Kim Palmer | 11/14/07 @ 6:37pm
Staffers at GreenCity BlueLake were met with quite a sight yesterday. It seems that sometime in the late afternoon Wednesday heavy snow that had accumulated on the pump shelter of our neighborhood gas station caused the roof to collapse on top of three cars.It's quite a sight??and is apropos to mention as another building's fate is at the mercy of the elements this winter season. The historic Cleveland Harbor Coast Guard Station, Cleveland's most prominent maritime Cleveland Landmark, is the center of concern as sever winter weather continues.Designed by the noted architect J. Milton Dyer, the station was completed in 1940 and is regarded as a masterpiece of Art Deco design. Ten years ago the City of Cleveland purchased the station for $1 but now it looks like the city is going to needed a lot more to restore it. The building's current disrepair is a concern but the issue is exacerbated due to its location. The pier where the station is located connects it to Whiskey Island, a target of intensive redevelopment efforts. Ed Hauser, community activist and Whiskey Island champion, has recently taken another step in pushing the city to make at least some initial repairs by writing a letter directly to the city's law department demanding a response. "As I write this status request, our historic Cleveland Harbor Coast Guard Station is enduring the harsh elements of another brutal winter on the Cleveland lakefront," writes Hauser.Hauser is still waiting to hear from the City of Cleveland about the status of the Coast Guard Station but is quick to point out that the Metroparks is interested to acquire/lease the county's Whiskey Island property when the Towpath Trail is completed there in the future. But, that could take 5 to15 years, and Hauser and others are worried the Port Authority could eventually acquire the Whiskey Island property. In related news, the Port Authority will be releasing its "Port Relocation Study" soon, which will layout the benefits to taking the county's Whiskey Island Marina property for a new gravel storage dock.The commissioner of the city's architecture division, N. Kurt Wiebusch, reported that the much-needed structural repairs, like a new roof and sealing doors and windows, could cost more than $500,000. The city contends that the station's walls remain stable, but Hauser questions that true extent of damage the building has sustained. With unsecured windows and doors and water flooding the lower levels the integrity of the structure could be in trouble.To date, a $50,000 federal grant was used to detail the site's condition and craft multimillion-dollar plans to convert the station to a museum and terminus of the Towpath Trail, the multi-county bike-and-hike path that is still six miles short of downtown.The city seems to be willing to spend $50,000 to cover the buildings with tarps, seal windows and doors, and pump water from the basement but Hauser and others question when that will happen and if it will be too late.