First Things First

Submitted by metroparks muse on Fri, 05/16/2008 - 06:51.
If Cleveland Metroparks continues to expand into the city of
Cleveland, the safety of the good people in these neighborhods must be of paramount concern. This is evident from the horrendous attack this week at West Creek, along with residents' concerns previously voiced in
Slavic Village. Vandalism at Washington Park Golf Course has been addressed, but personal safety far outweighs property concerns.


Before they take on even more areas within the city, Cleveland Metroparks needs to better patrol what they have. Most urban municipalities are already stretched thin compared to outer ring suburbs (which have less crime and bigger budgets and police departments). It is unfair to park visitors or to the park’s present holdings to put either at risk. Basic safety and land protection is more important than fancy buildings, new exhibits or premier golf courses.  


In 1997 (before the addition of Ohio and Erie Canal, Washington Park or West Creek Reservations) CMP had the equivalent of 88.4 full time rangers and total budget expenditures of $47.6 million. By '07, with three additional reservation, there were 85.6 rangers and budgets expenses of $78 Million.

In 10 years three (urban) reservations have been added, the budget has increased by 2/3s,  but the number of rangers has fallen by 3. We need to make sure this remains a 'freak incident,' and that means devoting the money and personnel necessary. Dollars spent on landscaping along I-71 or maintaining other non-park land could instead pay for additional rangers.

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MM, this freak incident is indeed extremely disturbing, but not indicative of typical park behavior.  This freak incident could have occured anywhere and it illustrates the false sense of security suburban residents use to lull themselves to sleep.  The incident has been reported outside the Metroparks West Creek Reservation in the diocese-owned Camp Corde, which is adjacent to the Metroparks Reservation. 

Nonetheless, every thing you say about Metropark misplaced priorities is true.  Yet, as much money can be spent on rangers, there will be little incentive for those rangers to be out patrolling until they change their mindset and actually want to patrol parks. 

I am a regular and frequent park user and a former Metropark employee.  In all the years that I have spent hiking, cycling and bird watching in our parks--I have never once physically come across a park ranger.  I have seen park rangers in vehicles and I know that they respond to reported emergencies, but they do not make a visible appearance on a regular basis.  Even, if they were more visible, they would not have been able to prevent the horrible tragedy that occurred at Camp Corde(or possibly within the West Creek Reservation). 

The moral of any story such as this one is to live your life, but to live sensibly by safeguarding yourself from a vulnerable situation.  Women, especially, have to use common sense everywhere.  That said, my heart goes out to this woman and her family, because it could have easily have been me in her situation.  My thoughts and prayers are for a miraculous recovery.

Number of Metro Park issues

Laura makes good sense... I expect as much insane behavior in Parma and Strongsville as East Cleveland, park or not.

I don't use the Metroparks much, because I do not like zoos and there are so many other nearby greenspaces I love it is a waste of resources for me to stray further.

So I don't know if the MetroParks are run well, or policed well, or if they should expand to operate other greenspaces, like Whiskey Island and Forest Hills Park, for example. I don't know if we should own and fund a golf course. Lots of questons.

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? Any experts on this out there?

Disrupt IT

Metroparks: a start - legal fees

Well, if you start with Roldo's most recent focus you'd be amazed at Metroparks legal expenses. There is a full-time in-house law director and also a legal specialist, both in the the executive director's division - total '07 operating budget there of $889,000. But, in addition, outside counsel from Baker Hostetler may attend board meetings (@$222/hr)  and the firm performs other functions to the tune of $324,000 in '05, $297,000 in'06 and at least $232,000 in '07.

Total outside legal expenses were $482,000 (05), $520,000 (06) and at least $381,000 (07) for 5 major firms and the prosecutor.