A story where individuals are making differences, for good and bad: The Historic Coast Guard Station

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 12/17/2006 - 17:30.


I met a few days ago with Ed Hauser - the "Citizen Hauser" who single-handedly saved Whiskey Island for the public - to see what he's been up to for the past few months. In brief, besides helping save Northeast Ohio from ODOT and their foolish pursuit of their ill-conceived Innerbelt Bridge and Trench plans, and continuing to single-handedly challenge the Port Authority's ongoing attempts to destroy Whiskey Island, Ed is taking next steps in his one man, multi-year battle to save the remarkable National Historic Landmark Coast Guard Station, at the tip of Whiskey Island, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, designed by J. Milton Dyer, also architect of Cleveland City Hall. Ed mentioned to me he in the process of pressuring the city of Cleveland Law Director Robert Triozzi to seek a court order to force the city to comply with its own landmarks-preservation law, which requires owners of city landmarks to keep the properties secure and water tight, and, if the city fails to act responsibly and lawfully, Ed intends to file a citizens lawsuit against the city. Today, the Plain Dealer picked up the scent of the story, and shared some of the sad commentary of some of those related to the sorry state of this landmark, and the declining historic integrity of this city.

Coast Guard Station by Jeff Buster
Coast Guard Station by Jeff Buster

I agree completely with the position of Ed Hauser on this situation. It was a disgrace a Jacobs investor group was allowed to demolish the building by neglect, as reported in an informative 2003 article in the Free Times, and it is a disgrace the city of Cleveland has continued the demolition by neglect since taking ownership of the property, over three years ago. There are no good excuses for this situation, from the city, preservationists, or anyone. Keep in mind, the state of this National Historic Landmark is not the result of some sudden, Katrina-like act of God, but the result of the bad will, disinterest, negligence and/or incompetence of many - nay, all - individual community leaders over the course of many years.

For the past few years, high priced and powered planners have been investing public time and money creating pretty visions of big pictures of our "greatest asset", the Lakefront, and its most important structure, the Coast Guard Station, and saying that only with some master plan and big shot private player will the building be saved... excusing the current demolition by neglect and basically extorting control of the property from the citizens of Cleveland into private hands. Others connect the only future potential of the property to the multi-year, multi-million-dollar Tow Path plans. Wasted years into the process, Kathleen Crowther, head of the Cleveland Restoration Society, is now quoted in the PD article saying "she has doubts that the Coast Guard station can be saved." "We always want to see landmarks saved," she said. "but we also want to be realistic."

It is situations like this that really set Northeast Ohio apart from good places to live... to think, and see proven, we are a place where our huge regional population doesn't offer enough preservation-oriented people to care enough about protecting something as important as one of our most visible National Historic Landmarks and do something about it.  It is such inaction by people responsible for our greatest assets that makes it doubtful Cleveland will be a truly appealing city any time soon. And, it is the few people like Citizen Hauser who make it conceivable that we will eventually be a good place to live and raise families.

For those who care about historic landmarks in Cleveland, I suggest you write to the Mayor, Law Director and Planning Director of the City of Cleveland, your council person, the County Commissioners, and the Cleveland Restoration Society with your opinion, and be sure to send a copy to Citizen Hauser for his records - he can be reached at Ed Hauser <Ed%20Hauser%20%3cejhauser [at] ameritech [dot] net%3e>. You may also want to read through and add to a forum on this matter, posted on REALNEO in May, 2006, and read and comment on some of the articles linked in this book, below. It would not hurt to contact the author of the PD article on this disgrace, Tom Breckenridge, at tbreckenridge [at] plaind [dot] com, or 216-999-4695.

Ed Hauser has provided this community a great service by being a true citizen activist, and thus giving NEO a great park - Whiskey Island - and I am confident Ed will prevail in saving the Coast Guard Station, regardless of all people and roadblocks in his way, and we shall all benefit from that in ways we can recognize today, and in ways we can't possible appreciate yet, but our future generations shall. Thanks to Ed Hauser for continuing to fight for public good, and to the PD for picking up the story and sharing it more broadly.

I think if Cleveland Leaders had brains, rather than foundations

I think if Cleveland Leaders had brains, rather than foundations, they could have addressed the problems of this community over the past decade.

Instead, we have very well paid mindless leadership and Cleveland Foundation Strategic Investment Initiatives, taxes on cigarettes for art, lots of shitty sports treams in palaces, and strategic institutions that still burn coal.

Can anyone name a good thing that has happened because of the Cleveland Foundation in the past decade?

I think if our community leaders and foundations did good for this community, Ed Hauser would be alive today.

Disrupt IT