Neighbors in Action acknowledge last week's announcement made by the City of Cleveland for the selection of Brickhaus Partners' proposal to replace designated landmark Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist. The plan proposes eleven townhomes and a small public park to be constructed along Lake Avenue and W. 117th Street.
The concept proposed by developer Andrew Brickman and architect Scott Dimit is truly ambitious, and the visuals are impressive.
However, the plan to demolish a historic public landmark and redevelop the stone facade and a majority of the land for private use is not a proposal we feel is the best selection for the much needed revitalization of the Edgewater/Cudell neighborhood as a whole.
The proposal instead adds high-priced housing stock benefiting a smaller segment of the community. Furthermore, the plan to build townhomes with a miniscule set back from the sidewalk will interrupt the existing continuity of residential homes along Lake Avenue.
Over the last two decades other neighborhoods, such as Tremont, Ohio City and Detroit Shoreway, have been successful in adaptively reusing many of their historic buildings to attract both visitors and new residents resulting in economic and social benefits for these neighborhoods. Meanwhile much energy and time have been expended by many debating the fate of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, one of Edgewater/Cudell’s last remaining iconic structures, in fact, the last remaining domed structure on the west side of Cleveland inspired by the Pantheon of Rome.
Neighbors in Action do not condone the demolition of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist; nevertheless, to avoid further delay of development for what has sadly and unnecessarily become a blighted block, the decision has been made for the Brickhaus Partners' proposal to proceed unopposed by our group. We recognize some supporters of Neighbors in Action will disagree, but we hope a sense of neighborhood unity will flourish nevertheless.
A list of requests for consideration to be included in the final resolution will be submitted by Neighbors in Action to the Landmarks Commission at the May 22, 2014 (9 a.m.) public hearing.
These requests were formulated with the best interest of the neighborhood as a whole in mind and include the installation of a historical marker on the Fifth Church site as well as a written commitment from Mr. Brickman to the City of Cleveland and to the residents of the Edgewater/Cudell neighborhood to execute all necessary measures to assure both the successful salvage of the Fifth Church portico and subsequent public access on the southeast corner of W. 117th Street and Lake Avenue. View complete list of requests, or online view.
As perhaps the last chapter in the saga of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist comes to a close, we pay homage to the ancestors of our neighborhood, who along with architect Frank W. Bail constructed (check out that steam shovel!) Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist with hopes of the steel and stone structure standing the test of time.
We also salute the both residing in and outside the Edgewater/Cudell neighborhood, who tenaciously fought over the years to keep a significant thread of the neighborhood's historical DNA intact and a hopeful redevelopment of Fifth Church as a public destination that would benefit all Edgewater/Cudell residents and the neighborhood in its entirety.
And, despite a great deal of support for the rock climbing and wellness center proposal, today we step aside and humbly give way to those embarking on a different approach for the neighborhood.
In the spirit of graciousness, we welcome Mr. Brickman and Mr. Dimit and their development team to the Edgewater/Cudell neighborhood.
We truly hope they will put forth and demonstrate their sincerest efforts to be superior developers of the W. 117th Street and Lake Avenue block and bring to fruition under the vigilance and accountability of Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone, members of the the Cudell Board of Directors, and the City of Cleveland the high quality development Mr. Brickman has proposed to a community that will be closely watching.
Neighbors in Action, Spokesperson