Well, I believe the following article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer well introduces the ultimate clusterf**k in NEO - a bunch of CDCs, real estate moguls, industrialists, gamblers, Foundationoids, and councilpeople are booting the Flats CDC and taking over planning their turf... all the usual suspects in one room. Perhaps Mike White will even be there.
Let's play bail-out the developers.
Guy... do you have a way to bring on earthquakes? The Powerhouse would crumble like a sand castle...
Brainstorming session on Flats is intended to solve longstanding conflicts along the Cuyahoga Riverfront
Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 2:45 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 4:49 PM
A community meeting set for tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. at Windows on the River in the Nautica Powerhouse is intended to kick off a city planning revolution in the Flats.
Apparently the effort won't involve Flats Oxbow, the community development corporation that has long represented the area.
The Cleveland and Gund foundations have funded a six-month, $20,000 planning effort spearheaded by Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman and major developers and property owners with interests in or next to the Flats.
The goal is to resolve longstanding conflicts among traditional industries in the Flats and new land uses, including entertainment, housing and recreation.
Backers of tonight's discussion want to leverage the potential impact of $2 billion in new development around the Flats and in downtown, including a casino, the medical mart and convention center, the Flats East Bank project.
Proponents also want to solve big, expensive problems that have bedeviled the Flats for decades, including the decay of bulkheads along the Cuyahoga River, the danger that earth along Irishtown Bend could collapse into the river, and the conflict between industrial trucking and neighborhoods in and around the valley.
"If there's one thing tonight we need to bury and leave in the cemetery, it's the preposition 'versus,' " Cimperman said.
The planning effort will be led by Randall McShepard, the director of community affairs at RPM International Inc., Cimperman said.
The councilman said he expects a new plan for the Flats will be completed in about six months, presented to the City Planning Commission and approved as part of the city's overall plan.
McShepard said Tuesday afternoon, that "my role is to facilitate discussion among some of the various stakeholder groups that probably don't talk every day.
" I don't believe that these groups have had a chance to talk about the Flats all in one room and hear each others perspectives on what the future might be."
The project involves a collaboration among community development corporations that ring the Flats, including Tremont, Ohio City Near West, the Warehouse District and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Tom Newman, director of Flats Oxbow, said he's planning on attending the meeting, but that he had not been invited to participate.
"I haven't been informed about what that's about," he said Tuesday.
Lillian Kuri, program director for Architecture, Urban Design and Sustainable Development at The Cleveland Foundation, said that Flats Oxbow traditionally has taken a neutral stance on land use conflicts in the Flats, or has argued against new residential or recreational development.
"They would never weigh in," Kuri said, "or in some cases they oppose things that made a lot of sense."
In response, Newman said, "I am merely the hired gun of the board."
Eric Wobser, director of Ohio City Near West, said the new planning effort is "not a direct affront to Flats Oxbow but a recognition that whatever service was being provided to the Flats and to whomever it was being provided, it wasnt effective. The hillside is still crumbling, the roads are falling apart and the entertainment district failed."
Kuri said proponents of the new planning effort are interested in seeing a new community development structure in the Flats, which includes the collective voices that rim the valley.
Cimperman said that in addition to the surrounding community development corporations, supporters of the new planning direction include Dan T. Moore, a Cleveland Metroparks board member; Scott Wolstein, developer of the Flats East Bank project; Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavs and developer of the casino; and Albert Ratner, co-chairman of Forest City Enterprises, which owns or controls most of Scranton Road Peninsula along the river.
Cimperman said he and two other members of Council, Phyllis Cleveland and Matt Zone, voted to eliminate funding for Flats Oxbow in November, instead of recommending the traditional allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant Funds.
Newman said that nevertheless, the city provided $20,000 in funding, approved in part by Mayor Frank Jackson and Councilman Tony Brancatelli. He said that Flats Oxbow had no plans to dissolve and that it can survive without block grant funding.