Orange construction cones everywhere, dust flying in the air, and the sound of power tools buzzing off. These are all the current sights and sounds in the Buckeye Neighborhood on Shaker Boulevard between Woodhill Road and East 116th Street. The Buckeye Neighborhood is undergoing a transformation and if you haven’t been to the east area lately, you may be surprised to see some of the projects underway.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is finishing construction of a new innovative $3.5 million station located at the intersection of Woodhill Road, Shaker Boulevard, and Buckeye Road. The Buckeye/Woodhill Station features two open glass canopies leading down to the tracks, new ramps, and new signage. Public art at the station includes a “manka-phone,” a 20 foot stainless steel sculpture of a microphone representing the jazz history of the Buckeye Neighborhood. Ceramic tile designed by Richard Fleischman called “Ribbons of Hope” are also featured. The RTA Station is set to open soon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late October.
RTA and the Buckeye Area Development Corporation (BADC) are also collaborating to create a Buckeye/Woodhill Station Area Plan. The plan focuses on developing the area surrounding the RTA station and includes housing development, park developments, landscaping, roadway, and bike and pedestrian enhancements.
In addition to this plan, BADC is collaborating with Morning Star Baptist Church to demolish two blighted car washes at the corner of Buckeye Road and Shaker Boulevard, adjacent to the RTA station. The corner will be beautified with a neighborhood sign, shrubs, and perennial flowers. The newly beautified corner will act as a gateway into the community for people coming from the new RTA Station.
Plans are also underway to update the existing East 116th Street RTA Station as well. In 2010, RTA, BADC and Neighborhood Progress worked to design a new station with sustainability and pedestrians in mind. Art work created at the Harvey Rice Learning Center will be incorporated as well. Construction is set to start in 2013.
If you travel further down Shaker Boulevard you will run into Saint Luke’s Hospital and the Harvey Rice School and Library. Saint Luke’s Hospital is breathing new life. With the renovation of two wings, Saint Luke’s holds over 130 units of affordable, senior housing. The third wing is set to be completed in 2013 and will be home to the award-winning and nationally-recognized Breakthrough Schools’ Intergenerational School and the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. The Saint Luke’s project has been a catalyst in redeveloping this area of the Buckeye Neighborhood.
Adjacent to Saint Luke’s, the Harvey Rice Learning Campus is home to the Harvey Rice School and Rice Branch Library. The campus showcases the work of local artists and also provides space for GED instruction as well as tutoring five days a week. The Rice Branch Library achieved Silver Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the only free standing library in Ohio to earn that designation.