Time for an Update on Telling Mansion

posted May 19, 2015, 12:11 PM by Fran Mentch

Time for an update on Telling Mansion.

Despite strong community protest, Telling Mansion, the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) was sold in December 2013. The CCPL Board and Director were asked to poll citizens and let them decide whether or not to sell Telling. The Board and Director refused to include the citizens in the decision about whether or not to sell Telling.

There was never any justification for the sale of Telling Mansion.

According to CCPL’s own consultants, it would have cost $5 million to upgrade Telling Mansion; that included installing an elevator and other ADA features, which seemed to be an important issue to patrons.

Instead of spending $5 million, CCPL is spending $12.6 million to build a BIGGER library- in an era of fewer print books. Does a community and county with shrinking population and declining income need a bigger library that costs two and a half times what it would cost to renovate the current library?

Mark my words, there is nothing that will be done in the new library that could not have been done in Telling Mansion’s buildings.

Please go visit one of the new CCPL buildings you can’t miss them, they are the generic looking buildings with the huge letters “LIBRARY” placed on top of them.  Then ask yourself, “Is it worth $7.6 million to put all the DVDs and books on one floor?

Some citizens tell themselves that “at least Telling Mansion has been preserved”.

This is not true.

The purchaser, Dick Barone, has been asked repeatedly to sign documents agreeing to preserve Telling Mansion, but he has refused. Because no federal funds were spent on the building, its historic designation as an Ohio Landmark and listing on the National Register of Historic Places provides no protection. Dick Barone can do whatever he wants to Telling Mansion, include tear it down.

There is no public building that you can move about and use with the freedom that you can in a public library. When the library moves out in October, Dick Barone plans to close Telling Mansion.  When it reopens in 2017 as a “museum”, you will have to pay to get in.

The public paid for Telling Mansion for the past 63 years; our public wealth has been transferred to one very wealthy person, Dick Barone.  The terms of the lease that Dick Barone negotiated with CCPL required that he pay no property taxes while he rents Telling Mansion to them.  He will no doubt attempt to use the non-profit status of the “museum” to avoid paying property taxes, unlike the rest of us, and to decrease his personal tax liability.

It seems only fair for Dick Barone to establish a fund to pay for his fair share of the infrastructure costs that his “museum” will incur. His “museum” customers will use public roads to get to his “museum”; the fire and police departments will protect his property. He will contribute nothing to pay for the public schools. Haven't we given him enough? Shouldn't he agree to pay his fair share of public services by making a voluntary payment to the school district and the city every year?

By the way, CCPL claimed it had to sell Telling because it could not afford to pay for its upkeep. Why is it that Dick Barone was not concerned about this? Probably because the argument has no basis in fact.  (Even if this were true, the $12.6 million CCPL is spending on the new library buys a lot of "upkeep".)

Somehow the Cleveland Public Library manages to operate  21st century libraries in 100 year old historic buildings and the Library of Congress manages to operate a 21st century library in an historic building  that is 118 years old.  The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library operates branches in buildings built in the 1920s-1930s. But, CCPL is unable to operate a 21st century library in an historic building that was built in 1930.  Some of you reading this live a home built before Telling was.

A long list of local elected officials were asked to bring CCPL to the table to talk with citizens; all of these elected officials sided with and supported and many helped CCPL ram the sale of Telling Mansion down our throats.  Only Lyndhurst City Council stood up for citizens and I thank them for acting as ethical public officials.

We citizens were deceived and manipulated. We were pushed out of the conversation—but our tax dollars were not. Another misconception out there is that if you do not have a CCPL library in your community, then you do not support CCPL with your taxes, so what CCPL does is none of your business.  It’s important for taxpayers to know that about 25% of CCPL’s tax revenue, all public libraries’ tax revenue, come from the state—so everyone who pays Ohio state taxes helps to support CCPL and all libraries.  (Libraries also get some federal monies.)

 But, it's true that those who own property in South Euclid and Lyndhurst bear a greater share of the debt incurred by CCPL for the new CCPL branch being built across the street from Notre Dame College. Telling Mansion library was walking distance from the public high school and junior high school; the new library is not walking distance for junior and senior high school students, but is across the street from a private college.

Many, many of the comments people made on the 3500 petitions to save Telling were about  children and childhood. People wrote about loving to visit Telling as a child, or the pleasure it brought to their children and grandchildren. Telling was called the "castle library" by many generations; its architecture and design excited a lot of imaginations. What could be better than reading a fairy tale in a real castle?

Why this update? To encourage you to go look at Telling Mansion for one last time.  It is a sight to behold. It was one of the most interesting, unique and beautiful public libraries in the country. By selling Telling Mansion the CCPL Board and Director dispossessed us of wealth, history, culture and pleasure.

Our lives are now a little coarser and cheaper because of this loss.

Don't you owe it to yourself to go and say goodbye?









Update and CHANGE OF DATE for Taylor Rd. Rehab

posted Aug 8, 2011, 4:27 AM by Fran Mentch   [ updated Aug 8, 2011, 4:29 AM ]

Update on Taylor Rd Rehab project. Plans are for Taylor Rd to be narrowed by 2 lanes in the section between Mayfield and Euclid Heights Blvd. But, plans are for the greenspace to be added on the commercial side--NOT on the side where people live. Neighbors want the greenspace and a bike lane to be added to their side, primarily for safety and quality of life issues.
The following Update is sent on behalf of Doug Whipple and other concerned residents:
Despite some setbacks, I am pleased that the City is working diligently to address this imminent train wreck.  The meeting that had been scheduled for next Wed., Aug. 10, is officially postponed, but it will be rescheduled soon.
Contrary to the "opinion" expressed by Councilwoman Bonita Caplan, the meeting is not by invitation only; it will be open to the public.  According to my information, the City might not be warmly receptive to suggestions about major issues such as green space allocation but they are open to public input nevertheless, on such issues as bike lanes for example. 
The City is formulating the plan to eliminate the tons of unnatural accumulation of plowed snow on the westerly sidewalk that they will be prepared to discuss at the meeting.  Essentially, all the lanes of snow will be plowed to the east instead of to the west.  This should be of comfort to the residents on the west side of Taylor, but motorists travelling northbound during plowing activities presumably will encounter a convoy of southbound plows pushing a tsunami of snow and ice in their direction.  :-0
The ODOT representive who has managed the project planning process for lo these many years is retiring.  I understand that his replacement has not yet been announced.  I have expressed my concern, as a Taylor Road resident, that I expect ODOT to have someone on this project who is competent and up to speed.  We cannot afford to have this project proceed with inadequate management and supervision.  With the construction set to begin on Aug. 22, that would seem to be a tall order.
In the June 25 Cleveland Heights, Mayor Kelley was quoted as saying "I want it done right the first time."  Let's hope that he was speaking on behalf of the whole Council, the City, the contractor and ODOT.
Regards, Doug
You can contact Doug Whipple at 216-538-3212 or
PS Doug's group is looking for engineers and other knowledgeable people to help evaluate and comment on the ODOT proposal.

Public hearing for Taylor Road Rehab next Wed at 6pm at the Cleveland Heights Community Center

posted Aug 3, 2011, 11:08 AM by Fran Mentch

Please mark your calendars!


The public hearing about the Taylor Rd rehab will be held next Wednesday, August 10, at 6 p.m. at the Cleveland Heights Community Center (Recreation Center) located at the corner of Mayfield and Monticello Rd.


This discussion includes consideration of narrowing Taylor Rd from 7 lanes to 5 lanes between Mayfield and Euclid Heights Blvd.


The plan currently calls for the greenspace to be added to the commercial side of the street, not the side where the houses are located.


Please attend and help us get the greenspace to move to the other side!


Greenspace added to the residential side of the street will make our community safer and more accessible to walkers, bikers, wheelchairs and strollers. 


More details about the meeting to follow.


See you there!

Ask Council to rehab Taylor Rd the people friendly way!

posted Jul 15, 2011, 5:28 PM by Fran Mentch   [ updated Jul 18, 2011, 3:45 PM ]

Council plans to narrow Taylor Rd between Mayfield and Euclid Heights Blvd, but they plan to add the greenspace to the Severance Town Center side, NOT on the side where the people live.
Please read this post and the accompanying documents by Doug Whipple and then write to City Council and attend the City Council meeting  on Monday, July 18th at 7:30pm.  See you there!
Please contact Doug if you would like more information and/or want to help with this issue.


By Douglas Whipple


            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.1  But the City secretly altered the plan to add all the land to the already oversized setbacks on the commercial side to the east.2  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.3 4 5  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 Resolution6 that never appeared on its Agenda.7  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 left to correct the mistakes that the City has made but only if it addresses the situation promptly and proactively.


Interested persons should attend the Council meeting at 7:30 PM, Mon., July 18, or contact their preferred Council member at once.  Doug Whipple may be reached at  (Douglas Whipple is a sixteen-year resident of Cleveland Heights.  He is solely responsible for any opinions expressed herein.)



1.                  Concept C, approved at a public meeting in 2002.

2.                  City’s non-public modification of Concept C, allocating all the green space to the east side.

3.                  March 2011 Future Heights article, bringing the City’s secret modification to light.

4.                  Photograph of three lanes of snow plowed onto the sidewalks of South Taylor Road.

5.                  Photograph of a South Taylor sidewalk in winter.

6.                  Minutes of June 20, 2011 Council meeting, passing Resolution 78-2011(MS).

7.                  Agenda of June 20 Council meeting, on which Resolution 78-2011(MS) does not appear.



Other articles on Taylor Rd, from the bicycle enthusiast's perspective.
Green City Blue Lake blog weighs in with this article by Mark Lefkowitz


West Creek Preservation Succeeded, So Can We!

posted Jun 27, 2011, 8:50 AM by Fran Mentch   [ updated Jun 29, 2011, 7:56 AM ]

Please join us for our annual meeting this Thursday, June 30th at 6:15-6:45pm.

Followed by OUR PROGRAM at 7p.m.
Program to be held at the Noble Road Presbyterian Church - Fellowship Hall - 2780 Noble Road, Cleveland Heights, located on the corner of Noble and Kirkwood.
You can park on the street or in the church parking lot, on the other side of Noble Rd.
West Creek succeeded in perserving land surrounding the 9-mile tributary of the Cuyahoga in the city of Parma. An open discussion with WCPC Executive Director,David Linchek, about what they did and how we can learn from them to help save and preserve Oakwood Golf Club. 
West Creek has been so successful that they have gone on to establish the Greater Cleveland Urban Land Conservancy program.
Bring all your questions for Dave and join us for a lively and informative discussion.
See you there!

Tax Abatement on Oakwood for First Interstate.

posted Jun 26, 2011, 6:32 AM by Fran Mentch   [ updated Jun 26, 2011, 7:07 AM ]

Older posts

We asked Shakespeare if he thought First Interstate donating their 7 acre stormwater management system was a tax abatement.

He said “Yes!” and went on to explain why:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

Updated version: No matter what you call it…a tax abatement is a tax abatement!

I would check his math, though.  He is much better at writing plays.

Check Shakespeare’s calculations below:

First Interstate says their 40 acre development will be valued at $45,000,000.00.

First Interstate’s stormwater management system takes up 7acres next to the 40 acre development.

These 7 acres will be donated to the city of South Euclid. So,no taxes will be paid on these 7 acres, even though they will be used every day as part of First Interstate’s development.

First Interstate will not pay taxes on its 7acre stormwater management system, so it WILL SAVE $312,637.50 IN TAXES PER YEAR.

Over the course of 10 years, THIS WILL SAVE FIRST INTERSTATE  $3,126,375.50 IN TAXES.

What if First Interstate decided to put its 7 acre stormwater management system somewhere else on its property?

Oops! There’s no place else to put it.

See for yourself by looking at the site plan .


This chart was taken from document at this link at the City of South Euclid website. Document was provided by First Interstate.

Here is a plan for the 21 Acre Park that shows the 7 acres used for stormwater management from the proposed development.

PS. If you haven’t signed our petition yet, you can join 574 others and sign it by clicking here!

Oakwood: South Euclid City Council will vote on the rezoning on Monday June 27th meeting.

posted Jun 21, 2011, 12:18 PM by Fran Mentch

South Euclid Zoning and Planning Committee meeting was held last night and they voted to send the Oakwood rezoning proposal to South Euclid City Council.
South Euclid City Council will probably vote on the Oakwood rezoning at Monday's meeting, June 27th at 8pm in South Euclid City Hall.
The Oakwood proposal states:
"The development will be a model for low-impact, sustainable design, including stream preservation, native plantings, drip irrigation, LEED certified buildings and LED parking lot lighting, etc. as discussed in the Executive Summary."
Instead, based on the discussion that took place last night in the city council committee meeting, South Euclid city officials may settle for:
  • The lowest level LEED certification--all new buildings must meet this specification.Shouldn't the buildings in a model sustainable design exceed the lowest LEED certification?
  • Only 80,000 sq ft of permeable surface. To see what a small proportion this is compared to the entire site, please look at the two propose site designs. Here is site design #1 and site design #2.
  • No right of first hire for South Euclid. 
  • No guaranteed living wage for the new jobs. A living wage is a minimum of $8.88/hr What is more important for sustainability than a living wage?
  • The stormwater management system for the development is 1/3 of the donated greenspace. The developer will pay no taxes on this mandated land use.
  • The 21 acre park will not have restrooms or a water fountain.
  • What is the justification for not paying taxes on land used for legally mandated stormwater management?
  • The design for Cedar Center is a more interesting sustainable design than the one proposed for Oakwood. City council knows what to ask for, why are they asking for less for Oakwood?
To read the complete application for rezoning, click here
Please ask yourself if it is worth ripping up the largest remaining greenspace in the inner ring suburbs for this proposed commercial development.
Please write or call (381-0400) the South Euclid city officials for one last time before they vote on the rezoning of Oakwood:
PS. If you haven't signed our petition yet, you can join 503 others and sign it by clicking here!
We do not oppose development. We want the right kind in the right place. Develop Cedar Center NOT Oakwood

Deer, downloadab​les and the 25 ft buffer from Nine Mile Creek

posted May 18, 2011, 7:27 PM by Fran Mentch   [ updated May 19, 2011, 3:56 AM ]

1. Download one of our signs.  You can cut them in half and post them inside your car window, or on your front door or on the back of your raincoat! Please use them to help spread the word…You can download them by clicking here: Stop Big Box on Oakwood or Not A Done Deal


2. 25 ft buffer zone from Nine Mile Creek.The developer’s agreement only provides for a 25 ft buffer between construction and the banks of Nine Mile Creek.
Binxie the dog is positioned 25 ft from the banks of a section of Nine Mile Creek.







3.  Deer.When we arrived on the scene for the photoshoot, there were 3 deer there, resting in a wooded area about the size of a median strip.



The wooded area is at the edge of a large parking lot.

The old Center Mayfield theater parking lot at the corner of Mayfield and Warrensville-Center Rd.

The deer got up when we approached and ran back into Oakwood.




Next Wednesday is the MUST ATTEND public hearing for the rezoning of Oakwood; 6pm in the South Euclid City Hall.

Oakwood needs your support!

Please arrive early so that you have time to park and sign the clipboard before the meeting starts.

Thank you!


Oakwood:It​'s not just us--the Cleveland Heights Planning Director does not think 50 ft. buffer is sufficient​.

posted May 11, 2011, 10:00 PM by Severance Neighborhood Organization   [ updated May 12, 2011, 6:52 AM by Fran Mentch ]

The post "Would you want Big Box built 50 ft from your property line?" drew an angry response from First Interstate.
Actually, part of the plan only calls for a 25 ft. buffer!
Please read the attached document from the Cleveland Height Planning Director to get more details about the 25ft and 50ft proposed buffers.
The two attached images illustrate dramatically what the spatial relationship will be between the buildings and the existing homes along Oakwood. 

 Click on images to enlarge.
Green box in the lower left represents a home..
All 3 documents were submitted by the Cleveland Heights Planning Director as part of the public hearing on March 10th.
No one, neither the developer nor any member of the South Euclid Planning Commission has offered to increase the buffer zone between the proposed buildings and the existing homes. Residents of both cities will be affected.
Our community is a means to an end for the developer and his global investment firm. They do not live here and do not care about the community.
If we let them...they will make a little bit of money for a few years and then move on, having destroyed the largest remaining greenspace in the inner ring suburbs.
Oppose the rezoning of Oakwood.
Please mark your calendars for the South Euclid City Council Public Hearing on May 25th at 6pm in the South Euclid City Hall. See you there!

Would you like to donate your front yard to your city? and beautiful Oakwood photos

posted May 9, 2011, 12:17 PM by Fran Mentch   [ updated May 9, 2011, 12:27 PM ]

1. Would you like to donate your front yard to your city?
You could get a tax deduction for it, and would never have to pay taxes on it, mow it, or pay to maintain it in any way.
The developer and his global investment group are selling 21 acres of Oakwood to South Euclid for $1.

That is 21 acres that they cannot use, and do not want to the city of South Euclid.
The developer and his global investment group will:
Get a tax write-off for the value of the donated land.
Never have to pay taxes on it again.
Never have to pay to maintain it.
And still be able to use 1/3 of the 21 acres for the stormwater management they are mandated to provide by law.

On the attached map, this retention basin is labeled a stormwater "wetland".
It will hold runoff from the 825,649 square feet of buildings and parking lot.
It will contain large amounts of road salt in the winter and petroleum residue from the cars and the asphalt parking lot in the warmer months.

Would you want to have this "wetland" on your property?

A truly sustainable development would have porous pavement and there would be no need for a retention basin.
2. Beautiful spring photos of Oakwood. Thanks to Jim Miller for the spring photos of Oakwood. We all have to continue to work hard and spread the word so that Oakwood will not be destroyed and be just as beautiful next spring.
For more great photos of Oakwood in spring and fall, taken by supporters Jim and Cindi, click here  and here.

1-10 of 70