Friday, June 29, 2007

Breuer - Response from Mayor Jackson

Here is a press release sent from Mayor Jackson's office regarding the Planning Commission's vote to allow the County Commissioner's plan to demo the Breuer Tower:

From: Office of the Mayor

Andrea V. Taylor, Press Secretary
(216) 664-4171 or (216) 857-7998
Michelle Watts, Assist. to Chief of Communications

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2007

Mayor Jackson’s Statement on the Ameritrust Tower Decision

“The Planning Commission made the right decision. The Euclid Avenue and 9th Street area of the corridor is an important part of the future of downtown. With approximately 1500 additional people in that area, along with the 25,000 people we are working to attract to the Downtown neighborhood, this decision becomes key to the revitalization of the City of Cleveland and the region,” said Mayor Frank Jackson.


Breuer - the end?

This is the first news post I could find about this today. From WKYC:

CLEVELAND -- By a 5-2 vote, the city planning commission has given the green light to a plan to demolish the Ameritrust tower at the corner of East 9th and Prospect.
The county wants to build a new headquarters complex on the site.

Architects, preservationists and tax watchdogs had all argued against demolition.

Some argued the building was an important piece of architectural history. It was designed by famed architect Marcel Breuer.

But in the end, the county managed to convince the planning commission that the present building could not be adequately renovated to meet needs.

Demolition is expected to take place in the spring with a new building opening by 2011.

The building will house 1,700 county workers.

It's hoped that the building will help revitalize Euclid Avenue.

Rail Development Study Says Ohio Hub Could Bring $9 Billion in Benefits

While we await news regarding the Breuer Tower from the special CPC Meeting this morning, here is some encouraging news from Ohio Rail Commission:

THE HANNAH REPORT - Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rail Development Study Says Ohio Hub Could Bring $9 Billion in Benefits

A recently completed study by the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) on a plan to establish a high-speed passenger rail system in Ohio shows it could create 16,700 new jobs and bring $9 billion in benefits over the project's 30- year life.

Just months after a Midwest rail development group released a report showing the economic impact of passenger rail, the ORDC study also shows promising numbers for the Ohio Hub system.

According to the ORDC, the project will create 7,100 construction jobs and generate a $1.84 billion increase in householdincomes related to construction, manufacturing, health care, retail
trade, and professional, financial, and insurance services.

The study is based on an 860-mile "Cleveland Hub" with four lines radiating from Cuyahoga County to Cincinnati, Detroit,Pittsburgh, and Toronto. The full system calls for 1,270 miles of
passenger rail and 46 stations in Ohio.

The forecast predicts the following:

· Annual riders to and from a station in Cincinnati in 2025 would exceed
900,000. The downtown development potential from the station would
range from $330 million to $470 million, and up to 1,390 new local jobs would
be created.

· Annual riders to and from a station in Columbus would range around
1.11 million, with up to $340 million in downtown development potential
and up to 1,925 local jobs created.

· Annual riders to and from a station in Cleveland would be around 1.10
million, with up to $520 million in downtown development potential
and up to 1,910 local jobs created.

· Annual riders to and from a stations in Toledo and Dayton would be
around 640,000, with the potential for over a 1,000 local jobs created.

The study also shows the Ohio Hub would have an annual economic impact on state tourism by generating 320,000 new overnight trips; creating the potential benefit of short-haul freight rail operations in the range of $3-6 billion; and spurring an average energy savings of approximately 9.4 million gallons of fuel.

Already in the planning stages, the ORDC is planning to proceed with an environmental impact study, which could also help determine where upgrades and improvements need to be made on the current rail system that the Ohio Hub plan will utilize.

Stu Nicholson, spokesman for ORDC, said officials are seeking $5 million from Congress to pay for the environmental impact study.

He said ORDC hopes to fund the $4.9 billion project without having to go to taxpayers for money, or at
least by minimizing the amount taxpayers would provide. Nicholson estimated that if the full funding is available, the project could be built within 10 years, with the first service
beginning in three to four years.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Breuer: CPC Special Meeting

Friday, June 29, 2007
9:00 AM
Cleveland City Council Committee Room
City Hall Room 217

At this special meeting of the City Planning Commission, action will be taken on the disposition of existing buildings on a portion of the site on the east side of East 9th Street between Barn Court and Euclid Avenue for a new Cuyahoga County Administrative Complex. Agenda items may include:

  • Cleveland Trust Rotunda: 900 Euclid Avenue
  • Ameritrust Tower: 2017 East 9th Street
  • 1010 Building: 1010 Euclid Avenue

Monday, June 25, 2007

Legislative Action: 10th District and State - 062507

American Planning Assn

June 25, 2007

In this MegaVote for Ohio's 10th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes -
* Senate: CLEAN Energy Act of 2007
* House: State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations, FY 2008

Upcoming Congressional Bills -
* Senate: Employee Free Choice Act
* Senate: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
* House: 2008 Interior and Environment Appropriations
* House: 2008 Financial Services Appropriations

Recent Senate Votes

CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 - Vote Passed (65-27, 7 Not Voting)

The Senate passed the first energy bill under the new Democratic majority.

Sen. George Voinovich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations, FY 2008 - Vote Passed (241-178, 13 Not Voting)

The House passed this $34.2 billion bill that would fund State Department operations and foreign aid for the 2008 fiscal year.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes

Employee Free Choice Act - H.R.800

The Senate is scheduled to vote on this bill that would allow workers to form unions by signing petitions rather than by secret ballot early in the week.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act - S.1639

The Senate is scheduled to take up this bill later in the week.

2008 Interior and Environment Appropriations - H.R.2643

This $27.6 billion bill would fund the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Forest Service and the Indian Health Service for the upcoming fiscal year.

2008 Financial Services Appropriations - H.R.2829

This $21.4 billion bill would fund the Department of Treasury, the Executive office, the Judiciary and independent agencies for the upcoming fiscal year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Legislative Action: 10th District and State - 061807

American Planning Assn

June 18, 2007

In this MegaVote for Ohio's 10th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes -
* Senate: Cloture Motion; Gonzales Resolution
* House: Homeland Security Appropriations, FY2008

Upcoming Congressional Bills -
* Senate: CLEAN Energy Act of 2007
* Senate: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
* House: 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations

Recent Senate Votes

Cloture Motion; Gonzales Resolution - Vote Rejected (53-38, 1 Present, 7 Not Voting)

The Senate failed to invoke cloture and move to a final vote on a resolution that said the chamber had lost confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Sen. George Voinovich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes

Homeland Security Appropriations, FY2008 - Vote Passed (268-150, 14 Not Voting)

The House passed this $37.4 billion bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for the 2008 fiscal year.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes

CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 - H.R.6

The Senate is scheduled to continue work on this comprehensive energy bill.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act - S.1348

The Senate is set to return to this immigration bill later in the week.

2008 Energy and Water Appropriations - H.R.2641

This $31.6 billion bill would fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation for the upcoming fiscal year.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ms. Ferris, the Tax Payers (and Breuer) Thank You

Once again, excellent observations from Gloria. She makes an excellent observation many people have not pointed out. Where is Paul Alsenas from the County Planning Commission? What is there opinion? What is the opinion of the members of the Commission?

One could say since Dimora is the chair, he speaks for the County Comission - but I doubt it.
It would be nice to hear opinions from each of these members as well as Director Alsenas.
  • Chagrin/Southeast Region: Mayor Thomas J. Longo, Garfield Heights, Vice-Chair
  • Cleveland Region: Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland, by Robert N. Brown
  • Cuyahoga Region: Mayor Michael S. Procuk, Brooklyn Heights
  • Heights Region: Mayor Edward J. Kelley, Cleveland Heights
  • Hillcrest Region: Mayor Merle S. Gorden, Beachwood
  • Southcentral Region: Mayor Kenneth E. Patton, Brooklyn
  • Southwest Region: Mayor Robert G. Blomquist, Olmsted Falls
  • Westshore Region: Mayor Eileen A. Patton, Fairview Park

Thank Yew very Much!!

I have another post to write about the arrogance of supposed power and who do “they” think they are. But first, I wanted to put out some “thank yous” to some VERY important people who are demanding that the decision about the Breuer Tower takes a reasoned appproach to a very thorny issue. A decision of such magnitude should never be made behind the scenes if we are truly going to be a democratic society. Vague assertions by elected county officials attesting to the fact that architects and engineers are on board with our decision are not enough. We the public need to know who these individuals are. Let them come forth and speak. Have they? No! We have heard of “concepts” and refutations that say others’ figures are incorrect and too high or too low, but we have never seen the actual costs of what the county’s proposal will be. The county architect has never weighed in on this issue. The Cuyahoga County Commission was never consulted. Who made these decisions that Commissioners Dimora and Hagan are pushing so vehemently? Where are these people who stand behind the decision of these two?

See how easily it is to be taken off point. This post was about thank yous. And, here they are. The first thank you goes to my fellow bloggers who linked to my post that said we needed to be there to witness the meeting. Obviously, the word spread wider than my small blog. The second thank you goes to the number of regular citizens who took time to attend the City Planning Commission Meeting to hear for themselves Chairman Coyne’s impassioned speech comparing Cleveland to Chicago and how we in Cleveland “don’t get it, we just don’t get it! But he did, as well as three of his colleagues when they voted to deny Joe Cimperman’s long, convoluted motion with more caveats than Carter’s has little liver pills.

in all my years, I have never heard such a motion put before a board. What a sham! The motion essentially agreed to demolition IF the County showed a master plan, IF the County showed that public access from Euclid and Ninth would be a priority, IF it was shown that the rotunda would be an integral part of the plan, and I think there were two or three other IFS that I don’t even remember. And then, Larry Lumpkin seconded this sorry excuse for a motion and proceeded to again parrot Cimperman’s ‘these are our partners and we must have faith’ speech’. But then, Lillian Kuri questioned the use of partners when talking about the county. She cited that her June 8th packet from the county was missing pieces, she also waved a sheet of blue paper containing the summary that she said she still had not received by 6 p.m. Thursday the 14th. She didn’t buy the partner speech and she demanded to see real numbers and real statistics so that she and the other members of the City Planning Commission could make a reasoned decision. David Bowen again reiterated his contention that there was not enough information to make a decision. Jean Pinkney just shook her head in disbelief at what she was hearing and witnessing during this meeting. She too voted against the motion on the floor. If Norm Krumholz had been in attendance, he would have been proud of his colleagues.

So a big thank you goes out to the second oldest planning commission in the nation–our own Cleveland Planning Commission. They stepped up to the plate, refused to be bullied into making an uninformed decision, and did what they were appointed to do. They truly were the check and balance to a shoddy piece of work presented by the County. And as Chairman Coyne said, his commission is charged with making Cleveland and the County a ”Better Place” and, he just isn’t convinced.

And my last but very important thank you goes to those of you who have had the courage to phone me and email me with insight and added information that was freely given in a spirit of civic pride and concern.

Thanks to all of you.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Breuer 1 : County Commisioners 0

I have to admit, I was losing hope. But according to Rockitecture:

Breuer Update...

I just caught word through the grapevine that the City of Cleveland Planning Commission has in fact decided to force Cuyahoga County to follow due process and provide significantly more information about their plans for the Marcel Breuer Ameritrust Tower.

Cuyahoga Arts + Culture Announces First Grant Program

Cuyahoga Arts + Culture (CAC) today released guidelines and application forms for its General Operating Support (GOS) Grant program and announced locations for a series of grant workshops for organizations to learn about eligibility and the application process.

General Operating Support grants are the first grants to be offered by CAC. Designed to invest public funds in local arts or cultural organizations, GOS grants are awarded for a period of three years, with requisite annual review and evaluation by CAC staff.

“These grants are specifically for arts or cultural organizations located in Cuyahoga County that have a history of quality artistic or cultural programming, professional management, financial stability and long range planning,” said Catherine Boyle, Executive Director of CAC. “The guidelines explain the purpose of the grants, the eligibility requirements and the application process.”

Basic eligibility required by Ohio law and CAC By-laws are that an applicant organization must be not-for-profit, must be located in Cuyahoga County, must have been in existence for at least three years and must have a primary mission to create, produce, present or provide arts or cultural programming to the public.

Those organizations that do not meet GOS eligibility requirements may be eligible to apply for other CAC grants that will be announced later this year. Those organizations that receive GOS support will not be eligible to apply for other CAC grants.

“Using public dollars received from the passage of Issue 18 last November, we are proud CAC is the first regional arts and cultural district in Ohio that has successfully passed, through voter approval, a dedicated revenue stream for arts and culture. Our world-class arts and cultural organizations are a real plus to our region because they help our children grow and succeed, provide thousands of good paying jobs and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to our region,” said Steven Minter, President of the Board of Trustees of CAC.

Eligible organizations interested in applying are strongly encouraged to attend at least one workshop. Additional information, including the General Operating Support Grant guidelines and application forms is available at .

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners established Cuyahoga Arts + Culture (CAC), a Regional Arts and Culture District and a political subdivision with the State of Ohio, in June 2005.

In November, 2006, voters in Cuyahoga County approved a tax on cigarettes to fund arts and culture in Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts + Culture. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners appointed a board of three trustees to govern Cuyahoga Arts + Culture, effective April 1, 2007.

By law, all power and authority of CAC is vested in its Board of Trustees. Currently serving as the Board of Trustees are: Steven Minter, President; Santina Protopapa, Vice President; and, David Bergholz, Secretary.

A primary purpose of Cuyahoga Arts + Culture, established by the Board of Trustees by adoption of CAC By laws in April 2007, is to make matching grants to support the operating expenses of Cuyahoga County’s arts or cultural organizations whose primary missions are to create, produce, present or provide services to the public.

To continue to receive communications from CAC, please register on the CAC website

Breuer: Decision Day

Today is supposedly the day the Cleveland Planning Commission decides on whether or not to allow a demo permit to the county to pad the pockets of taxpayers money. Meanwhile, not a single word about it in today's PD.

I'll let Gloria rant - she is much more eloquent then I:

The World Is Watching…

June 14th, 2007

and so are we. The City Planning Commission decision concerning the Breuer Tower is being watched worldwide by architects, preservationists, historians, and artists. But will the most important segment of society “US” be watching and sitting in those chairs tomorrow when the City Planning Commission decides whether the Breuer Tower lives or dies? As sad as it may be to see that building die through demolition, sadder still will it be if the Cleveland Planning Commission allows itself to slip into obscurity. Something that will be inevitable if they allow a demolition permit to slide through without the seven step process that Hunter Morrison so eloquently and succinctly outlined June 8.

When a “partner” doesn’t feel you are worthy of consideration or consultation or for that matter does not think that the guidelines you have put in place are even worth addressing, is that “partner” truly a “partner”? When that same “partner” doesn’t think it important to consult with their own planning commission, where do you stand in the order of what they find important? How insulting to have someone come before you with “concepts” and the latest “buzz words” and expect you to hand what they want to them on a silver platter with no questions!

The waste of taxpayers’ money and of our asset “The Euclid Heritage Corridor” is unexplainable to me. What are the goals in this endeavor? Is it to bail out a rich developer-the purchase of the building from The Jacobs conglomerate? Is it to award contracts to friends and contributors? Is it to have a building named after one’s self? Is it to be used as a stepping stone to higher office? Is it to cover the street with slick oil so that the next demolition permit will be oh so much easier to obtain because the credibility and the integrity of the city planning commission will already be compromised from this decision?

I don’t know if the reasons behind this request for demolition are this sleazy and self-serving, but when you listen to Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones’ reasoned and thoughtful pondering of his decision, it makes you wonder. I do know that this is a tipping point for our community, and therefore, it is incumbent on as many of as possible to be in Room 514 in City Hall tomorrow at 9 a.m. to watch the execution order come down.

I have had phone calls and conversations with people–many who have said that the decision to demolish this building was made long before the first planning commission meeting. Don’t let them do this without witnesses. Be there with me the modern day Madame LaFarge watching and listening and recording. Another call I had said that there is much consternation and nervousness on the amount of publicity and questions that have arisen over this decision. This person said that there is hope if we can just make them see that this decision is critical to the future of our community. At the very least, a decision of this magnitude that involves the city and the county needs to have full disclosure, full investigation, and reasoned deliberation before a vote is taken. Make sure that happens. Be there!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daily Breuer Fix: Gloria Ferris

There was one more visitor to the CPC/Breuer Tower meeting I neglected to pass on to everyone.
Gloria Ferris has given an excellent account of the proceedings.


Word on the Street vs. Fact

June 1, I attended the City Planning Commission Committee Hearing where Architect Doug Hoffman of Weber Murphy Fox used the above title for his powerpoint presentation. It was informative and gave a good case for renovation and restoration of the Breuer Tower. A study paid for by the architectural firm itself was used as the fact to refute the “word on the street”. It built a good case for adaptive reuse of the only skyscraper Marcel Breuer designed. Mr. Hoffman showed why his team chose adaptive reuse of the existing building tying it to our heritage with the rotunda and bringing it into the 21st century by wrapping the Breuer Tower partially with glass. Detailed architecural plans were submitted showing how the historic Cleveland Trust Rotunda would be used in the overall scheme of things. It showed how public spaces would draw pedestrians and others into the building. It showed a space for a public garden. It showed floor plans of how the infrastructure would change so that the floor space would be more efficient. It showed how cables and other things needed for newer technologies would be hidden from view and that it would not hinder the aesthetics or the effficiency of the building.

And then, and then, he talked about the EMPLOYEES of the county and how their comfort level would be enhanced by temperature controls in the cubicles so that they controlled their own COMFORT level. He talked about how DAYLIGHT reached almost to the core of the building. He talked about privacy for employees but also work spaces where they could come together to collaborate. And I thought to myself now this is innovation-considering the employees-so that productivity and efficiency would be enhanced. I thought to myself why didn’t they choose this plan, but I left with an open mind and a heart filled with hope that next week on June 8th when Robert Madison International Inc. and his team presented their plan for the site, I would see an even better plan since this was the team chosen to tear down the Beuer Tower and build new.

Instead, I saw nothing that I could use to compare the two. There were no numbers to stand side by side in comparison. Instead this team refuted the numbers of the week before by saying the savings were too high and the costs were too low, but I didn’t see much of this team’s stand alone costs so that the public and the planning commission could be informed ensuring that a reasoned decision could be made. In fact, I said as much during my testimony. I said I had come seeking answers to specific monetary questions, but I was left with aesthetics and “pie-in-the-sky” promises that the rotunda was the core and central to the complex but when asked how it would be incorporated Mr. Madison replied that that had not been decided yet. I came to see architectural plans of what the new complex would look like; I saw conceptual plans. Disclaimers abounded that these were concepts and were not meant to be considered as the actual plans. Huh? This firm and its partners just won a multi-million contract with the county and these were CONCEPTS.

And the employee portion, I heard a lot about transformational workplaces, the need to guard against asbestos exposure, and a spokesman from a company indicted for kickbacks on a Lorain project, but more importantly, a company that has never demolished a building taller than thirteen stories. The one time that we need a national expert not available here in Cleveland, we award the contract to an intown boy and his crew. And this use of transformational in regards to tearing down and building new really rubbed me the wrong way. Tearing down and building new is simply replacement. Transformational means taking what is and changing it into something brighter and better.

All of this vague talk concerning a multi-million dollar expenditure of taxypayer’s money was disturbing, but the most disturbing thing to me was the way a meeting that began very organized and methodical turned into such a muddled mess at the end with people left scratching their heads and wondering what had just happened. Well, folks, here is my theory and understand it is just that. In fact, it is nothing more than word on the street, but I think it is worth pondering because of what happened at that meeting. This is my prediction and I am sticking to it. Joe Cimperman has his eyes set on a much bigger piece of the pie than being councilman of Ward 13. And soon, I will tell you what position he is vying for and why.

Norm Krumholz moved that the City Planning Commission vote to deny the demolition permit. Voting for this denial would have put a six month review process in place which would have answered many of the thoughtful and valid questions that the commision had. The motion was defeated by a four to three vote. David Bowen said that he could not vote for denying the permit at this point in time because he needed a lot more information such as detailed plans, why the figures this week differed so greatly from last week, why the ceiling height this week was a foot and a half lower than what was told to the commission last week if renovation was used. He shared Lillian Kuri’s concerns about public spaces and public access and the use of the rotunda. And this one was huge, but no one from the county had an answer. How many downtown spaces would be empty when the county moves to the new location? What exactly are the economic advantages of this ”complex”? How did federal and state historic credits fit into this plan? No one knew.

And then, and then, Joe opens his mouth and says how long are we going to hold up this project, these are our partners, are you saying we mistrust them, we have parking lots all over town because people came before this commission with no better plans than we have seen today. Huh?What’s up with that? And then, as far as I am concerned the whole meeting went up for grabs. Someone asked when was the county planning commission consulted on the project probably thinking if there were results from those meetings they would be very helpful and there would be less time needed. But then, Lee Trotter looked at those sitting beside him, and he had to tell the commission that the COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION had NOT been involved in the decision making. So, there we were, a county project in the making for the last ten years has no architecural plan, did not consult its own planning commission, and said that they would need longer than one week to answer these questions. But the planning commission decides to go ahead with a one week time frame anyway.

Here is my theory. Joe Cimperman is going to run for county commissioner. Why else would he turn his back on the reasoned testimony of former City Planner Hunter Morrison who presented a seven point plan used in the past when planning a major project like this one-Key Tower probably being the most prominent one. Why would he turn his back on his own colleagues and push for unsupported claims of “better” ? Why would he sacrifice the reputation of the second oldest planning commission in the nation if he were not only thinking of his own ambitions? Why would he turn his back on the city that he vowed to serve if he was not ready to move on? And let’s face it, he needs the County Democratic Chairman in his corner if he intends to replace Tim Hagan on the commission? And, he needs to set the stage for the Medical Mart and the Convention Center votes which will also come before this august commission. If this demolition permit is approved with as little oversight as it appears there is now, the case will be made for any other county project coming before the CITY Planning Commission to be rubber stamped just as Joe feels this one should be.

This Commission needs to stand firm and insist that they receive the information needed to make an informed decision. We need an appointed board to stand up and represent the taxpayers of this city and this county. We need them to make sure that the numbers make sense, and that we know what we will have at the end of the day when the County Complex is reality not “concept”. Listen to the urban planners in your midst-Norm Kruholz and Hunter Morrison and INSIST on the information needed to make a decision worthy of a Planning Commission that understands the word plan. Do not be swayed by the politicians in your midst-Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Martin Sweeney. If these men were true leaders, they would trust their judgment in appointing you and allow you to do your job. And certainly, do not be swayed by the member in your midst guided by personal ambition. Please, please do something truly transformational and make a reasoned decision, not an expedient political one.

Variety Theater: Pictures Needed

Passing this information along. Do you know anyone who might have pictures from before 1950?

I am writing on behalf of the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre. We are in the process of restoring the theatre and are in need of obtaining photographic documentation on the theatre between 1927 and 1950. We are offering $20 to anyone who submits a photo. One of our board members suggested contacting CSU to see if any of the professors had students who would be interested in possibly making some money for doing research. The address of the theatre is 11815 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44111. It is a City of Cleveland Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Please feel free to pass this info on to anyone you think may be interested.
I'm including the attached flyer with more information.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Gretchen Moore
Commercial Program Director
Westown Community Development Corporation

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Breuer: One more for today

This comes from Susan Millers blog on RealNEO

Breuer Building on World Monuments Watch List

Submitted by Susan Miller on June 6, 2007 - 4:53pm.

The Central Library in Grosse Point Michigan designed by Marcel Breuer made it onto the World's Most Endangered Monuments list for 2008. Here's an except: "Main Street Modern: Buildings of the recent past that lack a consensus on preservation but are considered worth saving by the monuments fund include Paul Rudolph's Riverview High School, built in 1957 in Sarasota, Fla., and Marcel Breuer's Grosse Pointe Public Library, built in 1953 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich." from the AP today titled, "Warming threatens cultural gems". Yeah, here in Cleveland it is not warming that threatens our Main Street Moderns; it's lack of foresight.

I thought the library had been saved... maybe not... It's caused quite a stir though in the preservation community. Read about it here in the National Trust publication. MAPA is hosting a design charette to SAVE the library.

From an article in the Seattle Post:

"In 2007 the community's library board plans to demolish the Grosse Pointe Central Library and replace it with a newer, bigger structure"

No renovation, no preservation, no restoration just demolition.

If the site doesn't work for the library they should sell it or donate it to a historical society. I can't imagine there isn't another property available in Detroit where they can build their dream home.

The sanity award of the day goes to local architect and member of the historical commission William Hartman who told the library trustees- "that destroying Breuer's library would be a form of cultural illiteracy -- a plundering of the contribution that modernism has made to Michigan"."

Who might get the sanity award in Cleveland if we don't let the county demolish our Breuer Tower? Therein lies the legacy... there is no legacy in destroying a cultural icon. (And, I must add, just after passing a sin tax to fund the arts and culture. Who made Tim and Jimmy the arbiters of taste? Watch out arts community!) More than likely it won't be awarded to our local preservation society. It must go to David Ellison who said tearing down the tower to build a green building is hypocrisy. Right on David! Anyone in elected office listening? The World Monuments Watch has us in the crosshairs. Just salivating waiting for Cleveland to do something right!

Check out the list at World Monuments Fund. Here's an excerpt: "The work of these designers was united by certain core principles, including a departure from traditional forms, the integration of arts and design disciplines, and the use of industrial materials and innovative technologies.

The primary threats faced by Modern architecture are demolition or inappropriate renovations, and the technical challenges of conserving the experimental materials and innovative building systems used in their construction. The greatest threat, however, is perhaps public apathy-a lack of consensus or confidence-that buildings of the recent past can be important enough to be preserved for the future.

It is hoped that this Watch listing will encourage these and other communities (insert Cleveland, Ohio) to consider alternatives to the demolition of these buildings, which are important pieces of American architectural and social history."

What will we see happen to our Breuer? His only high-rise? Sanity or stupidity?


Although I am becoming very disillusioned anything positive will come of all of this mess (except for the replacement of at least one county commissioner), it is good to see there are people who are willing to help for the right reasons.

For Immediate Release
June 12, 2007
Contact: Ms. Daryl Davis, 216-310-0557 (day) or

Yesterday at 4:15 pm $1000 and a letter from an anonymous donor arrived at the D. H.Ellison Co. addressed to Taxpayers Against Waste, one of the organizations concerned with Cuyahoga County's plan for a new administration center.

"It was a complete surprise," said David Ellison. "The letter really focuses the issue. Our problem with this project was never about the Breuer building, but with the outrageous waste of money. Up until now our work has been funded by personal and in-kind donations. This donation makes things a little easier." The letter's contents include a numbered list of questions regarding the money and financing of the proposed county administration center.

Two questions pertain to R. P. Carbone's involvement and current indictment over racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, bribery and unlawful interest in a public contract.

Two more questions involve R. P. Madison International's role and its inability to present a complete application to the Cleveland city planning commission, making a justifiable case for demolition.

The other questions included in the letter relate to the apparent flaws in the overall strategy of economic development conceived in the project.

Daryl Davis added, "This whole issue has been diverted into historic preservation, aesthetics and environmentalism. While these things are important, the money, cronyism and political patronage are what are so disgusting. A good economic development plan would conserve our assets and resources, create the maximum number of jobs, and the most spin-off development, all at the least cost to the public. Hagan and Dimora have created a bad plan with mediocre architecture at the highest cost possible; never mind the facts, put aside the values of democratic process, and just keep repeating lies and half truths until people start believing them."

Legislative Action: 10th District and State - 060907

American Planning Assn

June 9, 2007

In this MegaVote for Ohio's 10th Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes -
* Senate: Cloture Motion; Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
* House: Ethics Committee Investigations
* House: Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act
* House: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

Upcoming Congressional Bills -
* Senate: Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007
* House: 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations
* House: 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations
* House: 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations
* House: 2008 Interior and the Environment Appropriations

Recent Senate Votes

Cloture Motion; Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act - Vote Rejected (45-50, 4 Not Voting)

The weeklong debate over this comprehensive immigration reform bill ended with a failed cloture motion to end debate and proceed to a final vote.

Sen. George Voinovich voted YES......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Sherrod Brown voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes

Ethics Committee Investigations - Vote Passed (387-10, 15 Present, 20 Not Voting)

The House adopted this resolution directing the Ethics committee to begin an investigation within 30 days of a lawmaker's indictment.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act - Vote Passed (406-10, 16 Not Voting)

This $6.4 billion Afghanistan aid bill would cut off funds to local Afghani governments with ties to criminals, drug dealers or terrorists.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act - Vote Passed (247-176, 10 Not Voting)

The House voted to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes

Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 - S.1419

This Senate energy bill is intended to encourage the production of renewable energy, prevent gasoline price gouging and increase corporate average fuel economy standard.

2008 Homeland Security Appropriations - H.R.__

The House is scheduled to spend the week on 2008 fiscal year appropriations bills. This bill would provide $36.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security.

2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations - H.R.__

This bill would provide $64.7 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense construction projects.

2008 Energy and Water Appropriations - H.R.__

This bill would provide $31.6 billion for the Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers.

2008 Interior and the Environment Appropriations - H.R.__

This bill would provide $27.6 billion for the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.