top 10 fresh water feature stories of 2011

When Fresh Water launched in September 2010, we promised to highlight Cleveland's most progressive and creative people, businesses and organizations. But more importantly, we endeavored to place those subjects against the most compelling backdrop of all: Cleveland and its wonderful neighborhoods.
Each Thursday, our readers are invited via newsletter to dig a little deeper into this city we call home. What follows is a list of the 10 most-read features of the previous 12 months. Looking at the subject matter of those stories, it's clear that the most important topics to our readers include neighborhood development, sustainability and transportation, and, of course, food and booze.

#10   Place making: MRN Ltd. caps off string of successful urban developments with Tudor Arms

It can be argued that no family or company has done as much to improve the quality of life in the city of Cleveland recently than the Marons. E. Fourth Street, Market District in Ohio City, Uptown in University Circle -- these projects and more illustrate through deeds not words that MRN is betting on Cleveland.

#09   Welcome to Collinwood: Plan to attract artists with affordable housing is a work of art

Artists, if you haven't heard, are not always the richest folks on the block. When deciding where to live and work, affordability is often tops on the wish list. That's why nationwide, artists have been fleeing well-established arts communities in lieu of more affordable dwellings in less famous but still arts-friendly locations. Cleveland neighborhoods like Collinwood and others fit the bill.

#08   Ohio City's artisan economy turns the corner onto Lorain

While Ohio City has been a wonderful work in progress for eons, it has absolutely exploded in very recent years. Thanks to anchors like the West Side Market and Great Lakes Brewing, and pioneering entrepreneurs like Sam McNulty and Karen Small, W. 25th Street might as well hang a sign that reads "No Vacancy." That's why savvy start-ups are turning the corner onto Lorain.

#07  Craft distillers make snazzy start-ups, but Ohio liquor laws are none-too-friendly

Going hand-in-hand with the local foods movement, and following on the heels of the craft beer renaissance, the micro-distilling trend seemed destined to take off here. And it has, with a number of local entrepreneurs getting in on the act. But anti-competitive legislation makes it difficult for these new economy engines to start and succeed.

#06  No vacancy: With more residents moving downtown, occupancy rates reach 95 percent

It might shock some bedroom-community residents to learn that people actually live downtown. What's more, downtown occupancy has risen so quickly over recent years that demand has outpaced supply. In order to keep the trend moving in the right direction, more product must be placed into service.

#05  These 'boomerangs' prove there's nothing wrong with taking the long way back home

So who are all those downtown residents referenced in the previous feature? Many are "boomerangs," native Clevelanders who've flown the coop, only to return to family, friends and city that's high-access, low-stress and easy on the wallet.

#04  Cleveland diners officially have gone loco for 'Taco Tuesday'

Taco Tuesdays may not be original to Cleveland, but we're pretty sure our city has one of the highest per capita rates of Tuesday taco consumption. Some restaurants sell literally thousands per week, proving that crunchy-coated meat is always an easy sell.

#03  What Pittsburgh has that Cleveland wants

No, it's not Ben Roethlisberger's head on a spike. It's a more bike-friendly society. Simply put: Pittsburgh is light years ahead of Cleveland when it comes to bike-friendliness. And bike-friendly cities are more attractive to young professionals, those creative-class folks who hold the keys to economic prosperity.

#02  From saw horses to seahorses: New aquarium taking shape in old building

Seahorses are the unicorns of the sea: Everybody loves them, but nobody is quite sure they really exist. That could explain the groundswell of appreciation for this feel-good story about Cleveland's new $70 million aquarium, which is slated to bubble to life in the Flats in early 2012.

#01  The next must-live Cleveland neighborhood is...

What's next? It's a question we all wish we had the answer to. But for folks looking to settle down, that question undoubtedly refers to place. Neighborhood is everything, and selecting the wrong one can be no less painful than choosing the wrong mate. For many, the neighborhood of St. Clair Superior is on the radar.
- Image 1: Tudor Arms
- Image 2:  Monica Doyle, Artist who purchased a home in North Collinwood in 2008
- Image 3: Lorain Ave in Ohio City
- Image 4: Ryan Lang and Brady Konya of Middle West Spirits
- Image 5: Alex Cortes, wife Julie and daughter Lucia atop their Bridgeview Apartment Bldg
- Image 6: Boomerang, Katie O'Keefe
- Image 7: Taco Tuesday at Deagan's Kitchen
- Image 8: Towpath Cyclists
- Image 9: Greater Cleveland Aquarium
- Image 10: St Clair Superior Neighborhood 
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