Big bike lane projects on deck; new police headquarters moving forward

Meeting coverage by Cleveland Documenters | Compiled by Signal Cleveland’s Rachel Dissell

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report—The week of Jan. 16, 2023

Plans for Superior and Lorain bike lanes move forward

Jan. 17 – Cleveland City Council Covered by Documenters Kellie Morris and Keith Yurgionas

Council Member Anthony Hairston asks questions during a Jan. 17 meeting.

Council Member Anthony Hairston asks questions during a Jan. 17 meeting. (Credit: YouTube / Org: Cleveland City Council).

A Superior bikeway:  Committee members vetted legislation needed to pay for the Superior Midway bikeway. Committee Chair Anthony Hairston said he wants to make sure that the city has “robust conversations” with residents and business owners along the path of the project so they know what to expect when construction begins in 2025.

More midways: Committee members also greenlighted the next phase of the Lorain Midway project. This plan would allow design work for a bike path on Lorain Avenue from West 65th to West 20th. It’s a 1.8-mile section of a larger path expected to extend to W. 150th Street. The design the city prefers would include bike lanes that run down one side of the street, according to Annie Pease, the project’s manager. The approximately $30 million project is not yet fully funded. Council Member Kerry McCormack, who supports both bikeways, said he hopes that someday “kids can ride from Zone Recreation Center to 55th.”

Left wondering:  Documenter Kellie Morris was left wondering if motor-powered or enhanced bicycles would be permitted in the bike lanes.

Cleveland schools bill elections board for custodial cleanup of polling places 

Jan. 18 – Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Covered by Documenters Mildred Seward and Giorgiana Lascu 

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections members and staff discuss stricter voter identification requirements  (Credit: YouTube / Org: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections).

What happened:  The Cleveland Metropolitan School District attempted to bill the elections board for custodial work in school buildings used as polling locations in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Public buildings can’t charge a rental fee for hosting polls, but they can charge custodial fees, officials said. Director Anthony Perlatti called the bills unexpected and said the board wants to work with the district for more timely billing. Board members considered and approved payment only for the three elections held in 2022. The cost was about $180,000.

Voter ID: Board members discussed the impact of House Bill 458, which was signed into law this month by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. It will require voters to present unexpired state-issued identification or federal identification such as a passport or military ID card. Elections officials discussed concerns about how the change would affect the use of provisional ballots and whether there is enough time to educate poll workers and voters about the changes before the next election.
And also: Board Member Inajo Davis Chappell talked about a report by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office that detailed 630 cases of potential voter fraud. Chappell asked how many have been in Cuyahoga County. The reports show most of the findings involved voters who had moved to other states.

Learn about additional changes to elections that were a part of House Bill 458, including fewer days to cast ballots and the elimination of most August special elections. 

Officials push Zenith Terminal to comply with rules on fuel leaks

Jan. 18 –  Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals

Covered by Documenters Sarah Tan and Marvetta Rutherford 

Images of apartments at Euclid Estates showing during the Board of Building Standards and Appeals meeting (Credit: YouTube / Org: City of Cleveland).

Fueling debate: City officials want Zenith Terminal to comply with regulations regarding potential fuel spills. Zenith is located in the industrial Flats alongside the Cuyahoga River and services 15% of the daily diesel, gasoline, and bio-fuel demand for Cleveland and the surrounding 10 counties. Zenith submitted plans to increase fuel transfer from ships to tanker trucks from 3,000 to 5,000 barrels per hour. Cleveland rejected the plans for several reasons, including a violation of a city code that dates back to 1949. The company disagreed. The board will make a decision on the appeal at a future meeting.
Property remand: The board voted to remand the Euclid Estates apartment building to the city after many property violations. The owner said a major cleanup was underway. But City Council Member Anthony Hairston, of Ward 10, said the property had been an issue for at least five years. City workers cleaned up the outside of the property at least once, he said.

Fire safety: The Cleveland Division of Fire urged the board to make sure properties meet fire-safety standards after the city approved plans for a building without a fire-suppression system. The builder of the Tremont Street property is requesting a variance, and the board needs to determine if the lack of a sprinkler system creates a serious hazard. The board held off on making a decision until it gathered more information.
Left wondering: Documenter Sarah Tan wanted to know more about what it means to remand something to the city in the context of a code violation.

Board approves sale of land bank parcels for new housing

Cleveland’s Board of Control meets on Jan. 18. (Credit: YouTube / Org: City of Cleveland).

Jan. 18 – Cleveland Board of Control

Covered by Documenter Karima McCree-Wilson

What happened: A city land bank property near the Cleveland Clinic was sold to B. R. Knez Construction for $200. Director of Community Development Alyssa Hernandez said that property and others were priced below normal because the city is promoting new housing construction.

Left wondering: Documenter Karima McCree-Wilson had three questions: How does the city decide the value of land bank properties? Who has the option to purchase this land? How does the city follow up to guarantee that the land is being used for the stated purpose of new housing?

What is the Cleveland Board of Control? What power does it have? Signal Cleveland’s Service Journalism Reporter Abbey Marshall answered those questions and more in this Board of Control explainer.


New police headquarters plan marches forward

Jan. 20 –  Cleveland City Planning Commission

Covered by Documenters Christina Easter and Collin Cunningham 


Cleveland’s City Planning Commission reviewed plans for renovations to the ArtCraft building and for a new police headquarters garage. (Credit: YouTube / Org: Cleveland City Planning Commission)

What happened: The commission signed off on legislation for the new Cleveland police headquarters in the ArtCraft Building on Superior Avenue. The city plans for building renovations to be completed early in 2025. The city has been renting police HQ space from Cuyahoga County in the Justice Center since the fall of 2018. The headquarters was set to be built on the Opportunity Corridor, but Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration pulled the plug on those plans last year, citing increased costs for construction and better uses for land along the corridor.

School demo: The commission approved the demolition of Cleveland’s former John F. Kennedy High School on Harvard Avenue with the condition that artists can document their work first. The building was nearly 60 years old.

Zoning change: The commission signed off on a proposed zoning change along East 66th Street in Ward 7 to allow for new housing. City Council would also have to approve the change. City Planner Xavier Bay said the change would allow University Hospitals Partnership to develop Allen Estates as part of the East 66th Neighborhood Plan. The existing districts are zoned multifamily and two-family, but the changes would allow retail.

Signal Cleveland’s Olivera Perkins talked to Cleveland artists being displaced from the ArtCraft Building to make way for the Cleveland Police headquarters.