Rest in Peace Citizen Hauser
Ed Hauser died suddenly November 14, 2008. Northeast Ohio has lost its most ardent, studied and tenacious citizen activist. Information regarding funeral arrangements will be in the Plain Dealer tomorrow.
This is a photo of Ed gathering signatures for his campaign to secure Whiskey Island as public greenspace on our lakefront for all time.
What follows is a nomination written by Martha Eakin and me, edited by Ohio Environmental Council’s director, Keith Dimoff, for Cleveland’s Biodiversity Alliance awards in 2007.
Sustained not by deep pockets but by dogged determination, “Citizen” Ed Hauser has worked diligently toward his goal of seeing all of Whiskey Island made into a park. Since 1998, Ed has made saving Whiskey Island a fulltime job. And a fulltime job it has been because the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (CCCPA) has planned to move its operations to the land across the river for 9 years, determined to take a portion of Whiskey Island for gravel storage and docking facilities.
With the lakefront plan languishing on the drawing boards and public access to the lake limited, Ed remained steadfast in his effort to save Whiskey Island as a contiguous group of properties – the park, the marina and the Coastguard Station. The Coastguard Station has experienced significant deferred maintenance and could have been slated for demolition, but Ed continues to shine his light on the property, demanding that the buildings be restored and brought to public use by the City of Cleveland. He has invoked the National Historic Preservation Act to save the Huletts, the iron ore unloaders that tell the story of the rise of Cleveland’s industrial heritage. Ed intends that the Island be able to tell the story of Cleveland to us and to future generations.
Ed was not deterred by being told “Ed, it’s not going to happen, everybody is opposed to it. The issue is over with.” Ed’s extensive experience with the ways of government has taught him that he cannot rest until the land becomes part of the Cleveland Metroparks, ensuring that it will remain permanently protected public greenspace.
Ed has maintained a watchful presence over multiple layers of government with regular attendance at CCCPA, Cleveland Planning Commission, Cleveland City Council, and Cuyahoga County Commissioner’s meetings. He has interacted with Cleveland’s Law Department, Landmarks Commission, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cuyahoga Valley Initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who oversee the Ohio Coastal Management, and every elected official involved with these 20 acres of beautiful greenspace along the lakefront and riverfront. He joined with the League of Women Voters on their CCCPA Study bringing to the public a relevant report for anyone who wants to know more about the publicly funded body. When ODOT became involved in the City’s Lakefront plan, Ed monitored and raised awareness regarding the many possible environmental effects of the Innerbelt Project. He has engaged more than 2,100 people to sign postcards of support for the plan for Cleveland Metroparks to take over this historic property.
Ed’s efforts have saved Whiskey Island as public greenspace. The Island is the heart of the city, where the river meets the lake. It is tied to the creation of the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is a haven for birds and their watchers and for hikers. It allows for access to a natural beachfront from inner-city neighborhoods. For its history, its historic lifesaving station, for keeping its natural habitat, not dredging and bulkheading, it allows for a natural beach in the city which is important for recreation and is the only place to launch non-motorized watercraft. Whiskey Island is the beachhead for sustainability and its champion, Ed Hauser, is a powerhouse of citizen action in our region.
Ed’s activism was documented on film: Link to Blue Hole Film, Citizen Hauser.
He will be missed.