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The Sound of Ideas

Re-Envisioning Your Lakefront

Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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The proposed relocation of Cleveland's commercial port, which has sat for decades to the east of the mouth of the Cuyahoga, would leave behind some of the most valuable real estate in Cuyahoga County. When the warehouses, the countless rolls of steel and the piles of sand and stone are are gone, what should be put in their place? The Port Authority's architects, who have redesigned waterfronts in New York City, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Baltimore, have a few ideas--none of them set in stone. Join us Wednesday morning at 9 to talk about the future of your lake front.

Photo Gallery

Current view of area under discussion Architect's 'scratch pad' of ideas Phase One of proposed changes to Port property A model of the planned changes to Port property The Port area as viewed from the One Cleveland building, home to the Port Authority.

Tags

Economy, Environment, Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Housing/Real Estate

Guests

Jill Akins Principal, Van Auken Akins Architects
Robert Brown Director, City Planning Commission
Eric Johnson Real Estate Director, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
Christopher Diehl Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University

Additional Information

Cleveland Planning Commission Lakefront Plan
Cuyahoga County Port Authority site
Plain Dealer article detailing lakefront plans

Leave a Comment

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Russ Hill 9:12 AM 7/8/09

A world-class Great Lakes Aquarium for Cleveland has been proposed a number of times in the past, and there a advocates today.  The quality of life and economic impact of an aquairum would be substantial.  Who do we need to convince to create a public/private consortium to build a world-class aquarium and aquarium district?

Jim 9:27 AM 7/8/09

Why do we never talk about the river? In a urban scheme when considering densities both current and potential, livability, connectivity, and feasibility the river is the starting point NOT the lake. At the very least there needs to be thought about the two of them TOGETHER river and Lake. Their interaction and an understanding of what it means to be on the north edge of the lake. For example start a jogging routine that passes through the rock hall and Voinovich park and you will see that this real estate is not as great as it appears on paper. Its harsh most of the year and needs MUCH higher densities then we will have in the next thirty years. The river is the piece of the puzzle that can provide that density we need to develop the lakefront.

mark 9:27 AM 7/8/09

What is or has been wrong with the city’s capacity to excute here?

Is this yet another example of agenda builders being unwilling to point the finger at themselves and their predecessors? 

This is not a difficult concept...executing it will be very difficult - as the endless delay has shown.

Think Chicago...find a way to get rid of the private land owners - AT A DOABLE PRICE.

Citizens do not, by in large, think of the lake front as acessible…

Clevelands future, and to a lesser extent the entire region’s, is in the balance here...Politicians must unite (?) and lead the people...and move any impediments out of the way.

jim 9:33 AM 7/8/09

The river SHOULD not be a long park of empty space, look at the way the dutch handle water front on a river......When you ask people about cleveland they all respond the same way Yeah i know the flats ....the river needs to become the pivot point that will allow growth south and north at the lake....As far as the failed proposed design in the flats that is our second chance as designers to demand something of quality and not up lift lifestyle centers

Angela from Elyria 9:35 AM 7/8/09

It’s always really exciting to hear about great plans for Cleveland. What do we need to do as citizens to help this idea come to be?

Also, my brother is an architect and sister-in-law a landscape architect. I’ve seen how there great ideas get squandered when it comes to public projects because the administration has the final say even on design aspects. They worked on the lightrail in Phoenix, and when it was finished I could see the dissapointment in them in how it turned out as opposed to how it could have easily been. What thoughts do you have on this?

G. K. 9:36 AM 7/8/09

I wonder if efficient public transportation is part of the plan?

Russ Hill 9:38 AM 7/8/09

A feasibility and economic impact study for an aquarium would cost roughly $75-$100,000.  Would the Port Authority and/or Greater Cleveland Partnership be willing to consider funding such a study?  Example, the economic impact of the Newport Aquarium across the river from Cincinnati is estimated at about $100 million per year.

bonnie 9:38 AM 7/8/09

It bothers me that there is so much emphasis on retail.I’m impressed with chicago’s lakefront walking and bike paths that are used for pedestrians and bikers to provide ppeople an alternative transportaion to work. With retail stores closing every day, I would think that lifestyle, energy efficiency, green space, alternatives should be emphasized more.

Patti 9:39 AM 7/8/09

I have been to Balimore many times and am always disconcerted when I return to Cleveland. It seems that good ideas are talked to death in this city. When will the talking stop and the action start?

Brandon Scullion 9:40 AM 7/8/09

I’m 32 years old and re-established myself in Cleveland back in 2000. Though born here I lived most of my life in the shadows of NYC and spent a lot of HS in London, England.  I am a passionate supporter of Cleveland and it has, among all of the U.S. and World cities I have been to or lived in, captured my heart and my imagination. 
I am livid about the waste of space that we have on our lakefront. We have politicians who can’t seem to get anything done and all the while we suffer.  Stop doing studies, stop pretending that we need to re-think what we have already thought aobut.  People are always complaining about Euclid as if because its not “Perfect” it was a waste of money. Its beautiful and inviting. Someone needs to take the helm here and get something done. I was at the meetings years back where the public was to comment on the Lakefront Redevelopment Plan and it really made me feel like we were getting somewhere. Apparently not.  Just because we want to be part of the global economy does not mean we have to stall our progress.  Bulk storage does not deserve a place on our shores. Do what the previous plan showed and build a new port.  We want our lakefront back.
Grrrrr!

Brandon Scullion

Brian Avery 9:42 AM 7/8/09

Not everyone tailgates in the muny lot. I would suggest, North of the Browns Stadium, a “tailgating park” which can handle the sworms of tailgaters downtown on any given Sunday in the Fall.  The port is taken over by fans on home games, why not include this in the plan? Any other day, the park can be a normal, large, public space for gatherings. Not a large asphalt parking lot, but an open-paver/ multi-use space that can be used for any type of large group outing. These people already use downtown on a weekly basis - let’s not ignore them.

Brian
Cleveland

john figula 9:46 AM 7/8/09

While I am all for this project to happen,it is so
exciting and long overdue.The very sad part of it is the length of time for it to be completed.I am
sure most everyone cannot understand why it takes so long.And a sad note,many of us will not be around to see its completion.Thank You.

Michael 9:50 AM 7/8/09

All these ideas and concepts are great and visionary, but the typical skeptic and cynic from the region has always seen the lack of leadership and the follow thru of these projects never hit a home run.
i.e. Euclid Corridor (when was the last time one of your panel members rode the Rta except for the rapid?..or you)
When was the last project Downtown that was not bailed out by public money i.e. Both Stadiums and Tower city.

We will never be Chicago but we can be Toledo (with their waterfront, Pittsburgh, Millwaukee and Providence.

Apologies for the lenngth of the comment.

Looking forward to real answers

Yale 9:58 AM 7/8/09

What about getting the coast guard to quit being a little over zellous on the watherfront. They have been driving boaters away from thr waterfront for years. Is there a plan to deal with that issue?

Emily 9:59 AM 7/8/09

I lived in Minneapolis for 11 years, and they have good dog parks, including one fantastic one that is located along the Mississippi River and allows folks to walk their dogs for an hour round trip off leash.  I have found the dog parks in the Cleveland area to be sparsely located and too small.  In the case of Lakewood’s dog park, it is filled with a substance resembling kitty litter, and I only have gone a few times because it is too small and overcrowded. Dog parks create better dogs, because they are socialized to strange people and strange dogs, and more importantly helps build community among dog owners.  Have you considered taking perhaps some of the space and making a dog park of sufficient size?

Cyril 10:03 AM 7/8/09

PARKING,PARKING, PARKING!  Also, if the only bragging rights you have are the ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME and a few other spots, STOP BRAGGING!  there is no place large enough to house the e inductions and the building is tiny compare,d to the real estate it sits on, wasted space.  Again, you want us to come but provide NO PARKING!  And what’s this no building over thrre stories tall mess?? You wanna compare yourself to Baltimore? Look at the heights of the buildings and the sizes.  Will you go that big?  Nobody goes to see “small”,

Jerry, Cleveland Heights 10:11 AM 7/8/09

If the ideas must be big and bold, when will our planners bring Cleveland’s historic Hulett Ore Unloaders back to life? These mammoth, workhorse machines did their job on our lakefront for over 90 years and are part of what made Cleveland a powerhouse city. Designed and built in Cleveland, they would be a truly unique part of Cleveland’s Lakefront. They are emblematic of our industrial history and when partnered again with the Steamship Mather could become a focal point for tourism based on Industrial Archaeology.

Anonymous 10:12 AM 7/8/09

While commendable, unless tied to other crucial infrastructure, including ODOT plans for reorientation of major roads, this will come up far short of the potential, and there will be a significant handicap to overcome in the future.
A waterfront cut off by a major traffic route becomes a barrier. Look at Toronto’s excellent Harbourfront separated from the city by a highway they are now considering spending billions to replace with a tunnel.
Rather than look and ask for access points to the waterfront, I’d turn the argument over. Make pedestrian’s the priority and vehicles the exception. Where do you let vehicle traffic interrupt people?
Additionally, while economics is a reality and retail and restaurants have a place, there must be a public, cultural and not-for-profit bias at the core of the majority of the development.
Again, looking at Toronto’s Harbourfront, there is a significant arts, cultural and education component. There is also significant measure of affordable housing built into the success and energy of the place.

Ginny Solomon 10:14 AM 7/8/09

I love the waterfront proposal. However, our winters can be very cold, long and gray. Any thoughts on having covered walkways to shelter from the weather or at least heated sidewalks?

Richard, Cleveland 10:14 AM 7/8/09

As a recent addition to the downtown residential community, I can tell you that we need one thing more than anything else in this neighborhood: Park Space. Lack of bike trails and green space is the one thing that gives my friends and I pause about staying downtown.

Anonymous 10:43 AM 7/8/09

What makes downtown exciting to me is compactness (Downtown Pittsburgh PA, some of downtown Detroit MI) that Cleveland has always lacked.  Now you are opening up a space that could swallow two downtown Pittsburgh’s outside of a very spread out Downtown Cleveland.  This doesn’t make sense.  Battery Park in NYC is next to the most concentrated business districts in the world.  We don’t have this here.  Cleveland is one of the least dense of all American cities..
How will these plans address this?

Dan, Willoughby 10:45 AM 7/8/09

What is being planned for Cleveland’s waterfront is long overdue.  One thing that I hope doesn’t happen is too much of a focus on drinking establishments.  The Flats is a perfect example of what happens with this failed approach.  I sincerely hope that the development focuses more on a family oriented environment, even during evening hours.  There are already plenty of areas in the city for those looking for the party scene. 

Good Luck!!!!

Dave Pindel 10:46 AM 7/8/09

I lived on the north side of Chicago for 8 years and worked just south of the loop.  I was able to ride my bike down a paved bike path that hugged the lake most of the way.  I haven’t seen anything trying to connect this development with the east side.  I now live in Cleveland Heights and selfishly want a non-automobile path to link east and west.  I think while the proposal is huge it could be viewed in a more holistic way to link University Circle to Edgewater via Rockefeller park, Gordon Park, Burke, etc.  Cleveland could easily rival Chicago if this is done right.

Arron, Euclid 10:47 AM 7/8/09

The original Disneyland park, in Anaheim, CA, was only 150 acres.  100 acres is a fantastic opportunity.  Hope it’s carefully thought through and master-planned, and hope to see it in the not too distant future!

Adam Smith, Cleveland 10:48 AM 7/8/09

Having lived in Baltimore for 10 years I saw the pieces to the waterfront development fall into place slowly but dependably. One aspect to attracting folks to the area was the very obvious maritime heritage complete with ships; the Constellation, Pride of Baltimore II and the entire fleet of paddle boats, etc. Is there a non profit or some other entity out there willing to start such a movement here?

Skip, Chesterland 10:50 AM 7/8/09

Government does NOT know how to conduct business.  Ashtabula is 50 Mil dollars in dept because of the poorly managed convention center.  City planners are great at spending tax dollars without any real long term and stable plan.  Look at the Galleria and how it is failing.  Look at the Medical Mart and what a fiasco that is.  Look at the poorly designed Euclid corridor.  It is almost impossible to drive down Euclid now with the confusing lane configuration.  I could go on and on.  You commented you wanted more restaurants and yet the Euclid corridor project put more businesses out of business then I can count and everyone said…Oh that is too bad. But, no accommodations for those businesses. How stupid was that?
If this all makes sense, and I would love to think it does, then open it to the private sector and see where the cards fall.  Creating a pretty facade will not create long term value.  Cleveland will be a pretty but vacant city.
I laugh at your city planners.  They are all about plying their trade, but have not real training or experience in knowing what makes business sense.

Brian, Cleveland 10:50 AM 7/8/09

Not everyone tailgates in the muny lot. I would suggest, North of the Browns Stadium, a “tailgating park” which can handle the swarms of tailgaters downtown on any given Sunday in the Fall.  The port is taken over by fans on home games, why not include this in the plan? Any other day, the park can be a normal, large, public space for gatherings. I don’t mean a large parking lot, but an open-paver/ multi-use space that can be used for any type of large group outing.

Dale Levy 10:51 AM 7/8/09

I agree we need something attractive on the lakefront, but how can we discuss this when the Medical Mart is still in a state of flux.  The two projects can exist and help each other, but we must move on the MM immediately before we are relegated to second place again. If we miss this opportunity, the city if not the entire county will be on life support.

Skip, Chesterland 10:52 AM 7/8/09

I am probably one of Cleveland’s biggest fans.  And, all of these plans sound really good; however, are we not putting the cart before the horse?  In a healthy and vibrant city, I would say go for it.  But, in a city that is NOT business friendly that is loosing residents are we focusing on the right things?  How will this be paid for…more taxes on cigarettes?  More taxes on existing businesses?  It seems symptomatic of why Cleveland is not able to turn itself around; we tend to focus on the fluff not the substance.  We want to put lipstick on the pig and not focus on the fact that we have a pig.  Where is the med mart?
Should we not be focusing on setting priorities on getting businesses back to the Cleveland city proper?  Getting taxes back in line, stop the corrupt city government, stop penalizing companies for doing business down town.

Allan, Akron 10:54 AM 7/8/09

I just visited Georgetown and it was amazing. It’s right on the water and it’s very high end and clean.  I’d like to see something like this in Cleveland. Even incorporating the “outside retail” like Legacy Village and Easton, would be nice.

Toni Chanakas 10:57 AM 7/8/09

I was very excited to hear this conversation this morning concerning the revitalization of Cleveland’s Lakefront. During the July 4th Holiday, I had a few conversations among my friends regarding this exact issue.

I love living in Cleveland, specifically in North Collinwood and I enjoy viewing the Lake because I am so close. I continually ride my bike along Lakeshore Blvd. and through Gordon Park to get downtown. I always have on my mind, “why hasn’t Cleveland created a vibrant Lakefront?” This is what makes Cleveland Unique, our Lake.

I am looking forward to this plan coming to fruition. I hope we don’t get disappointed again. I am tired of hearing how great Chicago is and other cities. Cleveland is just as GREAT!

Thank you.

Toni Chanakas

Earl J. Sevin 3:07 PM 9/19/09

The concept of developing the area now occupied by the Cleveland Port for public access is admirable if not realistic. My major objection is the intention of moving the port to the 55th Street site where the State marina is located and Dike 14 is situated. The port will not be a good neighbor; its’ industrial nature is not compatable with the recreational and conservationist aspect of the existing properties. The 2004 Cleveland Lakefront Plan already has a site designated for the relocated port and to move to 55th is a gross violation of that plan. Furthermore, can you imagine the problems the planners will have (not to say everyone who approaches the city from the east) in crossing the shoreway with rail and road to get materials to and from the proposed site.

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