View from the Cheap Seats: Spring

I love spring and I anticipate it like an underfed puppy waiting for his gravy train. There’s lots of yard work to do and I’ll miss hunkering down around the fireplace with a warm toddy like in the winter, but I’d prefer spring to winter any day. Today as I walked to the garage I heard the birds singing, so I think they anticipate spring like I do.

For a moment I ignored the snow and thought about all the things that come with the start of spring – dinner on the patio, the smell of freshly mowed grass, grub treatments. Well, almost everything. I love spending time in my yard and I don’t want anything to ruin the experience.

Nobody wants anything to destroy their enjoyment of their home, and some people call that attitude “Not in my backyard” or NIMBY (if you’ve never heard of that, you pronounce it “Nimbee”).

In some cities, Nimbee is a term that can reasonably be applied to people with the “put that someplace, but not here” attitude, but that actually doesn’t make any sense in Bay Village.

Bay is a small town and whatever happens anywhere in Bay has an effect everywhere in Bay. In the 1950s Union Carbide (cofounded by Washington Lawrence, whose home on Lake Erie is now the mansion at Cashelmara) wanted to put a huge building in eastern Bay Village, but the uproar among the Nimbees stopped the project.

In the 1970s a group wanted to build an indoor roller rink a block west of Bradley Road. A huge controversy ensued and, after months of public rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth, the project was shouted down by Nimbees who didn’t want the traffic, noise and commercial atmosphere in their back yard.

And I won’t even go into the thrash that blocked the McDonald’s later on.

But you know what? The Nimbees in each case did everyone in Bay a big favor, because that traffic, noise and commercial atmosphere would have changed Bay itself.

Installing the Union Carbide building near Clague Road would have had a huge impact on my home on Bradley, and I’m indebted to the Nimbees who blocked it. Can you imagine what Bay would be like today with that Union Carbide building and a (probably defunct) roller skating rink? It wouldn’t be the town we all enjoy.

There’s been lots of talk lately about the skate park, with some people opposed and some in favor. Both views are valid, but we need to realize that no matter where it goes, and no matter its effect, it’s going to have that effect on all of us – not just those who live adjacent to the actual site.

We need to stop talking about “Eastern Bay” to refer to Wards 1 and 2 and “Western Bay” when we talk about Wards 3 and 4 and consider what’s good for all of Bay.

If you like the idea of a skate park, say so, but be willing to have it in your front yard. If you’re opposed, the location isn’t sufficient reason. “Put it someplace else” isn’t enough justification.

I believe some people are pushing for certain locations for the skate park because they know the places they’re suggesting will be unpopular and the park will die a natural death.

Why do we keep going back to all the unpopular sites? To continue the controversy and simultaneously appear to support the park. The people I’m referring to don’t support it – they’re trying to kill it. Sneaky, but not fair. Don’t fall for it.

Alex and Karen Dade live in Bay Village.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 9:43 PM, 02.19.2010