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Some of GLUE’s friends (thanks Kevin and Jeanne!) just realized: if you’ve been visiting this site, you might not have ever realized that WE’VE MOVED!  Update your “favorite” selections in your web browser, because you can now find us at the NEW GLUEspace.org.

The new GLUEspace has a series of interactive features that allow you to participate in the site.  Please join us as we re-imagine the mega-region!

When:            June 21st, 2008, 7-10 PM
Where:           The Buffalo Museum of Science
Who:              Open to the public

Where is the Buffalo Museum of Science?

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Rustbelt Revitalization Effort Founded and Driven by Young People Launches at Buffalo Museum of Science;
‘A Regional Renaissance is Within Our Grasp’

Members of the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE) and their friends in Buffalo have one message to send from the steps of the Buffalo Museum of Science on the evening of Saturday, June 21st: “Older industrial cities around the Great Lakes can come back. If we have anything to say about it, they will.”

Civically engaged post-boomers in cities like Buffalo, Detroit, and Milwaukee want to put a dent in the cynical speculation, anachronistic stereotypes, innovation-averse attitudes, and inter-city isolation that have stymied progress in their similarly challenged communities for too long.

They know cock-eyed optimism and glossy boosterism aren’t enough.  These cityphiles are painfully aware of the problems their homes face: population decline, an underdeveloped workforce, urban segregation, and crumbling infrastructure, to name a few. Their cities need new solutions.

GLUE’s answer: build a diverse network of younger people devoted to equitable, sustainable cities.  Put them in touch with each other.  Give them an opportunity to exchange ideas and hold multi-sector, multi-city conversations.  Empower them to tell stories about their cities using new media in order to get the world’s attention and to bring new people into conversations about public policy’s links to everyday life.  Elevate and replicate ideas that work.  Rinse and repeat.

After several months in development at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, GLUEspace, the project’s online home, is ready for prime time.  GLUEspace will embody the values of GLUE: inclusivity, dynamism, and innovation.  The site will offer more than multi-media, city-focused citizen journalism; it will afford visitors the opportunity to connect with urbanists from Rochester to Minneapolis around the issues that will transform the Great Lakes’ urban communities:

•    Environmental justice and sustainability

•    Responsible economic development

•    Empowerment of communities and individuals

•    Quality of place

•    Civic participation and government transparency

To commemorate the launch of GLUEspace, the Great Lakes Urban Exchange is holding a celebration of the industrial “rustbelt” and its future potential.   The celebration’s theme, “Community Transformation, Reinvesting in the Urban Core,” is being interpreted by a team of local community members ranging from artists and science buffs to active bloggers and students and alumni from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College.

Attendees will contribute stories about Buffalo for the website in real time via video, live blogging, podcast, and photography. Local innovators will share their “Enhance Buffalo” ideas with the public at stations inside the museum and local artists will present a series of performances intended to symbolize the transition of our economy from sole reliance on heavy industry. The highlight of these will be a sunset bronze “pour” conducted by Simon Griffis of the Ashford Hollow Foundation and a team of molten metal sculptors on the grand front steps of the museum. The products of the pour will be four square panels containing the emblematic images of our logo:  urbanism, regionalism, story-telling, and network building.

GLUE was developed by Pittsburgh and Detroit residents Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki to combat negative perceptions about their cities.  Its mission evolved from new media boosterism to issue-based network-building and resource-pooling, and from a brain trust of two to a core planning team of over forty young, devoted, and solutions-oriented leaders from GLUE cities Akron, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Flint, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lansing, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, Toledo, and Youngstown.

GLUE was sponsored in its infancy by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program through its Great Lakes Economic Initiative (GLEI), building upon the analytic foundation laid by Brookings’ “Restoring Prosperity” and “The Vital Center,” seminal reports about the immediate needs and shared challenges of cities at the core of GLUE’s mission.  For more information, visit http://www.brookings.edu/metro.

GLUE has also been made possible by the generous support of the John R. Oishei Foundation and the Regional Institute at Buffalo.

For a complete schedule of other launch activities this summer, please email abby@gluespace.org

Plans to save Old Tiger Stadium–the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 1999–have slowly declined in scale and ambition. But the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, with the help of long-time Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell, is still fighting to preserve one wall of the Stadium, from dugout to dugout, as a nod to the history of the site. The City last week issued a reprieve to the group, giving them a few more months to raise the $15 million price tag of that preservation plan. Detroit may be able to find a balance here between making way for needed new development, and being grounded in a proud history. But it will unfortunately just come down to that $15 million, to be raised by a group for whom I can’t find a website.

Pat Clark in Pittsburgh forwarded this poignant photo testimonial to the old ballpark. There is something inefficient and about the way we are willing to pave over this history, in desperation for the next silver bullet development. I know we need the revenue, but I can’t help but think there’s a more creative solution.

I’m also struck by how little coverage this is getting in Detroit, perhaps due to issue fatigue? (Compare the Freep article linked above to this New York Times article from a month ago.) I’m struck by the closing sentence, a quote from Timothy McKay, head of the Greater Corktown Development Corporation. “This is an old city. But history here is discounted by a lot of people.”

Our history’s not all roses, but back me up–how can we know where we’re going if we don’t remember from where we came?

At our June Sticky City Swap Meets last week, we spent some time hearing from Dave Reid, who represents a group of citizens in Milwaukee (UWM Downtown) who are fighting the planned expansion of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) to the suburbs of Milwaukee, and urging UWM to do its expanding downtown. He spoke to GLUE about the situation with UWM, and his efforts trying to open up UWM’s decision-making to public review.

Many of our cities benefit from relationships with our urban universities, and the situation with UWM is a great primer in what those relationships offer. Dave and his group also provide a primer in citizen action. Check out their website for updates, and be sure to look at the smart citizen-produced White Paper on why UWM would be wiser to stay downtown.

You can watch the video of Dave’s presentation here (first 15 minutes are his presentation, and the last 15 minutes are questions from GLUEsters meeting in Milwaukee and St. Louis).

THANKS TO KELLY MCGILVERY, SCRIBE AND ORGANIZER EXTRAORDINAIRE

There are lots of great neighborhoods in Toledo, but there is one that stands out in terms of residents’ enthusiasm and richness of character: the Old West End.

Recognizing this, we started our conversation by talking about some of the attributes of the other great neighborhoods of the city, before focusing on the O.W.E.

One of our attendees lives in South Toledo. He loves the architecture of his neighborhood, the fact that his house backs up against a park, which has basketball and tennis courts. The neighborhood has lots of tree coverage and is not too expensive. However, one of its downsides is that it is far from the freeways.

Old Orchard is another of Toledo’s distinctive neighborhoods. It is the neighborhood that surrounds the University of Toledo, and is home to many university professors and attorneys. Old Orchard is within walking distance of lots of things, including two hometown grocery stores, Schorling’s and Churchill’s. One can also walk easily to the Westgate shopping center and the Sanger branch of the public library.
It’s a great neighborhood in which to raise a family.

Collingwood Springs is a neighborhood right next to the Old West End, and just two blocks away from Adams Street, which is the heart of the UpTown district.

Now, onto the Old West End. It is a diverse, harmonious neighborhood not far from the downtown, and immediately adjacent to the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo’s best-known cultural treasure. It is home to a lot of young people and a strong sense of community. People new to town noted that the OWE is the neighborhood about which people say “you really have to check it out!” Many of the homes in the neighborhood are in the Victorian Style, and are available at very reasonable prices. Some of the other cultural riches of the neighborhood are the TMA’s new Glass Pavilion, the community gardens, the arboretum on Delaware and Robinwood.

In many ways the OWE is like an island – it is surrounded by neighborhoods that are perceived to be undesirable, and the property values are highest close to the museum, and get lesser as you move north of Bancroft. In our discussion, several people offered anecdotal evidence of redlining.

It is a mostly residential neighborhood except for a record store on Monroe Street, a soul food restaurant on Delaware, and a community market on Ashland.

It is widely perceived to be the most artsy neighborhood in town, though residents have a mix of careers, with 22 % blue collar jobs.
The median household income is $48,000. Schools attended by kids in the OWE include: Toledo Public Schools, Gesu Academy, Toledo School for the Arts, Cathedral School, Old West End Academy, and Scott High School (which has its own jazz radio station).

The demographics that we found for one of the two zip codes in this neighborhood show that 43620 is home to 1100 white residents and 3400 black residents. 43604 is the other zip code in this area.

The assets of the Old West End are numerous: parks, the museum, gardens, interesting architecture, the cathedral and all the churches on Collingwood Avenue. The Collingwood Arts Center is an unique residential arts community housed in a former nunnery that is reported to be haunted (though none of us have ever seen ghosts there). The OWE is convenient to uptown, downtown, the Warehouse District and the expressway. There is a bike co-op, and many historic buildings, including Libbey House, and one of Ella Fitzgerald’s favorite places to stay, the Park Lane Hotel (now residential). The Old West End festival happens the first weekend of every June, and encompasses yard sales, an art fair, a wild art parade, and many yard parties. The neighborhood offers a bohemian lifestyle attractive to its eclectic residents. One attendee mentioned that all of “THE parties” of Toledo happen in the Old West End, including the parties during the festival, on Halloween and on New Year’s Eve. It is a very musical neighborhood.
The Old West End magazine is run by a resident and local champion, who covers stories about local personalities, events, history, and notable architecture.

The history of the Old West End is that its earliest inhabitants were wealthy industrialists who moved to the area as Toledo was expanding out of the downtown.

More info with links here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_West_End

In terms of transportation, there is the bus system, TARTA, and a shuttle to the University of Toledo. Most people use cars for transportation, but it is easy to bike downtown or to UT from the OWE.

There used to be a trolley system in the neighborhood.

To sum up, there is a strong neighborhood bond and sense of community in this unique part of town.

Thanks, Robbie, for winning the GLUE streetcar advocate award. Your prize?  A street car, of course! (Obligatory Not-So-Fine Print: Please note that this prize is entirely contingent on forces outside GLUE’s control)

As a life-long Columbus resident, young professional and downtown employee, I will greatly benefit from a streetcar system. More than half of my external meetings during the week occur within the “benefit zone.” On the evenings and weekends, I patronize local establishments and attend events several times between downtown and OSU. Hopping on a streetcar for various activities would save me gas, and time that I currently waste walking to and from my car and searching for a parking spot. I have no problem paying a little more at the parking meters, or a nominal surcharge for off-street parking or for admission to an event at Nationwide Arena, Ohio Theatre or on OSU’s campus. On average, I would ride a streetcar 5-10 times per week and would encourage my family, friends and colleagues to do so as well.

I have a hunch that most streetcar critics have never boarded a COTA bus. Therefore, how can they really understand Columbus’s needs for alternative public transportation? Streetcars play a vital role for Columbus moving towards being a greener, world-class city.

To remain competitive in the global marketplace and attract young talent means a strong public transportation system and this is the first step in the right direction. It’s time for Columbus to take the first step for a rail transit system – WE NEED A STREETCAR.

Our new friend Jim Rowen at The Political Environment has been blogging about the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin, and the politics surrounding its passage, since February 2007. For many of us, the Compact elicits an easy, “Sure, I think the Compact is important. Let’s pass it! I love the lakes!” But once you delve into the eight states, complicated implementing legislation that varies from state to state, amendments, diversions, permits and pending Congressional re-districting after the census in 2010 – it starts to get a little muddy.

Never fear, Jim has been keeping it all straight. For instance, here’s a great summary of the bill Wisconsin just passed that will untangle the web of complexities and make you go, “hmmmm.”

And here’s a list of Compact-related resources he’s compiled, from around the region.

We’ve got Jim in Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes Blogger in Minnesota (and watching the region at large). Who else is doing this in other states?

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