Expect more

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 09/21/2007 - 19:17.

Expect more stories like the incredible sink hole that swallowed my backyard.   The infrastructure of Cleveland and the inner ring suburbs is crumbling.  Instead of repeating the same mistakes, Cuyahoga County needs to find a way to reimburse these homeowners and collectively allow these stream corridors to revert to their natural function.  It is certainly the most cost effective way of fixing this problem and it will serve the dual purpose of cleaning our waters and regreening our community.

Communities across Ohio are required to complete a storm water management plan.  This should include buying back some of these threatened downstream properties and critical upstream headwater properties.  When Mr. Roscoe's house was built, Cleveland Heights was a bucolic refuge from the city.  In some ways, East Cleveland should be pointing the finger at Cleveland Heights.  Is it a good upstream neighbor?? 

Read Michael Gill's article in the Free Times.  He talks about CSOs--combined sewer outfalls.  These don't fail as he describes--they were designed to permit the mixing of sanitary and storm water during heavy rains (dilution is the solution was a 70s mantra), when the sewer district can not accept all the water going to the wastewater treatment plants.  Recently, the City of Euclid emptied their swimming pools to the storm sewers (they should have discharged to the sanitary sewer lines) and the chlorinated water caused a fish kill in Euclid Creek.  Connect the dots.  Read the landscape and respect it.

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Nine-Mile, Dugway and Doan

  BTW, Norm you are in the Dugway Brook watershed--Mr. Roscoe's East Cleveland property and subsequent canyon is in the Nine-Mile creek watershed. 

CSO overflows should scare you and everyone else.  The NEORSD was supposed to get rid of them, but they are still around, silently dumping sewage into our waterways.  I checked two of them today CSO 220 and CSO217 along Doan Brook.  220 was discharging, which it shouldn't do during dry weather conditions...

let the water flow

We had this conversation here in a long exchange about the north face of the portage escarpment a while back. We noted the repair going on in Bratenahl and linked to David Beach's story that follows the Dugway from Tharpe Road in Cleveland Heights via Meadowbrook and under the Coventry neighborhood and back to Forest Hill and down through East Cleveland.

It seems a good idea you are suggesting here Laura that as we redevelop our shrinking city, we take into account the aging sewer system and allow some part to return to nature.

I have to restate that when we visited New Orleans back in May and rode the bus to the Lower Ninth Ward, I thought of Cleveland. The land sans houses made me think of several Cleveland neighborhoods where a lone house stand in ruins on a block -- already wildlife and plants have moved in to reclaim the blocks. They continue to have the argument about where to rebuild in NOLA. We will have it here, too. But I think that if people knew that they could encounter something like what happened to the Roscoes, they might reconsider moving (especially if they had financial assistance from the city to relocate).

I keep hearing Pink Floyd, "tear down the walls..."  and David Byrne, "There was a shopping mall, now it's all covered with flowers"

The water will lead us. It may be time for us to let it flow and learn from it, to stop trying to channel is and direct it and move it from here to there, culverting and sending it into these man made contraptions.

OK Here's another song for our time: "This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius..." Years ago I read William Irwin Thompson's book, "The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light". In it, he discusses the millennial shift. He describes a rise in fundamentalism and then a leveling off with a new understanding. It is one of the things that allows me to be hopeful for my son and future generations. Recently I came upon a video on YouTube that describes from many religious traditions the shift of the "ages or eons".

The Age of Aquarius - the water bearer is upon us. We will have to pay close attention to water. I am no expert, I just feel it in my bones. Cities caving in to strike down our arrogance? It seems less unbelievable each passing day...

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Make new again

  What does it take to bring people back to the city?  Jeff touched upon it with his photo-montage of condemned signs.  People will not be convinced to live in the city unless they have something shiny and new.  It is so American and so stupid.   So, we tear down perfectly well-constructed houses and replace them with flimsy new.  It is going to take a major shift in our mind set to make our cities into communities.  Some people have never experienced the illusion of ownership, so the idea of permanence and maintenance are not passed on to their kids.  We have to stop thinking of everything as something to throw away.   Well, that's all that I can ponder about today in the city--a beautiful day in Rockefeller Park for those who came out to help Walk and Roll Cleveland make the park  new again.

If we look at the land we

If we look at the land we will see locations with the lowest elevation, these locations would be good for man-made lakes or lagoons.    If lagoons are created they could receive all of the rainwater from adjacent land. 


How much storage capacity does the Wade Lagoons have? 


A natural approach; create man-made lakes to receive the rainwater, direct all the rainwater into them.  Once the reservoir exits then systematically, replace the roads and drainage system around it.   


The lagoons or reservoirs could be naturalized they could have dams that allow overflow into the natural creek in proximity. 


Look at the NEORSD’s map of the Eastern City; either side of Rockefeller Park could have large lagoons created. 



What exist on either side of the park is either very architecturally significant or dense blighted obsolescent housing, abandoned and underutilized.   As you move away from the park an area could exist suitable to clear and a lagoon created.  Everything that existed around that lagoon could drain storm water into it.   


Consider this approach; everything a mile from the Park on either side becomes part of the park, some homes exist in the park, then, those areas become a water shed to the creek.  The area dealt with differently, being it would be a park.  The watershed, the utility distribution, which could elevate the existing system, addressed with interceptors and sent to the treatment facilities.    It is matter of getting the capacity up and the volume down.   


The city really needs to get smart, we really need to be looking at building large amount of low cost homes, these older homes are not suitable for low income housing. 


Getting people out of these older homes and into newer homes that are not environmentally hazardous and are energy efficient has to happen.  


Home ownership may not be the answer, but low cost is. 


Offering a household $10,000.00 to abate lead may produce gut-wrenching results.  In some instance, the funds may just disappear, with no real abatement.    Those funds will not help with blight, the lead hazard is undeniable associated. 


I do not believe that these funds should be offered unless they are associated with historical renovations and if the household does not have money to coduct continuous maintenance, they should be encouraged into new housing.   Particularly where we know that a high percentage of potential restoration could exist if household have the income that it requires in order to do so. 


It does not matter if the household has no interest or lacks substantial income to do what is best.  The results are the same; there is not enough federal dollars to restore century homes as a huge test to see if the low-income households have the wherewithal to maintain them. 


Many areas of the city are not densely populated some are actually sparsely populated.  These areas developed with low cost modern housing.  Historic areas with century home are expensive, even people with deep pocket are reluctant to live and invest in them.  


In reality the city's historic homes are being held hostage by the poor, they are even attempting to extort money to retain them.   Neglected homes eventually crumble into the ground; filling in the spaces with new homes will not stop it.   The scenario continues around them.   


This is not a racial issue it is an economic issue, there are more African American families making over 50K then under 25K in our nation.  We cannot expect these poor household to understand their role in big picture, but the options presented to them needs to be clear and correct.   If they are not going to be paid well then make sure they have some inexpensive homes to live in and they can not be dilapidate century homes. 


If your home is falling part and you have no money, you sell the home you cannot ask for money to fix it, 90% of the cost is sweet equity.  You cannot get loans if you do not have the financial wherewithal to pay it back.   The city needs to be handing out code violations, offers to purchase and lease agreement for the alternatives all in one step.


The individuals that buy the home get a package that includes all the code violations and any incentive they qualify for the funds to abate the lead, the discount loan and tax abatement.   The people that get the home are those that can afford the payments.  If the codes do not get resolved, the home does not transfer.      


The system is in place already. Enforce it!  If you do not people will just move to the suburbs.    

Stop patronizing and placating the poor, tell them how it is and they will adjust, that is life.  If you want more, bust your ass. 

Ironically Oengus

  The lagoons, as you refer to them, are actually filled with good old city tap water, not Doan Brook.  If they were filled with the water from Doan Brook, they would be open sewers.  Yes, water retention is needed along Doan Brook, but dams are not the answer.  I only hope that the 14 million dollars of mitigation funds from the filling of Abrahms Creek for the airport expansion--has not been completely squandered.  The channelized WPA creek walls have to go.  This goes against the historic preservationist in me, but channelized creeks, despite pretty stone walls, are still an abomination.  You need to get out there Oengus.  The neighborhoods and houses bordering the Doan Brook valley are fine for habitation and built finer than any of the cardboard houses going up for 200,000+ in the city.

It is ironic, what is being

It is ironic, what is being addressed is and area, that areas is 44108.  It is a park community.  That based not on my subjective opinion, but rather on the fact that is has a very percentage of land currently designated as park. 


We can look at it from the perspective of it being a watershed because it has a natural watershed in part.  It also has a very elaborate underground system that is both culvert natural and wastewater. 


The way that it was naturally is in fact lost forever; it is not possible to recreate the natural environment.  The natural watershed interrupted, diverted for the most part in the complex combined system of drains.   What flows into storm drains and waste drains combines; they impound that and direct all of that to treatment facilities.  However, as we know when it rains it cannot handle the volume and discharges.     The discharge enters the natural environment. 


If we simple say it needs to be natural or just ay it needs to stop, then we paint ourselves into corner.  Just saying it needs to be something completely other than what it currently is just finger pointing.  


Impoundments hold water, it is already obvious that the natural shed is gone; the meadows and meandering streams that lead to creeks and then to rivers, they no longer exist.  If we ignore that we are not naturalists, we are not looking at the picture holistically.  We have to accept that natural in its pristine form is gone forever.


If we look at each piece we reside on then we look at the surface area that we posses that are no longer absorbing, our roofs, driveways and garages.  The areas been converted from absorbers to diverters.   The area had previously absorbed and diverted, now it only diverts.  We have exponentially increased the flow of what once was.   Catching water in rain barrels and storing it helps, but it is marginal. 


Currently the diverted water enters a combined piping system that holds both raw sewage and industrial waste.   That combined water sent collectively to a treatment facility for processing. However, during rains falls the volume is to high and pressure releases it into creeks, rivers and the lake. 


The volume is too large, so they consider creating impoundment, and that is the approach they use. The vaults that hold the volume of water and then process it later time.   Considering the size of the urban area and the amount of diverted water it is easy to see how ridiculously expensive it would be, and the size of these storage vaults referred to as interceptors is enormous.   


What hits the roof of my home and runs down my gutters is not contaminated. What flows into the storm drains on the street is in part with litter and residual oils from leaking cars and trucks.  Far from pristine but not highly hazardous either.   

Storm water be separated from the sanitary, I do not see evidence that is even being considered.  All relative to capacity and volume, the approach is interceptors and impoundment.  I believe that if addressed in a single area with consideration to the existing natural watershed it is possible to impound just the rainwater and then divert it to natural watershed.     


The area of 44108 has some of the city’s most interesting architecture. However, it has a very high rate of loss.   Each year it has lost housing many streets have vacant lots.  As much as 25% of the original homes built have been lost.   Very few of these homes maintained, they are neglected and deteriorated.  


We are the generation of advancing technology; it is entirely possible to address this very glorious area of our city with greater intelligence.


The area stretches from the lake to University Circle in the south, it is continuous with three adjacent areas 44103 and 44106, parks, lake front marinas all have amenities.  


It would be very complex from an engineering stand point, that being to impound storm water in man made lagoons and connect them with flows to natural bodies of water.  However, 44108 has a creek that runs through its center.  


If the areas are approached separately, with respect to all aspects then unique approaches to unique environ would develop.  The area of 44108 could develop into a large Park District.


If utilities in an area where underground and out of site then it is possible to move homes, the obstacle to moving homes is to a great extent getting the utility lines out of the way.  These open space that the city is so anxious to infill with lesser quality homes are actually blessing in disguise.  Moving homes to infill and restoring them considering the open space and creating lagoons as water features in park community.  Creating water features that control the watershed and direst it back to natural system.    As much as 25% of the actual space is open, it is that, it is not continuous open space. 


I biggest concern I have with historical properties are there scatter locations, a historic Victorian sitting in isolation from like structures has functional obsolesces, compared to those that are surround with other homes of like quality.  To assume that our well-ingrained sense of esthetically pleasing is or needs to be reconsidered is naive if not foolish.  


Creating a utopian like park community economically represent a large cash cow.  To call to attract people back from the suburban area is begging Peter to pay Paul.   Such an area would become a home for new wealth the only real measure of success, to attract those from outside of the greater region.  That requires new economic models, expansion and growth.   If  NEOCM was relocated to the city then that is 1,700 new employees and they will be looking for 1,700 new household.   That area of 44108 could be the location of many of those households. Transit feeders connecting those household to the campus, the water frontline in the north and the silver line in the south. 


Transplanting and empowering, not only historic homes, but industry and commerce, resulting in high concentrations of residential areas and also commercial areas, and industrial areas.  


Separating into like sections with much in common is highly successful, missing it all together is nothing more than creating conflict, demanding assimilation into a conflicting model is foolish and with out any regard to the economics.  It defies and ignores what it is that people really want consistency.  An area that is plagued with architectural inconsistency is not ideal it embraces low standards.  Good enough, it cannot be perfect, even worse perfection is subjective.  


The highest and best use of the land, with the highest regard to the actual land, long term and sustainable.  That mean once it is done it is done; it does not need constant revising. 


The concept of regionalism based on nodes, parcels that collect into districts and then sub regions and all connected as a whole. 


A utility provider would look at each node, it would provide for its requirements, a trunk to feed it and grid to disperse it, it could regulate its consumption with advanced technology, balancing loads and augmenting sources.  Intelligent systems of the future run on real-time data feeds.  


It is entirely possible to have historic communities, which are totally high tech and super energy efficient. 


The uses of software and technology, grown locally, advanced medial and educational facilities grown locally, it is not complex.  Clusters of manufacturing and commerce, monitored for health and vitality.  Teams responsible for manufacturing parks and commercial districts, transplant teams responsible to get them into clustered zones. 


What I know for certain is that people have huge societal misconceptions, some people are very content with sweeping the floors, it is service and should be respected.  However, the misconception all exists in generalization.  Do not assume that a persons value is defined my anything other than their ability to adapt.   Do not assume that the person needs your help, it s insulting they need opportunity and those are easy to see in a consistent environ.  Simple and easy beats a complex socially engineered model, those that have less adaptability require clear and easy alternatives, those need to be sustainable.   No mater if I get a raise or if I get married the system does not treat me differently.   The largest fault in society is to penalize progression, if I move up then befits are the same until I get so high up it is obvious I do not need them.   We have transition points that penalize people, over this point you get nothing under and you get everything.   It all has to be prorated, consistent and interrelated. 


Everything s income based, society needs to be certain that it is fair and empowers eventual self-sufficiency.  The parcel, predefined, can address this, you cannot live wherever you want, you can only live where you can afford.


What is missing is the break even, in the simplest economic model and everything does rise from that point the simplest model must be adhered to.  You cannot detail on a model that stems from an ignoring of the basic.   The breakeven is the intersection of the supply and the demand.  With housing, it is defined by your income, but better yet by the average income and the average cost.


We actually have created a huge mess, disposable income is the goal of everyone, we have and continue to price our markets in oblivion.  It will attempt to adjust and we look at how to defy it.  The suburbanites will get trapped in the market, they can and will not leave their homes and take a loss, some can but many cannot.  To call people to the urban areas now is ridiculous; the abatement is the only incentive.


Cleveland need to attract people from other regions, regions that have higher values these will come with capital and relish in a lower cost market.   The last thing we need is raising our value to their levels.  If we attracted 2000 IT jobs from Silicon Valley those people would come with capital.  A 250k-350k renovated home in Park Community would seem very in expensive to them.  


I am looking for a mechanism to address the need for low cost housing, I believe that a model based on manufactured homes is best, a factory that builds its first community to house its own workers.  In processes we have what is referred as vertical integration, a chain of activity all connected. The same people that define the location also define the homes and the building of the homes and include all the manufacturing of the components.    Vertical integration is highly efficient, the workers take pride in the homes they are constructing them for them selves. 


This in alignment with clustering, open space becomes a large quality of affordable homes.  It gets empowered with locally made manufacturing of the homes and its components.  It is further empowered with commercial areas within it.  The pricing all based on income and unrestricted.  All based within an affordable pricing model do to efficient and low cost labor.   


The laborer would be apprentices,  the price of their homes based on labor rates set at or before cut offs for federal and state entitlements.   I ingle person paid 15K a year and then gets the new home at  $350 a month, entitled to HEAP and Medicaid.  If this person get married then the spouse’s income should not affect the price of the housing it should remain constant.   Permanent and sustainable low income households.   This could be done for janitors in office buildings, landscapers etc.   


The more efficient the system the less the loss per unit and with a price ceiling at actual cost it is all a break-even or loss model, subsidized with taxes. It derives taxes from the Park Community, industrial parks and commercial districts. 


The Park Community would have a population of around 20-25K, some could be locally derived but most would need to be transplants of other regions.   It could be a huge tool utilized in order to attract corporations.  Empower a corporation that is attracting talent from other areas.  


It can be seen in Rockefeller Park and section of East Blvd, the potential.  The incredible charm and exemplary esthetics, then traveling away from those areas it begins to break down,  Ansel and Wheelock roads are severely blighted and most of the northern sections close to the lake are far from appealing. 


The whole area looked at lot by lot block by block, it could be phenomenal, and it could incorporate water features.   That looks much like the lagoons on the park, but are integrated water reservoirs.                




MORE sewer news...

Life in the sewer.  Let's stop hiding our problems underground.

Another main break

  How many millions of gallons of water and dollars are wasted here?

East Side water-line break crumples Superior Avenue; roads closed

Posted by djmiller [at] plaind [dot] com January 26, 2009 13:43PM