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Uptown Saturday Nights: live music to jazz eight venues for seven-week series

University Circle has historically been known as a cultural and music mecca, from the museums and educational institutions to music and family fun at Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) and entertainment at nearby bars and restaurants.

Now Uptown is moving to establish itself as Cleveland’s live music neighborhood.
 
To that end, University Circle, Inc., Case Western Reserve University and Roots of American Music (ROAM), along with eight neighborhood bars and eateries, have collaborated to launch Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights.
 
The seven-week concert series will celebrate the roots of American music – blues, jazz, gospel, hip hop, traditional country, folk, Americana, bluegrass and zydeco, among others – performed by local musicians across multiple Uptown District venues within walking distance of one another.
 
All shows are free and open to the public, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation. University Circle president Chris Ronayne says the foundation has been generous to University Circle.
 
“They’re really focused on the human capacity side of redevelopment,” Ronayne explains. “Over the last decade the Cleveland Foundation has helped us immensely with attention to design, transportation, transit, local jobs and housing.”
 
The idea for Uptown Saturday Nights stemmed from ROAM founder and artistic director Kevin T. Richards and Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern owner Sean Watterson. The two wanted to bring more attention to the music scene in and around Uptown.
 
Richards notes that University Circle is often associated with its cultural attractions, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music and the Music Settlement, but sometimes the neighborhood is forgotten for quality live music from more local artists and venues.
 
“The big idea was we don’t get much of a public face to our public performances,” Richards explains. “We saw this as an opportunity to market ourselves and make people aware of the free music.” He and Watterson subsequently launched free weekly bluegrass sessions last November at the Happy Dog.
 
At the same time, Ronayne noticed the popularity of WOW, which came on the heels of the wildly successful annual Parade the Circle, but WOW ends in August. “What we learned from the crowd is people want the music to go on,” he says of the 11th WOW season. “They don’t want it to end with the end of summer.”
 
Uptown Saturday Nights kicks off this Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. Nine bands and a deejay will play at eight different venues. See the schedule below for a full list of bands, venues and times.
 
Ronayne says this newest concert series simply is carrying on a tradition. “Historically, University Circle has been a live music neighborhood with places like Club Isabella and the Boarding House,” he says. “Carnegie, Euclid, Cedar are live music neighborhoods and it’s bubbling up again.”
 
He continues: “Cleveland’s on a roll right now,” he says, adding that maintaining that momentum is critical. “If we want to be a music city, we have to keep building on that. We have to keep it going.”
 
The series will be introduced on Friday, Aug. 26 with additional events in Toby’s Plaza on the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road, with EucFest, a block party with live music, outdoor bowling and corn hole by Corner Alley Uptown, food and a beer and wine garden. MOCA Cleveland will host a free LOADED Concert with the bands Form a Log, Fake Species, and Hiram Maxim at 8 p.m., as well as the fun, funky and free BOUND zine and art fair. For those who haven't seen the dazzling Myopia exhibit from Devo founder Mark Mothersbaugh, a reduced $5 admission will get them into those galleries as well as programming associated with BOUND all weekend. Uptown will also be the destination for Cleveland Critical Mass’ August Ride.
 
Uptown RootsFest, through support from the Cleveland Foundation and No Depression magazine, will cap off the Uptown Saturday Nights on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15. That event will feature local and national bands, food and family activities at Toby’s Plaza and at Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern.

Musical Lineup for Uptown Saturday Nights, August 27

- Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern, 11625 Euclid Ave.
Matt Monta & the Haymakers, 9 p.m., Americana
 
Rebekah Jean, 10:30 p.m., Americana
 
- Coquette Patisserie, 11607 Euclid Ave.
Eric Seddon Duo, 7 p.m., Early American Jazz
 
- Roots Garden, Outdoors at 11460 Euclid Ave.
Down the Road, Appalachian String Band
 
- ABC Uptown, 11434 Uptown Ave.
Lost Bob & the Ozone Ramblers, 7 p.m., Bluegrass
 
- The Corner Alley at Uptown, 11409 Euclid Ave.
FlipSide, 8 p.m., Americana
 
- Ninja City, 11311 Euclid Ave.
DJ Knyce
 
- Barking Spider, 11310 Juniper Road
Erin Nicole Neal & the Chill Factor, 8 p.m., Blues/Soul/Rock
 
Tom Shaper, 10 p.m., Roots Guitar
 
- Trentina, 1903 Ford Drive
George Foley, 7 p.m., Early Jazz Piano

Six freelance friends transform former church space, launch Clockwork 9

After working as freelancers and small business entrepreneurs in graphic design, marketing and video production, a group of friends looked up last year and mused, “hey, what if we pool our talents and open our own company?”

That’s exactly what Chris Brown, Andrew Spirk, Eric Way, Adam Huffman, Nicholas Roth, and Dave Pelosi did when they merged their practices to open Clockwork 9 Studios in an old church office at 14305 Madison Ave. in Lakewood last month.
 
The group had worked together in various ways over the past six years, during which they had each expressed an interest in working together more regularly.
 
“One day the stars aligned and fate decided for us,” says Brown. “It wasn't a split second decision but rather a unique opportunity that we all saw as clear as day at the same time. When something like that happens, you don't ignore it. We embraced it and once we laid out our plans, we put everything in motion.”

The six-man company describes itself as “visual marketing redefined,” offering video production services to marketing and everything in between for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike, with unique marketing plans for each client. “We want to do something that’s never been done,” says Brown of their approach. “We want to create the wheel, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
 
He continues: “We wanted to provide a place where if you wanted to, you could create a concept and see it through all the way to production,” says the marketing expert. “We offer everything [clients] need, from branding to commercials.”
 
But before Clockwork 9 could open its doors, there was a bit of work to do on the 3,000-square-foot space. The 1,500 square feet on the first floor had 20-year old commercial carpeting and laminate tile in the kitchen. The space required outlets and proper office space.
 
Instead of hiring contractors to do the work, the team decided to do it themselves. They read books and watched YouTube videos on how to create the space they wanted while also focusing on the environment.
 
Clockwork 9’s new floors are reclaimed wood pallets found on Craigslist and through local businesses. The group cut, installed, sanded and stained the slats themselves. They fashioned the desks from reclaimed wood as well. A fresh coat of paint and a hand drawn logo rounded it all out.
 
“We were using those beautiful resources that were available,” says Brown. “It was a six-week process to do the whole studio. We’re really trying to create an environment that thinks outside the box.”
 
The team transformed the 1,500-square-foot basement into a storage and hangout area, complete with darts, air hockey, a projector and ping pong.
 
Business has been great so far, reports Brown, and Clockwork 9 is forming lasting relationships with clients, including Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, Ridgid and Coppertop Pub.

“Our goal isn't to do a project once with the client,” he says. “Our goal is for a client to continuously use us for all of their needs. To date we have had three major video projects and many small projects.”
 

Bridging the racial divide through art

The Campus District is a divided segment of Cleveland. It is divided by race. It is divided by income. And, since the 1950s, it is an area divided by Interstate 90 and the E. 22nd Street Bridge.

To the north are Cleveland State University and Downtown, full up with a diverse mix of students and business. The Central neighborhood on the southern end is predominantly African American and home to some of the country’s oldest, and once densest, public housing.
 
Like many Cleveland neighborhoods, the construction of highways segmented the communities, creating access to the rest of the region while simultaneously cutting some neighborhoods off. The Central neighborhood is one such example.
 
A group of people who live, work and go to school on either side of the E. 22nd Street bridge have come together to talk about issues of race and prejudice through a collective public art project called A Bridge that Bridges.
 
“We had opportunities for people who wouldn’t talk to each other otherwise about race in the neighborhoods, the different levels of racism,” says Kaela Geschke, Campus District community organizer. “We were crossing lines we wouldn’t have in our daily lives.”
 
The group of 17 participants, led by Geschke, ioby (In Our Own Back Yards), Cleveland action strategist Indigo Bishop and artist Gwen Garth, founder of the Kings and Queens of Art, have met biweekly since last spring to discuss race and racism while designing a community mural.
 
“We are trying to cement that racial divide,” says Garth. “A diverse group of people of different ages, races, walks of life came together to sit down and discuss the levels of racism and create works of art.”
 
Some of the conversations revolved around preliminary painting/planning sessions. “The artwork they are creating is depicting the difference between how we see ourselves versus how others see us,” Geschke says. “We did this early on when talking about interpersonal racism. The [preliminary] images did not end up in the mural but were a stepping stone for conversation. There were a lot of different perspectives, and it was a really good process for everyone.”
 
Over the past weeks, the group has been painting the mural they designed along the E. 22nd Street Bridge. The mural spans 80 feet on both sides of the bridge, yet is only two-and-a-half feet tall.
 
“The mural shows legs of different types of people walking across the bridge on one side,” explains Geschke. “On the west wall it uses words to name the systems and thought patterns that keep racism and segregation in place in the center. Then as it continues out towards the north and south end, [where] the words change into steps that a person can take to address these inequities.”
 
The group has raised more than $1,300 toward its $2,095 ioby fundraising goal. They also received a $5,000 grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and a $500 grant from the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program.
 
The mural will be unveiled on Thursday, Aug. 25 during the Campus District’s E. 22nd Street Festival.
 
But organizers hope that the mural’s completion will not be the end of race discussions in the community. “It cannot be a one-and-done thing,” says Garth. “It took a long time to get there, so it’s going to take a long time to undo it.”
 
Geschke agrees. “People of all races would say race is not a problem,” she says, “but people also say this is just a start. Let’s look ahead and see what can be done. I think this is a good starting point.”

New bike lanes add to Lakewood's cyclist-friendly goal

In its quest to have bicycles be a primary form of transportation in the city, Lakewood recently added two new dedicated bike lanes along the entire stretch of Madison Avenue. The addition is part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in 2012 as a way to encourage cycling.

“We want to establish cycling as a main means of transportation in Lakewood,” says Bryce Sylvester, the city’s senior city planner. “The goal is to be recognized as one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the country.”
 
City officials began implementing the plan back in 2012 with shared bike-vehicle lanes, known as “sharrows,” on Detroit Avenue and dedicated bike lanes on Franklin Boulevard.  The lanes are clearly marked as sharrows or dedicated lanes.
 
In addition to the traditional bike lane markings, the new lanes on Madison implement two new bicycle infrastructure signs. The lanes will have “door zone” patterns – small diagonal lines – to mark areas where people in parked cars may be opening their doors into the lane. The idea is to reduce the number of run-ins cyclists have with abruptly opening car doors.
 
Dotted markings through intersections along the route will reinforce the fact that bicyclists have priority over turning vehicles or vehicles entering the roadway – alerting traffic, both bike and vehicles, of potential conflict areas.
 
“Our hope is to make it a safer ride down Madison Avenue,” says Sylvester.
 
The city also has installed more than 100 bike racks in front of businesses since 2012, with the aim of installing 20 racks per year.
 
Sylvester says the Bicycle Master Plan and its execution are in response to the residents’ demands. “The people have built an environment of cyclists here,” he says. “People use their bikes to get around. We’re taking a proactive approach of active living in Lakewood. We feel infrastructures like this allow out residents to be active.”
 
Lakewood has been awarded a bronze award for its efforts by the League of American Bicyclists
 
"We're doing okay," says Sylvester of the plan’s progress.

Lakewood's first historic tax credit to benefit classic 1915 building

Frank Scalish, owner of Scalish Construction, is attempting to revive Northeast Ohio’s history brick by brick. His latest project is an historic 5,000-square-foot building at 12301 Madison Ave. in Lakewood’s Birdtown neighborhood.
 
Thanks to a $82,402 Ohio Historic Preservation tax credit, Scalish is renovating six apartments and the street-level store front of the 1915 structure constructed by Michael and Veronika Turza, who lived there until they died. Their children sold the building in the 1950s.
 
The classic retail downstairs/residential upstairs building had no name, so Scalish dubbed it The Veronika, after Mrs. Turza. He came to own it after the previous owner queried him about renovating the windows. “I got the impression he was just fixing it up to sell it,” Scalish recalls. So he decided to purchase the building and renovate it himself. “We’re only the third owners.”
 
Scalish is working with the Architecture Office to preserve the historic nature of the building while also updating the interior.
 
The former home of the Corner Pub, which was actually two storefronts combined into one 1,250-square-foot space, previously housed a hardware store and a candy store. Scalish is currently talking to two potential retail tenants including a coffee chain and restaurateur.
 
Scalish has already successfully uncovered the original wood storefront of the Veronika’s exterior. “What we’ve found intact we’ve refinished and restored to like the day it was built,” he boasts. “And most of the masonry is intact.” He is also restoring the building’s original glaze brick exterior while large glass doors are on order.
 
Inside, Scalish removed four ceiling layers to reveal portions of the original tin ceiling. “We should have enough to do at least one side,” he says, adding that one of the previous owners tore out the ceiling to make way for HVAC.
 
Scalish is refurbishing the original bar and the maple hardwood floors throughout the building. “It was a unique find hiding in plain sight,” he says. “We’re trying to preserve the original woodwork as much as possible.”
 
The one-bedroom apartments upstairs are being renovated in stages, with phase one nearly complete, says Scalish. The apartments will have updated LED lighting, quartz counter tops, clean white walls and vintage tile accents. The restored original storm windows provide plenty of light throughout the space.
 
Walls were torn down to open the kitchens to the living rooms, while also creating better natural light and ventilation. “It’s an open layout,” Scalish says of the plans. “The whole floor plan is more modernized. They’re pretty much new from top to bottom”
 
The first phase is almost complete and Scalish says he plans to start leasing the apartments at market rate within six weeks. The entire project is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year.
 
The Veronika is not Scalish Construction’s first restoration endeavor. Scalish is building a reputation for restoring local homes and businesses in Northeast Ohio, including his offices in the old Cleveland Trust building on Madison Avenue in Lakewood.
 
“Old buildings have history, and with that history comes a certain level of soul,” says Scalish. “Most of these old structures were built by true craftsman, by hand, with care and compassion and without the use of modern day tools. They are certainly hard to replicate even in this day and age. This is evident in all of the little details that are present on these historic buildings.”
 
Scalish freely shares his passion for his work.
 
“It’s a pleasure to be surrounded by a team of true modern day craftspeople who have the ability and share the passion to return these structures to their original glory,” he says. “I love the idea that these buildings have withstood the test of time and lasted a century. My passion is driven by the legacy that we are leaving behind for the generations to come.”

ciCLEvia to roll along West 25th this Saturday

This Saturday, Aug. 13, from 3 to 7 p.m., the new summer program, ciCLEvia, will roll out along West 25th Street. This will be the first of three such events and will feature music, games, food trucks, and free demonstrations of activities including yoga, Zumba, and boxing. While residents are encouraged to glide in on bikes, skates, foot or their wheelchairs, one mode of transportation won't be welcome.
 
Cars.
 
That's right. City officials will close West 25th Street to vehicular traffic from Wade Avenue to MetroHealth Drive – which is nearly a mile – for this family-friendly, age-friendly, and health-focused event. This first ciCLEvia will also coincide with this Saturday's La Placita, an open-air Hispanic market and celebration at the intersection of W. 25th Street and Clark Avenue.
 
Inspired by open street events in Latin America, known as ciclovías, ciCLEvia is a neighborhood-based program that is accessible to residents of all ages and abilities. Organizers hope to attract residents from the adjacent Clark-Fulton, Ohio City, and Tremont neighborhoods, as well as those who just want to spend an afternoon in the city without the usual traffic noise and exhaust.
 
“Open street events like ciCLEvia give people an opportunity to move, play, socialize, and celebrate their communities, while encouraging them to experience streets as a shared public space that serves diverse users,” said event organizer Calley Mersmann in a statement.
 
ciCLEvia will return on Sept. 10 and Oct. 8. The September date will also coincide with La Placita. Street closure and event times will remain the same for the subsequent events.

The series is a signature event of Cleveland’s Year of Sustainable Transportation.
 
ciCLEvia was planned by partners Bike Cleveland, the MetroHealth System, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, Age-Friendly Cleveland, Sustainable Cleveland 2019, and Ward 14. Other partners include the YMCA, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, the Saint Luke's Foundation, Spindrift and Neighborhood Family Practice. For more information contact Calley Mersmann at 216-512-0253 or email info@ciclevia.com.
 

The basics: May Dugan serves families in need with food, clothing and medical help

Sue Nerlinger likes to keep active. “Sitting around drives me cuckoo,” she says. “I can’t stand sitting around.”

So, when a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis in 2000 threatened to slow her down, she kept working as an optician for W.A. Jones Optical with University Hospitals until the company closed in 2010.
 
Nerlinger's twins were just 10 years old at the time, and with the job behind her, she needed to get food on the table and was having a hard time making ends meet. She turned to the May Dugan Center’s Basic Needs Program, which provides food, fresh produce and clothing to Cleveland’s west side residents in need.

“That was one of the hardest things for me, to ask for help,” Nerlinger recalls.
 
Since 1969, the program has offered fresh produce at the Ohio City institution from March through October on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, with the addition of non-perishable food and clothing on the fourth Wednesdays.
 
The produce and food comes through a partnership with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Charitable organizations, such as the Hunger Network, St. Mark’s Church and Westlake PTA, also provide assistance and May Dugan accepts donations of household goods and clothing from the public Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
“Our primary goal is getting food in the hands of people who need it,” says May Dugan deputy director Andy Trares. “We have a racially diverse client base and there are folks here from all walks of life. We have younger folks in their 20s and 30s to seniors in their 70s and 80s.”
 
In total, May Dugan serves thousands of families in its 20 distributions in eight months out of the year. For instance, 322 families totaling 909 people were served in July, which is almost 75 more than the center saw in July 2015, says Trares.
 
Even during the parade to celebrate the Cavs wining the NBA championship on June 22, May Dugan was passing out food to 188 families representing 531 people. “While all of Cleveland was loving that we finally won the national championship, we were celebrating too,” says Trares. “But 531 people knew they could come here and get food.”
 
Nerlinger was so grateful for the help she recieved from the center that she became a May Dugan volunteer. “People were so kind to me I decided it was time to give back to the community, to the people who need it,” she says.
 
On distribution days Nerlinger lines everyone up, making sure they each have a ticket for food bags, and chats up the people waiting for services. “I make sure I take the time to listen,” she says. “It doesn’t help to sit and mope about anything, but I can help someone.”
 
Nerlinger has also taken advantage of May Dugan’s health and wellness program, which the center started offering in January 2012 during monthly distributions. Medical personnel from St. Vincent Charity Medical Center offer screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, type II diabetes, HIV and podiatry checks along with educational health seminars and workshops. ExactCare Pharmacy is often on hand to answer any questions about prescription medications.
 
More than 1,800 screenings were performed at May Dugan last year. “There are so many people who need to have their blood pressure checked and don’t because they can’t get to the doctor,” says Nerlinger.
 
In addition to the screenings, volunteers also help clients with health insurance questions about accessing insurance through the healthcare marketplace and enrolling in and navigating Medicaid.
 
A little more than a year ago, May Dugan implemented a senior programming component to its Basic Needs Program by offering craft classes through Benjamin Rose Institute, financial advice from the Ohio Savings Bank branch on Bridge Avenue and W. 25th Street and music therapy programming.
 
The program provides community members with the basic things they need to survive without humiliation and embarrassment. And sometimes May Dugan simply serves as a place where residents can find compassion and friendship.
 
“I go there and I volunteer and I leave there more of the time thinking, ‘I have hardships but I realized how lucky I am,’” says Nerlinger. “I have no reason to complain. My heart goes out to so many of the people there.”

High-speed karting track set to open in Brook Park

On Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m., locals will be invited to step into the new BOSS PRO-Karting, a high-speed, indoor karting facility at 18301 Brookpark Road in Brook Park.

Featuring Sodi RTX electric karts, which are manufactured in Europe, drivers will speed around the 12 turns of the 1/5 mile track at speeds up to 50 miles per hour.
 
“We’re racers,” said Lee Boss, BOSS co-founder and three-time national karting champion in a statement. "Creating an authentic racing experience with the best racing karts available and a challenging, exciting track is paramount to us."
 
Capacity for the facility is 500 people, with up to a 12 races zipping along at one time. BOSS FastTrack, a free race app available for Apple and Android devices, allows racers to preregister for time slots and also offers live race tracking and statistics. Additional features include a messaging system, Facebook page integration and visuals depicting lap time history and statistics. In addition to indoor racing, the 40,000-square-foot facility is available for corporate events with conference rooms, catering and 3,000 square feet of event space that can accommodate up to 200 people.

“Compared to other sports and hobbies, the cost to participate in motorsports is extremely high,” added Brad Copley, BOSS co-owner and president. “Combining the speed and cornering g-forces that top many professional vehicles, a lap at BOSS PRO-Karting will be an exhilarating experience for racers and novices alike.”
 
Brook Park Mayor Thomas Coyne will kick off the Aug. 10 festivities with remarks at 6 p.m. followed by a flag drop for the first race, which will include mascots from the Browns, Cavs, Gladiators, Canton Charge and Lake Erie Monsters.
 
BOSS PRO-Karting will be open year round. There is a one-time annual membership fee of $6. Cost for one race is $22 with reduced pricing for subsequent races and other discounted packages. Racers must be at least 56" tall.

"We believe adrenaline trumps practicality, and that the edge of our comfort zone is where we learn the most," said BOSS management. "It’s not about taking things to the extreme with abandoned disregard, but pushing beyond the comfortable deliberately, often, and with purpose."
 

Two ioby campaigns make waiting for RTA a little more productive, enjoyable

Waiting for the bus is about to get a little more interactive. ioby (In Our Own Backyards), the New York-based organization that uses crowd-funding to turn grassroots neighborhood projects into realities, established Cleveland offices in March and organizers have wasted no time in getting behind worthwhile projects.
 
Two of its latest projects involve public art at RTA shelters and offering riders fitness suggestions while they wait for the bus. The projects are part of ioby’s Trick Out My Trip campaign to improve public transportation in cities nationwide. Cleveland was chosen for two out of 10 total projects across the country.
 
Art Stop
 
At East 22nd Street and Superior Avenue in the Superior Arts neighborhood within the Campus District, a group of artists and residents are working to make the area art-friendly and safer for riders waiting at the bus stop.
 
Art Stop will create a bus shelter to shield residents from the elements while also providing a canvas for public art by a rotating list of artists. Campus District officials hosted a barbeque to get input on what the diverse neighborhood needed and wanted.
 
“People were very excited about this because Superior Avenue has a lot of bus stops, but not a lot of shelters,” says Kaela Geschke, community coordinator for the Campus District. “There are so many artists that live in the neighborhood and this is way to highlight them.”
 
Geschke adds that, with three homeless shelters in the neighborhood, the stop will also provide some shelter from the notoriously windy corridor.
 
The group then turned to Cleveland Institute of Art adjunct professor Sai Sinbondit and his students to design the shelter’s elements. They were charged with keeping the shelter’s functionality while also creating a pleasing environment.
 
The group needs $10,335 to realize all of the features they want in the shelter. So far, they have raised $3,100. If they meet their goal, the bus stop will have Wi-Fi and solar lighting. The Wi-Fi will make it easier for riders to check bus schedules and for the homeless population to research services, Geschke says.
 
“We’re really working hard to create a connection between students, artists and the homeless,” says Geschke. “The artwork will build community and be a way for neighbors to get to know each other.”
 
Bus Stop Moves
 
Bus Stop Moves gets riders exercising while waiting for the bus.
 
The concept was first spearheaded last fall by Allison Lukacsy, an architect and a planner for the city of Euclid, as a pilot program through RTA’s adopt-a-shelter program with MetroHealth System.
 
The program began after a survey of Collinwood residents revealed that people wanted more opportunities to exercise. “Something jumped out at me [in the survey] that people could be healthier and wanted more opportunities to be active,” says Lukacsy.
 
The pilot program involved three bus shelters in Collinwood, in which translucent vinyl adhesive wraps over the shelter walls illustrate simple exercises and health tips. The exercises can be done while sitting or standing and in normal street clothes.
 
“That sort of 20 to 25-minute period between bus rides is the perfect amount of time, physicians will tell you, to get some exercise,” says Lukacsy, who designed and drew all the illustrations.
 
The fitness shelters were so well-received that ioby has partnered with RTA to wrap 10 additional shelters with workout moves in the Central-Kinsman, Slavic Village and Detroit Shoreway neighborhoods.  So far, the group has raised about $500 of the $618 needed to fund the project.
 
The exercises vary at different shelters – some more intense and some more relaxed. For instance, in Collinwood a shelter that has a lot of high school students features more engaging exercises, like jumping jacks, while another shelter features strengthening and stretching exercises.
 
“Some people are willing to break out and dance in public,” says Lukacsy. “But more people are more comfortable doing the strengthening. You could totally drive by and not know someone is doing exercises.”
 
The shelters not only offer a unique way to squeeze in a workout, Lukacsy says it also helps spruce up the neighborhoods. “If you look around, these are older shelters,” she says. “This is a way to not only aesthically improve the look of the shelters, it’s also something to improve people’s health.
 
Both crowdfunding campaigns have until Friday, August 5 to reach their goals. ioby had partnered with New York-based TransitCenter on Trick Out My Trip. The foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility will match the money raised when the campaign ends.

RNC is just the beginning for larger conventions, tourism in CLE

The Cleveland 2016 Host Committee held a series of free events over this past weekend as one big thank you party for the volunteers and residents who made the RNC a success two weeks ago.

From the Cleveland Orchestra making its return to the newly-renovated Public Square on Friday night, fireworks and family-oriented activities to a party on Saturday afternoon and free admission all weekend to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Indians’ three-game home series (sweep!) against Oakland, the committee wanted to celebrate the city and its residents’ efforts, says Destination Cleveland’s senior communication manager Jennifer Kramer.
 
“With an event of this magnitude, it’s all attributed to the people,” Kramer says of the volunteers, business people and residents who contributed to the RNC’s success. “And for the people who weren’t able to come down or stayed away, this was time to take pride in the city and see what we were able to do.”
 
More than 3,000 volunteers worked 8,400 shifts during the week of the RNC, as hotel and airport greeters and wayfinders at pedestrian-heavy intersections. They made guest feel welcome, pointed them in the right direction and even saw them off at the airport after the RNC.
 
But while the RNC is probably the largest convention Cleveland will ever host, officials are hoping that it is just the springboard the city needs to launch the convention and tourism industry.
 
"This is not the end," says Kramer. "It is the beginning of many, many more things to come.”
 
Kramer says tourism in the area has been on the rise – increasing four to five percent each year over the last five years – and those numbers are expected to continue upward. “The narrative is changing,” she says. “It’s interesting to see people’s perceptions change.”
 
In fact, feedback was all positive from the 750 guests who came through the Visitors Center, and staff fielded phone calls from potential future visitors who had seen Cleveland highlighted in the convention coverage. “It was great to hear other people say how great the city is,” says Kramer.
 
Convention business is expected to pick up after a successful RNC as well. “In 2013 we were just coming into the convention world,” says Kramer. “We’ve been able to make sure heads turn, not just from the business perspective but in the leisure perspective too.”
 
Todd Mesek, the Rock Hall’s vice president of marketing and communications also sees the RNC as just a launching point for the city’s convention and tourism business.
 
“People close to the RNC said it wasn’t about one week, it was about the long-term,” Mesek explains. “It was about getting people to feel it, experience the city.”
 
Mesek says high profile events like the RNC, as well as the 2016 Transplant Games, the Gay Games in 2014 and the National Senior Games in 2013, have all been opportunities to show off Cleveland’s assets.
 
“It’s about showing them what we have and they walk away [Cleveland] ambassadors,” Mesek says.
 
The Rock Hall typically gets an average of 2,500 guests a day in July, says Mesek, adding that number jumped to an average of 4,000 people a day during the RNC.
 
Part of the increase was due to the free admission, sponsored by AT&T, to draw both visitors and locals to the museum.
 
“We wanted to make it easy for anyone in town for the RNC – media, delegates, protestors – and who didn’t have a lot of time but just wanted to explore it,” he says. “We wanted to make it easy for locals too, although not a lot of locals took advantage of it. But some did.”
 
July, says Mesek, was all about changing perceptions. “So many people outside of Cleveland either have an old perception or a neutral perception of the city,” he says. “We just have to get them here. We’re confident that after visiting the museum they’re walk away with a positive perception.”
 
Mesek adds that an increase in tourism to the area means more jobs. “It brings in out of town dollars,” he points out. “They sleep in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and visit our museums. And that creates jobs.” 

Some businesses boom, others see a drought during RNC

When Cleveland first learned it would be hosting the RNC, business owners throughout the region prepared for a hefty increase in customers last week.
 
Pizza Fire, which opened a year ago on Euclid, saw steady business and the line from the just-opened REBoL in Public Square had lines out the door as attendees waited patiently for a one of 90 seats in the air conditioned space.
 
Bloom Bakery, a social enterprise venture to help low income and disadvantaged adults achieve self-sufficiency through employment run by Towards Employment, opened its Public Square location in March and decided to stay open 24/7 during the convention week.
 
“Staying open for a convention like this is a gamble, says Logan Fahey, Bloom co-founder and general manager. “But for us it was more about the visibility of our mission and employing people.” The bakery added an additional eight employees, hired from the Salvation Army Northeast Ohio, to its 15-person staff for the week.
 
The gamble paid off. “On Monday we had a steady flow of convention guests, and then Tuesday through Thursday it really picked-up and we had built a loyal convention customer base that sustained us through the week,” Fahey says. “Most of the customers were international media guests who utilized Bloom's chic cafe atmosphere and free Wi-Fi.” 
 
Fahey reports that media tended to stay in Bloom until 2 a.m., before catering to the bar crowds in the wee hours of the morning.
 
The seven temporary retail stores that set up shop in the Arcade for the RNC saw a steady stream of business as visitors popped in and out of the historic mall on Euclid. Actress and Cleveland native Monica Potter was on hand in her Monica Potter Home pop-up location for most of the week.
 
Store employee Stephanie Dietelbach said business was good last week, but they had yet to make a decision on whether the store would make the Arcade a permanent home. She said the decision would be made in early August.
 
While businesses around the city center saw a hefty draw of customers, anything outside of a two-block radius was a ghost town. Even area bars and restaurants that had booked private events during the convention reported that they saw a decrease in their regular clientele.
 
Hofbrauhaus in Playhouse Square, which brought in a “security dog” – Reagan, an eight-year-old Dachshund – to greet and protect biergrarten guests, was popular with the few guests who opted to patronize the near-empty restaurant.
 
Yet Hofbrauhaus spokesperson Andrea Mueller was upbeat about the week. “Business was slow,” she says. “A lot of the folks that would normally come down didn't. We did have some private parties, so those were our saving grace. But, it's the price we had to pay for such a great event to come into town.”
 
The bars along West 25th Street in Ohio City, many of which had secured the 4 a.m. provisional liquor license, sat open, waiting for business. While many of the bars along the strip had booked private parties for the RNC, Market Garden Brewery, among other establishments, saw a marked lack of traffic and begged folks to come out on its Facebook page, posting photos of an empty bar at 4 a.m.

"We've been very busy, but our business volume has been inverted," owner Sam McNulty said last week. "Instead of a lot of foot traffic and a few events, we've been tremendously busy with events and have seen very little of our local guests and regulars."
 
By the time RNC came to a close and the visitors cleared out of the city, business was back to normal and the regulars began flocking back to their usual haunts.

"I miss my regular customers," said the young woman manning the cash register at Jake's Pizza last Tuesday. "I can't wait for Monday."

Sneak peek: Saks Fifth Avenue pop-up shop at the Ritz-Carlton

Yesterday, staff of the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland treated Fresh Water Cleveland to a sneak peek of the most unique pop-up shop around.

Saks Fifth Avenue will operate a temporary boutique in the sixth floor hotel lobby at the Ritz-Carlton in Tower City from July 17 to 21. While the doors aren't open yet, Fresh Water can say with confidence that Republican National Convention visitors - or anyone dropping in - will be treated to the likes of Judith Leiber clutches, KYBOE! watches and Burberry bags for last-minute gift and accessories. The shop will also offer select clothing and toiletry items

Guests staying at hotel will receive a $50 savings certificate valid when making a $300 minimum purchase at the boutique. For after-hours fashion emergencies, special trips to the larger Saks Fifth Avenue store in Cleveland can also be arranged for hotel guests, along with overnight tailoring, measurements for which will be taken at The Ritz-Carlton.

The posh boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Underfoot: polishing up for the RNC

While in high school in 1994 in Bay Village, Grant Alexander earned extra cash by starting a car detailing business out of his parents’ garage. He continued the gig through his college years and as business increased, Alexander knew he had found his niche.

GK’s Custom Polishing was officially established in 2001, offering car, motorcycle and watercraft detailing, transportation and storage. Then one day his father suggested Alexander get in to stonework polishing.
 
“Detailing in Cleveland is kind of an eight months of the year gig,” Alexander says. “I was looking for something to do in the winter.”
 
Alexander found that something in hard surface polishing – cleaning everything from natural stone and marble to tile and grout. In 2002 GK’s had a new division of the company.
 
Today, GK’s cares for the hard surfaces in most downtown Cleveland hotels, from the polishing and sealing of marble floors in lobbies to cleaning and polishing the tile and grout in bathrooms.
 
When the owners of the Drury Plaza Hotel began converting the old Cleveland Board of Education building into an upscale hotel, they called Alexander. “It was an old city building and they had marble floors everywhere,” he recalls of the job. “It was a three-month project with tons of marble. You don’t just go in and restore a commercial building overnight.”
 
With the Republican National Convention next week, Alexander is busier than usual, making sure the downtown hotels sparkle and shine. While as much as 75 percent of his commercial work is from recurring contracts with places like Marriott, Westin and Renaissance, Alexander anticipated his clients would want some extra work both before and after the convention.
 
“We sent letters to all of our commercial contracts three to four months ago to start preparing for additional work,” Alexander says, adding that the more foot traffic the hotels get, the more the floors have to be care for. “The higher the traffic, the more we get called in.”
 
Alexander’s clients started calling for hard surface work almost immediately, and they will keep calling after the convention is over and visitors are long gone.
 
"It's good for the front end, since our contract clients called us months ago and needed a lot of additional work,” Alexander says. “It’s good on the back end because there’s so much traffic.”
 
In fact, the company’s 30 employees will be working through most of the year.  “Business is up 30 percent over the course of the year,” Alexander estimates.

Long-awaited Arcadian offers unique dining options in Gordon Square

Three years in the making, Arcadian Food and Drink opened two weeks ago on Tuesday, June 28. While owner Cory Hess bought the building in 2013, he took his time to create the 4,000-square-foot establishment of his dreams.
 
“Quickly, we noticed how poorly it was taken care of for so many years,” he says of the building at 6416 Detroit Ave. in Gordon Square, adding that the first thing he did was secure a demolition permit. “We wanted to do it right, and do it once.”
 
Hess bought the building after noticing it was for sale while having a beer at XYZ Tavern across the street. “I did a walk through and bought it,” he says.
 
Hess originally envisioned a beer and sandwich place with offices and an apartment on the second floor. But that quickly changed as the restaurant veteran, who spent time in places like Lola and Bar Symon, teamed up with his wife and Arcadian executive chef Rebecca Hess, who has a background with Spice Kitchen and Blue Point Grille, and general manager Dave Hridel, who has a background at Spice and Greenhouse Tavern.
 
The Arcadian menu features sustainable seafood, entrees such as fried chicken or Piedmontese filet mignon, gourmet pizzas and craft cocktails. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.
 
Hess ensures that the fryers are kept gluten free, and two of the fryers are never used for meat or seafood. “We wanted to make sure we had all the options so you can meet a friend after work,” he explains. “We wanted to have things on the menu that are just good, but it was important to accommodate those things.”
 
The bar has 12 Ohio beers and eight wines on draft. Cocktails include the Shoreway Soda – fernet branca, Kahlua, honey and ginger soda – and the Theater Greeter –  saffron infused watershed gin, dolin dry, orange and spiced simple syrup.
 
The kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. with a full menu. “We’re trying to pick up a lot of the industry and late night crowds,” says Hess. There are also happy hour specials. He says he plans on experimenting with weekend brunch and weekly specials after the RNC.
 
Keeping to his mission to build it once and built it right, Hess worked with Robert Maschke Architects to create a modern look using bamboo, metal, concrete, Corian and glass. “Durability is key in the restaurant,” says Hess. “It’s physically appealing to look at, but structurally [solid] as well.” The building is so gorgeous and with so much attention to detail, it’s worth showing off.”
 
Hess credits Maschke’s talents with the restaurant’s transformation. “Robert didn’t leave a bad angle in the restaurant,” he says.
 
Maschke designed the Arcadian to cater to both the date night set and those who just want to stop in for a casual bite and a drink. The upstairs area is reservation-only, offering a raw bar menu and upscale entrees. Hess says “sexy” is the best word to describe the atmosphere upstairs.
 
“We really wanted to go after the Detroit neighborhood and theater goers,” says Hess of future upstairs patrons. “Especially given the number of theaters in the area.”
 
The lower level is more casual. “With the downstairs, we wanted to leave it open to the neighborhood,” Hess explains. “So it’s comfortable for walking in after work or in jeans and T-shirts."
 
Hess notes that the Arcadian fits the energy of the growing neighborhood, which is also home to superelectric pinball parlor and artists’ mecca 78th Street Studios. “It’s a nice, well-rounded area and we didn’t want to be just a special occasion restaurant,” he says. “We wanted to cater to everyone. There’s such a diverse demographic here.”
 
So far, the restaurant has been well received and worth the wait. “We put three years of our blood, sweat and tears into it,” says Hess. “We had a pretty good first week and I’m pleasantly surprised with the business.”
 
The Arcadian is open Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Happy hours run 4 to 6 p.m.

Politico to set up shop on top floor of the Huntington building

Politico, the non-partisan political magazine with a circulation of 33,000 and online resource for all things political reaching 21 million people each month, will set up offices on the top floor of the former Huntington Building, 925 Euclid Ave., for the Republican National Convention next week.

The organization will host live coverage of the convention activities, speakers and other events from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21.
 
“Politico is excited to have our Politico Hub in the historic Huntington building in downtown Cleveland,” says Luiza Savage, editorial director of events. “This is the perfect space to bring our readers and convention goers live programming with the most influential people in politics as well as networking events, watch parties and nightly lounges.” 
 
Led by Politico reporters and editors, around-the-clock Hub programming will include daily Playbook newsmaker interviews, a live convening of the Politico Caucus and policy luncheons as well as performances and other social events to take in the news of the day and watch streaming speeches from the convention floor.

“The Hub will serve as a ‘home base’ for influential convention goers who are looking to work, network, attend our live programming, and watch the convention," says Politico media contact Christyn Lansing. “It’s a place where convention goers can learn more about the most important issues of the day but also relax and have fun.”
 
Lansing says the 925 Euclid building’s proximity to Quicken Loans Arena and sights of the city made the location a prime choice for them.

“We found the Huntington building to be the perfect fit because it's a beautiful, historic building, but also in close proximity to the official venue of the RNC, the Quicken Loans Arena, and will be convenient for Politico readers and convention goers to stop by,” she says, adding that the stunning views from the venue were another draw.
 
Lansing says she expects attendance at Politico events next week to be in the hundreds. The 21st floor, which housed the Mid-Day Club in the 1920s, can accommodate 500 people.
 
The nightly lounge, which will feature cocktails, conversation and live viewing of convention speeches, is free but reservations are required. Other programming requires registration as well.
 
Avi Greenbaum of Florida-based Hudson Holdings bought the 1.4 million-square-foot Huntington building a year ago for $22 million with extensive renovation plans. Terry Coyne, vice chairman of Newark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF), who handled the sale, says complete renovation plans have been postponed until the beginning of 2017 because of the convention.  
 
Coyne says there was a lot of interest in other areas of the building for the convention, and a total of three organizations have rented space. Management is eagerly expecting everyone’s arrival. “Other than making sure that the fire sprinklers work, nothing was needed,” Coyne says of 925 Euclid’s condition. “The building is in good shape.”
 
Coyne says revised plans for the 1.4-million-square-foot building now include 300,000 square feet of office space, a Hilton Curio hotel, 500 apartments and retail offerings.
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