Lorain residents are eagerly anticipating the move of the iron-ore pellet terminal that will be taken apart and reassembled in Cleveland, already planning the re-development of the city's waterfront. Meanwhile, some Clevelanders still want answers about where the old LTV terminal will end up once it gets here and how it will affect the environment. 90.3 WCPN's Renita Jablonski reports.
Barbara Reynolds: You can see right down there on the lake shore are two long piles of iron ore and there are usually maybe three more, two more that size out there.
Renita Jablonski: Barbara Reynolds loves watching the lake from the balcony of her home located right off the 49th Street exit on the Shoreway.
BR: What we're more concerned about is the arrival of the pellet terminal, pellet crushing terminal really.
RJ: Reynolds, who is president of the Tillman Park Homeowners Association and a leader of the Northcoast Block Club, fears the neighborhood may be subject to more pollution than ever once the six-story high Lorain pellet terminal sets up in Cleveland.
BR: We're going to have dust, noise, stench. Even when LTV was working, in business, there was a good bit of coming and going from that ore pile and there was fine rust-colored dust in the air all the time. You come out and you go to wash the windows and there would just be a place you could write your name in, in the dust, after about a day of having washed it the day before.
RJ: Reynolds and nearly 50 other Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City residents expressed there concerns at this week's City Council meeting. They cheered when council passed a bill urging the state legislature to re-enact a law that requires Ohio port authorities to hold public meetings on development plans. Mayor Jane Campbell says she was against the statute being repealed from the beginning.
Jane Campbell: On the county commission, I objected to the port authority going to the legislature to try to close their records then. I didn't prevail but I'm quite clear that the port authority is a public body and ought to operate like a public body. So I have no quarrel at all with the resolution that's been introduced.
RJ: Ed Hauser was also at the meeting. He chairs the Friends of Whiskey Island, a citizen group working to develop the green space on the strip of land into a park. When the mayor first announced that the former LTV pellet terminal was coming to Cleveland, the city planning director unveiled a map showing that the terminal could potentially be placed west of the Whiskey Island Marina. Hauser says with so many questions about the impact of having the terminal here still up in the air, he can't help but feel that the deal was made behind closed doors.
Ed Hauser: That's the thing, is that there's so many unanswered questions. It happened one week after the tax levy was passed, boom, it's a done deal. What is this? What's going on? The air quality is probably the biggest one, water quality, water run-off from that facility.
RJ: But Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Executive Director, Gary Feilor says that was not the case - saying the public had fair warning that the pellet terminal move would take place once voters approved the regional port authority levy on the ballot earlier this month.
Gary Feilor: The Lorain pellet terminal moving to Cleveland has been in the media for several months. Recently, we had a county-wide campaign for our real estate tax levy which passed in early May and that was part of our campaign, that should we pass the levy, we would use that tax money to help move the pellet terminal to Cleveland.
RJ: Feilor also says the resolution passed by Council does not make sense, adding that the Ohio law requiring public disclosure of port authority master plans is no longer necessary.
GF: Well the Port Authority is a public agency, and all of our meetings have to be held in public, all decisions taken in public. The state legislature removed that code section because cities have taken over the planning process for port authorities.
RJ: Councilmembers Joe Cimperman and Matt Zone plan on holding hearings about the development and operation of the port starting in mid-June. In the meantime, Mayor Campbell says talks are ongoing with the Port Authority about where the pellet terminal will ultimately end up. She says there's a new proposal to put it closer to International Steel Group facilites.
JC: Getting it closer to ISG makes perfectly good sense and if you take it down the river to where they're in fact going to be operating, that makes the most sense of all.
RJ: Yesterday City Council interviewed the mayor's five appointments to the port authority's nine-member board. Each of the nominees promised to conduct the port's business in an open manner. The appointments will be finalized at council's next meeting on June 3rd and Barbara Reynolds says she can't wait to meet the new appointees.
BR: I love Cleveland. I want to see it healthy and good and moving forward. But I also want to see all its citizens have a chance to know what's going on.
RJ: In Cleveland, Renita Jablonski, 90.3 WCPN News.