Planning process underway for W. 25th Street Corridor
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, November 2006) Residents and stakeholders along a 1.2 mile stretch of W. 25th Street Corridor are working with Clark Metro Development Corporation to develop a strategic redevelopment plan. The plan targets the area just south of Ohio City that begins at the railroad and Train Avenue overpass and goes south to where the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood begins at I-71. A planning dialogue at MetroHealth Medical Center on Saturday October 14th drew 20 people who worked update themes developed by earlier focus groups. The planning process began six months ago. Clark Metro Development Corporation plans to share a draft of the developing plan for the corridor and seek additional input at a November 15th Meeting at MetroHealth Medical Center’s Rammelkamp Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Planners have divided the corridor into three different segments based on usage.
The northern segment is from Train Avenue to Wade Avenue, and includes Nestle’s L.J. Minor Factory and the former Forest City Foundry property. Discussion about this area centered on mixed industrial and residential use. The group discussed the possible uses of the Forest City site including creating residential housing on the site.
The middle segment of the corridor stretches from Wade Avenue to Meyer Avenue. It includes the intersection of Clark Avenue and W. 25th, the former Hostess Twinkie complex on W. 25th and Twinkie Lane (now Zubal Books) and the former Aragon Ballroom. Planners called the area the cultural core. The busy intersection of Clark and W. 25th is one of the few major intersections in the city where long established buildings remain on all four corners.
The group discussed possible uses of the Aragon including use as a museum and cultural center for area churches or reviving its use as a dance hall. Planners noted that Zubal Books is willing to move if a single location large enough could be found. Discussion centered on use of the facility for a combination of small boutiques and housing and using the internationally known cultural icon of the Twinkie as a theme for the area. It was also suggested that the area include some green space. Planners proposed a possible green space that would link W. 25th street to the rear of the two corner buildings on the east side of W. 25th at Clark Avenue.
Abe Bruckman, Vice President of Commercial Development for Clark Metro Development Corporation, stressed the importance of the W. 25th and Clark intersection. He noted that 26,000 vehicles travel down W. 25th each day, another 20,000 cross the intersection from Clark Avenue. About 1.63 million RTA bus riders pass the corner each year. Bruckman says traffic on the corner has increased since the closing of the Fulton Road Bridge in early October, and is likely to increase again with the opening of Steelyard Commons.
The southern segment of the planning area is the area from Meyer to I-71. The area includes MetroHealth Medical Center. The group suggested walking routes for Metro employees and ways to encourage development of vacant land on the west side of the street across from Metro. Discussion centered on finding ways to get Metro and its employees to make greater use of the W. 25th Street corridor. A Metro employee noted that employees out for a walk felt more comfortable going south of the hospital than north. Ideas for improving the area north of the hospital included widening the sidewalk, more greenery and removal of chain link fencing.
The group discussed ways to link the various segments of the area. One idea was to include a restaurant on Clark and W. 25th that would sell soups made at the Nestle L. J. Minor plant and market them to Metro employees.
Tim Donovan of Ohio Canal Corridor, a participant in the discussions, noted that W. 25th was designated as a historic bi-way and is one of the neighborhood loops for the Ohio Canal Corridor. He said W. 25th and Broadway on the East Side were significant historically because both were former Indian trails, both were early street car routes and both led to a large market place (West Side Market and the former Central Market).
Clark Metro Development Corporation’s Executive Director Steve Kruger says the planning process for the corridor was completely funded by sources other than the City of Cleveland. Consultants on the project, Mark Duluk of Arkinetics and Andrew Baqué of Atwell-Hicks Development Consultants have been working with CMDC for about six months. Kruger says CMDC hopes to present a development plan for the corridor to the City of Cleveland by early next year.
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