CH council invites costly Taylor Road delays
After a decade of city mismanagement, the rehabilitation of Taylor Road is in jeopardy of being stalled indefinitely by expensive litigation.
The project had called for narrowing of the seven-lane South Taylor Road and allocating some of that new space for wider tree lawns and pedestrian access on the residential west side of the road. But the city secretly altered the plan to add all the land to the already oversized setbacks on the commercial east side of the road. The city intentionally rejected the public input it had received but never notified its citizens of this ill-conceived decision.
Concerned residents discovered and publicized the deception in March of this year. The city responded by promising to hold a public hearing, but no hearing has yet been scheduled. Meanwhile, council hurriedly authorized the final contract in a resolution that never appeared on its agenda. When asked, the city manager could not explain how this blatant irregularity could have happened.
Instead of addressing the issue, city officials have simply “circled the wagons.” By running roughshod over important legal procedures—not to mention the public concerns that have been voiced—council is exposing the project to costly lawsuits. The solution is for the council to return to the sensible, community-friendly concept that the city and the public had endorsed originally, before the furtive modifications were made.
Now is the time for council members who espouse pedestrian safety, sustainability and astute neighborhood designs to stand up and be counted. The same may be said for those who support municipal competence and transparency and are opposed to avoidable litigation. Council still has a few days to correct the mistakes the city has made, but only if it addresses the situation promptly and proactively.
Interested persons should attend the council meeting at 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 18, at City Hall, or contact their preferred councilmember at once.
Douglas Whipple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a sixteen-year resident of Cleveland Heights and is solely responsible for the opinions expressed here.