COAST GUARD IDEAS

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 05/22/2006 - 16:26.


COAST GUARD STATION INTO THE OFF-GRID MUSEUM 

Or a better idea?

 

I would say that the old Coast Guard station has the best location  in Cleveland.  And, perhaps typical for Cleveland, it is fenced off, falling apart, and off the agenda.   Paul Alsenas was the first person I heard who suggested an off-grid museum.  I think that's a good idea.  Let’s hear from everyone – What would you make of it?

 

AttachmentSize
Coast Guard Cleveland.JPG110.9 KB
( categories: )

the city's plans for the coast guard station

Here's what is being suggested so far. FYI http://gcbl.org/planning/lakefront/coast-guard-station

Might we suggest one of these models but off the grid?

Did Paul speak in favor of any of these or no?

Forget the restaurant!

I vote for an educational use. I would love to see the historic building meticulously restored. Its a unique  example of art moderne architecture in Cleveland. That seems unlikely though with Cleveland's track record. If it could be preserved in a way that captures the spirit of J. Milton Dyer's design and the interior could be fitted with classrooms and other practical areas where students could learn about the Great Lakes, I think that would be the best route. The Science Center and the Steam Ship Mather Museum are close by and they draw thousands of students each year, the Coast Guard Station could be another asset for learning about our Great Lakes and Great Region.

Cleveland has enough restaurants!

Hurry for Evelyn's suggestion

Maybe all of this stink about the Breur building (whether it is saved or not) will "shame" the city into properly restoring and saving the Coast Guard station.  An education site - but MAN - what a view !!!

a study of shamelessness

If our representatives had any shame in the first place, do you think we'd be in the preservationist and financial predicaments we're in? In other words, how is it possible to shame those who are basically shameless?

Actually, the only way shame will help is in the next few election cycles, and then only if people themselves become so ashamed of having elected Cimperman, and DiMora, and Hagan in the first place that they change bozos when given the opportunity. We can't look to government for much, but we deserve better than what we're getting.

a place to read The Cuyahoga

I imagine that with Evelyn's suggestion of a meticulous restoration of the Coast Guard Station combined with its being long considered the ultimate terminus of the Towpath Trail, it would be a great museum for the national perks with docents telling the tales from the chapters of the book, The Cuyahoga by William Donohue Ellis. This wonderful volume discusses the history of the river and the region. If you haven't read it I recommend it highly. Here's an excerpt:

From the chapter The Noonday Club which describes the intricate process of the meetings of ships and rails at the docks along the river:

"You see, the most ticklish rendezvous in this geographic iron-coal world was the moment when a train was scheduled to meet a ship at the mouth of the Cuyahoga or anywhere along the south shore of the Great Lakes. If either was late, the cost was gigantic. If early, same problem.

Then when a ship started downlakes from Duluth, Minnesota, to discharge iron ore at the month of the Cuyahoga and meet a train that was rolling north with a hundred cars of coal from Beckley, West Virginia, you had a precision high wire act that kept 50 men on nervous alert for 72 hours.

They planned this meeting precisely, because if the train reached the dock and sat idle, somebody paid. Likewise, if the ship sat empty, or waited for dockage, it was eating raw money.

Despite this planning, though, the ship captain could not control a storm on Lake Superior, a delay at the Soo Locks, a strike on the dock unloading equipment, or an eight-hour fog in the Cuyahoga. The railroader could not control a bridge out or a burnt-out journal. And one of these things or something like it was bound to happen.

But the train and the vessel continued relentlessly toward the original meeting place, even after it was impossible for them to connect.

With telephone and radio, obviously traffic management could get on the phones and re-coordinate this rendezvous with the dock, the shipper, the customer, the vessel, and the train. But if eight docks, seven railroads, four vessel fleets and 90 shippers tried to do this in a 190-million-ton year, it would jam every switchboard in the Great Lakes trade.

They needed a man sitting up so high he could get an eagle’s-eye view of the railroads from West Virginia, and all the vessels from Lake Superior to Ontario. He should also be able to see the stevedores and docks to know if they’re ready, and which kinds of empty cars they have. In the case of iron ore, some mills accepted ore from hoppers, others from flat-bottoms. This perch sitter had to be able to scan the whole south shore of the Great Lakes to see from where the right kinds of cars came.

Well, there was such an eagle’s nest on the 11th floor of the Terminal Tower at the mouth of the Cuyahoga. “Room 1101" was all it said on the door. It was known as The Ore and Coal Exchange, Gordon Walker, Manager, in the early days."

 Get a view from the top of the Terminal Tower taken in 1988


Learn more abou the author: William Donohue Ellis

These are stories our children need to hear. When I was in New Orleans recently I visited the National Park's facility right in the Vieux Carre where one can take a free walking tour to learn about the history of the buildings and the area from its earliest settlers and the waves of change that have made the region unique. From there, one can find beaucoup information about the parks and the various programs and terrains they offer for visiting. Again I see this as a landing spot. A place to educate children, visitors and residents alike about the unique aspects of the intersection of the lake and the river, the fertile crescent of industry -- the intersection in place and time -- east opens to west, old to new. We see farther when we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.

A further thought -- just thinking out loud here: If the idea to move the port is to allow for mixed use development of the current port land just across the river from the Coast Guard Station, why not ask the developer to resurrect the inappropriately dismantled Huletts for public education as well. One could get a view of the past and the huge volume of ore that was excavated from the Mesabi Range and made into steel here in the Cuyahoga Valley. They would serve and integral role in telling the story of the region and the nation in a museum of science and industry. Read the entire chapter on the Hullets at Cleveland Memory here. It closes this way, "Now, in 1998, the towering hulks of the Huletts sit silently, arms and legs frozen against the darkening sky.

Every man and woman should go down to the Cuyahoga and see the monsters before the species disappears.

When the Huletts go, there’ll be an empty place against the Cuyahoga sky."

 What we're missing


We might say the same for the Breuer Tower. Once a statement of the huge banking industry in Cleveland, the beautiful modernist tower may be eradicated from the skyline just as the Huletts were, with no section 106 review, no hue and cry (because like the Huletts it is considered an albatross), but similarly the Cleveland skyline will be the loser and we who view the skyline here will be the losers, too. We will lose track of the story, the history, the people who brought it into being and felt so passionately that it must exist. One can say that the past is past, but I suggest we learn from the past. Think about it. Just because we have allowed numerous demolition permits and wound up with acres of surface parking lots in Cleveland, should we not remember that this process has not been useful? Reclaiming land where blighted (really blighted) properties claim the space in neighborhoods and offer only a place for scrappers to find copper and metals, a shelter or a hide away for illicit activities may be a good thing if we can allow these properties to be reclaimed by nature for a time, to show us where the wildlife corridors should be. But more demolition in the city's downtown or more erasure of the city's history should be reconsidered immediately before we lose the thread of the whole story of how we came to be here.

The Cuyahoga by Ellis - a worthy read

Thanks Susan ...

... for bring this person's writing(s) to our attention, or at least mine.  Think I'll go check it out of the library.  That and his other books seem very interesting.

Are you really thinking about the Coast Guard Station?

This issue really pisses me off. All these big thinkers and planners drooling for an historic site and landmark building they for decades demolished by neglect, always right before everyone's eyes. Like I've said, who are the preservationists in town, because if there's one building I see as the symbol of the current state of historic preservation inactivism in NEO it is the Coast Guard Station, and this theater of the absurdist planning continues.

I stood up at the Coast Guard planning meeting they held a year ago at the private Edgewater Yacht Club and said it was foolish for them to consider what have become the two commercial plans for the property - wrong.

My proposal is to lock it in time basically as is, as a monument, like The Thinker, by Rodin, in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art - which was disfigured by a bomb, which was then left disfigured, rather than restored, as a reminder for those in the future. The Coast Guard Station is the NEO Thinker of regional planning  - stabalize everything and accentuate it as the sculpture it is.

Recognize this is a sculpture - it is not a practical building by any sense, but a design masterpiece, strong only for the exact form and context and destroyed by any other... destroyed by a billbard or swarm of McYachts, or even 100s of Madras-shorted Old-Navies wing-eating, littering ecotourists from Edgewater Park - this was meant to be a small footprint, all profile, private access work of pulic art.

Remove all decaying structural material and hazards and put in place stable flooring so it has multiple levels up, but no basement and no enclosed rooms -  off grid, no bathrooms or BBQ, just come and watch the sunset and perhaps see are or a memoerial kinda historic landmark park - it should be prohibited from all but foot access and integrated into Wendy Park and the towpath trail... you want a beer or BBQ, there's Bourbon Street for that.

We could find an international art/design firm to come up with how to compose the space, but it isn't a big deal or expansive - budget under $1 million for everything and we'll get it all donated. All off grid - windmill and solar on breakwall for electricity for security and accent lighting and video monitoring.

What you may do is make it a public art gallery for large installation and outdoor works - a large art installation within the framework of the current building - the lines and view would not change at all from the outside and the inside would be open and minimalist so all one sees is the architecture and the environemnt around you - just the way it is today, but safe and more open... if you've spent any time out there you know the feeling.  You could also offer the space for experimental work viewed from afar - a stage... and no fireworks, Deep Purple or setting the river on fire...

The conceptual equivalent is "The Thinker", this should also be our monument to "Unknown Activists", where the public can sprawl tributes to those only they really knew and remember - today, I tribute Grendma Edelan, so to me it is the Mary Ann Edelen Memorial. This does not mean architects get to etch anything in stone, or make a cent here - this will be a community effort - a good use for the boathouse space, which is immense - the Wall of Sorrows and 1,000 boots meet Yoko Ono - again, this offers boundless inspirational opportunities that have minimal or no impact on the structure, ecology or budgets of the city or developers.

The building and the site are National Landmarks, and cannot be altered in any significant way, but must be preserved. Forget all the docks, and neon signs and picnic tables, much less a Winking Great Lakes Brewpub - they're wasting the city's money and staff time hyping the citizens to care about such private, greedy plans - go save the historic East Bank of the Flats with your great plans for ecofriendly preservationist-minded riverfront dining, as they are tearing down all your intelligent sites right now, as you look for false wealth on the lake.

Jacobs really screwed this landmark building up, with the city and community blessing, and everyone let him off the hook by buying it and all its defects for $1 and a million in tax breaks for Jacobs. If the city had just kept on top of Jacobs instead of letting him destroy the building, it would be in fine shape now. So what has the city done since getting the property from Jacobs? Treated it worse than a muni parking lot, rather than as a national landmark.

But at the same time, Ed Hauser has brought attention to Whiskey Island, and the Coast Guard Station broke free of local antipreservationists to everyday folk like you and me saw the Coast Guard station close up, and said what the hell? The wretched now see this amazing building for the first time and they are like, wow, someone could make lots of money off of that.

Hello - it's a national landmark - one of our greatest architectural assets - like a sculpture in a park. Gee, now that I think about it, it is a park. So what is happening - are activists stepping forward with plywood and petitions to save our landmark? No. Architects and restauranteurs are stepping forward to monetize and commercialize the Coast Guard Station, with pathetic designs.

If you gotta prove something by making money off public assets - convert the boathouse to a mini-invitational only casino - have a city sponsored 24x7, 365 day per year Cleveland Holdum poker tournement - there and only there (that wll teach Jacobs to sell rather than hold) - only access by buses for drop off and pick up - black out the windows - televise everything - it would be the hottest thing around. That will pay for everything, and would have the smallest ecological footprint per $ generated - no negative impact on the building or site, with would be restored to exact original condition via the gaming proceeds - anything left over can be used to fund more public art and historic preservation.

well the coast guard post really stirred it up here

I'm sure glad I posted the city's plans here. I now know what Norm and Evelyn think.
I am down with the historical restoration and use, and agree that a restaurant is impossible never mind undesirable. These planners clearly never thought about delivering food to the Coast Guard Station.

    This conversation begins to feel insular at times though, I must say. I guess we can't champion everything, but I sure wish Bob Brown and Mayor Jackson were reading and commenting here.

It's all open, and 100,000s read

Don't doubt plenty of people read what's posted here, between 100,000s of visitors, who keep returning to articles for years, now, to all the people reading and distributing via RSS - and the lead issue will be a major area of interest here and worldwide so the visibility of REALNEO is just beginning - join in, as it is of and for everyone.

CLEVE . BUILDING CODE VIOLATION = TAX BREAK

 

In NYC buildings which fall apart to the point that they are in violation of the building code get hard choices.   Fix it to code (they'll loan you $), rip it down (not if it’s a landmark), lose it to a tax taking, go to jail.   In Cleveland the well heeled -  like Jacobs - get off with a million dollar tax benny  while they hold the local iconoclastic landmark hostage and allow it to continue to slide down the toilet. 

 

Then  the unwitting public can  try to grovel it back out with a greasy $ewer $nake and politics.  Messy business while the tax paid bureaucracies build up pensions.

So Jacobs is in charge of Historic Preservation in NEO

You're right -  we shouldn't care so much about the Coast Guard Station, when they are bulldozing the East Bank of the Flats, which is core to the entire social and cultural origins of the European settlement of the Cuyahoga - our old river front warehouses - if those don't matter, City Hall doesn't matter, and the museum doesn't matter, and the Thinker doesn't matter, and the Coast Guard Station doesn't matter. So, the answer is Jacobs is in charge of Historic Preservation in NEO, and so it doesn't matter.

Glad we cleared that up so we can focus on lead poisoning...

the best plans for the CC station

at the public meeting on March 9, 2006, I suggested that the CC Station could be our 'Stone Lab"


OSU's   Stone Lab is a marketing/recruitment tool for students who want to study aquatic biology.  Stone Lab  is the only great lakes research lab on Lake Erie and you have to go to Put in Bay to get there!  

John Carrol and CSU both have respected Biology programs, yet no direct access to lake erie.  Why not bend the ears of said institutions to convince them of the viability of such a research facility?  A supplementary benefit would be the inclusion of recreation facilities (canoe&kayak rental) so students could engage with the lake.











I totally agree we need a stone lab

Cool suggestion - but there is lots of great property lakefront and rivefront with great access to existing public transportation and roads, if public access is important, or private space and waterfront docking, if that is important. I want to see ideas for the valley between the Lorain Superior Bridge and the new Southern version of the I-90 Bridge - right now it is all wasted on rock piles - that is a place for a fresh water research facility and learning center - a portal to our river and lake.

The Coats Guard Station, at the planned $7 million for very little square footage, would probably be the most expensive real estate in Ohio, once renovated to any public use - the access and use problems are huge - that's why they keep trying to add more revenues...

What would be cool is to take what I'm saying - a work of art and sparse, minimalist place - and allow people to crash there - urban survivor camping platform, with a fire pit - every night people would gather for sunset and drum - like Key Kest - no amenitiesor toilet until the Marina or up the Tow Path more in the Flats, ideally including a Hostel/Bike hotel - think big - more than enough empty landmark buildings and acres of real brownfields to go around...

lake/river science and history

    I see the Coast Guard Station as an off grid point of departure for lake science and river science and history. It is an end point or a beginning point for study of both things -- the towpath trail and all the history it entails -- the river meeting the lake and all that entails.
a point of departure on the point. I haven't been inside, but I don't think there is much space for a lot of stuff.

    Restaurants? Pshaw-- whoever thought of that has never eaten in a restaurant. Too many trucks to come and go. Besides, Whiskey Island already has a restaurant.

    Walk out there and learn. If you want to boat, boat on by -- no docking of motorboats. Human powered boats only.

Finally getting to the point of Whiskey Island

Good conclusion on the Coast Guard Station - and all it took ws a few days of open brainstorming and collaboration - can someone share that with the powers that be... Carney, Stark and Wolstein.

As a jumping forward point, can everyone start thinking big and take some ownership of the entire Flats and Lakefront and demand that it be developed right. Let's stop waiting until three suburban developers take the last urban park before we step up with ideas for how to make this community better. I see a whole valley of worthless dirt piles and abandoned and underutilized historic warehouses as riverfront research sites, museum and university locations with views, public transprotation and room to grow, and cheap land for affordable, innovative, green development, all in one beautiful valley where native Americans prospered, without the Port Authority.

getting closer to the point

These blogs make it possible for us to join together in a common cause, and we must begin to act. We need lots of new players. The old crowd is just too cosy.

Martha Eakin was using words like "unite" this past weekend when we were out looking at the Coast Guard station.

Now that we're aware, we have an obligation to do something. What has been going on around here has all been so wrong-headed.

You and I agree on uniting

We've shared enough economic development discussions and experiences to know who like to collaborate. Fortunately, this is a remarkable group of people. For the forseeable future I'd like to focus community discussion on the theater of absurd in economic development in Cleveland - historic buildings under attach, urban parks and playgrounds neglected, the East Bank being bulldozed - and contrast that with the theater of absurd in economic development in NEO - urban sprawl, new urbanism, water issues, the ecosystem... as always, all are welcome to the discussions on REALNEO

Jesus Christ this is Getting Interesting

 

 

I agree with Norm that the station is so sparse, unique and proud, that it doesn't need to make money to be itself.  

And it is difficult for me to moderate extreme ideas to accommodate what may be broadly held beliefs.  But...

The parking lot should remain where it is... a 1/4 mile remote.  To balance that out, older people who walk out might need a toilet...   Wheelchair access is a must, and bikes.  Rental of kayaks and canoes (no gas power) is healthy.  A bit of history can be displayed inside.   And John's stone educational focus can be shown too, maybe not a 4 year baccalaureate.

That firepit to burn all the flotsam smells warm – especially on summer eves and in the winter.

 

No Restaurant for certain … cuz as Susan points out there are mega truck deliveries for a Café…and this is to be a walk up only. 

That’s what takes your breath and jambs it…the excitement of walking from the parking lot to the point.   The breeze in your nostrils, the lake horizon, can’t get to the station fast enough to quell your expectations.

 

Norm has a good point about just appreciating it as it is without prostituting its integrity.

 

 

Immediately- Minimal Repair, Access and Metroparks Acquistion

Jeff- Thanks for getting this discussion going!

Here are my thoughts on this great discussion about the historic Cleveland Harbor Coast Guard Station.  I think it should be restored to it's original spendor.  The boathouse could have some theme with Great Lakes environmental and history education.  The observation deck should be open for the spectacular views.  The little garage could be a seasonal snack and beverage stand (similar to Edgewater).

Immediate "minimal repair" of the roof and structures to keep it from falling in on itself before it can be restored.  Immediate repair of the pier so that the general public can see the disgraceful state this gem is in.  Once everyone gets pissed off enough we will demand that our leaders take us and this property serious and FIX IT.

We need to put pressure on the Cleveland Matroparks to take ownership and operate the historic Coast Guard Station (city owned), Wendy Park (county owned) and Whiskey Island Marina (county owned).  Until we get this package deal of our waterfront gems protected by the Metroparks, we will have to fight the Port Authority every year until Carney and Stark get their Port Development project approved and move gravel to Whiskey Island.  If the Port gets control of Whiskey Island- I will not be interested to watch sunsets over mountains of gravel.

Over the last two months, the Friends of Whiskey Island have handed out over 800 postcards to citizens to send to the the Metroparks Commissioners in support of the Metroparks to acquire and operate the Coast Guard Station, Wendy Park and the Marina.  We have collected about 300 of them that we will turn into the commissioners at their board meeting in the near future.  Please join us, I'll let you know when we go.

In July 2005, Mayor Campbell, the County Commissioners agreed that the Metroparks should take over the Whiskey Island properties.  The Metroparks said they would, once the Towpath Trail is completed to Whiskey Island.  That may take seven to ten years, if ever.  We can't fight the Port Authority for that long, because they will eventually win.  Let's get the Metroparks to do the job that we pay them to do - acquire and conserve our precious natural resourses!

Coast Guard station update

Get on the train


I just got back from riding the towpath from Pennisula to Harvard Rd.  Ohio Canal Corridor hosted their A-Z ride.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Service and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad have a great summer schedule.  Ride the train with your bike and it's $2.00 for the excursion and you can pick up the train at any of the stops.  It was a blast and it is apparent that families with kids are on to this experience.  No pun intended, but this synergistic engine should drive the towpath and the train tracks all the way to downtown. 

Which will come first--the towpath or the train access?  I think that this project and the restoration of the flats and the coast guard station would get on the fast track if the train right-of-way can be negotiated first.  Everyone loves trains.  Some people are nutty about trains.  What can we do to get the train downtown?   How can this spin-off to restore the Huletts and the Coast Guard station?  Can Chicago, Baltimore or Pittsburgh boast this type of attraction?

That sounds great... again July 21

I'd love to do that - perhaps when they host this event again, July 21. Was it well attended? How about doing a longer write-up?

If there was real train service between downtown and Peninsula and Akron it would be amazing. Anyone know what would be involved in getting service all the way downtown?

Disrupt IT

Train service

Yes Norm, it was well attended, but competing with Parade the Circle today.  I know that OCC has had more people than at today's event, but I am not complaining.   I got to speak with John Debo from the National Park Service and they are always working to try and make the train connection happen.  People get frustrated with the progress or criticize the effort to reach downtown (Steelyard Commons), but actually it is all remarkable to consider how much progress has been made in my lifetime--over 33,000 acres preserved. 

Visit the park, enjoy the park and support the park.  Find time to enjoy nature, especially on beautiful days like today.  I almost cheated myself out of the experience (too much work, always too much work), but I am glad that I was able to appreciate the effort and time that so many people have spent to make this region liveable.

Exhilaration of Bridges

As I rode back to Cleveland from Pennisula, Ohio, I was heartened by the bridges.  Pittsburgh's bridges make me happy, too.  At least, we still have a few good ones left here...for awhile.