Library Project has Neighborhood and Environmental Impact
Cuyahoga Land Bank Key to Collaboration with Cleveland City Council, Cleveland Public Library, Ohio EPA, and Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority
Community leaders, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders gathered yesterday in Glenville to celebrate a neighborhood victory and an environmental first for northeast Ohio. At first glance, it may look like a simple construction project at E.118 St. and St. Clair Avenue, but the Glenville Library additional parking lot boasts benefits beyond library convenience for neighborhood families. The project has the additional benefit of being the first commercial project to use cleaned-up Cuyahoga River sediments to fill the hole left by the demolition of the lots’ former building.
Nearly a year and a half ago, the Cuyahoga Land Bank entered into an unusual agreement with the Cleveland Public Library. The Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired and demolished a tax-foreclosed dilapidated apartment building next to the Library that had been a neighborhood eyesore and safety issue for many years. The Library in turn committed to financing much-needed improved parking for the Library.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank concentrates its efforts on strategically acquiring vacant and distressed properties and either demolishing them or returning them to productive use and reducing neighborhood blight. These efforts are often in collaboration with neighborhood institutions such as libraries, recreation centers and other public facilities.
“These types of partnerships are the way we are re-building our communities,” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel for the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. “It’s important not to limit ourselves. Everyone wins when the community leadership comes together to find creative ways to overcome neighborhood issues.”
“We are excited about this project and what is means for our neighborhood residents,” said Kevin Conwell, Ward 9 City Councilman. “The safety of families is a priority and this project not only eliminated a problem property in our ward, but will allow our residents to safely and more easily access the resources of our wonderful Library.”
Making it even more unique, the Glenville Library Project will be the first commercial land bank application of recycled sediment from the CDF in downtown Cleveland. In 2015, after years of research, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority pursued a system of harvesting and cleaning CDF river sediment – a mixture of organic material, silt, sand and gravel – and marketing it for beneficial uses such as composting, road construction and filling in basements of demolished houses. Its efforts have established Cleveland as a national model for innovative methods for managing these materials. Sediments which arrive at the mouth of the river become environmentally unclean and require dredging. Cleaning and recycling sediments lessens the volume of sediments stored in the CDF.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank, working with the Ohio EPA, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority and Kurtz Bros., Inc., saw the Glenville Library project as an opportunity to test out sediment reuse in a commercial setting. Kurtz Bros., Inc. is the private vendor that performs the recycling procedure.
“We are excited about the impact the further use of recycled sediment can have on Cuyahoga Land Bank efforts in housing demolition – helping remove blight while positively effecting the environment,” said Frangos.
“The Glenville Library Project is the kind of creative solution that Ohio is looking for as we end the century-old practice of simply disposing of sediment into our Great Lake. Finding beneficial uses for this material means we are reusing valuable resources and protecting our precious water resources,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.
“The Port of Cleveland is proud to be a partner in this project. We hope this is just the first of many opportunities that the Port, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Kurtz Bros. can put sustainable and useful sediment to work for the betterment of our community,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO, of the Port of Cleveland.