Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Constructive Dialogue vs. Angry Ranting

The Sun Messenger has published an article about the continuing controversy surrounding the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library.

There is so much misinformation in this article, with opinions published as fact and uncorrected by the author. A few points need to be clarified:

The Cuyahoga County Public Library is not subject to voter referendum, and the petition circulating is symbolic at best. Why this group keeps pushing a petition which will have no effect goes beyond reasoning.

The presence of the Telling Mansion on the National Register of Historic Places does not mean it cannot be torn down. The NHRP merely regulates how the exterior is maintained and provides tax incentives for renovations that are performed in a historically informed manner. Since the CCPL pays no taxes, the latter provision would be no incentive at all. Indeed, if the CCPL wanted to, they could tear down the Telling Mansion and build their new library on the same site.

The city of South Euclid has no power over the CCPL – they are independent entities. South Euclid’s Planning Commission can approve the building plans and make recommendations for changes - such as landscaping, parking, and operational hours. The Planning Commission cannot reject the plans just because they don’t like where it’s being built. Likewise, the City Council only has the power to approve the conditional use permit - and a library is already one of the approved uses at the proposed site.

I can’t help the thought that some of those involved in this group are using this issue as yet another excuse to tweak city officials and vent their resentments regarding how the Oakwood issue turned out. I know of at least three in this group who were vocally, one could even say stridently, opposed to rezoning at Oakwood – and at least one of these doesn’t even live in South Euclid or Lyndhurst. I’ve also heard that some in this group have suggested (hopefully in jest) that the Library relocate to the Wal-Mart at Severance Center, since that will be moving to Oakwood. It’s obvious from the sign that this group hung outside the library two weeks ago that they are not interested in constructive dialogue. As for the positions of city officials, my email to Mayor Cicero was never answered, and his lack of comment on the subject indicates he simply does not care. Mayor Welo’s email to me indicates that she is lukewarm on the library’s move but knows there is nothing the city can do to stop it – but she is very concerned about the fate of the Telling Mansion.

If you’re interested in saving the Telling Mansion, as opposed to engaging in another divisive turf war, consider joining this group.

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