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Inter|Urban launches website, announces phase two of the "Art & Culture Connector" along Rapid line

Nearly a year after receiving a $150,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to create public art along the RTA red line between downtown and Public Square, LAND studio last week announced the launch of the INTER|URBAN website.
The site highlights each of the 18 INTER|URBAN art installations and profiles the local, national and international mural artists and photographers who created them. The site also explores the Anisfield-Wolf Award winning literature that inspired each artist. The 81-year-old award, administered by the Cleveland Foundation, recognizes books that tackle issues of racism, diversity, equity and social justice.
The project, a partnership between LAND studio, the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, RTA, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Anisfeld-Wolf Book Awards, originally came about in 2014 as a way to beautify the Rapid route for guests traveling from the airport to downtown for the Republican National Convention.
It quickly grew into something much more evocative. Sponsors asked the selected artists to add a relative cultural dimension to the works by responding to themes in the award-winning books they were given.
“We wanted to create a project that was not just murals, because a lot of cities are doing that,” explains Joe Lanzilotta, project manager for LAND studio. “The artists are directly responding to the literature, and it’s a perfect time right now for something like this.”
Lanzilotta says riding the RTA route, which is usually a passive experience, seemed to be the perfect forum to introduce issues about race and diversity. “It’s unconventional, but the perfect place to start a conversation about diversity,” he says. “Riders are introduced to these discussions in a place where they normally would not be.”
More than 300 artists submitted portfolios to LAND studios for the project.
Anisfield-Wolf scholars from CWRU helped choose the artists and pair each one with a book. “It was an interesting, very fun process to work with these scholars and it kind of worked out perfectly,” Lanzilotta says. “We knew right away when we sat down with them, we had something very unique.”
Eight of the 18 artists are from Northeast Ohio, while the rest hail from across the country and the globe, including Detroit, Austin, Texas, San Francisco and even South Africa. Cleveland native Fred Bidwell and mural expert Jasper Wong from Honolulu were hired to curate the project.
“We didn’t want the artist to take the book literally," says Lanzilotta, "we wanted them to interpret [their assigned works] – and take from their own experiences. We left if really open for them.”
This past June, all 18 artists descended upon the Rapid stops for one week, simultaneously creating their installments in time to welcome RNC visitors. The result is a series of distinctive works that add beauty to the Cleveland landscape and hopefully spark discussion.
“It celebrates our unique landscape and our unique approach to public art,” says Lanzilotta, noting how special the opportunity is. “We get a chance to start a discussion about social justice and equality. Each of us face these issues every day, whether it’s how we are viewed or how we view the world.”
The project was so successful, the organizations have already started to implement phase two – the expansion of INTER|URBAN along the eastern portion of the RTA red line, from downtown to University Circle. Phase two is scheduled to begin next summer.
LAND studio also produced a video, chronicling the first phase of INTER|URBAN.
However, the vision goes beyond a second phase. In the video, Lillian Kuri, program director for the Cleveland Foundation states that she would like this project expand to as many of 70 projects along the RTA system.

“You could ride any line and understand how powerful this is and how the creative community has risen to say we’re a community that cares about race, equity, inclusion,” she says. “And then over time as we evolve as a community we continue to tell that story so that in a few years the entire RTA system will actually be the world’s largest art gallery that is talking about how we have come together to deal with these issues.”
Lanzilotta adds that he would like to include more interactive facets in phase two such as performance artists and literature. “We really hope to engage riders,” he says, noting that this initial foray is a sort of trial or proof, with significant opportunity in the future. “This could be a project that occurs every year to highlight the rich, cultural diversity of the region,” he says.

“We want another layer of Cleveland’s arts and culture scene. We want people to travel here from all over to see this.”

Cavs' three-pointers grow into trees, partnerships

The Cleveland Cavaliers made 433 three-pointers during their home games during the regular season last year on its road to the NBA Championship.

While those points were planted in the hoop, they're soon to bloom green courtesy of the Trees for Threes program, which is a partnership program between the Cavs, PwC, Holden Arboretum, Davey Tree and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC).
Last Wednesday, Oct. 19, 60 of what will eventually total 433 trees were planted around the Great Lakes Science Center.  The group of volunteers included Cavs legend Campy Russell as well as other representatives of the Cavs, partner organizations and students and teachers from Cleveland Metropolitan School District MC2 STEM High School.
“It was a beautiful fall day,” says Emily Bacha, Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s director of communications and marketing. “We had over 100 corporate volunteers and 100 students there. Not only were there beautiful, robust trees planted, it will create a beautiful canopy in downtown.”
Davey Tree donated the trees, which consist of eight different varieties – ranging from Japanese tree lilacs and kousa dogwoods to maples, white oaks and elms.
Now in its second year, the Trees for Threes program helps restore Cleveland’s dwindling tree canopy.
“The City of Cleveland’s tree canopy stands at just 19 percent – only one quarter of the tree canopy we could see across our neighborhoods,” explains Bacha. “From intercepting rainwater to removing air pollution to providing essential wildlife habitat, trees are a critical part of our infrastructure.”
Bacha adds that trees also improve public health and reduce stress. “Cleveland can once again thrive as the Forest City, but it will take a true community effort to reforest our neighborhoods,” she says. The addition of the 433 trees will have a economic benefit of $1.56 million benefit over the next 40 years.
WRLC urban forestry and natural resources manager Colby Sattler and Holden Arboretum’s community forester Char Clink worked with the MC2 STEM students earlier this year on the importance of trees for a healthy ecosystem – educating them about storm water absorption, tree canopies and the oxygen they produce.
“It’s really exciting to bring this to the high school level and train future botanists and arborists,” says Bacha, who adds that Campy Russell took the time to interact with the students, even coaching some of them. “It was really great to see him interacting.”
On Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m., an additional 273 saplings will be distributed to guests who attend the screening of the film Tiny Giants at the Great Lakes Science Center’s new state-of-the-art digital theater. 
Next spring, 100 more trees will be distributed through WRLC’s Reforest Our City grant program. Fourteen organizations – many of them community development corporations – benefit from the program.

Business owner, city, county and state collaborate to bring oasis to Euclid food desert

Simon Hussain has found success in the grocery business by listening to what his customers want and need. “If customers need something and you don’t provide it, they stop coming,” he says.
Hussain opened his first Cleveland grocery in December 2003 and will soon open his third Simon’s Supermarket in Euclid’s Family Dollar Plaza, 25831 Euclid Ave. The store is located in a neighborhood considered to be a food desert, with limited access to healthy food in an area of dense poverty.
Hussain plans to offer fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy food at Simon’s Supermarket, as well as hire 50 full- and 10 part-time employees. While hosting an open house last month at the 27,000-square-foot store, Hussain invited residents to have a look around and provide feedback on what products they'd like to see lining the shelves.
Of the 90 residents who turned out for the event, 16 provided comments on a feedback form. Suggestions such as ”Keep fresh food and the store will make it in this area,” and “Make the prices of fruits and veggies more affordable for low income families and single parent families” guided Hussain’s decisions in creating an attractive shopping experience.
“It’s a very good location on a main avenue,” Hussain says. “People really want a supermarket around here.”
In 2012, the city of Euclid applied for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA), conducted through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) to assess the needs of a four-mile stretch of Euclid Avenue. The findings included a section on healthy food access - and the lack of it in this area. Other concerns included store security, employment opportunities and access to quality food options as a whole.
“Simon’s Supermarket is an opportunity to address health disparities in this neighborhood through increased access to healthy food, employment opportunities for local residents and by serving as an anchor business that may attract more businesses, jobs and investment,” says Roger Sikes, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Creating Healthy Communities program manager. “[The study] surveyed residents regarding their perceptions and priorities related to health, jobs and environmental concerns. Some of the main issues cited by residents was the need for a supermarket and jobs.”
Based on the findings, Hussain, the City of Euclid and the Creating Healthy Communities program teamed up to make the Simon’s Supermarket in Euclid a reality. Hussain received $250,000 from the Healthy Food for Ohio Program for in-store construction and equipment. Euclid’s Storefront Renovation Program provided $125,000 for external renovations and a parking lot upgrade.
“This example of collective support from local government, Euclid residents, the store owner, the County Board of Health and the Healthy Food for Ohio Program may also help to expand efforts to implement full service supermarkets in low-income communities across Cuyahoga County,” says Sikes.
In addition to the main floor, Hussain says there is an additional 13,000-square-foot space in the basement that's ideal for storage of dry goods.

Hussain plans to open in mid-November.

“It looks very nice, and it’s a decent size,” he says of his latest venture. “I’ve received very good feedback from the community. If you want to stay in the business, you have to have healthy food. People really want that. It’s the neighborhood store, so you have to have what they want.”

Seventy-nine new homes coming to the heart of Buckeye

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 19, the official groundbreaking on Legacy at St. Luke’s will mark the beginning of a new, revitalized Buckeye neighborhood. Zaremba Homes will build 79 homes at 11327 Shaker Blvd. on Britt Oval, near the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and E. 114th Street intersection.

Lisa Saffle, director of sales and marketing for Zaremba, says the company is happy to be working on another Cleveland residential development project. “We are very pleased and feel proud to be chosen as the builder on this project,” she says, adding that Zaremba is just completing work on the Woodhaven project in the Fairfax neighborhood. “This is what we do – redevelop neighborhoods, create walkable neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland.”

The new two- and three-bedroom homes and townhomes will range from 1,700 to 2,400 square feet and have two-car garages and available patio space. They will sit on well-lit, tree-lined and landscaped streets.
The houses will be a 50-50 mix of market rate, starting at $170,000, and affordable lease-purchase options. They are the restart of a housing construction plan that launched in 2004 with the construction of 22 new homes along E. 111th Street before the real estate market crash halted progress.
“The pause button was hit,” says Jeff Kipp, director of neighborhood marketing for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. “We think the time is right and the market is ready. This will complete the renovation of the St. Luke’s campus.”
“It is exciting to see this development continue in the Buckeye neighborhood,” adds Joel Ratner, president and CEO of Neighborhood Progress. “Started over a decade ago, it was envisioned to be a new construction, mixed-income community that would provide new residential opportunities in the neighborhood.”
The 22 homes that were built in 2004 are full occupied, says Kipp. “This was first really new -  market rate new - construction that was built in the last 30 years in the heart of Buckeye.”
The additional homes being built this year will only add to the neighborhood’s renaissance, Kipp says. “This is an effort to really strengthen the real estate market. There are lots of assets in this neighborhood, but when you haven’t seen new construction that market needs a pickup.”
Assets include proximity to the neighboring Intergenerational School, the recently developed Harvey Rice Elementary School, the Rice Branch of the Cleveland Public library, University Circle, Shaker Square and the Larchmere Arts and Antiques District.

The gem of the neighborhood will be Britt Oval, which will be preserved as a one-acre plot of greenspace. Neighborhood Progress received a $250,000 grant from the Ohio State Operating Budget to develop the land. Kipp says they will consult with residents to determine final plans for the oval.
Legacy at St. Luke’s is a cooperative effort between Neighborhood Progress and Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation, both of which owned the land and sold it to Zaremba. “Now, along with our partners, we are able to realize this vision and complete the redevelopment of the Saint Luke’s campus,” says Ratner.
Neighborhood Progress and Buckeye Shaker Development solicited residents’ input on what they wanted in the neighborhood. The result is housing that will appeal to working class families and young professionals alike, with a bit more space and a more modern design. “We’re balancing the iconic landmark structure of the hospital with modern design,” Kipp explains. “It's an opportunity to highlight the benefits of city living and another urban neighborhood that has proximity and assets.”
The homes offer views of the St. Luke’s building and proximity to the RTA 116th Street St. Luke’s Rapid stop, which is undergoing a $5 million renovation to be completed in spring 2018. The new homes will be eligible for tax abatement from the city of Cleveland and part of the Greater Circle Living incentive program for employees of Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Museum of Art and Judson at University Circle.

Saffle says Zaremba met with the architect to finalize floor plans and they hope to officially start construction in the spring. The company is already taking reservations for the homes.
Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson and Ohio senator Sandra Williams are expected to join the groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow at 11 a.m., as well as representatives from Neighborhood Progress, Buckeye Shaker Square Development and Zaremba.

Pinecrest moving forward with pedestrian-friendly complex that will employ 2,300

When the associated business swing open their doors in spring 2018, the Pinecrest mixed-use entertainment district at I-271 and 27349 Harvard Road in Orange Village truly will have something for everyone.
Officials unveiled additional details about the project’s newest tenants last Thursday during a ceremony that marked the end of preliminary site work and the beginning of construction on Fairmount Properties’ and the DiGeronimo Companies’ $230 million plan to make Pinecrest an east side destination to live, work, play and stay.
Calling it the "SUB-urban downtown of the East side,” Fairmount Properties principal Chris Salata said Thursday’s event was a good time to celebrate, noting that the project’s completion is only 18 months away. He says Pinecrest has been five to seven years in the works, involving the purchase and demolition of 31 homes on the 58-acre property.
“Functioning as a downtown, Pinecrest will be well represented with retail, office, high-end luxury apartments and a hotel,” says Salat. “The retail will be a combination of the best and new-to-market local, regional, national and entertainment retailers.”
Clearing, demolition and site work began on the property in 2015, while vertical construction on Pinecrest began in August.
New tenants announced last week include retailers Vineyard Vines, REI, West Elm, Allure Nail Spa, Columbus-based Vernacular, and Canton-based Laura of Pembroke. Salata said an Orangetheory Fitness center is also planned.
In January, Fresh Water reported on the forthcoming arrival of Silverspot Cinemas and Pinstripes bowling, bocce and Italian food. Whole Foods Market will build a 45,000-square-foot prototype store.
Dining options are chef-driven, mostly locally-owned restaurants, including Red, the Steakhouse, Flip Side burgers, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, City Works Eatery and Pour House, Fusian, Bipibop Asian grill and Restore Cold Pressed juice.
Rochester, N.Y.-based DelMonte Hotel Group announced in September that it will build a 145-bed AC by Marriott at Pinecrest.
“Given the quality of the tenant mix, we wanted to make sure that our hotel not only complemented but also enhanced the overall project,” says Alexander DelMonte, president of DelMonte Hotel Group. “The AC brand is a lifestyle brand with a focus on efficient and elegant design, the brand is new to Marriott and new to the United States and was, in our opinion, the only option for this development.”
Eighty-seven apartments will go in alongside the 400,000 square feet of retail space and 150,000 square feet of Class A office space. Salata reports there will be mostly one- and two- bedroom units, with a few three-bedroom apartments, all of which will have direct access to the 1,000-car parking garage.
Additional parking will be available on the street and lots, including a lot that will connect to the theater via a grand staircase and escalator. “No matter where you park, you can get to the main street, Park Avenue, in a couple of minutes,” says Salata.
The pedestrian-friendly layout of Pinecrest is just one of the factors that sets the district apart from its nearby competition, Legacy Village and Eton at Chagrin, says Salata. “Legacy has no residential, no theater and only a small amount of office space,” he explains. “Eton has some of that, but we are a true entertainment and lifestyle district around the clock.”
The complex includes plenty of greenspace, including a one-acre public plaza where people can gather, attend concerts and other entertainment or simply relax.
Independence Construction is the general contractor and construction manager for the project, which will create 200 construction jobs. Independence Excavating worked on the site development. Both companies are under the DiGeronimo Companies umbrella. Currently, the project is on-budget and on schedule for the 2018 completion.
When finished, Pinecrest will employ more than 2,300 people.
Salata says the timing for Pinecrest is perfect for a region on the rise. “It a great story for Cleveland,” he says, adding that many of the retailers are new to the Cleveland market. “It shows that the [national] retail community is ready for Cleveland.”

LAND studio issues wide regional call to artists for temporary public art in the 216

Anyone who has been out and about in Cleveland over the past months has no doubt spotted some of the colorful creatures scattered throughout the city.

The temporary public art installation, created by Cracking Art, brought here by LAND studio and a grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, is here through next spring.
But when the snails and turtles make their exits, a new batch of temporary public art will take its place. Last week, LAND studio issued a call for artists within a 350 mile radius of downtown Cleveland to submit applications for three to six additional public art installations throughout 2017 and 2018.
“Public art can be really experimental, but then if it works out it’s an idea for something on a more permanent bases,” says Vince Reddy, LAND studio’s project manager, adding that the Cracking Art for the most part received positive reactions. "We want people to think of Cleveland as a place to view public art."
The Fowler Family Foundation is also supporting this new public art endeavor, which will have installments in Public Square, Mall B, East 3rd Street between Superior and Rockwell Avenues or in nearby publicly accessible locations. Selected artists will have a $40,000 budget for their works, which will be displayed at various times between spring 2017 and the end of 2018.
Reddy says they opened the call for artists to a 350 mile radius in order to attract both local artists and artists from neighboring cities, such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and Columbus. “More than half of the public art we do is local,” he explains. “Outside artists must work from their impressions of Cleveland, and we want to find out about artists from our peer cities.”
Furthermore, Reddy says the larger field will introduce the city to new perspectives. “There are a lot of good artists with great ideas who don’t know how to express them,” he says. “This is an opportunity for some artists who may never have worked in public art.”
Rather than asking applicants to outline their ideas, Reddy says LAND studio is asking for qualifications and a one-page statement as to why they want to participate in the project. “We’re asking they not just submit ideas, just to submit their qualifications,” he explains. “We’re looking for people who have really thought about it. We’re asking how they would approach it. We’re hoping to get a big response.”
Interested artists should read the application requirements and submit their materials by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28.

Hatfield's settles into Kamm's Corners with more good grub at 'Pork N Bean'

For a little more than a year, Ken Hatfield has sold Clevelanders on his southern comfort food from his food truck, Hatfield’s Goode Grub, at Walnut Wednesdays and Food Truck Fridays. He also cruises corporate parks around town and offers catering.
Now Hatfield’s is about to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant and coffee shop: Hatfield’s Goode Grub: The Pork N Bean, at 16700 Lorain Ave. in Kamm’s Corners.
Hatfield had been preparing his food for the truck in a 700-square-foot commissary kitchen and is excited to move into the 3,000 square-foot restaurant. The new space has a six-door walk-in cooler, a kitchen hood, a stainless steel wash tub and an Ansul fire suppression system. 
“It’s a big jump,” Hatfield says of the expansion. The restaurant will serve Hatfield’s signature burgers and pulled pork sandwiches on picnic tables in the back, while customers will place their food and coffee drink orders in front in a café-style space with tables, chairs and a porch swing.
The walk in cooler will depict the same photo of the Hatfield family that adorns his truck. Ken is a descendant of the Hatfield family of the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud fame. “It’s going to be a fun, inventive place to be,” Hatfield says. “We’re trying to get the food truck experience in a restaurant.”
Originally from North Carolina, Hatfield spent four years as a chef on an international hospital ship and studied under executive chefs at the House of Blues and Hard Rock Café. Aboard Goode Grub, he's become known for creations such as the All-In Burger – a burger with bacon, pulled pork, caramelized onion, dill sauce, barbeque sauce and cheddar cheese.
“It’s Southern comfort fusion food,” Hatfield says of his cooking style, adding that he plans to expand his menu. “I’ve taken my southern heritage and flair, added some internationalized style to it and came up with some stuff people really like.”
Hatfield's newlywed wife, Jessica Hatfield, will oversee the coffee shop segment of the Pork N Bean. The coffee bar will use siphon brewers and specialize in cold-brewed coffees. Customers can cold brew their own coffees, in which they will get a large mason jar, coffee and any flavors they want. The jars will be kept on shelving behind the counter.
Hatfield is building the interior himself using reclaimed barn wood. He's aiming for a family friendly atmosphere. “I think we’ll be a really good fit in the neighborhood,” he says.
Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation (KCDC) assisted Hatfield with city permits, securing signage through Cleveland’s Storefront Renovation Program, and helped negotiate a spot for the Goode Grub truck at the U-Haul Moving and Storage across the street.
“We saw the attraction of having Hatfield’s in the neighborhood,” says KCDC executive director Steve Lorenz. “Right away we tried to lend a hand.”
Fans can still catch Hatfield's food truck around town and for catering events. The Kamm’s Corners restaurant is scheduled to open on Monday, Oct. 31 with a “Hillbilly Halloween.” The truck will be parked out front and a hillbilly costume contest will run from 6 to 9 p.m.

Some saucy brew - and pizza - coming to Hingetown

After a myriad of minor delays, construction on Saucy Brew Works is scheduled to begin tomorrow in the old Steelman Building at 2885 Detroit Ave. in Hingetown.

Owner Brent Zimmerman returns today from Obing, Germany, where he spent last week touring brewing equipment manufacturer BrauKon and inspecting his new brewing system.

“It’s very efficient, very technologically savvy,” says Zimmerman of his new system. “It’s the cutting edge of savviness. It’s a Ferrari, it’s very well-crafted.” He adds that the system is energy-efficient and saves water.
Zimmerman bought the Steelman Building earlier this year with the plan of renovating the building and developing 11,000 square feet on the ground floor and a 1,200-square-foot mezzanine into Saucy Brew Works – a brewery and a pizza kitchen. One other tenant occupies 2,200 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot building.
Zimmerman and director of brewing operations Eric Anderson plan to keep the industrial feel of the former warehouse and factory for water treatment facility parts while giving the space an updated look. In fact, Zimmerman says they will incorporate many of the cranes that remain in the space into the design.
“Our taps will come out of one of the cranes and cranes will hold up the televisions,” he explains. “We’re keeping the building true to itself, but we’re cleaning it up and making it usable.”
Cleveland architectural firm Vocon created the design, while Sandusky-based Zimmerman Remodeling and Construction will manage the build. Hans Noble Design will create a custom interior using steel fabrication and reclaimed materials.
“Han Noble will create all that stuff from scratch right here in our own hometown,” says Zimmerman.
On the exterior, all the currently blacked out, frosted glass windows on the building will be replaced with clear glass, then painted to mimic the old look, creating an all-glass front to the building. “It will look and feel similar, except with nice windows,” Zimmerman explains. “And there will be an open air patio on the corner.”
While the BrauKon system can brew up to 30,000 barrels in a year, Zimmerman says the plan is to brew about 3,000 barrels in the 15 tanks for his first year. While he won’t reveal the exact names or types of beer Saucy will offer, he'll have up to 14 beers on tap.
“Eric has made more than 60 types of beers and that doesn’t even come close to what we plan to do,” he says. “Obviously, we’ll have an IPA and a Kolsh. Ten to 12 taps will always be ours, and we will probably have six [varieties] always on tap. Then we will have two to four guest taps.”
The pizza kitchen will serve up New Haven style pizza – a popular saucy, thin crust style of pizza hailing from Connecticut. “There’s lots of sauce up to the very edge of the crust,” explains Zimmerman, noting the eatery’s saucy name. “You pick your toppings, which will be as fresh as you can get for the season.”
Customers will build and order their pizzas at the counter, and will be notified when their orders are ready. There will also  be an exterior walk-up pizza window for pedestrians to order a slice to go.
While the ordering is self-serve, Zimmerman says he plans on offering a unique and lucrative employment package to his staff. Employees will receive above-average wages as well as stock options, education reimbursement and health benefits.
“We’re trying to create a certain culture with less turnover,” he says. “We want to create some stability through six or seven things you don’t see in this business.”

Saucy Brew Works will also team with Breakthrough Schools to raise money for quality education for all children in Cleveland. Zimmerman plans to hold a naming contest with the Breakthrough staff for one of his brews. The winning named beer will always be on tap and $1 from each sale will go to Breakthrough.
“Education is very fundamental to the success of Cleveland,” says Zimmerman. “We want to educate people who otherwise [might not] have that opportunity – educate people and get them to return to Cleveland.”
Additionally, Zimmerman plans to partner with a yet-to-be-determined non-profit water and sewer treatment company to promote Lake Erie’s resource and water conservation.
“The Great Lakes and water are very important to us,” he says. “We are heavily focused on the environment because brewing takes a lot of energy and water is so important to beer. The water in Cleveland is fantastic and we’re very lucky to have that sort of resource. We want to be good neighbors.”
Saucy Brew Works is scheduled to open in early 2017.

From West Africa to West Boulevard: an artist's journey

Born in Accra, Ghana, West African artist Harry Larweh uses African mahogany and Rosewood for his craft. He reimagines the beautiful wood into meticulously carved tables, wall hangings, chairs and both small and enormous works of art. Touring the vast inventory throughout his garage and backyard workshop in his West Boulevard neighborhood home, Larweh explains a simple premise for his artistic process, “All these creations, I see the wood and I just start creating.”
Young and with a passion to travel, Larweh moved from Ghana to Holland where he met his wife. In Holland, Larweh continued to explore his love of woodworking. Visits to antiques shops and galleries reaffirmed a passion that he'd nurtured his entire life.

“I didn't realize when I started, I just grew up doing it,” Larweh notes of his journey into the arts. After a decade in Holland, Larweh returned to Ghana and then finally made the move to Cleveland to be with his wife, who had moved to Ohio to be closer to family.
Most of Larweh's family still remains in Ghana, and his passion for his homeland is apparent. “I am a self taught artist," he says. "I have very good people back home.” After an eight-week visit earlier this year, Larweh arranged to have a freight container full of Mahogany planks shipped to the United States. “It is difficult and expensive”, he describes of the delivery.

The move was enabled in part by the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), and allows him to use materials from his homeland, keeping him focused and excited to create. ECDI relationship manager Rebecca Mayhew, who worked directly with Larweh, explains, “I love Harry's work. It is just marvelous, that here we are in Cleveland, and we have an artist carving this amazing African mahogany furniture...Not everyone is in the position for a bank loan, and that is why ECDI is so important. We help the individual start a business or continue their business with our loans.”

ECDI, a statewide SBA lender, started in Columbus in 2004 before expanding to Cleveland in July 2012 and Akron in November 2014. Since 2004, ECDI has benefited local communities with small business loans throughout the state of Ohio, and assisted over 8,500 individuals - people like Larweh.

Not only does ECDI provide loans to small business owners, but they also provide contact and network information to the clients. Mayhew continues, “We are hoping to connect him (Larweh) to the appropriate contacts so he can find potential markets for the raw wood planks and his art.”
Even with the assistance, Larweh says it can be difficult to find a niche and earn enough to make a living in the art community, but he has found an audience. “I do things differently, I just create … I am finding people who are admiring a lot.” As Larweh explains, however, making a living as an artist is a challenge of its own, “It is early. As for the art, I knew it wouldn't be something that would be selling just like that.” He soldiers on nonetheless, continuing to design his own pieces and looking forward to providing high quality materials to his fellow artisans.
Larweh's work is available for sale on etsy.

Presentation to highlight unique history behind Lee-Harvard neighborhood

As Cleveland’s eastern suburbs were just beginning to establish themselves in the 1920s, Cleveland’s Lee-Harvard neighborhood, bordering Shaker Heights, Warrensville Heights and Maple Heights on the the city’s south east side, was thriving in its own right.
The Lee-Harvard neighborhood, once known as Miles Heights Village and the Lee-Seville neighborhoods, was historically an integrated community of notable firsts. Ohio’s first African-American mayor, Arthur Johnston was elected in 1929 when the neighborhood was mostly white. His house on East 147th Street still stands today.
The neighborhood established many of the first citizen's councils and neighborhood associations in the region and had an interracial police force.
On Thursday, October 6, the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS), along with Cleveland Ward 1 councilman Terrell Pruitt, the Harvard Community Services Center and CSU’s Maxine Levin Goodman College of Urban Affairs, will present “Cleveland’s Suburb in the City: The Development and Growth of Lee-Harvard.”
The free discussion will be led by Todd Michney, assistant professor at the University of Toledo and author of Changing Neighborhoods: Black Upward Mobility in Cleveland, 1900-1980.
“We at CRS have been so impressed with the neighborhoods of Ward 1, Lee-Harvard and Lee-Seville,” says Michael Fleenor, CRS director of preservation services, "because they reflect our recent history – Cleveland’s last expansion, progress in Civil Rights, and the growth of neighborhood associations and community development corporations in the late 20th Century."

Click here for photos and to continue reading about the fascinating history of this stalwart Cleveland neighborthood.


Update: Heights High renovations on track, clock tower unveiling imminent

Halfway through the renovations at Cleveland Heights High School, the $95 million project is on budget and on schedule to open in time for the 2017-2018 school year.
“It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done,” says Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District project liaison Brad Callender. “There’s been a real effort by the district to preserve the architectural elements of the building.”
The high school was built in 1926 to accommodate a growing student population and was designed in the style of a Tudor castle, with a clock tower, high column and a large center entrance, according to Cleveland Historical.
The building underwent several changes over the last 90 years, but failed to keep up with modern-day technology and amenities. “It had multiple additions, multiple renovations until the 1970s – at least six major additions – and that doesn’t count all the small stuff,” says Callender.
So in a plan that came about after 10 years of planning, plenty of community input and the 2013 passage of a $134 million bond, the district began a major overhaul in June 2015.
“Construction began the day after the students moved out,” recalls Callender. “We’re on a tight deadline to get everything done by move-in by the start of school in 2017.”
The high school students are currently housed in the district’s Wiley Middle School, both in the building and in modular classrooms on the campus. About 1,500 students will attend the new high school when it reopens.
With less than a year until completion, officials, teachers and students are already getting excited. “Anticipation is starting to build even now,” Callender says. “This year’s juniors are already seeing themselves as the first graduating class from the new building, and the teachers are very excited about having technologically advanced classrooms.”
By “technologically advanced,” Callender is referring to classrooms outfitted with the latest in multi-media equipment such as interactive smart boards. “Classroom technology has evolved in the last 10 years and students are comfortable with multi-media,” Callender explains. “They will be able to take field trips without ever leaving the classroom. Kids can walk up to the smart board and manipulate things themselves.”
With the additions over the years, Callender likens the old high school layout to a sort of labyrinth. Originally designed in a U-shape, various additions had closed off the center courtyard and divided up the approximately 450,000-square-foot building. Although the new building preserves much of the original structure, it will be only 360,000 square feet.
“It’s a significant decrease, but a lot of the old space was cut up and like walking through a maze,” Callender explains. “This is going to be a building that is significantly more efficient than the old one.”
The clock tower – the building’s centerpiece and towering more than 90 feet over the city – has been rebuilt from top to bottom, Callender says, and  the original patina copper topper has been replaced with a new copper top. “The decision was made by the community to make it copper again,” he says. “We will let it patina naturally.”
The clock itself, which hasn’t worked for years, has been replaced. “It didn’t work because it was technologically outdated,” explains Callender. “The new one is an exact likeness to 1925-1926 pictures and the exact details are duplicated.”
Callender adds that the view from the clock tower is “amazing,” which is accessible in order to service the clock in earlier times. The new clock won’t require such maintenance.
The scaffolding that surrounds the rebuilt tower is due to come off in the next two weeks. “It will be a great day when they peel off the scaffolding on the clock tower,” he says. “We will all breathe a collective sigh of relief.”
The main entrance of the school, which was covered by a science addition built in the 1960s, is now visible, returning the building to its original castle-like grandeur from Cedar Road.

A hybrid geothermal system, solar-ready roof and energy-efficient windows will earn Heights High LEED Silver certification, going from the bottom 10 percent for energy efficiency among peer buildings in the region to the top five percent.
Among the many community workgroups involved in the project, 12 Heights High students are exploring career paths in architecture and architecture design while participating in the renovation. “The construction manager has involved the students from the very beginning,” Callender says.
The renovation design was done by Youngstown-based BSHM Architects and Gilbane Building Company is the construction manager.
When it is completed next August, Callender is confident the school will once again be a focal point in Cleveland Heights. “We’re preserving the architecture with modern amenities,” he says. “It says strong things about this community. You see all of these homes and the school fits right in in the middle of the neighborhood. It’s going to look a lot like it did in 1926.”
Additionally, Callender sees the new high school as a symbol of Cleveland Heights pride. “It’s going to be the centerpiece of the community and I truly think the building reflects the values and dedication of the community to education,” he says. “And the students (they won’t say it) will truly appreciate it.”

Historic century building in Old Brooklyn soon to house artisanal cheese shop

After spending 16 years in London as a chef, Michael Januska decided it was time to come home. He grew up in Avon Lake, and his family still lives in the area, so he settled in Old Brooklyn.

“The cost of living in Central London is one of the highest in the world,” he says of his overseas home. “My two younger sisters are having kids and I decided it was the rat race or quality of life.”
Januska discovered the art of making cheese while living abroad and decided Old Brooklyn would embrace a quality cheese shop. By the end of October, Januska will open the doors to Old Brooklyn Cheese Company, 4138 Pearl Road.
“Cheese is simple, but it’s still complex,” Januska says. “I love using only milk and one or two other ingredients and making something quite exquisite and unique.”
Januska turned to the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) for assistance in finding the perfect space for making his cheese and serving his customers. Eventually, he secured a 1,200-square-foot storefront in the historic 1895 Krather building in Old Brooklyn’s Design Review District.
Januska was particularly attracted to the glass front and 15-foot ceilings. He got a loan to help with financing the shop and started plans to open. “The support from the City of Cleveland and Old Brooklyn has been amazing,” he says.
The feeling is mutual from OBCDC. “For us, Old Brooklyn Cheese Company is the kind of business we know residents want to see in the neighborhood, so it is important to us that [local businesses] feel well-supported and connected to the assistance they need so that they can focus on running a thriving business,” says Rosemary Mudry, OBCDC director of economic development, adding that they were able to connect Januska with small business support services and low-interest financing to establish the company.
“By building great relationships with entrepreneurs in the community, we are excited to continue to attract new business to the neighborhood that meets the needs of residents and provide additional amenities so that Old Brooklyn continues to be a neighborhood of choice in the City of Cleveland.”
As one of only two licensed artisanal cheese makers in Cuyahoga County, Januska will offer an assortment of his cheeses after they have been aged properly for at least 60 days –sometime in December – as well as from Ohio cheesemakers and artisanal cheeses from around the country and world. His first cheese will be an aged Gouda, available in December.
In the basement, Januska is building a 14- by 12-foot aging cave, where he will age his hard and alpine cheeses. He has room to build up to five caves, each for different types of cheeses requiring different humidity levels for aging.
“When I’m done with that one, I will build another one for stinky and soft cheeses,” he says.
Furthermore, Januska is one of only a handful of cheesemakers in the country who ages cheese for other cheesemakers. “It gives them control because the quality is still there,” he explains. “Once it’s vacuum packed and sealed for distribution, the flavor is choked out. I’ve got commitments from other cheesemakers in Ohio, Maine and San Francisco to age their cheese.”
Januska is perhaps most excited about his twist on cloth-banded cheddar – an English technique in which the cheese is wrapped in a cloth dipped in butter or lard before aging. His cloth-banded cheddar will be aged with bacon fat.
“I call it the Old Brooklyn version,” he quips. The cloth-banded cheddar will be aged for 12 months before it’s ready for sampling.
The shop will feature deli-style glass display cases for the cheeses, which will include an assortment of Januska’s cheeses organized by type – washed, or “stinky;” fresh;  soft; semi-hard to hard; alpines; and blues.
At the front of the shop will be two big commercial tables where customers can sit down and sample cheeses, as well as Ohio honeys, bread from Blackbird Baking Company, almonds, dried fruit and locally cured meats.
Patrons can choose three to five cheeses from a selection of 15. The experience will serve as a chance to try some new varieties before buying while also socializing with friends.
“It’s a happy place to go in because no one goes in angry to a cheese shop,” Januska says. “If they’ve never heard of this and taste it and say ‘hey, I like that,’ or if they say ‘I don’t like it, it’s too funky or salty,’ they can try something else.”
Januska says he's thinking of installing a back patio next spring.
Even if customers know exactly what they want, Januska wants Old Brooklyn Cheese Company to be a welcoming place. “It’s a nice, relaxed place to enjoy your cheese with a friend and just relax,” he says. “The tables are casual where everyone can have their cheese and gets to talk and share.”

Euclid Brewing Company settles in as local gathering spot, launches "Tap Talks"

Doug Fry spent the past 20 years working in corporate America as a chemist. Last year, he got tired of the rat race and decided to take a risk as an entrepreneur.

“I worked for 20 years for four different companies,” Fry recalls. “At some point, every one [of the companies] had been sold and gone through changes and layoffs. I talked to my brother and my daughter and her husband, who own their own companies, and they said the only kind of job security is in entrepreneurship.”
A home brewer by hobby, Fry and his wife, Kim, decided to open Euclid Brewing Company, 21950 Lake Shore Blvd. This past April 30 the Frys opened the doors to a 1,000-square-foot bar with a 200-square-foot tap room that houses three two-barrel fermenters and one 15-gallon fermenter that produce about 23 kegs per brewing cycle.
Fry’s brewing business model is based on what he and Kim witnessed in their travels to Germany. “In Germany every little town has their own beer,” he explains. “Those are the places we seek out when we travel. We’re not going to bottle or can our beer, or distribute.”
Euclid Brewing Company has six taps that will have some regular brews, like its Moss Point pale ale or Isosceles IPA. “Because I like pale ales and IPAs we probably will always have that on tap,” says Fry, “because it’s my brewery and I’m selfish.”
Other selections include a Hoppy Wheat, G.D.G.B. amber, Session Saison and Sims Beach Blonde, as well as seasonal brews. Fry will release a pumpkin ale this week, followed by an Oktoberfest and some kind of holiday ale.
The entire brewing system is displayed behind the bar. “If you’re tall enough you could reach across and touch it,” says Fry of the close proximity in a bar that has a 30-person maximum occupancy. “We wanted everything to be in plain view. It’s like a sculpture.”
While Fry doesn’t serve food, he keeps menus from the nearby Beach Club BistroParagon, and Great Scott Tavern to order take-out, or patrons are welcome to bring their own food into the bar. Great Scott just began serving its first keg of Euclid Brewing’s Sims Beach blonde on tap.
Fry got a lot of help from the city of Euclid to open the brewery. “Euclid had never had a brewery open within city limits before, so opening the business was a new experience for them as well,” he recalls, adding that Jonathan Holody, Euclid director of department planning helped Fry find the location and with regulatory concerns, while other city officials kept the Frys informed of Euclid’s storefront renovation program and helped with other regulatory hurdles.
Councilperson Charlene Mancuso also helped with communications. “She and I discussed starting a concierge service at city hall that could help parties with no small-business experience - like Kim and me - work with the city to accelerate the process from conception to opening,” Fry recalls.
In the nearly six months since Euclid Brewing opened it has become known as a place for locals to gather for good beer and conversation. Fry says he and Kim have made many new friends and enjoy the fact that the bar is only a quarter-mile from their Euclid home.
“People come in as strangers, sit at the bar and we have all kinds of discussions,” says Fry. “And then they leave as friends.”
That’s exactly how Fry wants it. “We have a television, but it doesn’t work very well so people are forced to talk to each other,” he explains. “This is a place to discuss ideas and that’s been a real benefit. I’ve met some nice people.”  
In keeping with that neighborhood bar feel, Fry is introducing Tap Talks on Thursday, Oct. 6 – a weekly short lecture series on poetry, policy, history and science. The series runs throughout October and is open to all ages. Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. The first speaker is poet Dan Rourke, who will read from his book Catch Me.
If the series is successful, Fry says they are considering hosting Tap Talks twice a year.

Being there: MOCA's fall exhibits ignite all senses

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) reopened its doors last Friday after a short hiatus following the wildly successful Myopia exhibit. While completely different in tone from the Mark Mothersbaugh show, the new installations reflect a unique and unexpected study in contrast that stimulates every sense.
Visitors are well advised to start at the top, as it were, in MOCA's fourth floor galleries, wherein Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists unfurls. The contents are aptly described by the title – these are carpets, which sounds mundane at first blush. The content is anything but, with lush and gorgeous images that are beautifully served by the textile medium.
A sampling of the 30 works: Faig Ahmed's Oiling (2012) literally melts the concept of a traditional middleeastern rug design while Deep Purple, Red Shoes (Polly Apfelbaum, 2015), invites visitors to walk upon it, provided they remove their shoes. Nautilus shells notwithstanding, Infinite Carpet (Pierre Bismuth, 2008) recalls the golden rectangle. And speaking of arithmetic, Joseph Kosuth's L.W. (Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics), 2015, will have viewers indeed believing that "2 + 2 + 2 are 4."
Traveling to the next component of the 2016 show sounds benign enough, but – as regular visitors have come to expect – MOCA's Stair A refracts the experience. While attendees navigate the twisting stairs, Anthony Discenza's audio installation A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats advises them thusly:
"Think Suicide Girls meets the Pillsbury Dough Boy."
"Think Baywatch meets the Cuban Missile Crisis."
"Think Jersey Shore meets Stephen King."
The deep resonant voice, which is fitting of any voice-over John Q. Public is fed by media sources at every turn, is so convincing, attendees may indeed be inclined to plop down and listen to every suggestion within the 23-minute installation.
"Think art deco meets Jurassic Park."

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New business set to bloom in Ohio City

Sisters Brianna Jones and Brooke Witt believe in signs. So when they realized three months ago that each one had been thinking about starting a business, they took it as a sign they should open a flower shop in Ohio City.

“We each kind of had a very similar idea very separate from each other, unknowingly at the time,” recalls Jones. “All the signs pointed to ‘yes.’ We both believe in signs and everything fell into place.”
Floral design just made sense. Witt is an avid gardener, and graphic designer who owns the Etsy shop Near and Dear Designs. Jones, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, attended art school and the Floral Design Institute.
“Since we both love to design, love pretty things, and love bringing joy to people, flowers seemed like the obvious choice,” says Jones.
So Jones and Witt started Lush & Lovely Floristry, a company specializing in hand-tied flower arrangements. The plan was to do it all from their homes – Jones’ in Cleveland Heights and Witt’s in Broadview Heights – when another sign appeared.
The two discovered a former gym for rent at 3408 Bridge Ave. in Ohio City. “When we started out, we weren’t planning on having a storefront,” Jones says. “But we were both looking on Craigslist and found it. We peeked in the windows and we were like, ‘oh my goodness.’ We came to look at it and it was amazing.”
Lush & Lovely will open Saturday, Oct. 1, in its new home. The duo is funding the business with their own savings. Witt says the airy 850-square-foot space allows for a “working studio” where they can make their arrangements. The floristry will also conduct flower arranging classes, floral design workshops and private events for things such as bridal showers, singles parties and mother-daughter outings.
“There will be flowers everywhere,” says Witt. “We want to make flower arranging trendy, fun and exciting.”
All of Lush & Lovely’s blooms will be seasonal American grown flowers. Witt and Jones will also use Ohio flower farms whenever possible. “There has been a 70 percent decrease in American flower farms,” explains Witt. “Eighty percent of flowers are shipped in from South America today.”
The sisters plan to buy from farms in Medina and Chardon when stock is available. “Everything is grown and cut from the field within a day or two,” says Jones.
Customers can buy arrangements and bouquets at the store, or Witt and Jones plan on having daily delivery to the greater Cleveland area, weekly delivery throughout Cuyahoga County and overnight shipping anywhere in the United States.
Jones and Witt have already formed partnerships with their Ohio City neighbors and plan on co-hosting events with other neighborhood businesses. “They’re very excited to include us,” Jones says of their neighboring retailers. “It’s very community oriented here.”
Lush & Lovely will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 4 to 9 p.m.to introduce themselves to the community.
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