News and Events

2016 Membership Drive

Spring 2016

Dear Neighbor,

Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) is your local community council. CTM advocates on behalf of the Clifton community. Issues we have promoted in the past year include supporting the CCAC, seeking high quality public education seats for your children, removing invasive plants from Burnet Woods, more events at Clifton Plaza, reducing the speed limit on McAlpin and Ruther Avenues, more bicycling infrastructure for Clifton, and resolving the noise from the roof of Good Sam hospital. We have worked on zoning variance issues as well as providing community input into the City’s Land Development Code revisions.

CTM also sponsors many activities and festivals throughout the year for our community including: Memorial Day Parade & Cookout, Lantern Walk, CliftonFest, the House Tour, Holidays on Ludlow and more. We provide funding for beautification projects such as the flower pots & holiday decorations on Ludlow Avenue. We provide communications including the community email list, Clifton Community website and the Clifton Chronicle. We partner with the Clifton Business and Professional Assocation (CBPA) to keep the Clifton Plaza operating. To support this important community work, we need your generous support. Membership dues are tax deductible and make up the second largest source of income for CTM. If you paid membership dues sometime in 2015, thank you for your support. Memberships are based on the calendar year, and we need your support again in 2016.

Starting or renewing your membership will help us keep Clifton a vibrant, desirable, and fun place to live, work, and play. CTM also accepts donations, and you can do that at the same time you renew your membership online. You can click here to renew online.

If you wish, you can also use this Membership Form to do a mail in membership renewal.

Thank you for your support.
CTM Membership Committee

Find CTM in social media on Facebook and Twitter

Summer Music Series – Clifton Plaza

The Summer Music Series on Clifton Plaza started May 6. There will be music every Friday and Saturday evening through end of July. There is also beer for sale. Don’t let the roped off area scare you aware – the rope is required by the beer permit. Come out and join your neighbors in the Business District. Check out the full schedule by clicking on the poster photo below.

PlazaMusic2016

Agenda for May 12 Public Meeting with CPS

At 9:45pm, May 11, CTM received a copy of the public meeting agenda to be held by CPS Board of Education in conjunction with Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Fairview-Clifton LSDMC, and CTM. All are invited to this meeting at the CPS Administration building on Burnet Woods. Conference Room 1-A. The meeting duration is scheduled for one hour. There is no time on the agenda for public speaking.

A G E N D A

SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING
CPS Board of Education & Clifton Cultural Arts Center
May 12, 2016
4:00 PM

Vision: Cincinnati Public Schools will be a community that ensures equitable access to a world-class education, unleashing the potential of every student.

Mission: We educate all students with rigor and care in a culture of excellence to develop engaged citizens who are prepared for life.

A. CALL TO ORDER

1. Pledge to Flag
2. Roll Call

NEW BUSINESS

B. Introductions
C. Vision 2020 – Strengthening Neighborhood Schools – Mary Ronan, Superintendent; Laura Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent
D. Lead agency & CLC definitions – Julie Doppler, CLC Coordinator
(Brainbox at Fairview School site)

E. Proposed outcomes – Ericka Copeland-Dansby, CPS Board President
· Carriage House
· Shared Space Agreement

F. Response to zoning issues – Bill Moehring, Interim Chief Operations Officer
G. Other issues
H. Adjournment

Office of the Board Members

May 12, 2016

Strategic Goals

1. Cultivate a robust and inclusive network of engaged parents, community and other stakeholders that work together to build safe, vibrant schools at the center of safe, vibrant communities (GREAT COMMUNITIES);

2. Support the creation of highly engaging learning environments in which every child, every day, engages in an ideal balance between rigorous learning opportunities relevant to our dynamic world, and at the same time enjoys the focused concern of caring adults (GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS);

3. Provide for expanded learning opportunities and choices for all students that reflect a shared concern for the whole child and demonstrate appreciation for every student as a unique individual (GREAT LEARNING CHOICES);

4. Enable the recruitment, growth, and advancement of distinguished professionals committed to serving diverse students with a high regard for equity, and in a manner characterized by rigor, innovation, and accountability (GREAT PEOPLE); and

5. Ensure that all operations, and resources of every type, are equitably distributed, and singularly and systemically focused on high academic achievement for all students (GREAT SYSTEMS).

CTM Notifies CPS of Flawed Survey

CTM Trustees voted on May 2 to notify CPS of flaws in the survey that CPS sent to Clifton-area families during April. The full letter is detailed below.

May 9, 2016

Ericka Copeland-Dansby, President Cincinnati Board of Education
Mary Ronan, Superintendent Cincinnati Public Schools
Melanie Bates, Vice President CPS BOE
Eve Bolton, Member CPS BOE
Carolyn Jones, Member CPS BOE
Daniel Minera, Member CPS BOE
A. Chris Nelms, Member CPS BOE

Dear President Copeland-Dansby, Superintendent Ronan, and Members of the Board of Education,

I am writing to you on behalf of Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) regarding the recent survey sent to some of our residents by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). Based on recent comments by Superintendent Ronan we understand the intention is to use these survey results for making decisions related to a neighborhood school for Clifton, CUF, and Spring Grove Village. We believe this survey to be incapable of providing any meaningful information on which to base decisions about a neighborhood school.
Please understand that we do not like having to address this problem after the fact, or in public. We regret that we can find no other recourse to prevent the misuse of the survey data. This could have been avoided had we not been shut out of the process:

• Prior to the distribution of the survey, several of our Trustees conveyed concerns to CPS about its questions
• On March 23, the Superintendent agreed to send us the final version with April 15 the due date for comments
• At our April 4 board meeting, President Copeland-Dansby presented a new version of the survey for our review and comment
• We sent it to several experts who found serious problems and offered to work with your survey people, to which Superintendent Ronan agreed (April 11)
• But on April 13, the Superintendent told us we were too late and that the survey had been sent out – without letting us see this new version, and prior to the due date for comments, and inexplicably contrary to her express agreement not two days earlier.
• Since then, our experts have evaluated this new version and are unanimous in finding it unreliable if not misleading. Their complete reviews and credentials are attached.

Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We campaign for school levies, raise money for schools, volunteer time and resources to enrich students’ experiences, and are passionate about the value of education for all children. Part of that support includes taking responsibility for helping head off problems we see coming. We tried to head off the survey problem: we warned the Administration that the survey was flawed, but it was sent out anyway. Now we are alerting you that if the survey results are used, they will only lead to bad decisions. That is one very important issue, yet there is a bigger one underlying it, and that is the exclusion of CTM from the planning process. We were led to expect that collaboration would be welcome, but I am sad to report that our experience has not borne this out. What do we need to do to achieve this mutual goal?

At this time, there is a unique opportunity to have a process with strong participation from the community. The need to address the overcrowding at Fairview-Clifton German Language School, the desire to save the CCAC, and the need to provide reliable access to excellent education have inspired our community to work together toward the best outcome possible. Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We want to be partners with you and bring our passion, creativity, and all our other resources together to create outstanding educational opportunities for all children in Clifton and beyond.

As previously expressed in motions of our Board and communications from our Trustees, we want to collaborate with CPS to develop a process that includes our participation and involvement in the proposals for Clifton. Please let us work with you to develop this process.

Sincerely,

Eric Urbas
President, Clifton Town Meeting

*** Click Evaluation of April 2016 CPS Survey by Research Professionals to read the analysis referenced in the letter. ***

YourUptown Launch

The Uptown Consortium has launched a buy local campaign to drive customers to local businesses. The YourUptown Campaign will spotlight businesses and events in Uptown through a new web site and bi-monthly email blasts.  Buying local means your money goes directly into the community to support its growth and sustainability. It makes the community more vibrant and attractive to even more local businesses. Sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter for exclusive Uptown offers, events and hidden gems! YourUptown.com is the best resource for shopping local in the Uptown Cincinnati neighborhoods. Sign up here: http://youruptown.com/sign-up/Support our Uptown businesses and have a great time doing it! It’s time to Sign “UP”!

CTM Resolution – Preserve CCAC & Access to Quality Public School Education

Clifton Town Meeting Trustees unanimously passed the following resolution at the CTM meeting on Monday, April 4 after listening to substantial feedback from many Clifton residents and others who utilize the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.

Resolution by Clifton Town Meeting to Preserve Clifton Cultural Arts Center and to Seek Guaranteed Access to Quality Public School Education

Whereas Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) finds Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) to be an essential asset to the schoolchildren and adult citizens of Clifton, Uptown and beyond, and

Whereas CTM finds access for Clifton schoolchildren to quality public school educational opportunities to be essential

Therefore, be it resolved:

That CTM respectfully requests Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) not terminate the 2005 lease agreement with CCAC which would result in the loss of this essential asset to Clifton, Fairview-Clifton German Language School, Uptown and the Cincinnati community-at-large, and

That CTM respectfully requests to be an active partner with CPS in assessing demand for various educational alternative among residents of Clifton and the entire 45220 zip code with the shared goal of achieving guaranteed access to high quality public school education, and

That CTM respectfully requests CPS to join with all community stakeholders including, but not limited to, CTM, Fairview-Clifton German Language School administrators, faculty and staff, LSDMC, CCAC, and CUF in an effort to build strong partnerships that lead to creative solutions to the current and future educational challenges of this community and beyond.

ULI – Technical Assistance Panel (TAP)

Ludlow 21 LLC has organized a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) through the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  CTM along with other community stakeholders were invited to attend the meeting on March 16.  Below is a summary of the invitation.  Attached here is a presentation about the ULI TAP process made by Ludlow 21 at their most recent public forum event on February 23, 2016.  On March 7, the CTM Board voted to send three Trustees to participate as invited:  Malcolm Montgomery, Cindy Oakenfull, and Peter Block.

Dear Clifton Town Meeting,
Since last Spring, Ludlow 21 has been discussing the possibility of working with the Urban Land Institute’s local branch to conduct what they refer to as a “TAP” (Technical Assistance Panel) to assess the viability of development options at the Merchant’s Lot on Howell.  We had the Urban Land Institute present at the Spring Ludlow 21 Public Meeting to introduce the concept.  Most recently we announced the beginning of the TAP at a Ludlow 21 Public Meeting on February 23rd.  I have attached that powerpoint for your reference.
For years there has been discussion about the possibility of developing the surface lot as it is far from the “highest and best use” in an urban environment.  As early as 1994 an possibly before, the site was mentioned in the Ludlow Avenue 1994 Plan which was endorsed by all the stakeholder groups at the time. The Plan at that time introduced a stepped back design of structured parking and a new library on the top floor.  The discussions have yet to produce results and in some cases, more actionable development plans have been presented and not been well received by some in the community.  It is with this history in mind that Ludlow 21 saw an opportunity to engage the Urban Land Institute’s technical expertise.
As a group, Ludlow 21 feels that the development of this under-utilized piece of land is critical to the long term viability of our businesses and the district as a whole.  It represents an opportunity to change the dynamic by: 1) adding parking ; 2) adding density in the form of more shoppers ; and 3) potentially adding a new product that Clifton currently lacks whether that be apartments, condos, or office space.  A common thread amongst successful urban business districts has been and continues to be density.  As a community and as a business district, we have a tremendous amount to offer but we need to constantly reassess and improve or risk stagnating and falling behind.
The benefit we see in this exercise is the ability to bridge the gap between community desires and market realities in the hopes of finding common ground.  The nature of the TAP is to engage professionals on a volunteer basis to assess the land use issue (in this case a potential development site) and provide market insight into what is and is not viable or under what conditions it might become viable.  The TAP will bring professionals in construction, development, retail, housing, financing, and public policy to the table with the goal of providing the community with an analysis of the site’s possibilities.
As a group, Ludlow 21 acknowledges the important role the Merchant Lot plays in the parking needs of the business district and so we want to be clear that any future development of that lot must include a public parking component comparable to, if not greater than, the current number of available parking spaces. Furthermore, the income from the parking lot provides its owner, the Clifton Business & Professional Association, with a very valuable revenue stream which it uses to fund important efforts such as additional police patrols, sidewalk cleaning, etc.  Any plan should account for the desire to maintain these resources or somehow account for that function.
Fundamentally, the goal of this effort is to provide the community with an assessment of the site without the pressure of having to respond to an actual actionable development proposal where the community is simply being asked to support a fully developed plan.  Ideally, the TAP report will give the community and its varied stakeholders a guiding hand in assessing any future development proposal.  That feedback from the stakeholders would then be grounded in market realities AS WELL AS community desires thereby providing for the positive and effective exchange of ideas and solutions.
We have scheduled the TAP to take place at the Clifton Library on Wednesday March 16th from 11:30am – 6 pm.  As an important stakeholder in the community, we would like to invite 2 or 3 people from Clifton Town Meeting to sit in on the meeting so that the Panel can make use of your knowledge of the community and take into account your perspective when developing their plan.  The meeting will involve introductions and preliminary sharing of information, a site visit, a working session and then a “debriefing” at Arlin’s afterwards.  Afterwards, the Panel will compile findings and draft a report within 6-12 weeks which will be shared with all the stakeholders and presented publicly shortly after issuance.  If you could let us know who you can have attend, that would be wonderful.   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Update on Clifton Water Main Replacements

The Clifton neighborhood has had multiple water main pipeline replacements happening over the past two years. Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) presented an update on the work to CTM in April 2015. CTM asked for a fresh update from GCWW during February so that residents would be advised. GCWW responded with the following details.

The Clifton 30” Water Main project is on schedule. The project started later than anticipated due to issues with the contract. The project officially started in November 2015 and is estimated for completion beginning of May 2016. The remainder of the work for the Clifton 30” Water Main will be between Ludlow Avenue and Woolper. Construction will be slower in this corridor due to the increased traffic, narrower roads, and installing the new water main in the trench of the existing 30”. This is a slower process removing the old water main and then installing the new one in the same location. The production decreased significantly, but our Contractor is doing a great job staying on schedule.

Once the 30” water main is complete, there is one more Clifton water main project that still needs to finish. The Clifton McMillan Water Main project includes installing 12” water main from Ludlow Avenue to Woolper. The Contractor cannot install this water main until the Clifton 30” Water Main is complete. The 30” Water Main is being installed first since it is deeper than the 12” water main will be.

The Ludlow Jefferson Water Main project was installed in 2015 and is complete. The Morrison Terrace Avenue Water Main was also installed in 2015 and is complete.

CTM Education: Call to Action

Does Your Child Have Access to Quality Education? This is a call to action for Clifton as well as Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview (CUF) residents concerned about public education access. Did you know that our neighborhood assigned public school is failing on the state report card?

Access to Fairview-Clifton German Language School, a CPS magnet school, is only available through the CPS lottery. Not having access to quality public education in Clifton could result in fewer families moving to and staying in Clifton, which may also negatively impact our property values.

Let’s join together to improve the ability for all children in our neighborhood to attend a quality public school. Our neighborhood and CTM Education Committee is working hard to make positive change happen.

If you are interested in getting involved in now or would like to be added to our education email list, please click here to subscribe to the email list. Additional information is available here and in other posts on the Community News section.

CTM Renews Support for Bicycling Infrastructure Resolution

The following resolution was sent by email on January 20, 2016:

Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black, and members of Cincinnati City Council:

This month Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) passed a resolution regarding bicycling infrastructure in Cincinnati. This resolution is the same one we sent to you in August of 2014. Our community continues to desire more bicycling infrastructure, and we are amplifying their voices to you. We have seen improvements in 2014 and 2015 such as the installation of 3 Red Bike stations in our neighborhood, a climbing lane on Woolper Avenue, the installation of a portion of the Central Parkway protected bike lane, and the installation of a pilot thermal traffic sensor at the intersection of Ludlow Avenue and Central Parkway. We see these as the beginnings of progress, and we look forward to meeting with DOTE staff and you to plan and implement additional infrastructure that connects Clifton with other neighborhoods. CTM formed a Transportation Committee at the beginning of 2015, and bicycling infrastructure topics will be handled by this Committee.

Our resolution does not necessarily connote acceptance of the current traffic issues raised regarding Central Parkway. As such, CTM urges the City to continue to address issues and solve the problems affecting cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists along Central Parkway. CTM requests that any change to the current protected bike lane on Central Parkway must continue to include a safe, protective bicycling infrastructure route on Central Parkway and not negatively impact the efficient travel of cyclists.

Resolution for Bicycling Infrastructure
Clifton Town Meeting desires to make Clifton into a premiere bicycling community within greater Cincinnati in order to improve the vibrancy, safety and overall health of visitors and residents. To do so requires continued investment in on-street infrastructure such as the Central Parkway protected bikeway, bike lanes, sharrows, and bicycle related signage. These features add tremendous value for local businesses and help make our communities more livable and attractive to active individuals and families. Our neighborhood supports the initiative to promote more on-street bicycle infrastructure that connects Clifton to other neighborhoods in Cincinnati. Residents of Clifton use bicycles on established roadways in order to commute to work, school, and shop. We need and endorse the full usage of roads for cyclists for a full and productive lifestyle, not just recreational riding on off-road trails.

Sincerely,

Eric Urbas, President
Clifton Town Meeting