Congratulations Citizen Hauser: Whiskey Island Land Uses Resolved After Nine Years!

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 03/03/2007 - 00:54.

Whiskey Island Land Uses - Resolved After Nine Years!

Prepared by Ed Hauser
Cleveland, Ohio
March 2, 2007
March 1, 2007 is the day Cleveland's waterfront renaissance began.  After nine years, the debate regarding the future land uses of Whiskey Island was finalized.  On March 1, the Honorable Tim Hagan, Cuyahoga County Commissioner, said "that issue is over with."  The county owns Whiskey Island Marina, a 500 recreational boat public access marina, and Wendy Park, a 20-acre parkland with the only natural beach in downtown Cleveland.  Finally, the county can continue its Great Lakes restoration success story without the constant threat of the Port Authority trying to build a gravel dock on the marina, which would have destroyed this wonderful public waterfront.
The debate started nine years ago with the release of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Maritime Master Plan, in March 1998.  The Port Authority's master plan depicted the 10-acre Whiskey Island Marina basin and the adjacent 20-acre parkland as shipping docks.  Since that time the Whiskey Island land uses have changed nine times in various planning initiatives.  The most recent plan for the county's Whiskey Island property was the Port Authority publicly stating that it wants to acquire Whiskey Island Marina to expand its adjacent bulk storage operation at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal.
Commissioner Hagan put the Port Authority's plan to build a gravel dock on Whiskey Island Marina to rest, during the public comment period at their board meeting yesterday.  The following public comments and the commissioner's responses are transcribed from an audio tape of the meeting.
Ed Hauser's closing public comments:  In closing, you have all my documentation, review it and take action on it.  The other thing too is Mayor Jackson, the first mayor in the nine years I've been participating, has finally had the backbone to recognize Whiskey Island and is doing the right thing.  Keeping the marina, the greenspace, addressing the Coast Guard Station and bringing the Towpath Trail.
So far the mayor is on board; hopefully the commissioners will stay on board.  I know Commissioner Dimora is firm on this, and the Metroparks.  The only holdout is the Port Authority, to build a $30 million gravel dock on the marina, which will destroy this public space.
Honorable Commissioner Tim Hagan's response:  Ed, it's not going to happen, everybody is opposed to it.  All three commissioners are opposed to it.  So you can leave here comforted by the fact the marina is not going to be buried in.  The mayor has already signed off on it.  We're all done with that.  The issue is over with.  So, please don't give us a lecture about it again.  We're done with it.
Ed Hauser's response:  Well, this is the first time I've heard that.
Honorable Commissioner Tim Hagan's response:  Well good, go home happy.
Ed Hauser's response:  I am happy, thank you.  You see a big smile on my face!
So there you have it.  After nine years of debate, Whiskey Island Marina and Wendy Park will remain a beautiful urban oasis in the heart of Cleveland- where our American Heritage River greets our Great Lake!  It's time to celebrate Cleveland's waterfront renaissance!

Ed Smiling.JPG50.97 KB

Ed, you did it!

Imagine a community of 1,000s of citizens Hauser... what would Cleveland be like then? Thanks Ed for giving NEO a park forever.

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Ed Hauser - One can make a huge difference

Ed, your efforts, unparalleled activism, and terrific heart are deserving of the City's highest commendation.  Congrats - it is a pleasure having you part of the realneo Core and championing sustainability in grassroots-activist fashion, like none other.



Ed - you rock man.  Someone

Ed - you rock man.  Someone should install a large bronze bust of you at Wendy Park!!

Seriously though, I would be fascinated to learn how many man hours you spent accomplishing your goal.  You see there are non-profits with annual operating budgets of 500k+ that do not have as tangible of outcomes from their projects that I have seen.   I would be curious to note how long it took you to accomplish this task...

My suggestion is to keep on the bandwagon, and use your network, knowledge, and enthusiasm for doing more good in our area.   Whats next man?

Ed, You da man!

Your tenacity proves that citizen activism can win out. Congratulations and thank you for saving a lakefront park for all of us.
There are other battles to be fought, but for now, enjoy this hard won victory. You deserve a medal!

Let's get that Citizen Hauser video linked up here on realneo for all to see. It can serve as an inspiration to other like-minded individuals who might find the courage to go to bat for issues they hold dear. You have certainly inspired me and surely countless others. Let's share the love and spread the wealth of examples of good behavior in the civic space.

"Whiskey Island was settled by Irish immigrants who worked in the flats. Now it is an under-utilized park. This shot was taken on a foggy winter day." -- Lisa Chamberlain

Here's the clip:

If you don't know about the history Ed has saved, read this chapter from The Cuyahoga, by William Donohue Ellis.

"Citizen Hauser" will show at Cleveland Film Festival

Here is a posting about your next chance to see "Citizen Hauser" as the documentary will show at the Cleveland Film Festival March 18, 2007

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My take on Ed’s announcement is a cynical one – not in line with the general comments here on REALNEO:  I believe that Ed took the time to transcribe Mr. Hagan’s impatient “sit down and quiet up” comments, and then email those comments to the community in order to hoist Hagan on his own petard.   Frankly, the transcript makes Mr. Hagan sound rude to one of his tax paying constituents – even as he is telling his civic minded constituent that the constituent should go home happy.   I  didn’t’ attend the meeting so I may have the wrong tone interpretation.  If you attended, please correct me if my negativity is out of line.    


This wasn’t a vote, and it wasn’t a official action of the Commission, was it?   And since the Port Authority has eminent domain authority – or so it thinks with regard to Mr. Wolstien’s attempted east bank land grab - what is stopping the Port Authority from exercising this power – against the County - over Whiskey Island?  Clearly if the County Commissioners and Mayor Jackson are in favor of holding onto Whiskey that is good news and a major stumbling block for the Port Authority – but I would love to hear the Port Authority denounce any intention to take Whiskey, as well as hear Mr. Hagan say that the County is irrevocably committed.

"Please don't lobby me, I've made up my mind"

Jeff, you are certainly right that Hagan shows disrespect for Ed Hauser, and that has been the character of many community leaders toward Ed Hauser and other citizens and public interests and processes. Despite what has been promissed to Ed, you are right that the players in this drama are not always as they appear, and could turn against the public good and use government tools to subvert due process and reclaim Whiskey Island for the Port Authority, which is led by Hagan's former Brother-in-law. Hagan's stated contempt for public input is not just directed at Ed Hauser or Whiskey Island. There are currently two big issues in this region with Cuyahoga County Commissioner Hagan in dead center - the demolition of the globally important Breuer tower, about which Hagan is quoted by Plain Dealer Architecture Critic Steven Litt as saying "Please don't lobby me, I've made up my mind", and the reappointment of Hagan's former Brother-in-law Carney as director of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Authority, despite scandal reported in the Plain Dealer about Carney's abuse of his power. I would be interested to see a documentary called "Citizen Hagan"... anyone working on that? From the Plain Dealer, reporting on the Carney issue:

Hagan chastised people who questioned whether he was in conflict because Carney is his former brother-in-law. Carney gave at least $13,000 through five organizations to Hagan's campaign for commissioner in 2004.

Dimora said he dissented because he believed the port had moved too far from its original mission of supporting and growing the local shipping industry. Instead, Dimora said the port had turned into a "bonding authority."

The county commissioner who has stood up for Ed Hauser and citizen issues and due process is the man who dissented on Carney, County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, who also personally acted on behalf of Cuyahoga Citizens by purchasing Whiskey Island for the public, making the good outcome we now have, and must protect, a reality. Anyone working on the documentary "Citizen Dimora"?

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Citizen Ed on public, trust and Whiskey Island

Hi Karen,
Thanks for your interest!  
I've been doing this for nine years and don't trust that the "the issue is over with."  Commissioner Hagan caught me off guard with his firm statements, "Ed, it's not going to happen, everybody is opposed to it.  All three commissioners are opposed to it.  So you can leave here comforted by the fact the marina is not going to be buried in.  The mayor has already signed off on it.  We're all done with that.  The issue is over with.  So, please don't give us a lecture about it again.  We're done with it."
So, I documented his comments for the record and sent it out to about 700 people on my email list.  I have seen public officials comments desolve into the air too many times before.  I won't truly believe it until it's in writing and the Cleveland Metroparks takes ownership and operation of the property.  The sale of the county's Whiskey Island property is dependent on the decision of two of the three county commissioners.  The Metroparks remains interested to take control of this property for the people- forever!
Commissioners Hagan and Jones reappointed John Carney to the Port Authority board without investigating allegations to his conflicts of interest and excessive spending, which was covered in the media recently.  Carney has publicly stated that the Port Authority wants to use the marina for a bulk storage dock.  Also, Carney was the driving force behind the Port Authority to commission the $900,000 Port Relocation Study that is due to be released in April 2007.  The study will give its recommendations on the Port Authority's need to use of the county's Whiskey Island Marina property.  It's not over until we see the results of the study and get the public officials' responses.
On another note- "Citizen Hauser," which is a documentary about the efforts to save Whiskey Island, will be shown at the Cleveland International Film Fest on Sunday, March 18 @ 2pm at the Tower City Cinemas.  I am looking into having an after party with the film makers at the Sunset Grill at Whiskey Island Marina, immediately after the film fest viewing (3/18, 4-8pm?).  I will send out more info on the documentary viewing and the after party later this week.
Thanks again for your interest,
Ed Hauser
(216) 651-3476

FYI – no ore dock on the marina, commissioners pledge – just public land forever.


        Go, Ed!
        Karen Schaefer
        Senior Reporter
        WKSU, 89-7
        1613 E. Summit St.
        Kent, OH 44242

looking forward more to Burning River Fest now

Ed, this will make the Burning River Fest that much more enjoyable this year. Are the dates firmed up yet? I haven't seen it announced anywhere yet.