Choosing Wisely

Submitted by metroparks muse on Sun, 05/18/2008 - 06:23.

"Let's start with these... is the Metroparks a well run and effective organization, with good leadership, and how are they funded and is that well spent? .."


Good financial planning demands that you plan ahead, stick to a budget and not give in to impulses. But these rules were all ignored in the Hinckley ballfield project two years ago. Director Vern Hartenberg reached an agreement (without board knowledge) with an anonymous donor to enlarge and add additional playing fields in Hinckley Reservation. Metroparks spent an estimated $300,000 beyond the donation to carve new, unneeded recreation areas out of greenspace.


No longer available for wildlife or general use, these lands are now limited to a few specialized users, some of the time. At the time local ballfields were begging for donations. Furthermore, from 2003 to 2007, CMP playing field use dropped by 80%. No one is moving out to get closer to ballfields.


This is one example of funding priorities gone awry. Dollars had to be diverted from other needs for this unnecessary project (which also requires money for ongoing maintenance.) Not the best use of either our land or our money.

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stop developing and paving metroparks

Jeez! This is criminal.


Dear Mr. Hartenberg,


When a donor wants to make a donation for a basketball court to the metroparks, here's what you do. First you tell them nicely that metroparks is not in the business of basketball, then you make a few phone calls to find out who wants their money and give them a list of contacts. How many urban basketball courts inside and out might have been upgraded with their generosity? Or if they were dead set on giving to the metroparks, you share with them the list of priority projects that the parks have identified and see if they might be interested in one of those. These folks have the cash and someone needs it for something. The region can't say no to their generosity, but you can. You can try to identify a match for them within your own organization, but if that doesn't work, you can direct them elsewhere. What you can't do is hijack the priorities of OUR parks; that is not your job.


There are certainly numerous things that need addressing in our region and more development in our parks (definitely more paving/more impervious surfaces) is not one of these "needs". Haven't you heard about runoff? Ever heard about the water quality issues associated with increased paving? As NEORSD spends $4 billion to build deep storage tunnels (a cost that will be reflected in sewer bills through out the district), how can our parks justify adding to the burden of the Combined Sewer Overflow problems our tributaries, river and lake face? Do you recall a song from with the lyric "they paved paradise to put up a parking lot"? Well, we could all benefit by substantially less paving. While some of us struggle against ODOT and their paving gone wild policies to protect our air and water, your joining into this pavement madness just seems counterintuitive; especially in your role with the parks. The Emerald Necklace should remain just that, emerald – not become black. In the meantime, where pavement is required might I suggest that you get hip to permeable asphalt? You could help water quality issues as well as save money. While we vote in metroparks levies every time they come to the ballot, we would prefer to know that Cleveland Metroparks is at the forefront of making Cleveland become a green city on a blue lake – not the reverse.


Just yesterday I heard Jimmy Dimora say that it is imperative the Whiskey Island become part and parcel of the Cleveland Metroparks. But if the intention of the Metroparks would be to pave the current gravel parking lot and roadways there, or take a donors money and turn over direction to one monied individual letting them take the driver's seat for a public entity, I would have to think twice before advocating for said.


We look to the metroparks for leadership in sustainability - both ecological and fiscal. We would hope that you would be leading the charge to reduce chemical use (ahem... golf courses) and impermeable surfaces. Let’s please see some movement in this direction.

Clean house

  We all know where the problem lies here.  Time for the Metroparks to clean their board once and for all, get rid of the developers, and finally, put a woman on the board.