by Chuck Hoven. (Plain Press, January 2015) Residents and stakeholders, attending a December 9th Ohio City Incorporated (OCI) Community Meeting at Franklin Circle Church, received updates on the Lorain Avenue streetscape plan and a plan for mixed use development at 3219 Detroit Avenue. They also viewed a presentation on the Brite Winter Festival to be held on February 21st in the Ohio City Market District.
Ohio City Executive Director Tom McNair said that, in the initial going, the City of Cleveland and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) had a lot of concerns about the proposed two way protected cycle lane for Lorain Avenue between W. 20th and W. 85th. McNair said a Gund Foundation sponsored trip to Indianapolis, Indiana to view a cycle track with similar right of way issues, helped to alleviate many of the City of Cleveland’s concerns about the track. McNair said those participating on the trip included the Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief of staff, a Lorain Avenue business owner, and a representative of St. Ignatius High School.
McNair said Cleveland officials now feel the cycle track is doable. They witnessed how simple pedestrian signals at intersections have worked to regulate traffic on the cycle track in Indianapolis.
McNair said he expected the $1.3 capital improvement plan for that stretch of Lorain Avenue to be ready in 4-6 weeks. He said the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is excited about the project. McNair says Ohio City hopes to submit the plan to the City of Cleveland for inclusion in their 2016 capital Improvement Plan.
McNair said some of the new ideas being incorporated into the plan include the possibility of raising the sidewalk so the cycle track and sidewalk are on different levels. Also, planners are now exploring having the cycle track to cross Lorain Avenue at W. 44th Street. McNair says because the number of curb cuts and the way the back alleys are configured, planners are now considering running the two-way cycle track on the North Side of Lorain Avenue as originally planned from W. 20th to W. 44th Street and on the South side of Lorain from W 44th Street to Zone Recreation Center.
As for winter maintenance of the track, the plan is to have a small plow to clear the cycle track, said McNair. RTA would have its stops on the outside of the cycle track so patrons would not be exiting the buses right on the track.
Detroit Avenue Development
Ben Trimble, OCI Director of Real Estate and Commercial Development, talked about the site proposed for a new development at 3219 Detroit Avenue. He said the site was the former Club Cleveland. The 20,000 square foot building on the site had roof damage.
Trimble then introduced Chip Marous of Vintage Development who has a proposal to develop the site. Marous said his plans call for a 60 apartments, 78 parking spots – half on the surface and half in a garage, and 4,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. He envisions the retail space being divided into four 1,000 square foot spaces. Parking for the building would be accessible from an alley off of W. 33rd Street. Marous said expects rents in the apartment units to be between $950 and $1,600 per month.
Several people in attendance voiced concern about the high rents proposed for the project and asked about affordable housing for low-income people. McNair stressed the importance of density along the Detroit corridor to help support retail businesses. He said another 240 united mixed income development would be announced soon for Detroit Avenue. He also cited development of single-family land bank lots in the neighborhood with a certain percentage being affordable housing units. He said plans for about 500 units of additional housing were in the works in the neighborhood and estimated that about 10% of those units would be affordable housing. He mentioned Welcome House would also be creating a residential unit in the neighborhood that would serve a low-income population.
Brite Winter Festival
Brite Winter Festival staff members Executive Director Brian Horsburgh and Director of Programming Justin Markert shared their plans for a free festival to be held on February 21st I from 4- 11 p.m. in the Market District. They said the bulk of the outdoor festivities would be in Market Park, on Market Street — which will be closed to traffic, and on the parking lot on W. 26th Street. Some indoor venues are planned for Great Lakes Brewery, Town Hall, Old Angle and Mitchell’s Ice Cream. The Mitchell’s Ice Cream location will feature family friendly entertainment.
Because of safety noise and safety concerns expressed by neighbors last year, there will be private security officers at each location. Also, to avoid open container violations as people travel from one venue to the next, the festival will not be selling beer mugs this year. To reduce parking congestion, organizers said they are encouraging those attending to take RTA, or ride bicycles if weather permits. They also hope to secure access to parking at St. Ignatius High School and Lutheran Hospital.
Markert said he is working on selecting a line up of bands for the event and expects to have a variety of musical choices for those attending the Brite Winter Festival.