Monday, June 1, 2015

Just a Reminder that the Cool Red Line Greenway Project is Still a Long Way Off

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 5:02 PM

  • Caitlin Summers / Scene
Before we lavish too much praise on the proposed Red Line Greenway project, we’d be wise to recall that, given the current funding picture, the earliest construction can begin on the linear park running adjacent to the RTA rapid tracks from Downtown to Detroit-Shoreway is 2019.

Nonetheless, project renderings were lovingly unveiled at a community meeting Wednesday evening and rehashed Thursday morning for the Cleveland Metroparks' Board of Commissioners.

Metroparks' CEO Brian Zimmerman advised that the funding for the Greenway’s $4.7 million first phase (of the estimated $13 million total) wouldn’t be available until 2019, though the $2 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, awarded in January, is a nice start.

“The goal is to really build a coalition of support for outside dollars,” Zimmerman said at the board meeting, dropping the names of a few of the usual corporate suspects. “This is really a remarkable part of the revitalization of Cleveland. When you look at, again, that we’re supported by the property tax, and the reutilization and revitalization, 100 years from now, we will be touted for the work that we’re doing to revitalize the City of Cleveland.”

Regarding the time frame, we’re as stunned as you are. Most of us expected some mega-donor to emerge from the wooded shadows of Gates Mills, halo and white wings affixed, to write a seven-figure check and accelerate the building schedule in order to accommodate all the ambling Republicans next June. (For all we know, mega-donors are being mobilized as we speak).

As it stands, despite the handsome PowerPoint slides, prepared and presented by one Evan Peterson, a grad student from the LSU School of Landscape Architecture, this puppy’s still a long way off. The $7 million third phase, intended to connect the RTA’s Red Line viaduct to downtown, is still “highly conceptual, highly theoretical, very far off,” via Peterson. (The $7 million, then, must also be).

And if the involved community partners miss the RNC and thereafter invest as much time, focus and questionable dollars in the Red Line Greenway as they’ve invested in the Towpath Trail, for instance, we can expect a fully operational park, complete with restaurants, native plantings and a competitively compensated executive staff, just before the dawn of the 22nd century.

Cynicism aside, the proposal kicks some highly-theoretical ass. The affected neighborhoods (The Flats, Ohio City, Clark-Fulton, Stockyards, Detroit-Shoreway) would see a 2.8-mile park in their midst with 10 access points and an influx of greenspace. The additional greenspace, in particular, which would bump Cleveland’s dismal percentage a hair closer to the national average, Peterson said would help encourage all the obese children nearby to get outside and play.

Thirty-eight percent of the surrounding population (and 53 percent of the children) live in poverty, Peterson said, the majority of them south of Lorain Avenue.

  • Caitlin Summers / Scene
Framed as an answer to New York’s “High Line Park,” the Red Line Greenway has been championed by Cleveland’s Rotary Club, a group of volunteers from which has been steadfastly maintaining the acreage for 30-plus years. The nonprofit LAND Studio was in fact born out of the gardening efforts along the same stretch. They’re now teaming with a handful of local partners who all see the potential for a really cool public space.

Which, allow us to reiterate, will include not one but two restaurants in the current conception.

“Within a quarter mile radius of the West Side Market, there are 30-plus breweries and restaurants.” Peterson said in his presentation. “What I’m proposing is two restaurants on the Red Line Greenway, a permanent restaurant with a well-established chef, and a pop-up restaurant with rotating chefs, young and upcoming culinary artists who can show off their craft. That way, this project will not only embody the culture of Cleveland but help grow it as well.”

No word, yet, on how the restaurants will affect the plight of childhood obesity. (On second thought, the impoverished children nearby likely won’t be able to afford most of the items on the menu, so nbd).

One final note: This does indeed have the potential to be a transformative project, one which would improve pedestrian and commuter access on the city’s west side, and may go a long way to improve RTA ridership by beautifying the Red Line route. But an awful lot of money continues to be thrown at these trails (the Red Line Greenway, the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link, the Towpath), and the projected costs, at first blush, look quite high. These are pedestrian trails, not highways.

Additionally, the constant need to market these projects to and for the young urban professional crowd seems off-base in part because the majority of millennials around here are renters, and the Metroparks, for one, are funded by a levy on property taxes, by homeowners. (I know I know: The idea is that with unique local draws like this one, all these hip millennials will become homeowners. I'm just saying.)

But we’re putting our skepticism aside for a moment and keeping our fingers crossed. With any luck, this gets underway before all the old Rotary Dudes are confined to hospital beds.  
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Alt-Rock Veterans Soul Asylum Revert to Doing It Themselves

Concert Preview

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 4:04 PM

  • Michael L. Smith
Hard-rocking Soul Asylum singer-guitarist Dave Pirner originally didn’t set out to play punk rock. He first learned to play trumpet. It was only later that he realized he needed to break free “from the chains of playing trumpet scales every day.”

So he initially gravitated to drums because, as he puts it, “I wanted to be the dude that hit shit.” Inspired by the Jimi Hendrix album Are You Experienced?, he picked up a guitar and “started making noise until it started to sound like something.” He’s never looked back.

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Cleveland Named Among Top Cities for Staycations

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 4:00 PM

click image ERIK DROST, FLICKR
  • Erik Drost, Flickr
According to a survey by financial website WalletHub, Cleveland ranked No. 37 out of the country’s 100 biggest cities for “staycations,” which is a trendy word used by people who don’t want to spend money on plane tickets or hotel rooms.

The experts at WalletHub narrowed down their choices based on three major criteria – recreation activities, food and entertainment, and rest and relaxation. The number of activities and attractions was taken into account, as was affordability.

If you’re looking to save money this summer, there’s no need to go across the country. Here are some of the things that earned Cleveland its slightly-above-average rating.

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Schedule Announced for Luxe's Songwriters on the Patio Series

Concert Announcement

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 3:15 PM

During the summer months, the folks at Luxe Kitchen & Lounge make use of their outdoor patio to host Luxe Kitchen & Lounge Songwriters on the Patio. A casual affair that features some of the city’s best singer-songwriters, it offers a good chance to hear some great music in an intimate setting. The event takes place on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. In the event of rain, music will be rescheduled. Updates will be posted on Luxe's Facebook page. Admission is free.

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Organizer Describes Dawg Stock Festival as ‘Small Cleveland Woodstock’

Concert Announcement

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Mitch Hengst of the local jam band the Bag Brothers and Scott Nunnari of the Cleveland Muni Lot Browns Backers originally thought Dawg Stock would be a “simple jam band party.” But it’s grown into a legit festival that now includes multiple acts. The event, which takes place on Saturday, June 13, at the “beach at Scott’s house” in Columbia Station, features acts such as Native Knee, the Bag Brothers, the Taylor Lamborn Band, the Cotton Cats, the Codgers, Metal Drifter, C-Level, Blackstone and the Geezers.

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Chef Adam Lambert, Fresh Fork Market Pair Up for Unique Ohio City Grocery Concept

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 2:09 PM

  • Adam Lambert
Chef Adam Lambert and Fresh Fork Market's Trevor Clatterbuck have partnered up to bring a unique new grocery concept to Ohio City shoppers: A market-and-meat shop that will offer hyper-locally sourced produce, grains, eggs, dairy, and meats.

Products sold at the Lorain Avenue storefront (specifically, 3208 Lorain Ave.) will be gathered fresh from more than 100-area farms, while slaughtered animals will arrive whole, hanging, and ready to be converted into choice cuts and charcuterie.

"We're bringing in the whole animal," Lambert told Fresh Water Cleveland recently. "Nothing goes to waste."

The brick-and-mortar storefront will be divided into two sections: one to feature produce and dairy and the other for meats and a small kitchen which serve limited take-out options to diners on the go.

As for a name? The duo is toying around with Ohio City Provisions: Market and Butcher, though nothing has been confirmed yet.

Folks can look for a fall 2015 opening.
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Extensive Renovation Project Planned for Downtown Corner Alley

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 1:23 PM


On July 1, the downtown location of The Corner Alley will shut its doors for two and half months to facilitate extensive interior and façade renovations, says Jonathan Seeholzer, Regional Operations Manager for MRN Hospitality Group. When the entertainment destination at the corner of East Fourth Street and Euclid Avenue reopens in mid-September, customers will be treated to an all-new contemporary design and layout.

“Cleveland has experienced an exciting revival since The Corner Alley first opened,” Seeholzer adds. “As the city grows and changes, so must the architecture, design, and food of its favorite bowling alley.”

One of the most dramatic and visible improvements will be to the exterior of the complex. Nearly all of the building’s frontage along E. Fourth Street and roughly half of it along Euclid will be converted to open-air access leading to outdoor seating. The garage door-style windows will fold up into awnings.

And that’s just the start.

“We’re doing pretty much a total interior renovation,” explains Seeholzer.

A new bar closer to the streetside action along E. Fourth Street will be better connected to the entertainment district outside its doors. The bar that services the private four-lane section will be enlarged and better connected to rest of space. And a new bowling ball feature wall, much like that at the Uptown Corner Alley, will be installed downtown.

“After seeing how cool Uptown came out, we said, Okay, let’s do it again. People were really impressed that a bowling alley could look that cool.”

In terms of entertainment options within the four walls, Corner Alley will build off the 16 bowling lanes with new video games, shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball and other games.

The restaurant will receive upgrades as well, both in regards to the décor and food. The menu will feature traditional sports bar selections made with high-quality ingredients. An increase in small plates and shared items and a decrease in entrees is designed to better serve the types of customers coming to the Corner Alley, says Seeholzer.

“This is an active environment, so you’re not always going to want to sit down for a whole meal.”

Summer might seem an odd time to shut down a downtown entertainment destination such as this, but the timing suits Corner Alley.

“We do so many banquets, corporate events and Christmas parties starting in the fall, so it’s exciting for us to be able to capitalize on the improvements by then,” Seeholzer says.

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