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.


  1. Thanks Jeff for covering this. I noticed that Brooklyn Heights worked out some arrangement with Dominion East Ohio to replace sidewalks as the lines were replaced on Schaaf Rd. CDC and council members need to get on board with Dominion to arrange similar neighborhood sidewalk replacement. Can CDC get Dominion's line replacement schedule?

  2. Jeff,

    Thank you for the meeting notes. Do you know where the Pearl Road/ West 25th Street Corridor Plan is online ?

    I had not heard about liveCleveland before this post. I'm a bit sceptical and unclear about their purpose - are they trying to attract people from the Cleveland suburbs into Cleveland and its neighborhoods ? from all of NE Ohio ? The USA ?

    At the very least, they could link to each neighborhood's websites and highlight events are going on each neighborhood. I would offer more constructive criticism but I don't understand what are their intended goals.

    'community gathering space near Wildlife Way' - I could see something where the old Rally's (it was another fast-food place before that, its name slips me, this was back around the early-mid 90s, their cups were white with green, blue, and purple trim) used to be. However, a community gathering space should have a lot of foot traffic through it (although there's a RTA bus stop in front of it), and I perceive that location to not have a lot of people traffic, compared just places just a few hundred feet up, like the post office or Broadview and pearl intersection)

  3. Has there been any momentum to file a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland and Triad group for the gerrymandered redistricting?

  4. BBC and Will, I'll try to answer your questions tomorrow.

  5. Good work on the live blogging. Try CoverItLive sometime and let me know what you think. I've used it so far with Blogger and WordPress blogs, and it keeps getting better and better.

  6. Sorry for the delayed response!

    BBC: regarding Dominion, I haven't heard anything sidewalk replacements. Not sure whether CDCs would be able to attain schedules or not. It's probably more likely for a councilperson to attain them.

    On the lawsuit, I'm pretty sure that the idea became no more than a threat against redistricting.

    Will: As I noted, OBCDC was supposed to have uploaded copies of the presentations from that particular meeting to its website. I didn't find them on the planning initiatives page.

    LiveCleveland primarily markets all Cleveland neighborhoods to suburban residents. It's a really great concept, and OB resident Jeff Kipp has served as executive director for many years now. You should check out for more info.

    Tim: Thanks for the compliments and suggestions on new resources. For some reason, it wasn't easy to get WiFi in Gavin Lee.