THE CASE FOR THE "OPPORTUNITY COORIDOR"
Chris Ronayne - Executive Director of University Circle, Inc.
Friday January 16, 2008
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Case Western Reserve University
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mayor Frank Jackson, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Governor Strickland have all strongly endorsed the idea of an “Opportunity Corridor,” a six-lane boulevard, with grassy median, that would link I-490 and University Circle. The proposed road would follow a route near the current railroad right of way and then cut north around 105th Street.
Its advocates say the boulevard would benefit the institutions of the circle and the employees who work there. As a boulevard, not a highway, advocates say it would also help develop the communities south of the circle in an area called the “forgotten triangle.” They argue the boulevard would give that area a “main street” and make it more attractive as an area for development.
Yet critics think the road promises too much. If it is needed as a truck route into University Circle, how attractive a “main street” could it be? How would making it easier for people to work in University Circle and live somewhere else serve goals of residential development in the area? What is the evidence that transportation into University Circle has constrained economic development? And how does the “Opportunity Corridor” fit with the Euclid Corridor?
As Executive Director of University Circle, Inc., Chris Ronayne is in the best position to explain the idea and how it fits with all other plans for the area. As former City Planning Director, Chief Development Officer, and Chief of Staff, he has deep knowledge of Cleveland’s challenges. So please join us in a look beyond the headlines and editorials at a major local development issue.
As usual, we will gather in Room 9 of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, on the lower level of Crawford Hall, for free cookies, beverages, and brown bag lunch.
About Our Guest
Chris Ronayne set an aggressive agenda for University Circle, Cleveland’s fastest growing employment center, and University Circle Inc. (UCI), the nonprofit development, service, and advocacy organization responsible for the growth of the Circle as a world-class center of innovation in health care, education, and arts & culture. As the seventh president in UCI’s 50 year history, Ronayne is determined to make University Circle a premier urban district that is safe, clean, and attractive for the hundreds of thousands of residents, workers, and visitors that come here everyday.
After joining UCI in December 2005, Ronayne launched several new campaigns for University Circle including a campaign to bring back Euclid Avenue, build 1,000 new homes in the district, improve access and connections to the area, develop the circle as a hub for life-long learning, and create a place-based marketing campaign for this spectacular center of innovation. Last year, Ronayne and his team raised more than $7 million for the revitalization of Euclid Avenue, opened a visitor center, and brought more than 100,000 visitors to University Circle institutions through destination marketing and event-based programming including 25,000 grade school students for interactive learning in the state’s premier knowledge district.
From his neighborhood work at UCI to his days at Cleveland City Hall, Ronayne’s vision is to improve the City of Cleveland. From 2001-2005 he served as the City’s Planning Director, Chief Development Officer, and Chief of Staff, where he managed 9,000 employees and led numerous revitalization projects. He was the chief architect of the City’s ambitious and award winning Waterfront District Plan.
Having lectured throughout North America and abroad on city and regional planning issues, Ronayne was the 2005 U.S. Representative to the Chilean Bicentennial Commission, is a member of the British American Project, and the American Planning Association. In addition to his role with UCI, Ronayne is Chairman of the Holden Parks Trust, a member of the Sherwick Foundation, the Ohio Canal Corridor Board, and Board member to the Friends of the Cleveland School of the Arts, and the School of Architecture and Design at John Hay High School. Serving on the Levin College of Urban Affairs visiting committee, Ronayne was recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Alumni Award for the Cleveland State University College of Urban Affairs where he holds a Masters of Urban Planning, Design, and Development. He received his undergraduate degree in business management and organizational behavior from Miami University in Oxford Ohio.
He is married to Natalie Ronayne, executive director for the Cleveland Botanical Garden. They live in Cleveland’s Cudell-Edgewater neighborhood. In May 2008, he and Natalie had their first child Audrey Ronayne.
Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:
January 23: "Charging for Car Insurance by the Mile: Good Business and Good for Energy and the Environment?" With Richard Hutchinson, General Manager for the “My Rate” program, Progressive Insurance."
The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of
Crawford Hall. Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made. On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion.
Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building. The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch. On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.
For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see http://policy.case.edu.