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Reuse / Rebuild : For Good

9 Reuse / Rebuild Articles | Page:

aquarium to bring its fish story to cleveland schools this spring

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium (GCA) has a fish story to tell. Starting this spring, the aquarium will bring its compelling undersea tale to students throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).

GCA has partnered with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) for the education outreach program designed to teach kids the deep interconnection that Ohio has with its freshwater systems. This will be accomplished through Native-American lore, one-on-one time with native Ohio fish and reptiles, and hands-on activities that teach students the importance of protecting the area's local waterways.

The program, called Keepin' It Fresh, will be rolled out in local schools at the beginning of May, says Kayla Ott, aquarium marketing and sponsorship manager.

The multi-grade level presentations "will reach communities unable to come to the aquarium due to funding," Ott says. GCA is planning 75 school visits for 2013, and in future years hopes to educate up to 10,000 students annually. What's more, the program falls in line with Ohio academic standards in the realm of science.

"Teachers will be excited to jump on board," says Ott. "They'll be building their curriculums and lesson plans by offering this program."

Generating passion about aquatic life and water conservation is GCA's stated mission. With the sewer district's assistance, the aquarium can now bring this mission to Cleveland impressionable youth. 

"We're so fortunate to have a lake right here," Ott says. "Lake Erie is a huge piece of Cleveland. We're teaching students how to protect that resource."

SOURCE: Kayla Ott
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

s. euclid housing project to give injured war vet the dream of home ownership

Soldiers are trained to not leave their comrades behind on the battlefield. That commitment shouldn't be relinquished by the public once combat veterans return from war, say supporters of housing solution organization Purple Heart Homes.
The City of South Euclid is partnering with the North Carolina-based nonprofit to build a home for Clevelander Demond Taylor, a veteran of the U.S. campaign in Iraq now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The city, along with Purple Heart Homes, One South Euclid Community Development Corporation, and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, will renovate the home located at 1171 Avondale Road. While Purple Heart Homes was founded in 2008 by two Iraq combat veterans, the idea to use their services locally was that of retired South Euclid service director and Vietnam veteran Ed Gallagher, says director of community services Keith Ari Benjamin.

The home has not been lived in for several years and needs new windows, flooring, interior walls, plumbing and more. South Euclid is taking cash donations as well as in-kind donations like paint. Contractors willing to help rebuild the home on a volunteer basis are also needed

South Euclid held a mission kickoff event on Monday, November 12, with the eventual aim of  raising $60,000 to $70,000 to refurbish the house. The program drew over 100 people, some of whom have already stepped forward to give of their money or time. "It's great to see so many folks wanting to get involved, but we're going to need more," says Benjamin.

South Euclid has set up a website and Facebook page for those wanting to contribute. Purple Heart Homes immediately contributed $20,000, which will allow work on the house to begin as soon as next week. Construction should be completed by the spring.

The city has implemented several home rehab projects since the housing crisis began. Says Benjamin, It's an honor for South Euclid to give the dream of home ownership to someone who's sacrificed so much.

"Our goal is to welcome veterans like Demond," he says. "We want to take care of him like he took care of us when he served our country."

SOURCE: Keith Ari Benjamin
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

abeo turns reclaimed materials into distinctive workstations

Daniel Cuffaro has been working in design for 20 years. He knows how an inspiring, eclectic workspace can act as fuel for creative minds, promoting interaction among those who essentially use their imagination for a living.

Such was the idea behind Cuffaro's founding of Abeo Design, a Lakewood-based company that builds aesthetically distinctive office/studio workstations with a sustainable bent. Unlike your typical office furniture, the spindly "Hive" workstations are designed with both functionality and adaptability in mind, Cuffaro says.

Each station is comprised of a work surface and storage shelf embedded with LED lighting. The entire unit is on wheels, making a studio or office easy to reconfigure as projects or teams change, notes Cuffaro. This is not something you could readily do with a set of hard-to-move cubicles.

"Our product is a dynamic and customizable alternative,” he says.

The workstations also fulfill a practical need. They are made of wood and other building materials reclaimed from abandoned Cleveland houses deconstructed during the foreclosure crisis. Cuffaro, head of the industrial design program at The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), first got the idea for Abeo in 2009 when he was developing the layout for the school's design studio. At the time, there was a growing market for raw materials harvested from foreclosed homes, so why not build CIA's studio furniture with those resources?

"I had a desire to turn a bad situation into something salvageable," Cuffaro says.

His first customer also happens to be his current employer. CIA recently purchased a handful of the $6,000-and-up workstations from Abeo, which works with Northeast Ohio companies A Piece of Cleveland and Benchmark Craftsmen to make the product a reality.

A portion of Abeo's profits will support CIA programs. Meanwhile, Cuffaro will continue to live by the company's name. In Latin, Abeo ( pronounced "a-bay-o") means "change" or "transformation." Turning trash into something of value is good for both the company and a sustainable Cleveland, he says.

SOURCE: Daniel Cuffaro
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

artist's film documents the surprising transformation of euclid square mall

Euclid Square Mall is hardly abandoned or dead, you just need to take a closer look to witness signs of life, maintains Cleveland artist Jef Scharf. Walk into the mall on a Sunday morning, in fact, and you may hear songs of worship reverberating through its halls.
The former large-scale retail center now has nearly 30 churches renting space for services, Bible studies and choir practice. Scharf, an artist-in-residence at SPACES Gallery, spent a year interviewing church-goers and congregational leaders for his documentary, simply titled "Euclid Square Mall Project." 

The film was officially screened at SPACES on October 11, but is available in the gallery's video viewing room until the middle of November.
First-time documentarian Scharf is a designer, screen printer, installation artist and musician. His 30-minute movie is a fairly typical talking heads-style venture that concentrates on the people running the congregations rather than the worship services themselves. How the vacant retail space shifted its function from retail to a faith-based community is a subject of fascination for the artist.
"There are so many stories to tell," notes Scharf. "You'd walk into this public space and the sounds of singing would bleed into each other. It filled the mall with incredible warmth."
The project's genesis was borne from simple curiosity. On a Sunday afternoon in fall 2010, Scharf was shopping at a nearby retail outlet when he stepped into the mall. He was impressed enough by the space's renewed energy to film some of the activity going on that day on his cell phone.
"It just stuck with me," says Scharf. "I realized I wanted to explore [the mall] further in that format."
It's strange to walk into a retail complex scrubbed clean of bright signage and other signposts that exemplify the typical American mall, Scharf says. Today, the signboard that once carried familiar names like Gap and Banana Republic now are stamped with names of congregations.
The film project, in its way, is a story of survival, believes Scharf. "These are people keeping their dreams alive by preserving the vibrancy of a space," he says. The movie "is a documentation of transformation." 

Source: Jef Scharf
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

pnc fairfax connection opens doors of new $5m community resource center

At the corner of E. 83rd and Carnegie Avenue, a dilapidated building has been transformed into a contemporary, glass-walled resource center. Inside these walls, youth will be mentored, adults will receive financial education and job skill assistance, and seniors will record their history within the community.

This is no ordinary redevelopment project. The PNC Fairfax Connection was designed with maximum community input to address the needs and aspirations of the Fairfax neighborhood, which lies just south of the Cleveland Clinic campus.

“We celebrate the opening of the PNC Fairfax Connection as a demonstration of what it truly means to work together to create a new relationship and a new bond between a bank and its community,” said Cleveland native James Rohr, Chairman and CEO of PNC Bank, in a press release. “PNC closely collaborated with the Fairfax community at every step to ensure the center's design and programs meet the interests and needs of this proud and historic community.”

The $5 million center, which was sustainably built and will likely receive LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is a 6,400-square-foot space that is flexibly designed to meet the needs of the community. Two full-time coordinators, Susan Blasko and Brandon Lipford, will staff it.

Upcoming programs include SPARK, a web-based literacy initiative provided in cooperation with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cleveland; Senior Compass programs that help seniors with help and wellness and technology skills; and Financial Connections, which are weekly financial wellness workshops.

The PNC Fairfax Connection is open daily from Tuesday through Saturday, and programs are offered in the day as well as the evening.

Source: PNC Bank
Writer: Lee Chilcote

saint luke's foundation eyes greater impact with narrower but deeper grantmaking strategy

Like many foundations, the Saint Luke's Foundation in Cleveland has emerged from the recession with a narrower yet deeper approach to grantmaking. Beginning this year, the foundation has eschewed responsive grantmaking for targeted grants in three primary areas: health, communities and families.

"This year our foundation turned 15, and as we thought about what our successes had been and how to serve the community in the best way possible, there was interest in focusing more narrowly," says LaTida Smith, Vice President of Programming, Outcomes and Learning at the foundation.

The change has been both challenging and rewarding. "This year, we're narrowing and doing responsive grantmaking at the same time," says Smith. "There are some projects we've funded in the past that we won't be able to fund anymore, and even though we've narrowed to three areas, those challenges are still broad."

One area where Smith says the foundation has been innovative and successful is in advancing the understanding of community health. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health was awarded a grant to develop its capacity to complete health impact assessments -- basically, determinations of how planning and redevelopment decisions impact neighborhood health -- while the "Place Matters" speaker series at the City Club prompted a broad discussion of place-based health disparities.

Examples of the foundation's changed grantmaking strategy include an increased emphasis on strengthening families -- as opposed to simply helping kids or adults in isolation -- and a strong commitment to the neighborhoods around the former Saint Luke's Hospital (Buckeye, Larchmere and Shaker Square in particular).

Source: LaTida Smith
Writer: Lee Chilcote

innovative program helps neighborhoods fight foreclosure and blight

An innovative software program developed by the Center for Urban Poverty at Case Western Reserve University is helping Cleveland neighborhood development practitioners reinvent their urban communities in strategic, data-driven ways.

NEO CANDO, a publicly accessible database, provides one-stop-shopping for anyone looking to research property information in their neighborhood. The site allows users to go beyond researching individual properties and look at snapshots of neighborhoods -- including which properties are at risk of foreclosure and which have been condemned. The site also contains social, economic and census data.

"In the past, information was collected from multiple websites, and by the time it was assembled, it was out of date," says Mike Schramm, a Research Associate in the Center on Urban Poverty in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU. "We bring data together across domains. Our mission is to democratize data and to create data-driven decisions by both nonprofits and government."

In practice, NEO CANDO is used by foreclosure prevention agencies to research which properties are in danger of going into foreclosure. Armed with this info, grassroots groups can knock on the owner's door and attempt to intervene, thus hopefully preventing another vacant, bank-owned home in the neighborhood.

The information is also used to focus on areas with strategic assets in an effort to better protect them. "You need to know that the house across street from that recently rehabbed home is in foreclosure -- and then do something about it."

Projects like NEO CANDO are helping to facilitate a shift within the community development field towards creating more strategic, placemaking investments.

Source: Mike Schramm
Writer: Lee Chilcote

euclid beach blast helps to envision future of treasured cleveland landmark

Stephen Love got involved in helping to clean up Euclid Beach Park when he visited his grandmother in North Collinwood and was shocked by its neglect.

"I visited the state parks and the beaches were terrible," says the Cleveland Heights resident, who works as an Information Specialist at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. "It was a wakeup call to see how I could get more involved."

To capitalize on the artistic energy of the Waterloo Arts District and draw people to Collinwood's diamond-in-the-rough beaches, Love helped organize the first Euclid Beach Blast in 2011. The one-day festival explored the area's relationship with its lakefront parks and challenged visitors to envision a better future.

"The Euclid Beach amusement park defines the past, but this event is really about what you could do in this space," says Love. "We have installations, performance art, murals and pop-up activities. We want people to learn about water quality."

The second annual Euclid Beach Blast takes place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, August 4th. Activities include making your own trash art with Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot, workshops, games, music, biking and skateboarding. There also will be an after-party with live music at the Beachland Ballroom.

Love and the Euclid Beach Adopt-a-Beach Team also organize regular monthly cleanups of North Collinwood's beaches. Love says that the long-term solution is for the Cleveland Metroparks to take over management from the State of Ohio, which has deferred maintenance. Recently, the group launched an Urban Beach Ambassador program in partnership with Friends of Edgewater State Park.

"We want to help people take ownership of cleaning up the beach on their own, even if they can't attend the monthly cleanups," says Love.

Source: Stephen Love
Writer: Lee Chilcote

morgan conservatory preserves, shares lost art of papermaking

Tucked away on a hard-to-find, one-way street in a neighborhood full of worker cottages and hulking industrial buildings is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to preserving the art of papermaking.

Wending your way to the Morgan Conservatory, sandwiched between a factory and aluminum-sided Colonials on East 47th Street off of Commerce Avenue, is like traveling into a forgotten world. It's the perfect warm-up to a venue that celebrates paper in an increasingly paperless society.

The gallery and educational center offers classes in the basic process of pulling handmade paper, more complex processes such as pulp painting, the art of sculptural 3D papermaking, Korean and other Asian papermaking techniques, and historic bookbinding techniques such as creating double-book structures.

The mission of the nonprofit Morgan Conservatory is to provide instruction in the art of handmade papermaking, book arts, letterpress arts and silk screening. Despite the increasing popularity if the iPad and other paperless devices, classes are often full. The conservatory also seeks to become a hub and resource center that will keep artists in Cleveland and offer workshops to students of all ages.

"The best part for me is seeing young people get involved," says Tom Balbo, Executive Director of the Morgan Conservatory. "This kind of facility is rare in any part of the country, and there are only a handful of similar facilities. Cleveland offers the affordability to do this; none of the others are nearly this large."

The Morgan Conservatory incorporates many sustainability efforts. Workers capture rainwater on site and uses it to water the garden. Additionally, the venue recycles a wide array of materials, converting many of the items into paper.

Currently, the gallery features work by artists Qian Li and Don Lisy which will be on display through August 26th. The conservatory is located at 1754 E. 47th Street.

Source: The Morgan Conservatory
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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