Growth on the Lake: The Power of Green Technology

Over the last couple of years Cleveland has really done a lot to change outsiders’ perception of the city. No longer is the city referred to as the ‘Mistake on the Lake’. In fact, recently I was on an Amtrak train traveling from Washington DC to Baltimore, and in the seat pocket was “The National”, Amtrak’s onboard magazine. And on the front cover of the National was a gorgeous plate of food and the caption “Next Stop: Cleveland – A booming food scene is helping this postindustrial city shake off the rust”. The six-page cover story featured Cleveland’s hippest neighborhoods, celebrity chefs and their restaurants.

After reading the article, I thought to myself, Cleveland really has a lot going for it – exceptional museums, cool neighborhoods, world class healthcare, it has the 2nd largest theater district in the country, stellar higher educational institutions, home of big budget film productions and a championship sports team. And on top of all that, Cleveland is becoming known for making real advances in green technology.

Lake Erie TurbineCleveland, like most metropolitan cities has its environmental issues, whether that be runoff from urban fields or commercial sites contaminated by prior use or contaminated sediments at the bottom of Lake Erie. Cleveland is starting to find unique solutions for these issues.

One of the region’s greatest assets is the Great Lakes, which provide freshwater for drinking, transportation, power and recreation. And 21% of the world’s supply of freshwater comes from the Great Lakes.

So, I am happy that the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and the Ohio EPA are working together to find a better solution for where to put the sediment dredged from Lake Erie, a solution that does not include dumping the sediment back into Lake Erie. Recently, it was reported that they are exploring the solution that the Port of Cleveland is using to re-purpose sediment. The Port contracts with a supplier that recycles the dredged sediment and uses some to restore wetlands near the harbors being dredged and sells some of the clean sediment to construction companies to use on their sites. Re-purposing prevented the need to build a containment dike, thus saving the Port of Cleveland $150 million.

Another green technology project in development is the placing of six (6) 3.45-megawatt wind turbines eight miles off the shore of Lake Erie. The goal of putting wind turbines in Lake Erie is to funnel renewable energy into Cleveland’s Public Power infrastructure, enough to generate energy to power 7,000 homes.

Initiatives like these are exciting to see as they build on Cleveland’s strong science and technology competency and continues to diversify the area’s economy. A diversified economy attracts diverse talent from all over the world. The need for more talent can help to increase the area’s population and ultimately increases the need for housing, retail and infrastructure development. All of which are things needed for a thriving city. It’s nice to see ‘Growth on the Lake’.

Greater Cleveland RTA: Saving Time and Money

It’s a horrible feeling to think you are going to miss the last direct flight home. This was me, a Sunday evening last month, as I sat in traffic in Atlanta on I-85 attempting to travel 30 miles to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Google Maps informed me that due to an accident, my originally scheduled 45-minute drive would now take 2 hours and 15 minutes. That extra hour and half added to my commute was the time allocated to return a rental car, get through security and tram it to my gate. As I crept along, all I could think about was how much I wished I’d taken the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).
Usually when I travel to the greater Atlanta area, my transportation preference is the MARTA. During the week, MARTA trains leave a station every 10 minutes and on the weekend every 20 minutes. On top of that, my ride from the last stop on the red line to the airport takes about 45 minutes and costs me $2.50. Quite a savings in time and money.

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The Mall – Still the Best Place to Buy a Gift.

Yes, the mall is still the best place to buy an anniversary gift, especially if your wedding anniversary is the day that you are doing the shopping.  I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary.  And as I have every year, I purchased my wife’s anniversary gift just in time.

BeachwoodPlaceThis year, I found myself traveling to three very different malls – Beachwood Place, an enclosed shopping mall; Legacy Village, an open-air lifestyle center and Eton Chagrin Boulevard, a mixed use boutique retail, dining and office space; all of which were no more than 4 miles apart.

Despite the rise in online purchases, shopping centers still account for over half of retail sales in the U.S.  However, the shopping mall experience has changed a lot in the last 25 years.  Today, there are roughly 1,000 enclosed malls and approximately 400 upscale lifestyle centers. These lifestyle centers are often serving as a suburban downtown providing retail, entertainment and community.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I Pick Planes.

I just got back from visiting a subject property in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Over 10+ hours, I drove a total of 600+ miles to go from FRG’s northeast Ohio office to the subject and back to our office.

CESSNA172If I would have flown, I could have left after breakfast and would have been back at the office in time for a lunch meeting.   It would have cost me about $285 more to rent a Cessna 172 and fly myself roundtrip to Grand Rapids. For me, flying – just makes good business sense.

There are 5,300 general aviation airports in the United States with 550 servicing commercial airline travel.  In Ohio, there are 104 public-owned, public use airports.  In northeast Ohio, Burke Lakefront airport is the country’s first downtown and first municipally owned and operated airport.  And even with dwindling air traffic it is still amongst the busiest airports in Ohio due to executive travel, professional sports team travel and flight school use.

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When People Stop Going to Church …

Church Transform

There are 350,000 religious congregations in the US and according to the Yellow Pages there are 1,433 religious institutions in the greater Cleveland area.  In Cleveland, as well as, across the nation church membership and attendance is declining.  This decline is not discriminating amongst denomination.  There has been a lot written and a lot of research conducted to uncover the reasons for the decline.  The findings range from – the cultural disappearance of guilt to too many online social options to the thought that occasional attendance is the same as regular attendance.  For whatever the reasons, in five years the percentage of people unaffiliated with religion has increased from 15% to nearly 20% and continues to rise.

So what does this mean for houses of worship?

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