Despite Protests, Cleveland Plows Ahead with Senseless Demolition Plan

Cleveland made alot of people sick today, including a full house of people at the Landmark's meeting who love it. Phote courtesy of Plain Dealer.

Despite a horror show of a presentation. Despite the casino construction being stopped. Despite horrible design. Despite half of the Landmark’s Commission not voting (six abstaining?) on the demolition of a architectural landmark for a parking spot, despite it all: the destruction of the historic Columbia Building was approved in Cleveland today.

My city made me sick today. It voted to cut off its nose to pretty it’s face.

After the vote, the packed meeting spilled out into the history of City Hall’s halls so as to provide an exclamation to a historical rerun — one of politics, power, and an old guard holding on to their means of affecting the city’s flesh like a picker obsessed with reopening the scabs.

The advocates—many young, most creative—walked out with that same glazed look over their eyes. Around them, City Councilmen commenced ass-slapping with Dan Gilbert’s development team as a bevy of labor management stood approving, their penny loafers entrenched in the marble floor.

This is how it goes in the industrial Midwest. Same old, same old. This is how it goes despite the issue of brain drain, retention, and the wanting of the creative class coming up each and every time the Census comes around.

And of course as they go about fighting for the right to alleviate themselves of the past, they bemoan their critics for hanging onto it. In fact Nate Forbes–developer, owner, and all-star everything–said over and over at the meeting today that: change is hard, change is hard.

No. Change is easy. A wrecking ball to a building, leaving for “greener pastures”, or in a word: escapism—it ain’t nothing that nobody cannot do.

Integration is hard. It takes practice. And integrating some civic empowerment into a process—not to mention a casino amenity into (as opposed to on top of) the city’s flesh—well, it would’ve been a good place to start.

–Richey Piiparinen

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