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Cleveland: Midtown: Development and News

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I don't see this as that ridiculous. I'll qualify this first by saying that I don't know the entire footprint. Cleveland has a lot of open and derelict spaces in all the wrong places. Yes, I'd love to see an office complex here that employees thousands, but how likely is that? I trust that MidTown has tried and tried to make that happen, and that in their ever-wise judgment feel that its just not going to happen. Why not take this space and infuse a bunch of young adventurous people into the area. Make this a unique experience. Add a skatepark to the mix. Then watch as bike store opens across the street. Then a skateboard shop. Then some cool alternative concert club shows up. Then a cafe or two or three. etc etc.

 

I'm all for innovative ideas that add life to our city. I'm very curious about this project. My first thought was negative, but I'd like to find out more about their plans.

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As a mountain biker and road cyclist, I can attest that these type of amenities are important to a demographic that Cleveland claims to want to attract and keep here. That said, I can also understand why a bike park may not immediately appear to be a high value/return for land use when compared with retail, housing or office use. However, there are spin-off benefits of amenities such as a bike park that may be overlooked unless they are seen as part of the big picture in Cleveland.  Take Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park that was mentioned in an earlier post: 

 

http://www.raysmtb.com

 

Ray’s is in the Walford Industrial Park in the West Boulevard area. Not only does the park have a solid local following and a supportive community of riders, but also since Ray’s opened in 2004, busloads of Canadians and other out-of-towners have been making their way to Cleveland specifically to spend their winter weekends riding at Ray’s.  In fact, last year over half the riders that came to Ray’s on the weekends were from outside the region. See some of their comments

http://www.thebikinghub.com/mtb/rays-indoor-mtb-park-feature/

 

I am not suggesting that a bike park in Midtown will result in the same number of out-of-town visits that Ray’s draws. But amenities such as Ray’s and bike trails in our parks are important enough to Clevelanders that they have donated thousands hours to advocate for, to design, to build, and to maintain these facilities.  Not only have they donated their professional expertise and time to Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, but also to the Cleveland Metroparks, where volunteers from the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) http://www.camba.us  are working in partnership with Cleveland Metroparks at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation to construct Cuyahoga County’s first multi-use trail designed for mountain biking.  In addition, events such as Walk and Roll Cleveland that highlight Rockefeller Park and the Cultural Gardens, the cycling-related activities planned for the Ingenuity Festival this summer, and the efforts of ClevelandBikes to develop a bike station downtown all contribute to making Cleveland a more attractive place to live and work.  And with increasing concerns over sedentary lifestyles and the lack of outdoor activities readily available to young people, a bike park in Midtown could prove to be not just a short-term option for an empty lot, but also a long- term asset for the community.  Is the proposed location the best one for the park?  Are there currently other viable options for that land?  I don’t know that answer.

 

And for the fixie rider wishing for a Velodrome - there is talk of getting that going here in Cleveland.  See the blog http://velodrome4c.blogspot.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good post. I think it'd help to see some sort of concept of what people are talking about. A destination facility is probably different than the dirt pit with bumps that some may be envisioning.

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3.gif

 

Thanks for the info mtnbiker and welcome to the forum. I live a couple of blocks from Rays and although I'm not the mountain biker type, I have turn on a few of my friends to the place.

 

I had to lookup Velodrome.

Now that I know what were talking about, I'm all in.

 

I will count this as another step toward my secret goal of getting the summer Olympics to Cleveland in time for the 100th anniversary of the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition.

 

Crap, no longer a secret.

 

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If it gets done (the bike park), it needs to be done in such a manner that its not actually built up onto euclid and is using mostly useless land near the tracks. For instance the southeast corner where all the police cars would work or the northwest corner tucked up near the tracks. Prime frontage land shouldnt be grenspace. Midtown has a master plan stick with it, not this dump the land manuver just because somebody will do something with it.

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Ray's looks awesome! I've never heard of it, and would have loved a place like that when I was a teenager and into BMX.

 

Ray's is real close to an area I cover for Sun. Since the reporter for the area Ray's is in is leaving Sun at the end of the month, I will see about doing an article about the place. We're trying to attract young readers to Sun, anyway!


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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welcome mtnbiker! 

 

Ray's looks awesome, but it doesn't look like what this development sounds like it's going to be.  This Euclid/E. 55th St. bike park is going to be outdoors.  What advantage then does it have over any other bike park anywhere else?  I'm all for more bike facililies- including all the others you have mentioned, even this sort of bike park in another location.  But unless it is considerably more than I am envisioning(I have to admit I'm still falling on the "dirt pile with bumps" side, as jamiec put it so eloquently), I can't yet see that it is appropriate for this location.  I know that development has lagged in this portion of Midtown, but isn't this what the Euclid Corridor is supposed to be helping along?  This would seem to be a prime spot for some BRT inspired TOD.

 

And I haven't even broached the topic of the historic buildings they are planning on demoing for this.

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Will they put red flame fences around this bike park like the skate park at Voinovich Park?  That would be really sweet... pfffff.

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My bad on 3 consecutive posts, but wouldn't this sort of thing go over alot better on Euclid Ave on CSU's campus?  The city needs to start overlapping uses to get a density of people together instead of continually spreading out amenities like this.  It would certainly make CSU a little more enticing to prospective students.

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My bad on 3 consecutive posts, but wouldn't this sort of thing go over alot better on Euclid Ave on CSU's campus?  The city needs to start overlapping uses to get a density of people together instead of continually spreading out amenities like this.  It would certainly make CSU a little more enticing to prospective students.

 

W 28 street, great point.  CSU or near League Park.

 

Has anyone contacted Midtown with their ideas?

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I agree the bike park is a terrible idea. Something like that would only do well in an area that already has other things to attract people. It is an amenity that can help reinforce an already successful area, but on its own, surrounded by empty lots, it won't have any pull. Why would anyone ride choose to ride their bike on this profoundly depressing site, scarred by a history of abandonment, disinvestment and demolition?

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I agree the bike park is a terrible idea. Something like that would only do well in an area that already has other things to attract people. It is an amenity that can help reinforce an already successful area, but on its own, surrounded by empty lots, it won't have any pull.

 

Ray's Indoor Mtn Bike Park has proven to be very successful in an area surrounded by empty warehouses.  Would an INDOOR mtn. bike park concept change your support of this proposal for E. 55th? 

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For myself, I'd be more apt to be supportive of an indoor facility, especially if it included a variety of related retail uses, like those mentioned earlier by 3231, at street level with exterior exits.  Even then, is there a market for two of these facilities so close to each other?  What is the advantage of locating this facility on such a potentially prominent piece of land?  Is it the highest and best use for the site?

 

I'm not saying I couldn't warm to the idea, but I'm not seeing it yet.

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My bad on 3 consecutive posts, but wouldn't this sort of thing go over alot better on Euclid Ave on CSU's campus?  The city needs to start overlapping uses to get a density of people together instead of continually spreading out amenities like this.  It would certainly make CSU a little more enticing to prospective students.

 

W 28 street, great point.  CSU or near League Park.

 

Has anyone contacted Midtown with their ideas?

 

CSU and League Park are not part of MidTown. And even if they were part of MidTown, I think League Park is in one of the shoddiest parts of Cleveland. I saw a car being "taken apart" across the street on W. 65th near Hough the other day and there was a 16-year old murdered there last August. Sadly, that's only a few blocks from the proposed site.

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My bad on 3 consecutive posts, but wouldn't this sort of thing go over alot better on Euclid Ave on CSU's campus?  The city needs to start overlapping uses to get a density of people together instead of continually spreading out amenities like this.  It would certainly make CSU a little more enticing to prospective students.

 

W 28 street, great point.  CSU or near League Park.

 

Has anyone contacted Midtown with their ideas?

 

You're joking about League Park, right?

 

No.  why would you think i'm joking?  why wouldn't a project like this work in that area?

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It sounds to me as if many people are objecting to the FORM this project will take as well as possible upkeep/maintenance issues. 

 

The recent development of the Skate(board)Plaza as a  replacement to the traditional skate park may have some relevance to the proposed Midtown mountain bike park.

The idea behind the development of a Skate Plaza is to create an enjoyable atmosphere for skating and hanging out that wouldn't be an eyesore to the rest of the community.  I've attached a photo of the first built Skate Plaza which is located in Kettering, OH.

 

 

 

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Closer to CSU might be nice, but where might that be? I dunno, it just does not sound like a bad idea. And whose to say the area won't improve. I'm slightly optimistic that the City will start luring business to that area. Either way, it would be nice to see some hearings or 'dog and pony' presentations from MidTown on why they chose that site.

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I think that if done correctly, the mtn bike park could be a big hit, and also receive a lot of positive national attention.  It would make sense to leave the streetside space open for future development.  Then things will start filling in.  Right now the area is shockingly blighted, and I see this idea as a pioneering attempt to bring people back there.

 

p.s. Does anybody actually know if they'll be tearing down any buildings? Has that even been mentioned as a possibility?

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Surfohio,

 

I'd say it's pretty strongly implied that demolition is a part of the plan.

 

more info on midtown mtn bike park:

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2007/03/midtown_ramps_up_plans_for_bik.html#comments

 

MidTown ramps up plans for bike park

Posted by Henry J. Gomez March 12, 2007 11:34AM

Categories: Breaking News, Economic development

 

MidTown Cleveland Inc. is peddling plans for a $1.1 million mountain-bike park near East 55th Street and Euclid Avenue.

An old, abandoned apartment and hotel building sits on the piece MidTown owns. "The city condemned it," Haviland said. "We tried to find developers to come in and redevelop it. But it's just too dilapidated and too far gone."

 

 

 

 

 

Also, if you listen to the last segment of the Meet the Bloggers conversation with Jim Haviland, you will hear more details about the proposed mtn. bike park.

 

 

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I say it's worth them pursuing it; private money, no one has expressed interest in demo ing and then developing, so why not do this and maybe more good stuff will follow; can't hurt to 'due diligence'

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Am I wrong in thinking this park would be in pretty close proximity to the Agora (having a hard time picturing the parcel)? Frankly, I don't think this is such a bad place for a bike park, given the lack of current investment in the area and its potential to highlight high visibility street use at multiple hours. Not to mention, I would think this would increase bicycle usage along Euclid ... it would be an additional node of bicycle activity on top of usage around downtown, Theatre District, CSU and University Circle. As has been mentioned by the guv and others, form will play a critical role in how the park is perceived. Personally, I'm excited to see the idea moving forward and thankful that such an amenity is being offered on the Near East side ... it seems that most quality-of-life investments right now are either taking place downtown or on the Near West Side.

 

Does anyone know whether there are additional bike lanes slated for this area, other than along Euclid. I can't recall the details of the infrastructure plan, except for bike lanes along St. Clair? It seems apt to have lanes along E. 55th between Euclid and St. Clair.

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Does anyone know whether there are additional bike lanes slated for this area, other than along Euclid. I can't recall the details of the infrastructure plan, except for bike lanes along St. Clair? It seems apt to have lanes along E. 55th between Euclid and St. Clair.

 

There are some neighborhood connector routes proposed.

You can checkout the whole plan here:

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/cwp/bike/cbmp0207.pdf

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Thanks Musky. I was actually referring to the capital improvements plan ... couldn't remember if anything had been allocated to bike lanes along E. 55th particularly. But there has ... $25,000 in 2009 for bike lanes from Euclid and E. 55th to the Lakefront and 55th (which in turn will connect directly to the Lakefront Bikeway). Personally, that sweetens this site for me ... with bike traffic coming from the north and east/west, this has the potential to be a very high visibility center of bicycle activity that may also benefit branding-wise from its history as an important transportation center ... yet another opportunity for Cleveland to show how we are building off of our history to create a truly livable city. IMHO, that's a pretty high-return use of land. 

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Whether people will actually use the bike park, however, is highly questionable. Certainly now, there's little to draw anyone there apart from its location halfway between University Circle and Downtown. Maybe when the ECP bike lanes are done, but again -- highly speculative. Knocking down historic buildings for such an unproven use seems wasteful to me. I might be convinced by some kind of market analysis, but even then, as others have noted, there is already an abundance of vacant land on Euclid, Superior, Payne, Carnegie, Chester, etc etc etc.

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Knocking down historic buildings for such an unproven use seems wasteful to me. I might be convinced by some kind of market analysis, but even then, as others have noted, there is already an abundance of vacant land on Euclid, Superior, Payne, Carnegie, Chester, etc etc etc.

 

Amen.

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Would it be impossible to turn some of those historic buildings into a bike or repair shop? (which would obviously compliment the park).  Perfect location with minimal renovations needed, plus an expected amount of business.   

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the buildings that are in question, I think, will require a large amount of renovation just to be habitable for any use.  That is the problem that Midtown is having.  But while I understand their frustration, it seems to me that they are looking to demo right when the market may be changing enough to justify major rehab because of things like the EC and the increased interest in development in Midtown and the area around CC.

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I'm leaning towards the negative side on the bike park for Midtown. To me it does seem like this would be a poor use of this particular site. A bike park might however be fantastic in the Flats somewhere in conjuction with the towpath trail. 

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ok.  I hear various view point.  but again, it looks as though this is going to happen.

 

So instead of listing reasons why this can't/won't/shouldn't work lets list reasons why this can/will/should work and list spinoff/ancillary business to further improve & support the park.

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^ The concept is weird to me. I'm a road biker, so I'm not so familiar with mountain biking. I thought mountain biking culture was all about the mountains like in Portland and Colorado. Are mountain bikers now bring their style of sport to urban areas like BMX and skateboarders?

 

The one thing that could make this cool, especially with how close it is to the Agora, is to sort of make it an alternative sports neighborhood. You could have the mountain biking park and maybe add-on parks for other related sports. Then the entire area could attract sport-related retailers, hotels, eateries and other businesses. The big issue is, the park HAS to be kick ass, otherwise it won't make a difference. They've got to create an environment that when people from around the country who like this sort of thing think Cleveland, they think of this park. In that regard, it can't be like the lil' baby parks popping up all over.

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"The one thing that could make this cool, especially with how close it is to the Agora, is to sort of make it an alternative sports neighborhood. You could have the mountain biking park and maybe add-on parks for other related sports. Then the entire area could attract sport-related retailers, hotels, eateries and other businesses. The big issue is, the park HAS to be kick ass, otherwise it won't make a difference. They've got to create an environment that when people from around the country who like this sort of thing think Cleveland, they think of this park. In that regard, it can't be like the lil' baby parks popping up all over."

 

 

Agreed 100 percent Jamiec!!!!

 

Done the right way, this could attract a ton of positive national attention.

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I just heard today that the city's next comprehensive plan, now being finalized, will recommend an urban farm at E. 59th-ish between Chester and Euclid. It's a large vacant parcel. It would be similar to what Boston does with urban farming -- a program where dozens of local youth are employed to maintain the farm and harvest and sell the food on site, with the surplus going to local food banks. I love this idea, as it would create a considerable number jobs in Midtown (unlike a bike park), and would use land that is already vacant, rather than tearing down what little remains of our architectural heritage in this corridor.

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another disappointment for midtown....cows, pigs, and chickens, corn????????????...i seen enough of those growing up working on farms in Ashtabula county....not in Midtown Cleveland...wtf is going on with these people. what we'll have John Deeres and Massey Fergusons rollin down the new euclid corridor?  these people hafta be playing some joke.

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