Landscape Architectural Design Services for the Ohio City Farm & Riverview Towers Greenspace At Irishtown Bend in Cleveland, Ohio.
Deadline: 2pm on May 27, 2022
The Ohio City Farm and Riverview Towers are adjacent to Irishtown Bend, an unstable hillside along the Cuyahoga River across from downtown Cleveland. With the upcoming engineered hillside stabilization project and subsequent park development, the Ohio City Farm and Riverview Towers are positioned for a generational opportunity to redefine their greenspace to better serve their missions. Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, the project partners have released this RFQ with the goal of identifying a design firm or team (“Design Consultant”) to develop a conceptual design for this future greenspace that will achieve the following goals:
• Create a design that will help facilitate the successful implementation of The Refugee Response’s new strategic business plan for the Ohio City Farm.
• Create a design for the Riverview Towers’ greenspace and the Ohio City Farm that physically, functionally and aesthetically connects to the future Irishtown Bend Park.
• Implement an engagement process that ensures that residents of Riverview Towers have an active and engaged voice in the design process so that they develop a sense of ownership of the amenities that will be created around them and are more connected to the broader neighborhood in which they live.
II. PROJECT CONTEXT
a. IRISHTOWN BEND
Irishtown Bend is a 17-acre hillside located along the west bank of the Cuyahoga River. It is flanked by Detroit Avenue on the north, Columbus Road on the south and West 25th street to the west. In its current state, the hillside is at risk for catastrophic geological failure. A collaboration of organizations including the Port of Cleveland, Ohio City, Inc., and LAND studio have been working to not only ensure the hillside’s stability, but to also transform it into a waterfront park with unparalleled views of the Cuyahoga River and the downtown skyline, and that serves as a regional hub for several trails that connect Lake Erie to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
b. RIVERVIEW TOWERS – CMHA
Riverview Towers is a 498-unit, Senior high-rise that is owned and operated by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (“CMHA”). It is located on West 25th Street, immediately south of Irishtown Bend.
c. OHIO CITY FARM – REFUGEE RESPONSE
The Ohio City Farm, one of the largest contiguous urban farms in the United States, exists to provide fresh, local, and healthy food to Cleveland’s underserved residents, boost the local food economy, employ and empower refugees, and educate the community about the importance of a complete food system. While it boasts stunning views of the Cleveland skyline, the Farm is a welcome break in the typical urban landscape. It is located to the immediate east of Riverview Towers on land owned by CMHA.
III. PROJECT TEAM
While LAND studio is the client and will coordinate the overall process, the Design Consultant will be in frequent communication with the other members of the Project Team. Below is a list of the Project Team members and their relationship to the overall project.
Established in 1933 as the first chartered public housing authority in the country, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority owns and manages property and administers rent subsidy programs to provide eligible low-income individuals and families quality, safe, affordable housing in Cuyahoga County. The mission of the CMHA is to create safe, quality, affordable housing opportunities and improve the quality of life for the communities we serve.
As owner of the land within the project area, CMHA seeks to improve the quality of life for its residents through an enriching and empowering engagement process that results in well-designed pedestrian connections between Riverview Towers, the Ohio City Farm, and the future Irishtown Bend Park.
b. The Refugee Response
The Refugee Response (TRR) empowers refugees to become self-sufficient and contributing members of their new communities. The Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP), an initiative of the Refugee Response, nourishes the community with local food and empowers resettled refugee trainees in Northeast Ohio providing them with employment, education, and training. TRR was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 2010 and developed the three initiatives currently still in place: the home mentoring program for youth, the scholarship program, and the Ohio City Farm.
Triggered by the loss of federal funding in late 2016, the Ohio City Farm began transitioning from a program model to a social enterprise with a robust social mission. TRR is currently developing a strategic business plan that will ultimately require that upgrades and physical improvements to be made. As the long-term tenant and manager of the Ohio City Farm, TRR sees this greenspace design plan as the perfect opportunity to plan out the physical manifestation of its current business plan effort.
c. LAND studio
LAND studio is a non-profit organization that identifies, creates, and implements public space projects in the city of Cleveland. The organization works towards a goal of transforming and revitalizing the city by filling it with vibrant places that unite, inspire, and enrich its people. LAND studio will hold the contract with the Design Consultant and manage all aspects of design process.
d. Ohio City, Inc.
Ohio City Incorporated (OCI) is the community development corporation responsible for preserving, promoting and developing the Ohio City neighborhood. OCI serves the community by providing assistance to both neighborhood residents as well as businesses and institutions through the vehicles of advocacy and engagement, community building, marketing, special events, neighborhood planning and housing assistance. OCI will coordinate the engagement process with the Design Consultant.
IV. PROJECT BACKGROUND AND DESCRIPTION
The Ohio City Farm and CMHA’s Riverview Towers are adjacent to the future park on the Irishtown Bend hillside. A portion of the hillside is at risk for catastrophic geological failure. A collaboration of organizations, including the Port of Cleveland, Ohio City, and LAND studio have been working to not only ensure the hillside’s stability, but also to subsequently transform it into a unique waterfront park. This engineering and public space initiative creates a unique and timely opportunity for TRR and CMHA to re-envision the Ohio City Farm and the greenspace around the Riverview Towers. To that end, this project seeks to connect and integrate the Ohio City Farm and Riverview Towers to the Irishtown Bend park through a design and engagement process that maximizes the Farm’s ability to implement its evolving mission and empowers Riverview Tower residents to take an active role in determining how these important public spaces interconnect with Irishtown Bend.
This design process will build off of earlier efforts for the hillside. In 2017, OCI, the Port and LAND studio hired the landscape architecture firm CMG to lead the Irishtown Bend Vision Plan process. The resulting work product included not only a vision plan for the future 17-acre park but also an updated farm and Riverview greenspace layout that seamlessly integrated the entire 23-acre hillside. The Vision Plan recognized that Irishtown Bend was in fact a series of smaller individual projects whose sum is greater than all of its parts.
Since the Irishtown Bend Vision Plan was adopted by the Cleveland City Planning Commission in 2017, work has progressed on both the stabilization and the park fronts. The Port engaged Osborn in 2018 to develop the engineered stabilization drawings while OCI and LAND studio hired Plural in 2020 to begin advancing the park’s concept design. Plural, whose principal had led the Vision Plan work while at CMG, focused solely on the park’s design while setting aside the Farm and Riverview greenspace design for later development.
This summer, the Port of Cleveland will begin the nearly two year-long construction project to stabilize the hillside. Osborn Engineering will oversee all aspects of the stabilization, including the engineering design and construction oversight. While the majority of this work will take place to the north of the Ohio City Farm and Riverview Towers, the stabilization plan requires the relocation of Franklin Avenue back to its pre-1950s alignment. This will remove roughly one acre from the Ohio City Farm (see Exhibit A). Changes to the Farm’s physical footprint come at a time when The Refugee Response is in midst of a year-long strategic business planning study. Though still in process, the business plan will call for new programmed uses as well as refinement of the Farm’s layout. Among other things, this design process will need to determine the optimal locations for pedestrian circulation, crops, permanent event space, a larger farm stand, as well as analyze the potential integration of farm terracing.
The design goals for Riverview’s greenspace, although immediately adjacent to the Farm, are driven by different end goals. As it is a senior high rise, mobility is a key issue. Many residents have physical impairments that require the use of wheelchairs or other aids to access the adjacent sidewalks. Creating design solutions to improve connections between Riverview, the Farm and Irishtown Bend Park will address walkability, greenspace development, and placekeeping that promote the connectedness of all residents in Ohio City and allow more opportunity for improved public health outcomes and outdoor recreation. More importantly, this process will strive to ensure that residents of Riverview Towers have an active and engaged voice in the design process so that they develop a sense of ownership of the amenities that will be created around them and are more connected to the broader neighborhood in which they live.
This design process will build off of the engagement strategy that OCI developed in 2021 to inform and complement Plural’s work on the park’s conceptual design. OCI and LAND studio convened a Committee of Champions consisting of community members to advise the project team on how best to engage the community while supporting, promoting, and participating in the engagement process as it moved forward. The Committee of Champions included residents of all ages from CMHA’s Lakeview Estates and Riverview Tower.
The Ohio City Farm and Riverview Greenspace design project is a key missing piece in the Irishtown Bend puzzle. By linking the Ohio City Farm and Riverview Towers to Irishtown Bend, it represents the opportunity to create the first riverfront park in America directly connected to public housing, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders by connecting them to one of our greatest natural assets in the Cuyahoga River, and a network of trails that provide connectivity and healthy outdoor recreation opportunities in the middle of the densely populated urban core.
V. Scope of Work
Please refer to the pdf document at the bottom of this page for the full Scope of Work
The Budget will be negotiated with the selected Design Consultant. The budget will be between $40,000 and $60,000.
VII. Important Dates (Subject to Change)
May 9, 2022 - RFQ Issued
May 27, 2022 - Deadline for RFQ submission
Week of June 13 - Shortlist 3 teams to be notified and invited to interview
Week of June 27 - 3 firms to interview with selection committee
Early July - Top-ranked team/firm to be notified and invited to submit full proposal
Mid July - Target date for contract award
August - Project Initiation
TBD - Project Completion
VIII. RFQ Process
Please refer to the pdf document at the bottom of this page for details regarding the RFQ process. For any questions, please email Joel Wimbiscus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please submit the Statement of Qualifications to Joel Wimbiscus and Nate Lull by 2pm EST Friday May 27th, 2022 via email (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please refer to the pdf document at the bottom of this page for details regarding the selection process.
LAND studio reserves the right to cancel the RFQ at any point. Additionally, LAND studio reserves the right to reject any or all of the Statements and reissue the RFQ.