Kill The Opportunity Corridor Before It Kills You

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Tim Liston
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Postby Tim Liston » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:49 pm

Bill is right.

The chief proponent of lakefront development, under Jane Campbell, the guy who some years ago said that developing Cleveland’s lakefront is the key to future economic success, has something very much in common with the fellow who is now touting the Opportunity Corridor as a regional economic engine, way more important than lakefront development.

They are the same guy, Chris Ronayne. He was all for lakefront development as Planning Director under Mayor Jane, and was largely responsible for the renderings we saw in the PD back then. But now as Executive Director of University Circle Inc. the “greater goodâ€


Will Brown
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Postby Will Brown » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:45 pm

I don't understand this constant pushing to "restore" Clifton Blvd. It is the same artery now that it has always been, so it would be more accurate to describe the proposals as "improvements" if they were, but they aren't. The reduction in lanes (and in turning opportunities) would cause more congestion, and if I want to drive from Summit to Lakeland, I don't see the advantage of driving many blocks down Clifton, turning, and driving many blocks back to Lakeland. Witness the median recently installed on Hilliard just over the bridge. The city has to pay more to keep the grass alive, and I have to drive all the way down Hilliard to a main intersection, make a (probably) illegal uturn, and drive halfway back to Lakewood to get into a friend's driveway!

The idea that improving Clifton will lead to economic salvation is ridiculous. There is no unused land on Clifton to develop. Commuters who use Clifton are not going to stop and buy at Lakewood businesses, as there are none on Clifton, and no reasonable person is going to negotiate a narrow residential street to get to Detroit to buy gas or coffee; they are going to continue to shop in Cleveland, where the stores are. Perhaps those who forsee economic development here are thinking commuters will stop at some enterprising kid's cool aid stand! If I lived on one of the narrow residential streets running off Clifton, I would be very concerned if commuters started using my street to get to a store on Detroit; its a safety issue.

I think "zero-sum game" is a buzzword used by politicians and others who often haven't thought it through. It is true that there is a limited amount of money to spend at any time, so not all projects can be funded. However, if the money is used prudently in a way that produces economic growth, there should be even more money available in future years. Viewed in this light, improving the Euclid corridor, where there is plenty of unused and under utilized land, convenient to other businesses and activities, would appear to be a far better use of limited funds than beautifying Clifton Blvd, a project that has no hope of engendering economic growth, and which can be most accurately described as a boondoggle, a true descendant of Mr. Sinagra's infamous brick cross paths, which showed he was so out of touch with reality that he is no longer mayor.


Bill Call
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Postby Bill Call » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:31 am

Tim Liston wrote:I remember reading about the big Waterfront project in the paper. The West Shoreway boulevard conversion was to be the first step in that much larger project. Now I suppose it's all dead.

The irony is that the Waterfront project was touted by Chris Ronayne when he was the Planning Director under Jane Campbell.

The same Chris Ronayne who now, as Director of University Circle Inc., is now touting the Opportunity Corridor in the PD.


I forgot to thank you for the scoop on Mr. Ronayne. Thanks.

He did nothinig wrong in moving on to support the Opportunity Coordidor. It is my personal opinion that one of the reasons he was chosen was to remove a supporter and spokesman for the shoreway project.

The supporters of the opportunity corridor seem to believe that before one project can be born the other must be killed.


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Jim O'Bryan
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Postby Jim O'Bryan » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:03 am

Bill

I always get a kick out of you saying that Lakewood Hospital is the cash cow, and then in the next sentence saying the Clinic wants to kill Lakewood Hospital. There is no talk of doing this, and if Lakewood wasn't strong enough being the cash cow, now with Fred Degrandis who came up through Lakewood Hospital I see its future stronger than ever.

As for Cleveland let's not forget Mittal Steel, the most product steel mill in the world.

CLE +, can't help one small section of the region they claim to represent, how can they help Cleveland on the far northwest side of their region.

The fact, Rockport gives 5 year tax abatements, Cleveland is offering 25-30 tax abatements. How on earth does Lakewood compete with that?

FWIW


.


Jim O'Bryan
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Bill Call
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Postby Bill Call » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:42 am

Jim O'Bryan wrote:I always get a kick out of you saying that Lakewood Hospital is the cash cow, and then in the next sentence saying the Clinic wants to kill Lakewood Hospital. There is no talk of doing this, and if Lakewood wasn't strong enough being the cash cow, now with Fred Degrandis who came up through Lakewood Hospital I see its future stronger than ever.


Here is an interesting story about cash cows:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Eco ... 8Dj01.html

I think you are right about Mr. Degrandis and wrong about the Clinic.

The opportunity corridor will bring the Clinics new Avon Hospital and Medical Center within easy distance of the Clinics Cleveland Campus.

Modern Development takes place along freeway corridors. It makes a great deal of sense for the Clinic to continue to build new facilities along freeways. Does Lakewood Hospital fit that plan? I don't know but I guess the $10 million dollar rental subsidy is something of an inducement.


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Jim O'Bryan
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Postby Jim O'Bryan » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:48 am

Bill Call wrote:
Jim O'Bryan wrote:The opportunity corridor will bring the Clinics new Avon Hospital and Medical Center within easy distance of the Clinics Cleveland Campus.


Bill

I have a friend that hates the Clinic because he and his wife got scheduled for visits at two different Clinic hospitals at the same time. Now had this couple called each other or called the doctors later they could have rescheduled.

I will be happy to pass along that "Opportunity Corridor" will help solve this problem.

The only reason I could ever see the Clinic pulling out is if, and when the majority of Lakewood residents have no health insurance. This is the usual reason for "cash cows" to be left to die.

That is a very real possibility if we add in the projects, the economy, and of course the tax abatements, moving those financially challenged into Lakewood.

Of course, if Obama gets elected, and they can really get health care tackled, who knows.


.


Jim O'Bryan
Lakewood Resident

"The very act of observing disturbs the system."
Werner Heisenberg

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John Brennan
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Postby John Brennan » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:15 pm

Cleveland gives 15 year abatements. Five year abatements are about as good as you get in Lakewood--the school board is OK with that. The five year model is competitive with Cleveland, in that on average, people prefer Lakewood locations to Cleveland locations. The exceptions may be the abated properties closer to University Circle that are occupied by doctors, lawyers, singles, and mingles.

In terms of funds, I don't believe a zero-sum game is the reality. The west side development has been hindered by the slow down on the inner-belt rebuild--which will mostly affects west side commuters in terms of transportation. I think that the knuckle heads at Cleveland city hall and ODOT finally realized that only one could happen during the next decade--and the inner-belt won out easily. The Opportunity Corridor can be undertaken at the same time the inner belt is rebuilt, and, as an extension of the inner-belt (infrastructure-wise and funding-wise), it's a pretty easy sell.

Jim O'Bryan wrote:Bill

I always get a kick out of you saying that Lakewood Hospital is the cash cow, and then in the next sentence saying the Clinic wants to kill Lakewood Hospital. There is no talk of doing this, and if Lakewood wasn't strong enough being the cash cow, now with Fred Degrandis who came up through Lakewood Hospital I see its future stronger than ever.

As for Cleveland let's not forget Mittal Steel, the most product steel mill in the world.

CLE +, can't help one small section of the region they claim to represent, how can they help Cleveland on the far northwest side of their region.

The fact, Rockport gives 5 year tax abatements, Cleveland is offering 25-30 tax abatements. How on earth does Lakewood compete with that?

FWIW


.


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Jim O'Bryan
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Postby Jim O'Bryan » Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:15 pm

John Brennan wrote:Cleveland gives 15 year abatements.


John not to beat it to death but the developments south of Woodland are 20 year abatements, Hough 25 year and I believe I have seen 30 in East Cleveland.

While the Innerbelt project can take some of the blame, it really does not affect most of Lakewood, that seems to prefer Shoreway.

FWIW


.


Jim O'Bryan
Lakewood Resident

"The very act of observing disturbs the system."
Werner Heisenberg

"If anything I've said seems useful to you, I'm glad.
If not, don't worry. Just forget about it."
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John Brennan
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Postby John Brennan » Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:34 pm

Jim,

Fair enough. In any event, you did complain that Lakewood is competing with the longer term abatements--Hough and Woodland? I don't think that anyone who looks at a new property in Lakewood would look in either the Hough or Woodland areas. They are not competing markets.

Also, it doesn't matter that a good number of people in Lakewood do not take I-90. The possibility of cutting off both main arteries into the CBD at the same time affects the whole west side and would be foolish for the city (but possibly good for the west side commercial real estate market in general).

Jim O'Bryan wrote:
John Brennan wrote:Cleveland gives 15 year abatements.


John not to beat it to death but the developments south of Woodland are 20 year abatements, Hough 25 year and I believe I have seen 30 in East Cleveland.

While the Innerbelt project can take some of the blame, it really does not affect most of Lakewood, that seems to prefer Shoreway.

FWIW


.


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Jim O'Bryan
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Postby Jim O'Bryan » Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:15 am

John Brennan wrote:Jim,

Fair enough. In any event, you did complain that Lakewood is competing with the longer term abatements--Hough and Woodland? I don't think that anyone who looks at a new property in Lakewood would look in either the Hough or Woodland areas. They are not competing markets.

Also, it doesn't matter that a good number of people in Lakewood do not take I-90. The possibility of cutting off both main arteries into the CBD at the same time affects the whole west side and would be foolish for the city (but possibly good for the west side commercial real estate market in general).


John

Maybe not today, but I have a friend that would have been a perfect Lakewood candidate and his wife works on W116 and Detroit, that just bought a fixer upper for $32,000 in East Cleveland. Had the house been 1/4mile south it would have sold for $500,000 - $750,000. Working what he could in grant money the house is nearly free. He is attracting a whole group of people from Case to buy and rebuild in the neighborhood.

I have to think East Cleveland could be the next "Ohio City." Especially as Case has nowhere to expand but east. I have been doing work in Termont and Ohio City and they are getting pretty active again with rebuilding, and as one local leader said, "Why is gentrification a bad word? It bring income, families, responsability, and life back to a dying community.

As I stood with Steve Davis, just a block south of Lancer's Bar, on what was one of the worst ghettos in Cleveland, and now completely redeveloped as far as the eye can see into "Crocker Park" style homes. I could not help but be taken with the wonderful view of Cleveland at night, while thinking it would be great to be walking distance of downtown if I was of that mindset again. 20 year tax abatements on $200,000 homes, in an area patrolled by two police services.

And that is just the beginning. Cleveland with acres and acres of land that sits empty, banked or occupied by lower income families will be redeveloped, and Cleveland can afford the tax abatements after all, if property is bringing in zero income now, it gives you plenty of movement on what you can give.

We have these groups providing homes to Ken's BoHos, a group Lakewood was attracting. It will also appeal to GenX on down as they all seem to want to move strictly based on lowest taxes. Then we have elders that still dream of Leakwood to thee west, Bay, Avon, and even North Olmsted and North Ridgeville. Lakewood has got to put together a very nice package to keep or attract. Something like what was spoken about at the very first LakewoodAlive meeting. Tax credits for fixing up Lakewood homes, declare the city a historic district this would give us almost 75% of any repair back as a tax credit that could be used over years. Respect for "neighborhoods" with very pro-active building department that not merely cites, but also jumps in with lists of programs to help and underwrite. Neighborhood groups and block watches that are even more proactive than right now. Possibly a revisit to the police levy, to build an overwhelming answer to crime, from inside the city and outside. Certainly a serious look at the arts, and not little art districts, but a full fledged city wide movement to SUPPORT the arts.

SAFE - CLEAN - FUN, it really seems simple enough. Many, many, many cities all over America are succeeding without abatements, but that is because they are very proactive with underlining and amplifying their history, and the "historical" neighborhoods. Another thing that could really work to help Lakewood is REAL access to the Lake. Speaking with on realtor I asked what a real beach with docks, and picnic area, that was private for Lakewood residents would do to Lakewood. She thought maybe as much as a 20% rise in home prices. Think of that, 20% across the board, and the ability to attract a completely new group of residents.

As for I-90, maybe I am just naive, but traffic downtown in the morning and back at night has never been as heavy as I have seen in other cities during rush hour. I have always thought that much of this is because Cleveland has not upheld then end of the deal. Then have not kept jobs in Cleveland. Had they taken the money wasted on conventions, and used it for attracting business, we would all be better off. Right now I see Cleveland as a sinking ship, that is offering very little. Imagine Cleveland without the Clinic? That is about where we are right now.

This is another thing that has caused me to rethink many things. In the "thought puddle" known as the Visionary Alignment for Lakewood, or VAL for short, featured in the wrestling story in Lakewood Observer V4 Issue 18. We had forecasted the price of gas pretty accurately. This would have brought people back to Lakewood as the commute from Avon to Cleveland would no longer be worth it. However I am not convinced that Cleveland is the work destination it once was. This throws a wrench into the whole deal.

Though iother groups think it is "Lakewood's Interest" to lump Akron, Canton, and Youngstown into the CLE+ region and you have added maybe 100,000+ acres of tax abatements, and places for industry to move that will have a negative impact on Lakewood as well. We are in for tough times for a long time.

That is, unless we make Lakewood SAFE CLEAN FUN, and we can attract people that can work from home, and enjoy and seek out wonderful walkable historic cities. At that level we only compete with a small handful of places in Northern Ohio. Throw in Lake access, Emerald Canyon, 3 golf course in 5 minutes, stables, trout and salmon fishing, boating, schools, library, good restaurants, and central location to the county, etc and Lakewood kicks ass.

It will be a fight, but it is a fight many of us think we can win, and win very easily if we do not loose site of the goal.

FWIW


.


Jim O'Bryan
Lakewood Resident

"The very act of observing disturbs the system."
Werner Heisenberg

"If anything I've said seems useful to you, I'm glad.
If not, don't worry. Just forget about it."
His Holiness The Dalai Lama

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