Euclid Beach residents face "mass displacement"
Residents of Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park say that ever since Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) bought the 28-acre Collinwood property in 2021, their concerns have been marginalized or ignored.
- Now, they're facing "mass displacement."
Driving the news: WRLC announced at a community meeting last week its plans to close the mobile home park and create a "unified greenspace" at Euclid Beach. Residents will have 12-15 months to move.
- A major public lakefront park could do for community development on the east side, WRLC says, what Edgewater Park has done on the west.
Why it matters: The community includes 139 occupied mobile homes, with many residents on fixed incomes or with disabilities.
- It's a rare enclave in the city where seniors and working low-income folks – who make too much for public assistance but not enough to afford the area's median rent – can rent or own their homes.
What they're saying: At a press conference Monday, Mike Russell, senior attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland, stressed that residents do not want to move.
- "Ultimately, this is not a transactional conversation about land," he said. "It is a transformational conversation about homes."
Of note: Though the trailers on the property are called "mobile homes," they are not actually mobile, with concrete foundations, decks, patios, landscaping, etc.
Between the lines: Residents accused WRLC of "gaslighting" them from the start and said they believed the plan had always been to convert the area to greenspace.
- "No one spends $5.8 million for a piece of property without knowing what they're going to do with it," one resident said.
The other side: Matt Zone, WRLC's vice president and director of its urban initiatives, said the organization's first priority was the "fair and equitable" treatment of residents.
- "We recognize how disruptive this entire process is, and are doing our best to manage the property and respond to any tenant concerns," he told Axios in a statement.
What's next: WRLC says it has convened a housing steering committee and is working with residents individually to connect them to services and "alternative housing options."
The bottom line: "Euclid Beach is truly our family and home," said resident Brochelle Baker. "We're not going down without a fight."
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