Celebrate our neighborhood parks in Northeast Ohio
Several months ago, Tim and I were asked to join a group of neighbors who were trying to save the trees at W.C. Reed Park. “The City” (city employees dealing with this have been Don Kasych, Richard Silva, and Director Michael Cox) said that a mere 9 trees out of 60 oak, cottonwood, and linden trees would be saved when the soil remediation authorized and paid for by the Federal EPA was accomplished. We found this outrageous and unacceptable—these are large, mature, valuable trees that improve the quality of our lives around here and increase our property values.
W. C. Reed Park is a large city park located behind East Denison School at 1717 Denison Avenue. See a news story at http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/money/consumer/troubleshooter/Cleveland-residents-concerned-about-future-of-contaminated-neighborhood-park
See the site formed to bring this matter under public scrutiny: http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/
It turns out that this is much more than “just about trees”--10 “hotspots” that contain PAHs (Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons), heavy metals, and other toxins are in the Park, they now tell us. (We never heard about these toxins when “The City” wanted to do the NRP housing development, which now has its own set of toxicity issues.) Many adjacent neighbors’ backyards abut the “old landfill.” It appears that many of them may have “filled” land on their own property, too. What are the effects to their health and safety? What is the impact of the toxic chemicals on them? How will this affect their property values and the other property values in the area? Will this make properties more or less sellable, or more or less valuable?
“The City” now states that “approximately” 2 feet of soil will be removed from the “public land” and replaced. There are many unanswered questions about this “plan” devised by our city employees—what about the dust, the truck traffic, and the methods? How will this remediation plan affect the neighborhood? Are our safety and legal rights protected? How are these contaminants to be moving through the neighborhood? What is the danger?
Many environmental experts say that the best approach is to keep the toxicity covered and to let nature take its course, as we have been doing for the past 50 or 60 years. Big trees play a big part in sensible, healthy remediation.
How will “The City’s” “scorched earth” approach benefit the neighborhood? And for those of us who still believe that trees are our best defense against air pollution, how can destroying 50 trees and replacing them with 2-inch saplings give us the same protection?
In many other areas, these scorched-earth methods have been rejected for more innovative ways of remediation, so why in our area is the “scorched” earth scenario the only one “they” say available? “The City” says the Federal EPA has mandated it. The Federal EPA says “the City” drafted the plan.
The other option—“they” say--is fencing the park with no public access.
Why are we so different, and why won’t “the City” and Federal EPA fully answer our questions? We had to demand a community meeting that they have failed to promote because “the City” essentially has stated in documentation that all public meetings have been held. We need a lot of sunshine on these proceedings. “The City” still refuses to reveal a lot of the data they are using to reach their conclusions. It’s possible that W. C. Reed Park may be no worse off than any of the other terrain around here. We have seen no comparisons to other neighborhoods.
Do you think “The City” is done with its public process here and should be allowed to go ahead and begin the “scorched earth” remediation immediately after this meeting is held? Please come to the meeting, and let us know your thoughts. This is a bigger issue than just trees, than just East Denison neighbors and their neighborhood. See details below about Monday night’s meeting.
Gloria S. Ferris
Best email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“NO LONGER JUST ABOUT TREES: HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES AT W.C. REED PARK”
Southwest Citizens Area Council and Brooklyn Centre Neighborhood Citizens Requested A Community Meeting with the City of Cleveland and the Federal EPA.
Councilman Joe Cimperman forwarded the request to the City of Cleveland.
City of Cleveland officials scheduled a Community Meeting.
Here are the details:
Monday, August 26th
St. Barbara’s Parish Hall
1505 Denison Avenue
No community announcement was mailed to the adjacent homeowners.
No official notification to the neighborhood was posted in an easily identifiable manner.
Southwest Citizens Area Council and individual residents have passed out information and requested signatures on a petition.
We are asking ALL community members--whether adjacent to the park or not--to come to this meeting. Councilman Joe Cimperman’s assistant has assured us that there will be a QUESTION AND ANSWER element to the meeting. Our neighbors surrounding the park have the questions ready to be asked. We need to be there to hear the answers. We the residents of the City of Cleveland should be the decision makers when our health and safety are an issue.
PLEASE TELL YOUR NEIGHBORS.
SHARE THIS EMAIL WIDELY.
“Informed citizens are engaged citizens. Engaged citizens are informed citizens”
Submitted by: Gloria Ferris, Brooklyn Centre resident, SCFBC Advisory Council, Chair, Brooklyn Centre Naturalists, Founder