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

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 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, 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

* 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.