Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Cleveland: Flats: Demolition by neglect and bulldozer by current property owners and public
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 05/29/2006 - 22:01.
It is sadly appropriate this old mural "Flasopoly" hints at the end of the Flats as generations knew it... a land grab where the biggest bank account wins. Unfortunately, in NEO right now, the biggest bank accounts are controlled by a new class of leaders who made their money through regional sprawl, driving down the value of our urban core and inner ring. They are now using their rural-sprawl wealth to buy and control "blighted" core property at astounding terms. They're then keeping the worst - the port rock piles, toxic waste and fumes - and adding tents in massive parking lots, for entertainment and gambling, planning a bunch of tasteless condos for the views, and restructuring our freeways to reroute traffic to benefit their development agenda.
In a fair and open community, with healthy competition and a vibrant economy, suburban sprawl developers would need to compete in a dynamic marketplace for the opportunity to develop on a community's most prime land - the riverfront and lakefront - and the city would call all the shots - to preserve architecture and culture, provide mixed income housing and opportunities, integrate public art, demand environmental sustainability, challenge architectural envelop, and serve public good. Because Cleveland has an unhealthy economy and closed planning community, we do not have a dynamic global, competitive development marketplace, and so bad developers thrive and threaten to literally destroy our horizons.
Who is to blame for this blight of our greatest community asset, the riverfront? It seems the fault of the same people who are allowing the East Bank of the Flats to be demolished by neglect, and who plan to use highly suspect eminent domain processes to take the property of one group of bad property owners to give to one of the worst of the Flats property owners. Big problems are they are destroying many historic buildings, they are eliminating a big part of our cluture, and none of the "leaders" of our community or public care. We need a healthy dose of reality, starting with appreciating the beauty of the East Banks of the Flats, despite demolition by neglect by current property owners, and lax code enforcement by the city of Cleveland and other authorities.
Already, the fabric of the Flats is torn - but the historic infrastructure... lay of the land... and much of the historic asset base and cultural identity and value remain. This is what the current generation of low-quality suburban sprawl developers seek to destroy.
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