The Rink at Wade Oval Returns

There’s no better way to beat the wintertime blues than with a trip to The Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle. Opening for its third season on Saturday, November 20, The Rink is  Cleveland’s  only FREE outdoor skating rink. Last year, more than 20,000 visitors laced up a pair of skates and took to The Rink’s unique polymer surface, which feels just like real ice.

“We are thrilled with the success of The Rink at Wade Oval,” said Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. “Since it opened in 2008, The Rink has hosted a hockey game, private parties, and even a surprise wedding proposal. It has done so much to make University Circle a year-round destination of choice.”

Admission to The Rink is always free, and skate rentals are only $3. Refreshments such as coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn are available for purchase at the newly opened Wade Oval Information Center, adjacent to The Rink. For hours of operation and information about private rentals, visit http://www.universitycircle.org.

I found…

The latest stories from our Find Yourself in the Circle campaign can now be viewed here, on our website, and on our YouTube Channel.

In these five interviews we profile families, residents, workers, students, and otherwise ordinary people who have found themselves here in extraordinary ways or circumstances. Take Bryan Landry, for instance, whose life took an unexpected twist when he was admitted to Washington General Hospital for chest discomfort and woke up immobilized at The Cleveland Clinic. Or Alice and Alan Seifullah, who moved to University Circle thirty years ago from East Cleveland when Alan became a city employee and haven’t left since.

Online or In Print?

Cleveland Magazine's Calendar of EventsUniversity Circle Inc. wants to know what your reading preferences are – specifically for our new quarterly Calendar of Events (remember the old version at the right?). Before we begin the redesign, we want to know which format you prefer: on your screen (online) or in your hands (printed)?

Vote HERE.

Chris Ronayne: Welcome to University Circle

DESTINATION: UNIVERSITY CIRCLE

When you think of the area bordered by the MLK traffic circle, Euclid Avenue, East Boulevard, and all those small streets in between, what comes to mind? The Cleveland Museum of Art? The Museum of Natural History? Maybe Case Western Reserve University? Recent research has shown exactly that. University Circle Inc. (UCI) has discovered through its destination marketing research that people often think of one major attraction in University Circle rather than thinking of the Circle as one destination with many attractions. Market research also confirms that people view University Circle as difficult to find and confusing to navigate. To address both of these issues, UCI is working with its institutional partners, as part of the second phase of its destination marketing campaign, Find Yourself in the Circle, to create greater awareness of University Circle as a destination center that’s easier to find, easier to navigate, and easier to enjoy.

With the help of its institutional partners, UCI chose Brokaw, Inc., a successful Cleveland-based advertising firm, to help tell the University Circle story to wider audiences. Brokaw started by interviewing marketing directors from around the circle and conducting focus groups and an online study of people throughout our 17-county region. While the audience does indentify University Circle with single institutions, many were shocked to learn about everything else they can find here. More importantly, the research shows that UCI and its partners have an opportunity collectively to market University Circle as a destination center to millions of people who don’t know about everything that they can find here.

The work to raise awareness has already begun. During this past summer, UCI launched its first television and radio spots under the Find Yourself in the Circle banner promoting WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays to a mass of viewers and listeners throughout the region. Surveys at WOW! have shown that the advertising is working. With its partners, UCI will do more television spots and targeted media to its regional audience to raise the awareness of University Circle as a premier destination in the region.

While UCI will convey the compelling University Circle story to new regional audiences and raise the Circle’s awareness, the actual visitor experience is just as important. And UCI President, Chris Ronayne, pushes his staff daily to attend to every detail of the visitor experience. You can see some of these results with the new wayfinding signage created by Studio Graphique and Wagner Electric Sign Company, unveiled by UCI in July 2009.

Signs-015-150Today, visitors know when they’ve found University Circle because they’re greeted by 10 prominent 20-foot gateway signs that boldly announce their arrival into the Circle. As visitors travel the district, they can follow 64 more signs of a simplified and better connected wayfinding system that takes them from a grand gateway to their ultimate destination. The signs make it easier for visitors to find University Circle’s major attractions, and also help with branding the district with their size, scope, and consistent color scheme.

The challenge for UCI and its institutional partners is making the Circle’s patchwork of world-class institutions a promising place for millions throughout the region to visit. Taking the message to these masses and making their visit a welcoming and easy experience will likely make the difference for this special destination.

Euclid Avenue is Back!

Commodore Place

If you find yourself in the Circle this fall, one thing you might find is that Euclid Avenue, the booming legend of the twenties and thirties, is making a comeback. But rather than returning to a time long gone, the “great main street” is honoring history by transforming into a model for the future.

As part of its Bring Back Euclid Avenue campaign, UCI raised more than $7 million for investments with the help of the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust to complement the contributions of the transit renovation and revival project. With this investment, improvements have been made that include the Visitor and Living in the Circle Center (opened in summer 2008), new directional and wayfinding signage (unveiled this past July), and streetscape enhancements such as lighting, benches, flower baskets, and banners that are currently underway.

But to get the full experience of the new Euclid Avenue, you really need to take a quick tour.

Sign-175Let’s say you’re a staunch west-sider who rarely travels to the east side except for the occasional exhibit or event. You take the HealthLine from downtown to meet some friends for lunch in University Circle, because it’s only $2 and you’ve always been intimidated by the traffic. The last time you were in the neighborhood, Euclid Avenue was all torn up. The first thing you might notice as you enter the Circle is a new, bold sign on Stokes Boulevard that welcomes you to the neighborhood. You continue heading east, finding more signs of the same design with directions to the museums and hospitals. Even with construction, things seem a lot easier than you remember. Don’t blame your memory. Things have changed, and they keep changing for the better.

You get off at the Cornell Road stop, which is full of people waiting to board who are covered by scaffolding because the new University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center is being built. It should open in about a year. To your left is the historic Commodore Place, with new, large glass windows, a brighter stone façade, and new retail. As you cross Cornell, you walk through the recently remodeled Uptown Plaza where students, construction workers, professionals, and hospital employees are enjoying lunch in a more accessible and attractive landscape. The project was completed this October.

CHSC-250Continue down Euclid Avenue across Mayfield Road, past the Uptown development location and the future site of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), all the way to the recently revamped Euclid Tavern, and you’ll find a beautiful building next to it that opens October 5: the new home of the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center. The second major sustainable development in University Circle (Case Western Reserve University’s Village at 115 is considered the first), the center is a silver-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. The development was part of a $16 million campaign called Strong Voice Sound Tomorrow.

Across from the new Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center near the east end of University Circle is yet another project taking shape. Circle 118 is a collection of 17 modern townhomes championing sustainable design on Euclid Avenue. Construction is underway with the first set of four-story, eco-friendly townhomes that make use of sustainable materials while offering luxury standards.

The obvious contrast and unfussy mix of things old and new on Euclid Avenue is what makes University Circle a unique place to explore. So take a trip soon and see for yourself.

For more information on development updates in University Circle, visit www.universitycircle.org and look for our online-only annual report to be published this November.

An Incentive to Live Near the Circle

Rob Kinsey walks to work every day and walks home for his lunch break to walk his dog, Cocoa. He lives in Cleveland. And he’s one of University Circle’s newest residents because of the Greater Circle Living Program (GCL Program), which provides down payment assistance to eligible employees of nonprofit institutions in and around University Circle.

A software developer at Case Western Reserve University, Rob recently purchased a restored condominium at University View, located at E. 115th and Ashbury. After living in other Cleveland neighborhoods, Rob decided to buy his home within walking distance to his work in University Circle.

The GCL Program offers forgivable loans between $5,000 and $15,000 for down payment and/or closing costs towards the purchase of a home in Greater University Circle, which includes parts of Glenville, Buckeye/Shaker, Little Italy, Hough, Fairfax and East Cleveland. Rental assistance and matching funds for exterior home repair are available to eligible employees of Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, The Cleveland Museum of Art and Judson at University Circle.

The GCL Program complements UCI’s mission to build a premier urban district in University Circle that’s open 24 hours a day 7 days a week with new residents, like Rob, who live, work, and play here. The program includes help with the application process, training for homebuyers, and assistance with budgeting and managing finances, in addition to financial assistance.

Rob received $15,000 toward the purchase of his condominium. He credits the GCL Program for ending his life of renting for the luxury of owning a home. While Rob didn’t have a particular neighborhood in mind when he began his home search, his decision to settle near University Circle placed him steps away from his job and the world-class attractions of University Circle.

For more information about GCL or to learn more about housing options in Greater University Circle, please stop by the University Circle Visitor and Living in the Circle Center at 11330 Euclid Avenue or contact Genna Petrolla, Greater Circle Living Manager at 216-707-4642 or gpetrolla@universitycircle.org.