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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Op-Ed: RTA-Owned Land in Ohio City Near Red Line Shouldn't Be Developed, Should Remain Greenspace

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 10:21 AM

  • LWYang/FlickrCC
To the RTA Board of Trustees et al:

The Scottish poet Alexander Smith wisely said, "A man doesn't plant a tree for himself. He plants it for posterity."

I've visited Ohio City with my parents and six siblings since the 1970s, and in the last 14 years I've lived, worked, and played in this great rebuilding neighborhood. My business partners and I have renovated 140,000 square feet of vacant properties in Ohio City, opened 6 businesses, and have created over 200 well-paying jobs in the neighborhood. We recently built 7 transit-oriented
townhomes on a vacant property in the adjacent Duck Island neighborhood.

In other words, I'm very much in favor of dense, urban development. Which is why I studied Urban Planning and Real Estate Development at CSU's Urban Studies College. It was there that I learned that dense transit-oriented development only works when it is balanced with accessible green space.

I write today to express my strong opposition to the development of the RTA-owned land adjacent to the Red Line Greenway. (RTA issued an request for qualifications from developers in August 2018). The sale of publicly owned green space - indeed, one that includes a protected wetland - to private for-profit developers sets a dangerous precedent; especially at a time when RTA is wracked with legal woes and management lapses.

I propose RTA tables the sale of the land until it is able to clean house and set straight its internal challenges. Then let's have the taxpayers decide what they want to see done with this important piece of taxpayer-owned green space.

I've watched thick clouds of migrating monarchs hovering over this narrow stretch of wooded habitat. And the migrating tropical forest songbirds, and ruby-throated hummingbirds that visit in spring and fall are a sight to behold.

When the Cleveland Metroparks opens the Red Line Greenway trail to the public, this forested habitat will be enjoyed by Clevelanders of all walks of
life. Perhaps the Western Reserve Land Conservancy would step in and purchase this urban forest from RTA and permanently protect it from development so that it can forever be part of the growing Cleveland Metroparks Emerald Necklace.

Posterity will thank us.

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