Letter to the Editor: Think Green When Building Oakwood
Cleveland Heights resident Joan Spoerl requests that Mitchell Schneider, president of First Interstate Properties, be environmentally conscious when developing Oakwood Commons on the former country club property
To the Editor:
As I recently drove down Warrensville Center Road, I saw dozens of felled trees. Since it now seems inevitable that the Oakwood development will go forward, I have a few requests for (President of First Interstate Properties Mitchell) Schneider that I think would minimize the negative impact of the loss of green space.
- First, please preserve some real, usable green space for the community (in contrast to Legacy Village).
- For every tree you cut down, plant two more elsewhere on the property.
- Have green roofs and solar panels on all the buildings. Use geothermal heating and cooling systems.
- Build a natural playground (an example is the one at the Eliot-Pearson Children's School at Tufts University).
- Have your tenants use only green cleaners in the buildings — for the good of your employees, patrons and the environment.
- Use only non-toxic building materials, glues, carpet, etc. and require incoming businesses to do the same.
- Practice only natural, organic landscaping practices and turf care, foregoing the use of toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, to protect the health of the people and animals who visit and the watershed.
- Install gray water systems in all the buildings.
- Use pervious pavement wherever possible.
- Install lovely and educational receptacles for recyclables, compostable materials and trash (the Cleveland Botanical Garden is doing this in its cafe as are many businesses/rest areas in Ontario and Quebec). Have an anti-litter campaign throughout the development.
- Have your food vendors maximize the use of re-usable dishes and also work together to order compostable containers and tableware for take-out food.
- Encourage the food vendors to create biodiesel from food waste (look to Baldwin-Wallace College and Great Lakes Brewing Company as examples).
- Have lots of bike racks and bike paths.
- Save space for a community garden.
- Fund and house a small nature center (like the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes) in the country club buildings and/or fund an after-school program (Open Doors Academy in Cleveland Heights is a model program).
- See the movie Dolphin Tale and read the book, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
- Think about how you will minimize the negative impact on local businesses and how you will help those who lose business and/or have to close shop as a result.
I feel so fortunate to live within walking distance of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and know how such a space improves the property values and quality of life of its neighbors. I had hoped for the same for the Oakwood neighbors, but the above represents my next best hope.
Joan Spoerl, Cleveland Heights