An open letter to Mitchell Schneider of Oakwood Commons

To the Editor:

As I recently drove down Warrensville Center Road, I saw dozens of felled trees. Since it now seems inevitable that the Oakwood development will go forward, I have a few requests for Mr. Schneider that I think would minimize the negative impact of the loss of green space.

  • First, please preserve some real, usable green space for the community (in contrast to Legacy Village).
  • For every tree you cut down, plant two others elsewhere on the property.
  • Have green roofs and solar panels on all the buildings. Use geothermal heating and cooling systems.
  • Build a natural playground, like the one at the Eliot-Pearson Children's School at Tufts University.
  • Have your tenants use only green cleaners in the buildings—for the good of your employees, patrons and the environment.
  • Use only nontoxic building materials, glues, carpet, etc., and require incoming businesses to do the same.
  • Practice only natural, organic landscaping practices and turf care, foregoing the use of toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, to protect the health of the people and animals who visit, and the watershed.
  • Install gray water systems in all the buildings.
  • Use pervious pavement wherever possible.
  • Install lovely and educational receptacles for recyclables, compostable materials and trash (the Cleveland Botanical Garden is doing this in their café as are many businesses/rest areas in Ontario and Quebec. Encourage anti-litter practices throughout the development.
  • Have your food vendors maximize the use of reusable dishes and also work together to order compostable containers and tableware for takeout food.
  • Encourage the food vendors to create biodiesel from food waste. Look to Baldwin-Wallace College and Great Lakes Brewing Company as examples.
  • Have lots of bike racks and bike paths.
  • Save space for a community garden.
  • Fund and house a small nature center (like the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes) in the country club buildings and/or fund an after-school program (Open Doors Academy in Cleveland Heights is a model program).
  • See the movie “Dolphin Tale” and read the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
  • Think about how you will minimize the negative impact on local businesses and how you will help those who lose business and/or have to close their shops as a result.

I feel so fortunate to live within walking distance of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, and know how such a space improves the property values and quality of life of its neighbors. I had hoped for the same for the Oakwood neighbors, but the above represents my next best hope.

Joan Spoerl

Joan Spoerl
Cleveland Heights

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 3:07 PM, 01.19.2012