Look! Al Nemeth has started a sister blog/brother blog/sibling blog to our own Denison Avenue. In the face of egregious chicanery and overwhelming duplicity, we need all the help we can get. Thanks, Al.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
There will be two community meetings for neighborhood residents to comment.
The first: Wednesday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Applewood, 3518 W. 25th Street.
The second: Thursday, July 23. It will be on the Agenda of the BCCA meeting to be held at Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist Church, 2705 Archwood Ave. also at 6:30.
The Item to discuss: Noise Barriers along I-71 in the Brooklyn Centre Neighborhood . Here is whee they would be placed.
Northside of I-71 from W. 25th Street/Pearl Road going west to Denison overpass, and
Southside of I-71 from W. 25th Street/Pearl Road going west to Fulton Road and also from Westside of Denison (other side of overpass) to the first railroad crossing overpass by the small residential section containing W. 46th and W. 47th and Denmark Avenue.
Here is the email that Councilman Brian Cummins sent out earlier about these impending meetings.
Please spread the word…
See message below regarding ODOT funding for mitigation of noise issues for I-71. The map can be found here.. OBCDC and ODOT will be doing outreach and mailers to the immediate areas and we’re asking civic associations and block clubs to help spread the word. Meetings will be forthcoming. If you have any question please let me know.
So far I have attended one preliminary meeting. In discussions over the years about noise walls, most people have stated they do not want them and a few want them very much. It was brought up in the meeting with ODOT what other alternatives could there be? If walls are not put up, other mitigation actions could be taken nut only 15% of the total allocated funding could be used.
Another big issue is that the access roads to the freeway between Fulton and Pearl Roads were initially part of the innerbelt plan and then dropped. ODOT confirmed that lowering the access roads, is no longer in their plans. I think most of the comments about not wanting the barriers is that homes (other than on Smith and portions of Riverside and Mapledale) are fairly far off the freeway and that the options of barriers could impact the tree lines that are currently in place. One suggestion was to see if ODOT could put up nicer privacy fencing or something else other than a barrier wall of 12 – 14 feet. There will be a lot to discuss in the up coming meetings.
We’ll be getting a lot more information and will share it when it comes.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
ALL ACCESS FAIR:
Walk+Roll Cleveland comes to our neighborhood this weekend with the All Access Fair sponsored by Old Brooklyn CDC and others.
The event kicks off at 10 am and winds down at 4 p.m. For details, i have included two access points. Bicycle tours, walking tours and much more will be available throughout the day.
Shortly after, an evening of musical entertainment will begin at The Brookside Reservation. This year access off Denison Avenue will be restricted due to bridge construction. Next year we should have pedestrian access from our side of the bridge. Entry this year will be off Ridge Road.
And throughout the weekend, the annual West 44th Street Neighborhood Garage Sale will be taking place. The small neighborhood nestled on a brick lined street off Denison Avenue will once again, amaze its patrons with the quality of the merchandise and the sellers’ ability to bargain with their buyers. This sale is a garage sale browser’s dream in reality.
HOURS OF SALE:
July 18th and 19th, 2009
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Cleveland Public Library-Brooklyn Branch
3706 Pearl Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44109
(corner of Pearl Rd (W 25th) and Mapledale)
This month we will be looking at vacant land use and the possibility of obtaining a lot from the Cleveland Land Bank for use as a native plant nursery and garden. We will also be discussing plans for our fall native plant sale on Labor Day weekend.
Please join us and share your ideas.
Gloria Ferris & Sharon Martynowski
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Each year, Sherry Perry, the owner of The Ugly Broad Tavern in my neighborhood, Brooklyn Centre, sponsors a series of fundraisers to benefit a local cause. Last year three tiny children-Ainia, JJ and CC Cintron lost their lives through violence. This year, in their memory, Providence House will be the beneficiary of Sherry’s fundraising efforts. Last year with the help of friends, neighbors, and patrons Sherry raised $3000 for Breast Cancer Research.
This weekend Saturday June 20th is the Kick-off or should I say Kick-ass fundraiser. Do you love riding your motorcycle? Do you love playing Poker? Do you just want something different to do on a Summer Saturday? Do you like bar hopping? Answer “yes” to any one of those questions and you need to be part of:
THE Ugly Broad POKER RUN
Here are the details: Sunday, June 20th $15.00 per Bike $20.00 per Couple-Last Bike Out Noon (12 p.m.) Tickets available at THE UGLY BROAD 3908 Denison Avenue Cleveland OH 44109 216-351-9826.
Johnny T’s Old Route 8
Caddyshack 1429 West 130th.
West River Cafe 24517 West River Road
Froggy’s 22115 Brookpark Road
Be Back to The Ugly Broad by 6 p.m.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I. Prior histories that may bear on the feasibility or suitability of the project--
A. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Baran, his family, and other neighbors presented detailed information about why any additional housing units in the vicinity of Fern Court, Forestdale, Park Place, and Willowdale and the numbered cross-streets north of Denison and east of Pearl would strain the existing infrastructure, especially the sewer systems, and result in backups into the existing housing. Additional housing units were not built as the result of these findings. Where is this study?
B. The garden apartments on Forestdale have a long history of sinking, moving land beneath them and their parking lots; at one time, one of the parking lots looked as though it had been through an earthquake. Some of the apartments have been demolished because of structural problems. These apartments are built over the same ravine or creek as the proposed NRP project. Has this been taken into account in planning the project; do the financing experts at Ziegler and their investors know about the instability of the land over this ravine, and that their particular project is close to the area that was the area dump? Are they aware that their money
is being invested in a traditionally problematic area?
C. A few years ago, some developer ignored the earlier study and tried to build some housing units on the south side of Fern Court. The developer abandoned the project and somehow gave the land back to the city of Cleveland. Who was this developer? Did work cease because the land was unstable? Was there a court case involved and, if so, what number is it? What are the details of this startup and backoff? Who holds the land in question now?
D. Have the historic pictures of the ravine and town dump been entered into the public record of the hearings on this NRP project?
E. What are the details of the way NRP handled a similar case in Akron, where NRP built structures in an area of insufficient infrastructure and then pleaded ignorance when problems developed, blaming the city? How was this situation resolved? What were the damages, the remedies, if any? What is the disposition of these housing units now?
F. In 1968, Louis Fodor Realty constructed senior housing units at 4016 Denison, then called the Park Dennison apartments. In 1988, after a holding period of 20 years, the units began to be used for all CMHA disabled as well as seniors, with the result that the “normal” seniors fled as the quality of life quickly deteriorated; never did the units have a resident manager. What are the intentions for this subsidized housing on lower Denison?
A. All of Brooklyn Centre has vacant housing units; some are for sale, some are for rent. They have not yet been absorbed, or used. What economic studies have been done recently showing how adding 60+ units of new, subsidized housing positively affects the pricing of existing housing stock?
B. Why isn’t this NRP project at the wide-open site of the already-demolished Memphis School, as was originally advertised to all of us?
C. How much more money is being spent to acquire properties and demolish them to make a site on lower Denison?
D. We hear that current residents in the property-acquisition area are being pressured to sell, and that the representatives of NRP tell them that this is merely phase 1, and that phase 2 will be ever more undesirable to live near. What is this about pressuring our neighbors, first of all? And, what is this about phase 2? We’ve never heard about it.
E. This lower portion of Denison has open space/green space with W. C. Reed Field, Denison Cemetery, and Riverside Cemetery; what studies have been done in this vein, if any? How much of this space does NRP think it can eventually acquire from an all-too-cooperative city central planning department?
F. What covenants do we have in place to protect our open areas and our green space?
G. Which population will this project serve? A recent article by the OBCDC executive director puts the senior population at less than 15%, and they seem quite well off in their current homes. What are the proposed rents in the new projects? Would our seniors be able to pay them without subsidy, coming from fully paid-up homes? Would they need a subsidy?
H. What is the rental experience of the completed NRP projects in the city? We hear that they have high vacancy rates.
I. Recently, subsidized people-warehousing housing of one type or another has sprung up all over the place, and I think we probably have more than our quota. There is the new place over near Metro, the monstrosity on East 55th past Broadway, the existing CMHA apartment units and scattered-site single housing, the Ohio City NRP project--it’s almost as though the city’s central planning department is engaging in block-busting.
J. What are the conflicts of interest involving Abe Bruckman’s promotion of NRP from his salaried positions and his secular-nonprofit board positions? At times, he seems to be acting as the agent of NRP, as their salesman, and I wonder if he should be subsidized with a regular paycheck while pursuing entrepreneurial interests.
K. What are the conflicted interests of the recently cobbled-together Near West Design Review committee? It seems that none of them is from or has any stake in Brooklyn Centre, and that they may have a vested interest in keeping this project as far from their homes and businesses as possible, and to subvert the interests of Brooklyn Centre by using it as a dumping ground for the projects nobody else wants.
L. Please disclose the fees earned by the secular nonprofits in this
M. Please disclose the fees and commissions earned by those acquiring the properties for demolition
N. Please explain the delinquent property taxes on one of the Denison Elderly properties being used in this project. O. Has anybody mentioned that this really alters the streetscape and the scale for lower Denison, taking out a row of stores & businesses and a rowhouse that have significance, making future renovation and preservation far less desirable?
P. There was a frame house that was quickly demolished at 2000
Denison--why was is demolished, what were the acquisition costs, what were the demolition costs, what is the chain of ownership starting with the Howells, and who paid for what, and who took what losses in transactions? We need complete disclosure in this case.
Q. Has anybody looked into the prospects of locating this up near Deaconess Hospital and the shopping strip, on the site of the abandoned housing now being “deconstructed” by Lightning Demolition?
R. Would you care to answer these questions permanently, for the record, transparently, publicly, on the Denison Avenue blog at
http://denisonavenue.blogspot.com/? We can grant you government types contributor privileges.
S. Why is this project on such a fast track?
T. Why has the normal process of approval been altered to propel this project forward?
U. There seem to be a lot of changes of ownership, changing players, ad hoc committee formations, and other seemingly frantic, disjointed movements in this project--lots of changes, perhaps even baiting and switching. Can we have rationales on all the changes, switches, and transfers? It’s too much like a shell game right now to be allowed to pass muster as a legitimate development.
III. What about the future?
A. Are there studies extant on the future impact of such subsidized
senior-housing units on a neighborhood?
B. What are the current plans for resale?
C. What are the holding periods?
D. What might disqualify the property?
E. What is the future liability of the local government here?
F. What is the future liability of NRP here?
G. What is the future liability of the Near West Design Review committee here
Friday, May 29, 2009
At the Denison Cemetery Memorial Day services this past Monday, we gazed out across the cemetery, past the fence to the asphalt parking lot of an apartment complex. I think that the apartments are these:
Denison Park Apartments
2239 Forestdale Ave
Cleveland, OH 44109
We should not confuse these units with the Park Denison Apartments at 4016 Denison Avenue, originally developed and built as senior housing by Fodor Realty in 1968; CMHA now operates the units, and they’re no longer just for seniors.
CLEVELAND METRO HOUSING AUTH 04016 DENISON
CLEVELAND METRO HOUSING AUTH 04016 DENISON
But back to Memorial Day. Looking across the cemetery, I recalled that these units off Forestdale had always had structural problems because of the shifting, sinking terrain on which they had been built; as a matter of fact, some of them had such severe problems they had to be taken down. The current parcel number on the surviving garden apartments is 008-24-063, and the last transaction on it in 2003 was a transfer for $3,600,000, according to the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s site. This seems high to me, but just drive by, see for yourself.
I began to wonder if the NRP project somehow would involve a bailout of these troubled properties at some time, as well. Currently, the NRP project bails out the city on sinking, shifting land it holds as a result of another failed attempt at development a few years ago. We told them then, too, that the geography or topography was unsuitable for building, and nobody would listen. When I tried to research the identity of the previous developer, who made the city take the land back, the records for the Fern Court transactions on the Auditor’s site weren’t traceable back past January of 2005, and I thought that was odd, seeing that most of these transactional records go back to 1975.
These garden apartments are shorter than what is proposed by NRP and slightly higher up the covered-over ravine/garbage dump than the proposed NRP/Ziegler projects, which we now hear have a phase I and a phase II.
I’m also wondering whether Ziegler’s accredited investors and qualified purchasers know that their money is being spent building an improvement on land and in an area that has a deep and long history of problems. Ziegler may know all about finance, but do they know real estate? Or, perhaps more to the point, do they care?
See the link below for a map showing the proximity of these Denison Park Apartment units to the proposed NRP project.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I have never used this or any other blog for professional purposes.
That being said, I am aware, as of today, that because of considerations relating to my registrations with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), I am not to be engaged in blogging activity. Therefore, this is my last blog post here; and here is the proximate rule, the one that most closely affects me:
The below list is not intended to be inclusive of all of the instances in which the Firm will prohibit a communication with the public; rather it is intended to demonstrate some of the most common types of communications that are not approved. . . .
. . . Blogs: Interactive electronic forums such as blogs subject a member firm to various supervision and record keeping requirements. As such, no employee or affiliated person with the Firm may participate in blogs or other similar interactive electronic communications such as chat rooms.
And another, less proximate:
Electronic Chat Rooms, Blogs and Bulletin Boards
The fact that an individual is registered subjects him/her to a higher standard than members of the general public. Given the fast-paced environment of chat rooms, blogs and bulletin boards, casual or off-handed statements have the potential of crossing the line between being a reasonable opinion and an exaggerated or unwarranted claim. Because of the difficulties of supervision and the potential liabilities from participating in these forums, many firms limit or prohibit participation altogether.
Chat room participation by RRs is considered a public appearance. Therefore, RRs must follow the same requirements for participating in a chat room that they would if they were speaking in person before a group of investors. There are no filing requirements, but RRs are accountable under FINRA Conduct Rules and the federal securities laws for what they say regarding securities or services. Also, member firms are responsible for supervising the business-related activities of RRs including chat room participation. Remember, these rules apply regardless of whether an RR is in the office at home or a public computer.
In general, blogs and bulletin boards are considered advertisements and as such, all the content standards apply. Depending on the subject matter, firms may need to file these postings with FINRA.
RRs who are considering hosting a bulletin board, blog or chat room should contact their compliance department to determine whether such activities are permitted and what procedures may apply. Member firms must supervise the operation of any securities-related blog, bulletin board or chat room hosted by an RR or by the firm itself to ensure compliance with FINRA Conduct Rules and the federal securities laws. For example, a member firm may limit when commenters can post new messages to times when such messages can be monitored. A member firm may also require commenters to register and agree to abide by the terms of the Web site, including limitations on content.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Who: A group of friends and neighbors are called together by another neighbor Rick Nicholson each year to remember those who served our country—living and dead. We give thanks for those who protected the freedoms of our country so that we can live without fear.
When: Monday May 25, 2009
Where: Denison Cemetery
Turn left Off Pearl Road on to Garden Avenue (north of Denison Avenue)
Friday, May 22, 2009
"Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels" is a presentation which will be given by Jan Rybka, director of the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 23rd. This program will be held at and co-hosted by the Brooklyn branch of Cleveland Public Library, 3706 Pearl Rd., Brooklyn Centre, Ohio 44109.
“kleptocracy and let-them-eat-cake-ism are systemic and local rather than momentary and exclusively federal”
As a change of pace, here’s a good read from a reporter who can write comprehensibly and fearlessly, David Sirota. What’s happening on lower Denison is symptomatic of systemic illness, and the cure needs to begin with the small stuff, from the bottom up, starting on lower Denison and rippling out through the city, into the state, and throughout the country, much as water flows.
I heard today that some of our neighbors on lower Denison were trying to resist selling their free-and-clear homes, and that they were being pressured. One of the tidbits of information I gleaned today was that NRP is now representing that this current “revoltin’ development” is merely Phase I, with Phase II and Lord knows how many more to follow, as they take all the green space and force us all out of our homes and into their subsidized rabbit warrens, one on top of the other.
This is the first I have heard of this NRP incursion into our neighborhood as being just the first phase of all of us being able to live the life of Riley, stacked 5 or 6 floors high, for starters; thank you, Central Planning!.
Another good thought I heard today was that now the revoltin’ development can be moved from lower Denison back into Old Brooklyn, since we are paying tax dollars to demolish the other poorly planned and already failed development at Stanford Homes, just a bit behind where Theo’s used to be. I guess the economic development at the OBCDC hasn’t reached full bloom yet, especially when you consider the other demo on the strip right next to what used to be Theo’s Restaurant. Oh, well, I guess there must be some new Central Planning theory out now, about better living through demolition, and I just haven’t heard about it yet.
The new subsidized NRP housing can then be right near Deaconess, and the other senior housing clusters, and a good bus line, and we won’t have to acquire any more real property or demolish any more improvements on the real estate.
But I digress. Here’s Sirota:
Yankee Stadium - the house that taxpayers built
David Sirota, Creators Syndicate Inc.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Somewhere, probably in a basement, the next great documentarian is scavenging YouTube for clips of congressional inquisitions, Wall Street perp walks and CNBC rants for a future Oscar-winning film about the times we're living through. I'm hoping this future star calls her film "Wall Street II: Cataclysmic Boogaloo," and more important, I'm hoping she gets footage of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, preferably wearing a top hat and monocle.
Even amid CEO testimony, Bernie Madoff grimaces and Rick Santelli diatribes, nothing better captures the moment's destructive greed than a billionaire politician using the municipal office he bought to defend charging $2,500 a ticket to a new Yankee Stadium he forced the public to finance. If there is a single act showing how kleptocracy and let-them-eat-cake-ism are systemic and local rather than momentary and exclusively federal, Bloomberg turning the House That Ruth Built into the House That Taxpayers Built is it.
Foreign oligarchs use guns to confiscate citizens' wages. American oligarchs rely on government to give theft the aura of legitimacy, and Manhattan's richest man is no exception. As an investigation by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat, documents, Bloomberg used various public agencies to extract between $1 billion and $4 billion from taxpayers and then spent the cash on a new stadium for the Yankees, the wealthiest corporation in sports.
The move followed a Bloomberg-backed 2005 initiative giving infamous investment bank Goldman Sachs $1.6 billion in taxpayer-financed bonds to construct its new headquarters - and amazingly, this encore rip-off is more spectacular. Mimicking tax cheats' deliberately complex transactions, the city owns the stadium, leases it to an agency, which then leases it to a corporate subsidiary, which then leases it to the Yankees. At the end of the Ponzi scheme, the team is permitted to use the taxes it already owes to pay off the mortgage on its new chateau.
New Yorkers might be celebrating if these giveaways delivered verifiable returns to taxpayers. But Brodsky's report notes that "there is little in new job creation, private investment, or new economic activity" from the expenditure. Taxpayers don't even get affordable seats. According to Newsday, they get a stadium charging the highest ticket prices in baseball - $2,500 for "premium" views (since reduced to "just" $1,250) and $410 for a family of four in the cheap seats.
Like Wall Street firms insisting that trillion-dollar bailouts are a small price for economic stability, Bloomberg first justified everything by saying taxpayers "put next to nothing" into the stadium. (In fairness, a media-mogul mayor who is the planet's 17th wealthiest man may genuinely believe a few billion is "next to nothing" - but, for comparison, it's more than all the devastating cuts to police, firefighting, school and infrastructure budgets that he proposed in his budget).
Then Bloomberg offered the same laissez-faire paean that financial CEOs cite in opposing executive pay caps. "Don't ever think sports is anything but a business," he said, joining bankers in selectively forgetting that arguments for free-market "business" ring hollow when government is propping up said "business."
If this tale of the House That Taxpayers Built was some anomaly, it might be vaguely funny. But while Bloomberg sets milestones for avarice, the bailout-ism he espouses is the norm.
In Washington, "The Obama administration has broken all records in the distribution of taxpayer dollars to American businesses, primarily banks, automobile manufacturers and insurance companies," reports the Huffington Post. At the local level, lawmakers trip over themselves to throw giveaways at corporate campaign donors.
In the new Gilded Age, socializing risk and privatizing profit has become the standard - as American as General Motors, Bank of America and, yes, the New York Yankees.
David Sirota is the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover" (2006) and "The Uprising" (2008). He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future. Find his blog at OpenLeft.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page A - 17 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Reggie and Brian—
We are not contesting at all the efficacy of tax credits, the need for subsidized housing, or the market potential. These are other discussions. There are two very salient points here that you’re missing, one concerning the specific site in the context of the specific community, the other concerning the intermediaries:
1. The site itself is the wrong site because of—
a. The burden additional units place on the infrastructure; much research in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s pointed out the reasons why the sewer systems can’t handle additional single-site housing, let alone the density of 61 units. Where’s the study done then? Who is sitting on it?
b. The ruining of the scale of that part of Denison, and the streetscape.
c. Historical interests—the rowhouses in the right hands, and the strip center, can be very attractive.
d. Excess housing units already in the area—you just don’t use government money and tax credits to beggar your neighbors—this development competes unfairly with people who are trying to sell homes or rent units in Brooklyn Centre—you need to put this sort of housing where
e. We already have done our part in this regard—the 1967 Fodor project at 4016 Denison, when it reached the end of its holding period, was sold off to CMHA—and that is most likely the fate of these proposed 61 units. Nobody else will buy them because they are going to be built on a landfill and have the concomitant problems. Ziegler has a responsibility to investors to perform due diligence, and in this case Ziegler would probably back away from the deal on this site if all the factors were fully disclosed and easily known, factors that make this a substandard property and will eat into the ultimate return to investors. Just because the city got itself into a jam here with the land sinking into the valley is no reason to foist the mess off on Ziegler and on the tax-credit programs.
f. Green space concerns, which we still haven’t addressed
g. Using the demolitions program to benefit private interests—let’s have a closer look at this—some more sunshine, please.
h. This thing should not be in the area called Brooklyn Centre—we already have the site in Ohio City, the new site on Pearl near Metro, the new atrocity on East 55th in North Broadway, and the older Fodor sites that transferred to CMHA. There’s too much saturation already of this quasi-public housing in this area, and it will force out
2. The intermediary, NRP, seems to be conniving, along with City Central Planning, the newly authorized tool of the Near West Design Review, and the Old Brooklyn CDC, to place this project on lower Denison as surreptitiously as possible
a. We still don’t know why this project isn’t being placed up at Memphis School’s vacant site, as originally advertised
b. We still aren’t comfortable with the insider dealings of Abe Bruckman in promoting NRP solely—let’s have a really close look at why Abe is their champion, to the exclusion of all else, and also examine his multiple conflicts of interest, those of his employers, and those of the entities on whose boards he served or serves
c. We aren’t comfortable with the absence of competition
d. We aren’t comfortable with ignoring the substandard performance of existing NRP properties
e. It seems that making the initial deal here is the only goal, and the longer-range impact on the neighborhood is of no concern
f. We still have not vetted NRP’s ethically flawed track record in doing business
g. Just because this sort of money—earmarked for low-income senior housing or chronically homeless money-- is one of the few games left is no reason why we have to have “development” for development’s sake—you don’t look at the pool of available dollars and then try to shoehorn projects in wherever you can. The projects on East 55th Street are an abomination and a neighborhood-killer, as are these on lower Denison. Quite frankly, we’re tired of being sold down the river by our own city and secular nonprofit employees, just to make development deals to justify their existence and bring in revenues
h. We still haven’t found out how much this helps the income of Near West and OBCDC
i. Reggie, while we’re at it, let’s talk about Ziegler’s recent relocation and expansion in a bad market, and let’s talk about your personal need to make this deal as well. Does Ziegler already have the money for these NRP deals, or does it still have to raise most of it? What is the status of the qualification for the tax credits, because there seemed to be great haste in ramming this Denison portion through in April
j. I think everybody in the government and in the secular nonprofit sector and in the politically-dependent real-estate-development business is desperate to slide a few more public deals like this into the mix before the bottom falls out. I see we’re just demolishing that failed project up in Old Brooklyn, the one that came out of the blocks too quickly, without adequate planning, without disinterested oversight, and without adequate financing. Let’s review this lower Denison project in the full light of day. At this point, I feel as though we have not done our own due diligence as residents, and I feel that the city and the nonprofits have impeded us rather than served us, and I feel this is just sort of backwards.
k. We have had a recent swipe at the integrity of Brooklyn Centre with the ward re-divisions. Then there was the introduction of the Near West Design Review, for what reasons we still can’t enunciate. It’s almost as though we’re being subjected to a form of block-busting, and those doing the block-busting are our own government and our secular nonprofit agencies.
l. The short-term benefit here accrues to NRP, Reggie, Ziegler, the Mayor, Central Planning, and the secular nonprofits as their interests may appear. I see no demonstrated short-term or long-term benefit for the rest of us. Actually, I see it as pernicious, detracting from what we have been trying to accomplish with restoration over the years, reducing our home values, forcing our rents down even further, and sticking us with infrastructure repair and improvement costs we would not otherwise have.
Thanks for the link. The visual mapping is helpful relative to the perspective of senior housing sites in the “Cleveland South Central” area.
Click on lick
click on Cuyahoga/South Central
I’m sharing this with Tim Gloria and Laura as they are generally opposed to the project for various reasons regarding the generous subsidies and concerns relative to the project site location as related to hydrology and infrastructure issues.
We are trying to ramp-up the information we are providing them pertaining to the property and this info you’ve shared I think helps indicate the information you and others use to help determine investment opportunities for these types of projects.
From: Reginald Clark [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 01:55 PM
To: BrianJCummins@earthlink.net; Johanna V. Hamm
Subject: Stats on Elderly in Ohio
Click on the link below. On the right hand side under ‘State of Ohio Facilities’, scroll down and look at ‘Population 75+’, ‘Renter-Occupied Housing Units’ and ‘Median Household Income’…these number prove there’s a need for elderly housing and the reason why tax credit deals work perfect for elderly developments because of their income levels.
Urban Living Homes, LLC - President
Ziegler Properties - Director of Land Acquisitions
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
From: Laura McShane
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:19 AM
To: 'McNamara, Nora'; TimFerris
Subject: RE: NRP et al questions
I am reprinting this article here--obtained via subscription service as a reminder of the potential problems posed by this project.
OLD SEWER SYSTEM PLAGUES NEW HOMES
Blade, The (Toledo, OH) - Friday, July 24, 1998
Author: KAREN AYRES BLADE STAFF WRITER
Hildebrand Avenue residents cleaned up feces and water damage yesterday after storms earlier in the week caused backups in the city's sewer system that flooded their basements.
The residents of the Toledo Homes Project said their basements have flooded three times during the first year in their new homes, and they're afraid for their families' health.
Almost all 12 homes in the project, which is owned by Organized Neighbors Yielding eXcellence and maintained by the property management firm, Gerdenich & Co., were damaged by the storm, Karen Walton, a resident, said.
``I love my house, but I refuse to go through this again,'' said Ms. Walton, who found waste coming through a drain in her basement. ``I had tampons and feces in my basement. This is a health problem. We've all got small children.''
A service hired by the property-management firm cleaned Ms. Walton's basement and several others, but neighbors said they want a longterm solution.
The sewer system in the area around the street and most of central Toledo sends sewage from houses and rain water from the streets into one pipe. More modern systems have two lines.
Unusually heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday combined with the sewage from the houses might have created a situation that forced the sewage into the residents' basements, Bob Williams, the city's commissioner of sewer and drainage, said.
``The system was not designed to hold these homes,'' said Kurt Schell, a project superintendent with Neighborhood Revitalization Partners, which built the homes.
Mr. Williams said clogged city pipes and faulty connections between pipes on private and public property also could cause the backup, but the problem such as that at Toledo Homes occurs all over the city during heavy rains.
Regardless of the cause, Hildebrand residents, who lease the homes, said they're mad the houses were built in the area when the sewers can't handle it.
``Look at this. This is absolutely disgusting,'' Vickie Caulton, another area resident, said as she pointed to damaged personal items in her basement.
Mr. Schell said apparently no one with the city considered the ``antiquated'' sewer system when construction of the houses was approved.
Mr. Williams agreed, but he said some things could be done to prevent more flooding. Sump
pumps along with check valves and stand pipes could stop the sewage from getting into the houses.
The city would have to spend an enormous amount of money to improve the old sewer system, he said.
Mr. Schell said only some of the houses, because of their elevation, had sump pumps installed during construction. As of yesterday, none of the houses had check valves or stand pipes because city codes do not require them in new homes.
The city code and the old sewer system cover a large part of the city.
Ms. Walton said she has been trying to convince Roger Rife, who is in charge of managing the housing development for Gerdenich, to install check valves since the first floods several months ago.
Mr. Rife was not available for comment yesterday.
However, conditions for the residents may improve, WilliAnn Moore, ONYX president, said. She talked to several of them yesterday, and said if check valves solve the problem, the management company will install them in all the houses.
Ms. Moore said cleaning services soon will finish cleaning residents' basements.
Caption: BLADE PHOTO BY DON STRAYER Bob Williams, left, commissioner of sewer and drainage, explains shortfalls in the sewer system shortfalls to Pierre Taylor and Karen Walton.
Edition: CITY FINAL
Section: NEWS SECTION 2
Record Number: 9807240022
Copyright (c) 1998 The Toledo Blade Company
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Need clarification on the partnering with NRP on the lower Denison project.
Is it this Ziegler Properties, Inc.: http://www.zieglerproperties.com/ ?
Or this Ziegler from Chicago by way of Wisconsin and Minnesota, with an office in downtown Cleveland as well: http://www.ziegler.com/inside_ziegler/history_culture/ ?
Or yet another Ziegler?
I think it makes a difference. I think the information we've been given on this project overall has been inaccurate or wanting.
From: Laura McShane
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 2:20 PM
To: Brian Cummins
Cc: Tim Ferris; Gloria Ferris
Subject: NRP Senior housing
At today's senior meeting--Reggie Clark Director of Land Acquisitions for ZPI Ziegler Properties Inc. described the NRP project as on track for construction in two months.
Your office worked with ZPI/NRP on the land acquisition. Brian--please offer more transparency on this project.
Reggie Clark's contact information
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 7:39 PM
To: 'McNamara, Nora'; TimFerris
Subject: RE: NRP et al
I am assuming that NRP is making use of HUD Section 108 funding for this project. Please correct me if I am wrong.
--What is the procedural timeline for citizen participation?
--Is it similar to the Section 106 compliance process? Do participants need to sign up as consulting parties again?
--A number of residents in the affected area, especially Fern Court, speak English as a second language. Has there been an attempt made to explain the project to these residents. Has there been an attempt to identify all possible affected parties, especially the Riverside Cemetery Association?
A grantee must develop and follow a detailed plan which provides for, and encourages, citizen participation and which emphasizes participation by persons of low- or moderate-income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, slum or blighted areas, and areas in which the grantee proposes to use CDBG funds.
The plan must:
provide citizens with reasonable and timely access to local meetings, information, and records related to the grantee's proposed and actual use of funds;provide for public hearings to obtain citizen views and to respond to proposals and questions at all stages of the community development program, including at least the development of needs, the review of proposed activities, and review of program performance;provide for timely written answers to written complaints and grievances;and identify how the needs of non-English speaking residents will be met in the case of public hearings where a significant number of non-English speaking residents can be reasonably expected to participate.
Norma, I think we're going to need a little more sunshine on this process before we go any further. It's not just about transmitting information to me; that only puts the burden on me to transmit it to everybody else. We need fewer links in the information chain, not more. In this case, fewer is probably better design, if your primary duty is to the public.
There are still reviews under way in relation to construction; if you have specific questions related to any item then, please forward them or as mentioned; staff can meet with you and discuss concerns and issues.
The Councilman has requested a summary sheet be prepared in order to provide his constituents with facts about the project and provide answers to questions. I am tracking the completion of reviews so that this summary information can be made available as soon as possible.
If you have questions about the Housing Trust Fund process then please advise as to what specifics you require.
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 5:02 PM
To: McNamara, Nora
Subject: RE: NRP et al questions
Nora, I need more documentation. Surely, it must be extant and readily available for review.
From: Laura McShane
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 4:37 PM
To: Brown, Robert
Subject: RE: NRP et al questions
Dear Mr. Brown,
Thank you for the clarification and I apologize for not knowing every arcane detail about the review process. Chock it up as you will, but this whole project has been a cart before the horse, not unlike the merry-go-round residents were subjected to during the Art House Section 106. The burden is forever upon us to decipher the process and procedure that applies to this proposal. The developer is given carte blanche and residents are given stall tactics and smokescreens.
For the record, I am vehemently opposed to this project based on the environmental and possible Clean Water Act violations that may occur if this project is allowed to proceed.
Robert N. Brown
Questions about Uniform Relocation Act compliance--public notice needs to be posted Mark Floyd 623-4389
Bill Ressenger is Community Development lead person--environmental Kelly Glenn...
I spoke with Jesus Rodriguez today--he is one of the few people you can actually get a hold of at City Hall... The procedural process is intentionally confusing... Rodriguez mentioned something about Section 108 funding...Housing Trust Fund application was submitted...approved??
Zorn still nominally retains ownership of the townhouses for now--it will be interesting to see whether the City of Cleveland plans to condemn and demolish on the public dime. 008-26-046 2000 Denison in NRP hands as well as the storefront 008-25-062 and one of the boarded up houses 008-25-061. Purchased not so cheap...by NRP.
Here is a cursory response to your points. As mentioned in an earlier e-mail we'll be pulling together summary information from NRP as well as the City Departments involved within a week.
DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE
Here is some information regarding the Near West Committee, this is taken off the Planning Commission's web site. The legislation for these new District Committee was passed in February 2009. Any further details regarding the formation (membership/policy/process) of the specific district committees can be addressed from the Planning Commission.
This region includes the following Design Review Districts:
· Clark-Metro Design Review District
· Old Brooklyn Design Review District
City Planning Staff
George Cantor 216 664-3807 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Carol Schiro, Resident-Graphic Designer (Chair)
2. Damian Henri, Architect
3. Abe Bruckman, Planner
4. George Hohlakis, Local Business Representative
5. Reggie Clark, Realtor
6. Eric Lutzo, Local Business Representative
7. Mark Duluk, Architect John Rakauskas, Architect
8. John Gallagher, Local Business Representative
9. Wendy Harbaugh, Architect (Alt)
Agendas are available at:
The NRP Group
Nora can confirm what can be provided in terms of what corporate information Community Development has regarding The NRP Group.
The NRP Group was founded in September, 1995 by Alan F. Scott, T. Richard Bailey and J. David Heller. They are involved in the development of single-family, multi-family and senior housing, and commercial and retail properties.
As Nora indicated in her email, NRP has had to compete for the funding they've obtained for the project. We can provide a summary breakdown of the public subsidy amounts and sources.
So, to your third point of dealing with a no-compete project, all the public financing this project has/potentially will receive has been done competitively by federal HUD and potentially other regulations. Again, Nora can assist with elaboration of the amounts, sources and regulatory bodies.
1. Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA)
2. Ohio Housing Trust Fund
3. City of Cleveland Community Development Department
Housing Trust Funds award for the Denison Elderly Project
Let me know if there are other questions you have and we'll either respond as we can or include the requests in the information being aggregated.
Funding through the City of Cleveland for this project is through an open and competitive process known as the Housing Trust Fund; it is incumbent upon any proposer to provide the city with market analysis, evidence of site control, evidence of capacity and details on financing other than what they are requesting from the city.
There are no secrets in this process and I welcome you and others who have questions to contact the Department of Community Development and we can review the process in general and address questions and concerns related to this particular project.
Brian et al—
I'd like to have the implementing paperwork on this Near West group formation and the original and the current membership, with their other affiliations. It's time for a little mapping here.
Also, I am having trouble knowing about NRP—the principals, the business format, and so forth. Can you help with an annual report and an identification of all people involved either as employees or as owners of the LLC?
Finally, for now, how is it we are proceeding here with what appears to be a no-compete contractor/developer? Certainly, there must be other people who want to use the same funds that you're making available to NRP. It appears that all we've done so far is to provide NRP free help from the city workers involved and the secular nonprofit workers involved. I'm thinking there's an odd alignment of interests here that begs for realignment.
You are correct and I misspoke when I wrote that the new Design District Review process replaced the Historic District Design Review process. They are separate albeit similar processes.
The NRP project went through deign and review through the Near West Committee because the project is not located within the Brooklyn Centre Local Landmarks District.
Nonetheless, my understanding is that the underlying design standards, when projects are utilizing federal funds, are identical in terms of utilizing the Secretary Standards, i.e., National Trust for Historic Preservation. There is also a role and requirements the City's Landmark Commission manages for projects that receive federal funds but are not in a local landmarks district, such as the NRP Denison Elderly project. Dan Musson (664-2575) in Landmarks can provide additional information on that if you like.
I am working with Nora McNamara in Community Development to pull together summary information as well as references to the process and documents involved with all relevant City Departments that have a role in this project.
There has been and will continue to be opportunities for public comment and review of information pertaining to this project. And, I've asked Nora to help outline that process. We anticipate being able to provide additional information within the week.
Departments we are coordinating information from:
- Community Development
- Plan Examiner/Building and Housing
- Division of Engineering and Construction
- Division of Water Pollution Control
- Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District
- Fire Prevention Bureau