Friends of W.C. Reed Field and Cleveland Parks

Celebrate our neighborhood parks in Northeast Ohio

Letter to WCPN, Sound of Ideas producer David Molpus, host Mike McIntyre

As best I could, I edited, corrected & revised yesterday's letter to WCPN's morning news & current affairs talk show "The Sound of Ideas" and re-emailed it as an attachment to producer David Wolpus and host Mike McIntyre.  To this point there has been no reply. Who(m) else should we contact about our concerns? 

BTW, the Plain Dealer continues to eviscerate its local news & issues coverage as it laid off another 45 or so reporters yesterday, about 1/3 of its editorial staff including city- and religion-beat reporter Mike O'Malley who covered the recent Cleveland Catholic diocese church closings and re-openings and wrote about St. Barbara's on Denison Ave.

This is the revised letter to WCPN:


David & Mike,

I am a resident of Old Brooklyn-Brooklyn Center and live next to W.C. Reed Playfield, a green space and recreational facility located behind the Horizon Academy on Dennison Avenue at W. 15th St.  Last December, the park was closed due to a concern about toxic waste materials that were detected seeping to the surface and that may pose a potential health hazard to users of the facility.  The tests were conducted on behalf of the city parks department, which, in conjunction with the EPA, proposed a remediation plan that involves the removal of a two-foot layer of the topsoil and the installation of a water-permeable membrane to abate the seepage. The plan also involves the removal of most of the trees in the park.  These trees are healthy, old and historic oaks, black locust, cottonwoods and aspen that provide shade, aesthetic appeal, a habitat for the squirrels, birds and other wildlife, and in the winter act as a windbreak for the school, the homes and the yards that border the park.

The neighbors and nearby residents have not been consulted in the formulation of these plans, nor advised of the extent of the hazard posed by the reported toxic seepage, nor informed of how thoroughly the proposed remediation would remove present and future threats posed by these reportedly hazardous landfill materials.  The landfill site generating the toxic seepage extends well beyond the park acreage itself and into many adjoining private yards and properties, but the safety issues for residents in those homes and occupants of those businesses have not been addressed.

Coincidentally, the remediation and renovation plans for the park also originally included the selling of some of the park acreage to Riverside Cemetery which adjoins the park.  That sale may still be included in the most recent proposals.  There has been some concern expressed that all this preparation of the park property is a precursor to the sale of the park land to, and its development by, private interests, as happened with the Foster Point senior residence development on Dennison Avenue that also involved sold-off park property.  The concern is that the city is intent on the disposal and privatization of community assets to reduce maintenance costs and ease the financial burdens on the city budget.

The concerned neighbors have organized a group and launched a website at [sic].  To date, many questions remain about the true intent and motives of the city and its planners and, in the absence of full disclosure and communication between and among the involved parties, there is considerable mistrust.  This may reflect an endemic lack of accountability and responsiveness on the part of civil servants and institutions to citizens’ concerns, and the often inadequate communication between taxpaying citizens and their elected representative government.

Sincerely, Roland Kausen (216) 398-7137 on behalf of Friends of W.C. Reed Field

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Excellent and succinct letter - WCPN should  pick up this story and give voice to residents who are not given public process.

Revised letter as attached above. Still no direct response. Monday's "Sound of Ideas" show presented a conceptual meta-discussion that may have been a tangential response to the letter, but merely paid lip-service to the challenges of communication and engagement between representative institutions and their constituencies, was frustatingly banal and insubstantial and replete with platitudes!

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