neighbors try to shape future of duck island as developers stockpile land for new housing

The Duck Island neighborhood, which is situated off Abbey Road between Ohio City and Tremont, got its name because characters used to "duck" in here to escape cops during Prohibition. At least that's the legend that local residents like to offer.

Somehow, despite the sea-change development that's occurred in Tremont and Ohio City over the years, Duck Island has kept its tucked-away identity. Some new projects were built here, but others were stymied over the years by local residents opposed to density. But that may change over the next few years.

As developers like Andrew Brickman, Knez Homes and Sam McNulty buy up land in Duck Island, the Tremont West Development Corporation is leading a process to engage residents and stakeholders in shaping the future of Duck Island. And that future will likely involve new development, in some fashion or another.

"There's a lot of development being discussed in Duck Island, and the goal is to get the neighborhood on board with what's coming and create win-wins," says Cory Riordan, Director of Tremont West. "We want to have the conversation in advance and be proactive about how the development interacts with the community."

To that end, Tremont West is hosting a community design "charette" December 5-7 at St. Wendelyn's Church. Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative will lead the process, which will result in a new development plan for the area, encompassing everything from housing to infrastructure to home repair.

"People rise to the bar that's set for them," says Riordan. "The planning process won't just focus on development -- we want to look at improving Abbey Park and giving seniors the ability to fix their homes -- but new developments are driving the need for it. The result will be a community vision for moving forward."

Currently, there are only six new for-sale housing units officially proposed in Duck Island, a townhouse project being developed by Knez. Yet Riordan confirmed that developable land in Duck Island could result in dozens of new units in the coming years. For example, developer Andrew Brickman owns the former Bridgeview Cafe on Lorain Avenue, and that site alone could hold a large development.

In other Tremont news, the Professor Avenue streetscape project is nearly done. Artist Olga Ziemska has created "Dendrite," a public art piece that will function as seating and a gathering place, at the plaza at the corner of W. 10th, Fairfield and Professor. She intends to install it by the end of November, weather permitting.

Source: Cory Riordan, Olga Ziemska
Writer: Lee Chilcote