regularly or periodically visit our site, or simply offered a genuine "thanks for doing this" and other words of encouragement to us.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

OB Photos: South Hills

As the saying goes, "There's gold in them thar hills!" Undeniably, Old Brooklyn's South Hills area is one of Cleveland's best treasures.

South Hills was originally established in the late 1800's as a place where vegetables were grown under glass. By the 1920's, it had become the greenhouse capital of the Midwest and one of the nation's largest suppliers of produce, with more than one hundred acres of land dedicated to raising various plants. Only a few greenhouses, including Old Brooklyn Greenhouse on West 11th Street, remain west of the Jennings Freeway.

Today, the neighborhood is a collection of beautiful architecturally-diverse homes having some of the highest and most stable home values in the city. Streets like South Hills Boulevard, Broadale Avenue, and West Schaaf Road are lined with brick colonials, bungalows, cape cods, and Tudor-style houses, with an abundance of large, mature trees. In recent years, areas around West 11th Street and north of Spring Road have given rise to newer-construction homes.

South Hills is also home to the Benjamin Franklin Community Garden, which was previously featured in OB Photos. For a historical view of the garden, please click here.

Perhaps what's most exciting about South Hills is its strong sense of community and residential fabric. Mann residents are actively engaged in the South Hills Association, a civic group that has organized block parties, yard sales, and other events and has pursued and received grant funds for improvement projects. A plethora of city employees and safety personnel reside in South Hills as well.

View photos Old Brooklyn Blogs' South Hills photos here, or check out the Cleveland Memory Project for historical photographs of the area. To see other areas and aspects of Old Brooklyn captured visually, please click here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

OB People: Michelle Baran, Colburn resident, artist, and business owner

We at Old Brooklyn Blogs met Michelle Baran, a resident of Colburn Avenue near Broadview Road at last Saturday's Case Cares about Cleveland event. Michelle, an artist and owner of Bear Tracks Art, helped hang art, some of which is her own, in downtown storefronts. A resident of Old Brooklyn for about twelve years, Michelle has served as president of the Ward 15 Democratic Club for the last eight years.

What do you like best about living in Old Brooklyn?
My neighbors, my friends, and the people I have met here. I find that Old Brooklynites are full of passion, and genuninely care about one another. If something is going in Old Brooklyn, the rest of Cleveland will know. Why? Because we care about our community and what happens to it.

What brought your family to Old Brooklyn?
I have lived two years in my house before I got married. And I have been married for over ten years to my husband, Bill. So over twelve years, I have lived in the same house in Old Brooklyn. Once I got here, I was hooked!

In what way(s) are you involved in your community?
There are too many to mention, but some of them include: Volunteering with Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation; delivering ice melt to the seniors, helping to paint the homes of low-income families and seniors with Rebuilding Together Cleveland; working with Friends of Big Creek; participating in River Sweep for five years, hanging artwork on Pearl and Broadview Roads with Case Cares about Cleveland; assisting with the Brooklyn Centre Civic Association on its Garden Tour for the past three years and having the honor of creating the garden tour theme and flyers; serving as Democratic Precinct Commitee Officer for Ward 15, Precinct O for the past eight years; working closely with three different councilpersons in the past eight years; and most of all, serving as Ward 15 Democratic Ward Club president for the past seven years, which has truly been an honor.

What's your favorite neighborhood spot?
The Trail at Treadway Creek. Isn't that neat that we have a path that's away from it all, yet brings us so close to everything?

Where in the neighborhood will others typically find you?
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Dee's Old Brooklyn Diner
Dina's Filling Station
South Hills Antiques
Steve's Family Restaurant
Cafe Miami
Ziggy's Market
...Or just strolling down Broadview Road

To check out all OB People, please click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Redistricting Finale

By now, everyone that reads Old Brooklyn Blogs probably already knows that Cleveland City Council decided yesterday to approve the redistricting recommendations established by Triad Research by a vote of 16-4. Unfortunately for the next four years, Old Brooklyn will be split into three political districts.

So before OB Blogs returns to its regularly scheduled programming, here are some links covering the yesterday's decision:

* Cleveland City Council released the final plan less than two hours prior to the meeting. (Communications Director Katherine Bulava said in an email that the download is much more likely to work in Internet Explorer than Mozilla Firefox.)

* WEWS News Channel 5 and 19 Action News had the best television coverage the events of the Cleveland City Council meeting on their newscasts.

* Paul Schroeder from Ohio Daily Blog captures some of the remarks delivered by Councilmen Cummins and Reed prior to the announcement that the redistricting plan was adopted earlier in the day.

* And finally, PD writer Henry Gomez summarizes the meeting and some of the events leading up to it, and shares insights into the futures of Reed and Cummins. He mentions that one small victory for Cummins and the community is that Downtown Old Brooklyn will be concentrated in one ward instead of two.

ADDENDUM 3/25/09: Cleveland City Council has posted maps of the 2010 wards, but they are very difficult to read.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Volunteer for Case Cares about Cleveland This Saturday

Last month, OB Blogs posted about Old Brooklyn resident Maria Dimengo's committed efforts to spruce up some of the storefronts in Downtown Old Brooklyn and along some of the community's commercial corridors. Her event, called Case Cares about Cleveland, will occur this Saturday, March 28, 2009.

Please consider joining to support the cause, help beautify the community, and meet other neighborhood residents and stakeholders. To participate, please email Maria at maria1526@earthlink.net or visit her blog here.

From Maria Dimengo:

Hi everyone:

Thank you for graciously agreeing to help me on March 28. I updated my blog to tell you what we'll be doing, so I hope we can get some sun and fun in for a few hours on that day: http://blog.case.edu/cleveland/

If it snows, we still have stuff we can do indoors :)

I'm doing my best to get organized, so here's what I know so far:

Some of us will be meeting at the Gavin Lee Party Center, 3315 Broadview Road, around 9:30 a.m. That's just so people can sift through the art and determine what goes where. I told people the event is happening from 10-4 only so people could show up when they want to. Let me know a ballpark time when you think you might be arriving.

The owner, Jack Amburghy, is graciously donating the space for us to hang out, use the bathroom, clean up, and have lunch.

If we have enough people, here's what I would like to accomplish (ambitious I know):

- Hang artwork inside the windows of Jack's properties (the party center, his wholesale furniture center next door, and Name Brand Paints just around the corner on Pearl Road).

- Hang artwork in Tom Pavlica's properties. Tom owns a couple of the storefronts next to Ameriflag and around the corner where Andre Holt's airbrush shop is located.

- Hang artwork in the Krather Building storefront

- Hang artwork in the storefront next to Name Brand Paints if the owner does not sign a lease agreement in the next few days. I will be contacting her this weekend. She owns the vacant storefront that has been covered in newspaper for several months.

- Hang artwork in the storefront owned by Jim O'Donnell. His space is located at the corner of Oak Park and Broadview, so I'm hoping a few people can just drive to that location after we meet up at the party center.

- Paint the outside of a small business at 4327 State Road. The owner, Helene Sroka, is an elderly woman who has been struggling with punks and graffiti. I think it could be done fairly quickly, since it's the side part of her building and it's small. I have warned her that I may not get there if I don't get a great turnout on that day.

- Clean the graffiti off the side of Broadview Tailors and Cleaners, 2023 Broadview Road. I dropped off a 5-gallon bucket of graffiti cleaner at her shop, so it's sitting there ready for us if we can get to it.

Here are some things I need, if any of you could bring them or allow one of us to pick them up and borrow them for the day. Please confirm whether you can deliver these, or else I will have to figure out a Plan B for getting them to the main location:

- ladders
- brooms (in case we get young kids who want to help)
- trash bags
- buckets/rags
- drills
- pliers
- hammers
- coolers - I could use 2 or 3 more
- fishing line or clothes line (to hang stuff)

I have money in my budget to buy stuff - just trying to consolidate/save where I can.

I'll order some food and have drinks on hand, once I see who turned out for the day. Jacob, I mentioned to you that someone planned on inviting a cub scout troop to help, but that has not been confirmed. I don't want them to hurt themselves, so I will let you know if a cleanup at Harmody Park would be a good alternative for them.

I know this is a lot to absorb, but since I am flying solo on all this, I really need your help! Please let me know if you still plan to make it ... I always have this fear that I will be standing alone with all this beautiful art and no one around to help!

P.S. - I am still uncertain how many Case students are going to make it. With the rapid and bus schedule clearly an obstacle, it will be hard to get an estimate until the day before/day of the event. I will be mailing them separately next week and trying to pick up some more stragglers.

Thanks a bunch!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Redistricting Round-up

Here's the latest on Cleveland City Council's ward redistricting.

* Last week, a map of redistricted Cleveland was released via Cleveland City Council's website. The Plain Dealer's Henry Gomez offers some observations about the newly proposed wards here and here.

* Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins posted alternatives that he and Executive Assistant Johanna Hamm produced with Triad on RealNEO and Brewed Fresh Daily. One alternative is more drastic, while the second is varies slightly the consultant's recommendations, but minimizes impact on Old Brooklyn. Cummins also posts what the new wards would look like as inkblots.

* Paul Schroeder from the Ohio Daily Blog reports that another emergency meeting of the South Hills Association took place Wednesday. He estimates that seventy-five people attended. Scroeder states that Ward 12 Councilman Anthony Brancatelli arrived at the meeting and abruptly left prior to it upon reading a letter critical of the plan to incorporate South Hills into an East Side ward.

* Schroeder also recaps Friday's presentation of the consultant's redrawn wards to Cleveland City Council. Only two days notice was provided to citizens to attend and offer their input. Schroeder includes remarks of Old Brooklyn and Mount Pleasant stakeholders allowed during the thirty-minute public comment portion of the meeting. Gomez offers his perspective as well in his Inside City Hall blog.

* Councilman Brian Cummins appeared on WCPN 90.3, Cleveland's NPR affiliate.

* Ken Prendergast, formerly of the Sun Newspapers, offers another summary of last week's protest and city council meeting in most recent edition of the Brooklyn Sun News, sharing some of the comments made by participating residents.

* Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation Board President Greg Huth wrote a letter to Council President Martin Sweeney that states, "Under the Redistricting Plan, if approved, OBCDC will be forced to cobble together a budget from four different ward councilmen, each representing a different constituency and with a different strategy for his ward." Huth continues to mention that any project of scale would be difficult to accomplish and that the unity that has been established in the Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods would be drastically affected. The board of the Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition, an umbrella organization for Cleveland community development corporations, passed a resolution in support of OBCDC's stance on the redistricting plan.

* There are no protests scheduled this week, but Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre residents who feel the redistricting process has been done improperly are encouraged to attend Monday night's Cleveland City Council meeting. A vote on the new ward recommendations is anticipated to occur.

For more information about the events that have transpired to date, please check out the tag "redistricting" on Old Brooklyn Blogs.