Jul 24, 2023 - News

Letter reveals early plans to close Euclid Beach mobile home park

A trailer with a painted message: "WRLC: Residents demand to stay!"

A trailer with a message supporting Euclid Beach residents crashes a WRLC fundraiser. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

The closing of the Euclid Beach mobile home park apparently was set in motion not this past February, but four full years ago, before the property changed hands.

Driving the news: In a newly obtained letter from 2019, Western Reserve Land Conservancy president and CEO Rich Cochran inquired about buying the mobile home park from its Texas-based owner and discussed removing its occupants.

Why it matters: For residents, the letter is evidence that their displacement had been preordained and that the community planning process, which resulted in the decision to close the park, was a sham.

What it said: "In addition to the cost of physically preparing the site, there is the matter of convincing people to leave their current residential situation," Cochran wrote in his Aug. 13, 2019, letter to Jim Moore, the former owner.

  • "Most people resist change. We know that this is going to be messy, expensive, legally complicated, and time consuming. We will have to endure a public battle, and all this comes at great cost in terms of time, hard costs, and hassle factor."

Context: The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland, which is representing the residents of Euclid Beach, obtained the letter via a public records request to the Cleveland Metroparks. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) shared it with Axios.

The other side: A statement from NEOCH said Euclid Beach residents believed all along that WRLC was "hiding behind the veneer of public engagement."

The latest: The Mandel Foundation last week announced grants totaling $24 million that will go toward Cleveland's east side lakefront, including $10 million to help rehouse the mobile home park's remaining occupants.

What's next: "The park is closing down," WRLC vice president Matt Zone told Axios. "And my biggest fear is that NEOCH is creating false hope that they're going to keep it open. I think it's borderline reckless."

  • Zone declined to comment on Cochran's 2019 letter, but in an official statement, WRLC said its vision is to create a "world-class lakefront park" in Collinwood.
  • "The only way we can accomplish this vision is to relocate the residents of EBMHC and make the land available for public use."

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