Thursday, August 16, 2012

The South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library

Here's the text of a letter I recently sent to the Sun Messenger.  Thus far, it has not been printed:

As a citizen of South Euclid, who used the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library while a student at Brush and continues to do so in middle age, I have many fond memories of the Telling Mansion – its home since 1952. It’s with a growing sense of alarm that I read of the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s intention to move the facility from this historic site and build a new location near the border of our city.

First there is the issue of what happens with the Telling Mansion, one of the few remaining links to our past. Its presence on the National Register of Historic Places only regulates how the exterior is maintained. There is nothing to prevent it from being demolished should a new owner want to redevelop it.

The proposed Green Road location is troublesome for several reasons: It would involve taking down three existing homes and a business, and cutting down a wooded area. These parcels of land, which currently pay property taxes, would become public land and thus pay no taxes – placing a financial strain on our city and school district. It would also replace a centrally located facility (the existing library is about a 5 minute walk from the South Euclid / Lyndhurst border) and move it near the border of University Heights. That’s not fair to the people of Lyndhurst, and University Heights has its own library (not in the CCPL network).

Part of the justification for the CCPL proposing this change is because they want a facility that is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But the two most frequently used floors at the Telling site are already accessible to the disabled. Additionally, there are many other libraries within the CCPL system that comply with ADA.

CCPL has long been nationally recognized as a superb library system – even with buildings that were not fully modern. Why the sudden urge to alter that which is already great? Why the sudden insistence on uniformity and conformity? It has been written that “every rule needs an exception to prove it”. With the drive to have all of CCPL’s libraries built to a “modern” standard, why not keep the Telling Mansion as the “exception”?

Hank Drake
South Euclid

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