WC Reed - and the fight to preserve a community greenspace

Submitted by lmcshane on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 09:43.

This blog post will chronicle and add some of the files that relate to the City of Cleveland's application for EPA funds and a "clean-up" at WC Reed Field.  SEE:

http://epa.gov/region5/cleanup/wcreed/index.html

http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/

Photo credit Joe Baran - resident who grew up playing in the park lives next to park

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Federal Monies - the great screw up -WC Reed Field

City of Cleveland, and other agencies in Northeast Ohio  - take clusterf#%k approach to repairing infrastructure-WC Reed Field is being "remediated" in Spring 2014 at ever increasing dollar amount (currently 3 million) of CERCLA funds. Meanwhile, no one plans to address the 100+ year old Denison Interceptor:

(BTW- how can I find out why City of Cleveland is spending 4 million on "redo" of Tremont Playfields-Clark Field?)

Underground Mysteries

“What we do is tunnel,” says Marlene Sundheimer, Director of Law for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD). Under our feet is a vast, intricate system of pipes, ladders, and other infrastructure we never think about—but it’s profoundly vital to our quality of life. Now, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has joined that system with an agreement to acquire and demo properties to help NEORSD in its mission.house

Why does the Sewer District need properties? Simply put, NEORSD is continually improving, burrowing, creating and repairing pipes for collecting sewage, which moves along the pipes toward its final destination: a wastewater treatment plant. Recently, NEORSD entered into a “consent decree” with the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs)—a 25-year, $3-billion series of capital projects called "Project Clean Lake" that will reduce sewer overflows. That commitment covers deep tunnels, storage tunnels and improvements at treatment plants, the construction of relief sewers and green infrastructure projects like rain gardens and bioswales to manage stormwater runoff.  In order to dig tunnels, build sewers or install bioswales, NEORSD needs to acquire properties, test for asbestos, and perform other demolition-related tasks.demo

The Land Bank has agreed to help facilitate property acquisition and demolitions for the NEORSD. “Those folks at the Land Bank have been very helpful to the Sewer District,” says Julie Blair, Assistant Director of Law. “They know everything about foreclosures of abandoned properties, so they’re a terrific resource.”
The agreement went into effect in July, and the NEORSD is acquiring its first property on East 109th Street. “These are green infrastructure projects,” Sundheimer says. “They’re a way to utilize vacant properties, and also to help relieve blight in the neighborhoods."

TIRED of POKER w/City of CLE on WC Reed

At this point - I can only EXPOSE what I know to be true and request that City of Cleveland NOT screw over local residents.
 
Plans for Towpath Trail and federal monies are also part of this mess - but I don't want to get into it here.  My comments to local ad hoc Friends of WC Reed Group as City will continue to ride us into the ground and wait for a less responsive councilperson (Anthony Brancatelli) to end up representing us.
 
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Dane - and, I suggest that we ask every interested resident to articulate their specific uses and design elements for the park  -
 
I want City of Cleveland to provide state-of-the-art ecological remediation using swale and bioremediation and limiting the "cap" to smallest extent possible to save as many  (if not all) trees on the site - including the signature Cottonwood in the center of the park.  I want the baseball fields eliminated (as too costly and difficult to maintain) and use of the park to include hard surface play areas where they are already located and where soil is already capped.  Primary use of the park for passive recreation - dog walking, jogging, frisbee, kites, picnics - field sports.
 
I would also like - possible outdoor stage area wired for musical and theater events adjacent to existing hard surface play fields - where CPT Step performed in 2012. Expansive green surrounded by trees should remain intact w/swaled perimeter planted and maintained to extent City of Cleveland maintains similar bioretention areas at Zone Park -Rec Center.  I would hazard a guess that the City of Cleveland's staff did NOT design the Zone park renovation.  I would also ask that we get the same level of commitment to treat storm water run -off at WC Reed  Field. 
 
Finally, the trail proposed by Don Kasych - needs to be eliminated and a more traditional perimeter track with limestone or similar crushed gravel track should surround play area that has been traditionally enjoyed for football and soccer events.  Cleveland Metroparks has experience with this as they recently constructed trails that are adjacent to swales in West Creek Reservation- which BTW - is a PARK constructed on a LANDFILL.
 
This park "redo" should be as important to the city as the Tremont Playfield -Clark Field 4 million dollar investment - and adjacent residents should see their properties IMPROVED by this park plan - not destroyed by it.
 
 

Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2013 9:06 AM
Subject: WC Reed Field -Construct a time line with evidence

Dane et al -
 
 
My notes for Monday's meeting since I will not be able to participate while on work time -I recommend that we each construct a personal timeline. 
 
I consulted with three attorneys - Linda Lagunazad, who attended 12.17.2012 meeting and after December meeting immediately filed FOIA w/City after I received no information as promised - she referred me to David Altman of Environlaw who I spoke with by phone, and I also spoke by phone w/Mike Dolan on 8/21 - all deferred this case,  though Mr. Altman alluded to possible damages if City really screws this up (which is why Connie and I collected signatures)- former Cleveland Councilman and Attorney Mike Dolan basically said there is no going against the City to stop the action (and good luck disproving the science they throw against us) - unless there was a business affected and immediate financial loss (as was case w/Tremont)- he suggested that Joe Cimperman was our ONLY possible ally in modifying the plans - just as he helped Tremont residents modify the plans for Professor Ave. where trees were federal monies were also used. 
 
Any timeline you each construct w/dates can show negligence and improper public information process:
 
12.17.2012 - Meeting held at St. Barbara's - City promises to provide all documents to residents in timely manner (received at library in July 2013 after FOIA) request -media coverage was there: http://api.ning.com/files/3aqWDhqL84*SBYlRMVg0MsKVEg7GrmduWJ1tPXbozoYf2UDudIyM2wGNdkLUxLT02BN4ZRnZ04YEdtBksSI4XV6O-H3c1ZXC/WCReedMeeting.pdf
 
 
(SWAC meetings held during winter months - I have no notes -I attended in May)
 
5.2.2013 - Southwest Citizens Area Council meeting - Don Kasych, landscape architect, from City of Cleveland tells audience that the park will be excavated to two feet below grade and that all trees will be removed.  (this is later contradicted by James Justice) Mr. Kaysch hems and haws not revealing the contractor on the project - and telling residents at the meeting that the tree removal is a directive by EPA not City of Cleveland.  I have phone conversations and subsequent emails with James Justice - that indicate City - NOT EPA - ordered tree removal.  Media coverage also provided a back-up and evidence:
 
After May 2013 meeting - the project was to proceed immediately after school closed for the summer in June - heightening resident concerns as no one had seen plan for remediation or knew how project would affect adjacent homeowners and communication was very ineffective.  Here - each and everyone of us has some correspondence with Joe Cimperman and James Justice - which we need to keep and file.  Most of the activity at this time is recorded chronologically at http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/profiles/blog/list
 

PARK REVIEW (City, EPA & Arborist)

 
(frankly - I think this sealed City of Cleveland-EPA  postponement on project - due to extremely bad process and public information)

 
8.26.2013 - Second meeting at St. Barbara's - project slated to proceed Fall 2013 and then postponed now - until Spring 2014.  City holds the meeting but provides no effort to flyer neighborhood- I found City's only notice by trolling Joe Cimperman's Twitter Feed -I will print out and have at meeting - also - I found  that City of Cleveland is spending comparable 4 million on Clark Field - I would like to see justification for this amount of money and whether federal dollars are being used on this park "redo."
 
 
Dane Reich flyers the neighborhood and weekend before the meeting Connie and I collect signatures and I meet with Ruth Small at Foster Pointe to insure that Foster Pointe residents know of meeting - and sign petition.
 
NO Media - coverage - Gloria Ferris and Betsey Merkel do film entire event  - evidence.
 
 
9.5.2013 - EPA James Justice presents at Southwest Citizens meeting to allay adjacent residents fears that signing the EPA waiver is only to allow access to their yards for testing - and not for loss of possible claims.  Many of us are present - and we are told that there is open communication, but I have sent emails to Mr. Justice since the meeting and called with no response.

WC Reed Field is a LAND GRAB- see how it works in CH too...

Sign indicates Albert M. Higley company got this contract - to keep residents out of their park and taxpayer cost for this travesty has risen daily from 1.5 million initially to now estimates of 5 million dollars.  What are they using for "surveillance" ...drones???

 

See especially this story that relates to WC Reed field debacle - Cummins gave away part of WC Reed Field to developer NRP - Foster Pointe this subsidized senior housing complex is now burdened w/sewer gas that has forced residents to move out and caused many to become ill - under Cimperman - the City also tried to give away another portion of the park to Riverside Cemetery - the "contamination" is a convenient way to prime the area for redevelopment. This post at REALNEO shot to over 1000 hits because there is obviously an attempt to prime the east side of the park for additional multi-unit housing (to capitalize on the views) and scare the existing (few) owners out of their properties :

http://realneo.us/content/who-hogar-community-re-investment-llc-based-phoenix-district-columbia-llc-buying-bank-owned-

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Same game being pulled in Cleveland Heights.

From Garry Kanter: 
For those of you keeping score at home, this Turkey Ridge 15 year, 100% tax abatement fiasco is really just Meadowbrook-Lee Phase II (or III or IV or ...)



Here's a (very handsome) concerned citizen speaking out at a city council meeting in August, 2012. (He starts at 7:30.)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-IghEKLrsH0#t=451

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It's all about the land...even religious communities are greedy...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/nyregion/24jersey.html?pagewanted=all&...

CLE's cluster#$@ approach to urban forestry

Jenita McGowan- please know that this effort is laudable, but not cost effective given the fact that the program should also PROTECT existing oak trees from senseless destruction.



The City of Cleveland engaged the EPA and embarked on an overkill "remediation" of WC Reed Park that threatens to destroy stately oak trees that already SERVE the community by filtering our air, reducing thermal sink effects and contributing to the quality and aesthetics of our neighborhood park.



We have been unfairly denied use of our park - to serve as a test case for this pot of federal $$ monies - while other more "contaminated" parks, like Clark Field and Morgana Park are left to "endanger" residents.

So, the City will be installing saplings to be ravaged by the out-of-control urban deer population, while at same time axing healthy and mature oaks that could and should be around for another hundred years or more. Senseless.

Superfund slush $$$ -Pony up that 50 million STAT!

http://realneo.us/sites/all/libraries/fckeditor/editor/skins/default/fck...

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This is a video from a community discussion held in an east suburban church - the whole presentation is punctuated with bad jokes and "har, har" behavior from the '"father" of the Land Bank movement.  

Note: Geauga and Medina counties have not jumped on the band wagon.  Wonder why??  Could it be that the "rich" folks know their own  scam, when it bites them in the ass

Oh, and now the 100,000 tree program (purchased from a nursery in Lake County) - how INSPIRATIONAL !

WAKE UP People - we are being robbed and the next "Land Bank" sleight of hand involves issuing bonds in Cuyahoga County to continue demo'ing and feeding the mob industry.

http://www.change.org/petitions/cuyahoga-county-land-bank-organization-remove-gus-frangos-as-president

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UPDATE 5/1/2014 City of CLE Assistant Department of Capital Projects - Don Kaysch resigned and will go to Lorain Metroparks - this leaves a MAJOR project w/o oversight.  Kaysch's supervisor is Robert Vilkus 216-664-3577.  THIS is the first project of it's KIND - a so-called remediation of a public park with FEDERAL dollars - with residents birth-90+ surrounding the area to be remediated.  



Could it be that Mr. Kaysch did not want this on his conscience?  

 

Recent photos taken in WC Reed Field - so called contaminated site - which is only a City of CLE rush on federal monies for their future "reimagined" city c/o Land Bank Duo - Rokakis-Frangos  and their crony Brancatelli who replaced Cimperman in the ward.

http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/photo/green-healthy-grass-which-will-be-covered-with-mud-by-the-epa

 

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WE need OUR Money NOW!!!  More demos!!!  http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/pass_50_million_demo_bond_to_save_our_neighborhoods_editorial.html

 See video of Rokakis and Bracatelli - Mark Gillespie, formerly of PD, works for Thieving Communities at 24:07 in the video 

Resident Meeting For WC Reed Field TONIGHT

EPA has a hearing tonight at St. Barbara's church for local residents who want to understand the so-called "remediation" -

At this point - I am personally grateful that some of the trees (oaks) will be preserved - but the whole project is unneccesary-- and causes-- and will continue to distress our neighborhood.

http://epa.gov/region5/cleanup/wcreed/pdfs/wcreed-tree-survey-nodate.pdf

I filed a FOIA to receive second round of test results that pulled samples from the park and nearby resident homes - and it is obvious from the tests that there are far less invasive ways to address the so-called contamination (for example, results for exposure to PAH  on ball diamond are next to nothing) -Claude Cornett, an independent environmental consultant with extensive experience - confirms:



The soil sampling at most residential sites that I have data for showed risks of less than one in 10,000 of cancer from exposure to associated PAHs.  While any risk is undesirable, the average  lifetime chance of an individual in the USA getting cancer is about 44% http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer  (with up to about half from man-made pollution).  The degree of cancer risk indicated by the sampling at most residential sites for which I have data in the vicinity of Reed Park (and the surface soil in the baseball diamond) was not high enough to warrant spending the limited tax money available to remediate - given the need for funds to remediate much higher risks from other sources.  It is likely that surface soil contamination in many other portions of Reed Park also do not pose enough risk to warrant remediation under the Superfund policies with which I am familiar.

 

Request EPA-R5-2014-004105 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full grant
Records were released to the public as a result of this request. You may retrieve these records immediately using the following link: View Records. Over the next 2 hours, these records are also being added to FOIAonline's search pages, further enabling you to retrieve these documents associated with your FOIA request at any time

In an email I presented to Rob Portman's office:

This has already mushroomed into the project from hell, and if CLE really wants to push this then I will demand that the City of Cleveland Health Department use due diligence and order testing and follow-up remediation for Clark Field and Morgana Park, and the list could go on.  
 
By EPA's own admission - the City of Cleveland initiates these fund requests- and this needs to be prompted by a very REAL concern for public health and welfare and NOT just as a means to fund a park "renovation": 
 


Why is W.C. Reed Playfield being cleaned up as 
opposed to other city parks which some believe may 
be more contaminated? The EPA became involved 
with the W.C. Reed Playfield project because the city 
asked for assistance. The EPA is not aware of any 
other potentially contaminated city parks. However, if 
you have information about contamination at other 
parks, you should contact the Cleveland Health 
 Department. 

 

And, so many other questions remain- from resident C. Davis:

) The Action Memorandum dated July 16, 2013 was signed FOR not BY Director of the Superfund Richard Karl. I can't read the signature, not sure if this is important maybe it was signed with his approval but.....and then of course all that redacted stuff. 

2) on the 2nd page of the same action memorandum, it states "There are no significant or precedent setting issues associated with WC Reed Field AND THE SITE IS NOT ON THE NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST"

3) From the EPA page on Mill Creek Dump (Mid-Atlantic Superfund), one of the "similar" sites referenced on the EPA Responds to Questions April 2014 I found this: "Our country's most serious, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites can be cleaned using federal money. "TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL CLEAN-UP MONEY, A SITE MUST BE PUT ON THE NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST" And WC Reed ain't on the list.

 

Brancatelli screws over BC residents

So, City of Cleveland and EPA screws over residents of Brooklyn Centre with bogus meeting tonight - where we hear same old crap - only it gets worse - after Joe Cimperman got City/EPA to save our 60 year old oaks - Tony Brancatelli makes his own decision to destroy and KILL all the trees in WC Reed Park - residents be damned. What a waste of my time and a punch in the face to all of us who have worked so hard to protect and save the trees in our park - this is why no one wants to live in this goddamned city....

PLS Call Kevin Kelley and MAYOR AND MEDIA to SAVE OUR TREES

  Dear Councilman Kelley -

 
I am pleading with your administration of Cleveland City Council to stop Councilman Brancatelli from his unilateral decision to kill every tree in WC Reed Park.
 
The EPA, through a diligent community process, determined that the eight* swamp white oaks that line the perimeter and transect the park could and should be saved according to resident pleas.  
 
Mr. Baran and his family have lived on Park Place for close to one hundred years - and he cares for his mother who will be 89 years old.  The park remediation does not have to destroy our spirit as a community.  Please have some compassion for our community and STOP the senseless destruction of the eight majestic oaks in WC Reed Park.
 
Sincerely,
 
Laura McShane

 * correction 10 - six transect the park, three on perimeter w/Horizon Denison School, one adjacent to long-time resident John Baran.

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PLEASE Call Mayor's Action Line 216-664-2900

PLS - bombard Brancatelli 664-4233 AND Brian Cummins  664-4238/333-5453 who started this mess- with calls to save our majestic 60+ year old oak trees - cost alone to remove oaks is colossal waste of taxpayer dollars after Councilman Joe Cimperman´╗┐ and EPA determined thtat TREES could be saved with remediation of the park. Please share with media 

Brancatelli responds to letter 15 days after public meeting

On Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:37 PM, Tony Brancatelli <TonyB [at] SlavicVillage [dot] org> wrote:

 

Hi John,
 
Just to be clear, the discussion around the oaks was not sidestepped, you and I spoke about these and I was very committed to save the tree directly behind your house and I stand by that commitment as we spoke. 
 
We have come a long way and the participation of the community was incredibly valuable to help make this the best project and park possible given the circumstances.  The issues around drainage were addressed and the EPA has come up with a solid plan to manage heavy rains so as not to impact residents and it appears to be very functional.  Also, the neighbors who do have contaminated soils will get a full clean up with all their vegetation, fencing and yard put back in a high quality manor with no further action needed.  Also, there was great movement on the type of cap membrane used as the marking barrier, again, wonderful input by the residents and implementation by the EPA.
 
The Mayors Administration asked for a recommendation from me regarding the oaks.  After reviewing the complicated "tree wells" and hearing from the arborist I felt it best to recommend to reforest the park at a 2 to 1 ratio instead of saving the oaks.  At some point sooner than later those oaks along the path may come down either due to storm damage or age or other natural cause.  This would cause the cap to be breached and a very expensive fix for the city which may cause the park to be closed once again.  Further, as noted in the meeting, these dry wells are very complicated and would be very hard for the city to maintain, they would not be capped with soil but rather stone, again an attractive nuisance. 
 
My first priority is for the health of the children and families that use the park and the residents around the park, cleaning it to the highest standard possible was the most important consideration for me.  The EPA will be spending millions on this clean up and we can have a park that will have a long life to serve our community.  The city will be responsible for maintaining this park after the EPA is done, we are commitment to keeping the new trees growing and the park in a high quality condition.  The residents had participated in numerous meetings to design a park that everyone can use, this plan will complete that vision.
 
Thank you for all your efforts here, I understand that I am not popular by making the recommendation to the Administration.  It would have been much easier for me just to cave in to some residents sentiment and not look at the long term ramifications.  This is just my recommendation, I do not contract the work or direct the EPA, but I support this position.
 
I have spoke with Chief Darnell Brown and Director Michael Cox, they have requested an additional meeting to discuss this further.  I will leave that up to you and them to schedule accordingly.
 
Thank you again
 
Tony Brancatelli
 
 
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My response to Brancatelli:
 
 
This is a lie - you have betrayed the public trust and the extensive public process under the EPA during Councilman Cimperman's tenure - a process that evaluated and validated protecting these oaks during the remediation process.  The EPA release also publicly states that the trees have been identified for saving.
 
These healthy oaks are not subject to "coming down"...and they stand a better chance of survival than any Lake County nursery twigs you put into the park that will be subject to bark damage from deer, wind, and cold/thawing/exposure -  "new" trees that are going to "breach" the cap to the same extent that the existing trees "breach" the soil.
 
 
 
Sincerely,
Laura McShane
M. Landscape Architecture SUNY- Syracuse-Environmental Science and Forestry 
 
 

WC Reed Field July 28 2014 status - A BIG HOLE

More photos at Friends of WC Reed Field http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/

Plea from resident -response from CLE may reveal LAND Grab

 
A long time resident (family has lived in Brooklyn Centre over 100 years) - has asked the City of Cleveland to add adjoining properties to WC Reed Field.  If the City refuses - we will have confirmation of what we have known for some time- that City of Cleveland is screwing residents out of their park and planning some "development" to capitalize on the "FREE" land.

 

Darnell Brown, Chief Operating Officer:
Michael E. Cox, Director of Public Works:
Anthony Brancatelli, Councilman Ward 12:
 
As key representatives of the City of Cleveland.  Please accept the following that I submit to you for review and action.
 
This request if acted upon will improve my neighborhood community located in Ward 12.
 
Some of this information has been previously submitted by myself to Councilman Anthony Brancatelli.
 
This concerns four vacant land lots and three blighted residential homes in the area.  
 
These seven property parcels are all adjoining to the land border area of W. C. Reed Park. 
 
It is requested that all seven property parcels be acquired by the City of Cleveland, absorbed and annexed into W. C. Reed Park for park expansion. 
 
All three residential homes listed are vacant and presently unoccupied.  This requires no resident to be moved from and relocated.  In fact, two of the three properties are presently boarded up. 
 
The following property parcel adjoins the park border in the area of the planned new service entrance for the park at W. 15 Street:
 
3738 W. 15 Street PPN 008-27-055 (unoccupied boarded up home) 
 
The following six sequential numerical property parcels are at the very end of a street.  All adjoining to the park border in the area of Forestdale Avenue:
 
1809 Forestdale Avenue PPN 008-26-041 (unoccupied boarded up home)
1813 Forestdale Avenue PPN 008-26-040 & 008-26-039 (double empty lots)
1823 Forestdale Avenue PPN 008-26-038 & 008-26-037 (unoccupied home & empty lot, recent sheriff's sale)
1827 Forestdale Avenue PPN 008-26-036 (empty lot)
 
As it is known, the U. S. EPA is presently addressing soil remediation within W. C. Reed Park and adjoining properties.  Work relating to the soil remediation is hoped to be completed this year. 
 
Absorbing these properties and annexing them into the park requires a Fast Track Action by the City of Cleveland.  Once this soil remediation is completed.  Future expansion for this park could be complicated.
 
I fully understand that to acquire, absorb and annex these land parcels into this park will require City funds.  This funding amount will be basically little.  When you compare these required tax dollars to the tax dollars the Federal Government has committed to the soil capping of W. C. Reed Park and the neighboring residential soil clean up.
 
Please consider and study the feasibility of this matter.  Your assistance and immediate action will permit this annexation to happen.  This will help to improve this community.  It will remove some of our troubled blighted properties in this area, and expand a beautiful treasured green space located in my neighborhood within the City of Cleveland. 
 

Dane Reich contacts City Hall on behalf of residents

February 10, 2016

 

Cleveland City Council

601 Lakeside Avenue, Room 220

Cleveland, Ohio 44114

 

Committee of Finance

Chair:  Kevin J. Kelley – Ward 13 (kkelley [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Vice Chair:  Phyllis Cleveland – Ward 5 (pcleveland [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Members:

Dona Brady – Ward 11 (dbrady [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Anthony Brancatelli – Ward 12 (abrancatelli [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Kevin Conwell – Ward 9 (kconwell [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Martin J. Keane – Ward 17 (mkeane [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Mamie J. Mitchell – Ward 6 (mmitchell [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Terrell H. Pruitt – Ward 1 (tpruitt [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Matt Zone – Ward 15 (mzone [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

 

Committee of Municipal Services and Properties

Chair:  Kenneth L. Johnson – Ward 4 (kjohnson [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Vice Chair:  T.J. Dow – Ward 7 (tdow [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Members:

Anthony Brancatelli – Ward 12 (abrancatelli [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Brian J. Cummins – Ward 14 (bcummins [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Jeffrey Johnson – Ward 10 (jjohnson [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Brian Kazy – Ward 16 (bkazy [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

Zachary Reed – Ward 2 (zreed [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org)

 

To the Council members of the Committees of Finance and Properties:

 

SUBJECT:  Restoration and Improvements for W. C. Reed Park

 

We request that the City promise of W.C. Reed Park restoration and improvements be accomplished by December 2016.  The restoration includes a baseball field, basketball court, playground equipment, sidewalks, parking lot paving, and tree planting to reestablish the missing tree canopy, wanted for its beauty but needed for its air quality, at this treasured community park.

 

We have been told no funds are earmarked for this restoration and/or improvement and that the Jackson Administration has indicated that this project with park improvements are expected to be part of a 5 Year Capital Plan.

 

In 2009, $276,000.00 was committed by then Councilman Brian Cummins (Ward 15) for this park improvement. Today, unfortunately, these dollars are woefully short of the estimated total cost, and it appears that no account was earmarked for this purpose.

 

In 2011, W.C. Reed Park became part of Councilman Joe Cimperman’s Ward 3.  Councilman Cimperman continued the quest for park improvements started under Councilman Cummin’s tutelage.  A series of public meeting were held to pick features and design for the new and better park the community would receive.  At those meetings, long time members of the community continually told City officials that the park was built on a landfill which could hold nasty surprises.

 

In the fall of 2012, W. C. Reed Park was closed to the public due to soil issues.  While closed the U.S. Federal EPA contractors removed all park equipment and most of the park trees.  To install a soil barrier to protect the public.  The costs of this Federal EPA project has amounted to millions of Federal Tax Dollars.

 

During public meetings concerning the soil issue and EPA cleanup plans, everyone was led to believe that once the EPA project was completed a new park, fully funded, would be constructed and trees planted.  This design plan was made public during the meetings and there was never any “IF” involved as to the new park being constructed when the U.S. EPA cleanup was completed.  During the cleanup, W.C. Reed Park became part of Councilman Brancatelli’s Ward 12.

 

In the spring of 2016, with no signs of complications with the EPA cleanup, the City of Cleveland will take over the management of the park land and be responsible for the new park improvements.

 

In the four years that W.C. Reed Park project has moved, albeit slowly, this public piece of land has had the oversight of three council people, the surrounding neighborhoods and schools have been without a beloved park, and now, we are told that this parcel may remain fallow for the foreseeable future.

 

That outcome is unacceptable.  We, respectfully ask that the funds needed to complete this promise of a new, improved park be found and that a promise becomes action.  An additional 5- year timeline is much too long.

 

The support and a reply from these Council Committees concerning this matter are requested.

 

Deeply Concerned,

 

Dane Reich

President, Southwest Citizens Area Council

 

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Ken Sillman - Jackson's Chief of Staff replies and promises $500,000 in the 2016 budget - will post updates soon.