Church protests Cleveland council move that would make neighborhood historical

Protestors want to make history, not preserve it

CLEVELAND - Protesters on the steps of Cleveland City Hall, Tuesday, want to tear down a pair of century-old, Cleveland homes near Wade Park and Magnolia.

"These are historic homes," said Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson. "One of them is done by the same architect that did City Hall. These homes are special."

Johnson wants to designate the neighborhood as one of Cleveland's Historic Districts. That would mean any alterations to any home in the area would need to be approved first by the City Landmark Commission, making demolition nearly impossible.

"The church owns those two homes. They bought them outright. It's fair and square theirs," said protester Ross Phar. "They have the right to modify them, tear them down or what ever they want to do with them."

Mt. Zion Congregational Church wants to demolish the homes and build a brand new, $1.6 million "Family Life Center".

"It's going to have job training," Phar said. "It's going to have feeding programs for the homeless. I mean, this is going to improve things and they're trying to stop it."

If the proposal passes and the Wade Park/Magnolia neighborhood becomes an historic district, the bill would effect the church and the nearly 250 other properties nearby.

"That is a rich part of our Cleveland history," Johnson said. "We can't just wipe them out."

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