Single-family homes, nature center and container park eyed for Kinsman/Colfax neighborhood

The team at Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. (BBCD), which focuses on restoring the residential components of the Central, Kinsman, and Garden Valley neighborhoods, is crossing its collective fingers over whether or not state dollars will move the ambitious Colfax Family Homes project forward.
The proposal will populate the Colfax corridor between East 79th Street to just west of East 69th Street with 40 single-family residential units ranging from 1,850- to 2740-square feet. The structures will range from single-story ADA accessible units to three-story homes with a basement.
"It's a very innovative project," says Tim Tramble, BBCD's executive director. "The design is a different look. It's not what we've typically seen in Cleveland."
BBCD has agreements in place with area land banks for acquisition of some of the associated properties, with deals in the works on 10 additional lots. Funding is ongoing.
"We applied for state funding through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency," says Tramble. "If we get it, we move forward."
He sees the Colfax Family Home project as a complement to two other unique Kinsman neighborhood projects: a nature center and a container park, both of which are outlined in the pending Kinsman Master Plan, which was updated just last month.
The nature center will be in the green space known as Kingsbury Run, an area characterized by dense vegetation and wildlife such as deer, rabbit and a hawk that nests there every year.
"It's about 500 feet from Kinsman Road," says Tramble, "but when you're there you feel so far removed because it's entrenched in a valley. It's amazing how close it is to the hustle and bustle of urban life."
BBCD eventually hopes to partner with the MetroParks on the project.
"We have had initial conversations with them," says Tramble, adding that the MetroParks would be the ideal entity to own and operate the property. He sees the development of the Kingsbury Run green space as building on the "health and wellness/urban agriculture/sustainability theme that we've established on Kinsman."
Further east down the Kinsman corridor, the proposed container park centers around an idea that has been gaining popularity.
Tramble explains: "It's taking shipping containers and converting them to small retail spaces," which in turn can be used by individuals in the community with goods to sell, but no means to lease a traditional retail store.
This "commercial node of containers" will be on the north side of Kinsman Road between East 81st and 79th Streets.
BBCD expects to finalize a report on the master plan late next month.
All of this activity will need a narrator, and the BBCD team has an app for that -- or more accurately, a radio station, for which the organization has already obtained a license. Possible locations for the studio include the offices of BBCD, 7201 Kinsman Road, and Arbor Park Place at East 40th Street and Community College Avenue.
The community radio station will be operated by locals with the intent to bridge the disconnect between generations, give groups the opportunity to have their own radio shows and reinforce positive messaging.
"Sometimes we feel that we don't really have the vehicle to do that," says Tramble. "It's going to be a wonderful innovative way to engage people where they are."

Read more articles by Erin O'Brien.

Erin O'Brien's eclectic features and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and others. The sixth generation northeast Ohioan is also author of The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts. Visit for complete profile information.