Bob Gardin, of Big Creek Connects, grew up in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, and has also been affiliated with the Tremont area. Informed by his background in business, politics, and urban planning, Gardin envisions an urban landscape where people are connected to the natural environment while still enjoying the benefits of living in the city. He remarks on the Jones Home Historic District, where he currently resides, and the importance of Cleveland's watersheds.


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Gardin, Bob (interviewee)


Nemeth, Sarah (interviewer)


Metro West



Document Type

Oral History


71 minutes


Sarah Nemeth [00:00:01] Hi, my name is Sarah Nemeth. Today is August 7, 2017. I am here today with Bob Gardin here at Big Creek Connects on Pearl Road. And this is for the Cleveland Regional Oral History Project. Could you please state your name for the record?

Bob Gardin [00:00:17] My name is Bob Gardin.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:19] And where were you born and when?

Bob Gardin [00:00:22] I was born in Cleveland on West 18th in the Tremont neighborhood in September… 1959, I was actually born in Lutheran Hospital, but we had lived at that address.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:36] And what did you call your neighbor? What did people, when you were growing up, what did they call your neighborhood?

Bob Gardin [00:00:44] That neighborhood, I’m not sure at that time, because I was the youngest of three kids, and when I was six months old, we moved to Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:54] Okay.

Bob Gardin [00:00:55] Yeah. So I don’t think it was called Tremont or even South Side, because it was just south of Clark Avenue, West 18th near St. Michael’s. And St. Michael’s was the parish and where I was actually baptized.

Sarah Nemeth [00:01:06] Would you say that St. Michael’s was almost like a landmark of the community?

Bob Gardin [00:01:10] I would think so, yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:01:11] Around the church?

Bob Gardin [00:01:12] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:01:13] When you moved to Old Brooklyn neighborhood, that would be what you remember then, growing up.

Bob Gardin [00:01:18] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:01:18] What was your neighborhood like?

Bob Gardin [00:01:20] Well, Old Brooklyn was. It’s a pretty nice neighborhood for as far as city of Cleveland goes. And I would say middle class at the time, probably average middle class, working class. But I should add, too, that when we moved, my dad had bought the house next door in West 18th, and he had, it was a three family, he rented out to my mom’s father. So I was there often to help him do maintenance and that. So I knew that neighborhood. Of course, our grandfather lived there as well, but- So the Old Brooklyn neighborhood was nice neighborhood. I grew up on Oak Park, two houses from the school, just east of William Cullen Bryant elementary school. We had the field in our backyard. It’s a huge field. At the time, that part of the field that was like, the western half, was mostly, well, the northwestern part was wooded, so we had forts. We had ball diamonds. We had this playground at William Cullen Bryant with, you know, with the playground equipment and basketball court, volleyball court, and then Loew Pool was there as well. So it was a lot of baby boomers in that neighborhood at that time. So I was six months old when we moved there in 1960. I had two older sisters, four years apart, and I think we all went to- Well, my oldest sister went to Bureau Elementary, where I was born, and then the rest of us went to William Cullen Bryant Elementary, then Mooney Junior High. My older sister was a first class in Mooney Junior High and then Rhodes High School. We’re all graduates. Rhodes High.

Sarah Nemeth [00:03:18] What did- What was it demographically other than class wise?

Bob Gardin [00:03:24] Well, Brooklyn was mostly White. You know, you didn’t hear much about minorities. I guess there was prejudice and racism. I didn’t experience it within my family. I did hear some family, you know, other kids, you could hear, you know, saying about, you know, Blacks or Puerto Ricans. But from my perspective, it was, you know, we just didn’t see. There wasn’t. It was a very White neighborhood, pretty similar to demographics of Parma. It was only, you know, four or five streets north of the Brook Park border. But I would say most of the families were pretty, you know, they may have been working class, but I would say somewhat progressive. At least my friends and their parents were pretty much so. It was also very much college bound for an urban community, you know. So a lot of our siblings had gone to college, Ohio State, Kent State. My sisters went to Kent. Just, you know, it’s good people, good neighborhood. You know, it was a decent environment to grow up in.

Sarah Nemeth [00:04:45] Did you ever hear of anything on- What did you know of the east side of Cleveland?

Bob Gardin [00:04:50] Yeah, you know, it was kind of distant. I remember stories. My grandfather was quite the traveler. He was born in 1883, and quite a distance because I was the youngest. My mom was 36 when I was born, and she was younger when, you know, for the time when her parents were born, gave birth to her. And so he was, you know, he worked at CEI. He retired at 63, so he took full benefit, 65, I guess, of the, you know, Social Security at the time. He did a lot of traveling worldwide, but also in the neighborhood. So when he heard anything like the race riots, he’d get on the bus. He didn’t drive. He didn’t want to drive, you know, and he’d go down in the neighborhood. So we heard stories of people saying, you know, sir, you probably, you know, better off not, you know. He’d get a cup of coffee at a local, whatever, and, you know, to find out what was going on. He has a curiosity that I find, you know, some of my uncles and myself, I inherited that interest in our surrounding environment. But, yeah, I mean, what we heard was we were pretty isolated, probably. Even the war. Some of my friends had older brothers that were in Vietnam War for the most part. It was very abstract to me now. By the time the war ended, I was in middle school, what, ’73, ’74 withdrawal, the Vietnam War. But my sisters were somewhat, I guess you would call hippies, especially my older sister. But, yeah, I mean, as a teenager, you know, pretty much, well, in the seventies, it wasn’t so much the hippie generation, but it was more of the, you know, a lot of partying, you know, a lot of experimenting, you know. But we didn’t really experience much hardship, you know.

Sarah Nemeth [00:07:00] Right, right.

Bob Gardin [00:07:01] For, you know, a White kid on the near, on the west side in a neighborhood like that. So.

Sarah Nemeth [00:07:10] What did you do for fun in the neighborhood other than you had you mentioned the baseball diamonds, and there was a lot of. So a lot of community activities. Were they organized or was it, you guys just went out?

Bob Gardin [00:07:21] Yeah. The City of Cleveland had different playgrounds at the time. They had, like, school counselors in the summer, so they had different programs. Some of the classrooms were open in the elementary schools, at least one classroom. All the swings were brought out and, you know, hung every day. And, you know, there were a lot of activities where kids would, like, volunteer to help do things like that. There was always stuff to do. I mean, we had, you know, the swings, the different types of swings and parallel bars and monkey bars and sandbox basketball courts. Like I said, we had the ball diamonds and the field, the pool. So there’s plenty of activity playing to be involved in. There were woods nearby, so. And plenty of kids, you know, my age. I mean that, if you look at the boomer years, the peak years, those things like those born in 1956 or seven, I was born in ’59. A lot of kids, as you get older, your boundaries expand, and it’s usually related to your middle school or your high school. And Old Brooklyn is a pretty big area, so I got to know the whole Brooklyn area. As a teenager. I had a lot of friends near Benjamin Franklin School, that area, South Hills area. When we were older, say, like 12, 13, we used to hike quite a bit. You know, it was more the explorer phase. And we take our dad’s world war two gears and packs, whatever, backpacks and. And mess kits and our bb guns or rifles. I had air rifle, 22 air rifle. And we’d walk, you know, Saturday, Sunday mornings down to the railroad tracks at parallel Brookpark Road down into what’s now the Cuyahoga valley. And, you know, you had the canal and the river there and walked that trestle. But can you imagine now kids with, you know, air rifles, you know, slung over their shoulders walking down the street? So we had a lot of that kind of, you know, adventurism before that, I guess, in our woods, it was tree forts, right? You know, we had- There were still- That used to be the Henninger farm. [inaudible] apparently, and they had still some trees at the time in the sixties that, plum and apple trees, that we used to climb and eat quite a bit. The one family that we were close with owned actually the original farmhouse. It’s like the oldest house on the street that’s still there to this day. It’s nicely painted the historic colors.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:04] Is it called something specific?

Bob Gardin [00:10:05] No, it’s not. You know, I don’t think they- Yeah, they never got it, like, landmarked or anything, but it has the widow’s walk. It’s a really cool Cictorian, 18, I don’t know what the date would have been. My dad was in real estate. He actually sold it to our friend, to someone else, I should find out. But we hung out there quite a bit, and, you know, we played the games that, you know, most kids would play. Hide and seek. And as we got older, we played nighttime hide and seek called flashlight or something. [crosstalk] Yeah, they still play it. Yeah. You know, so if we weren’t involved with activities, I was on swim team at Loew Pool. There were pickup basketball games at Bryant schoolyard that so I’d say, like 13 to 15, I was more like my jock years. And so it was like there were, like, high school kids or college kids that would play the pickup games. And, you know, if I could get in on those, you know, I was pretty good for my age. You know, that was- That was big stuff. And then I guess around 15, 14, 15, the girls became more important. Right? So then you, you know, that’s- That changes your activities.

Sarah Nemeth [00:11:26] But when you were little, I guess you were oriented outside towards the adventure, like going to the playground and-?

Bob Gardin [00:11:36] Yeah, at first, four or five years old, it’s your house, you know, your yard and immediate neighbors, the friends that I had. And that. That grows as you get older.

Sarah Nemeth [00:11:47] Did you feel safe?

Bob Gardin [00:11:49] Oh, yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:11:50] So you were allowed to venture relatively-?

Bob Gardin [00:11:54] Yeah. And as I got older, in my teens, probably too much, you know, parents had to track me down. You know, I’d stay at a friend’s house, and we’d be wandering around, you know, especially on weekends, wandering the streets with, you know, guys and girls.

Sarah Nemeth [00:12:10] Yeah.

Bob Gardin [00:12:11] You know, it was maybe too much partying at that time, that was. That I later kind of regretted. Because it sets you back, you know.

Sarah Nemeth [00:12:21] Hey, everyone experiences it. [laughs]

Bob Gardin [00:12:23] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, you know, the younger you are, the more damage you could do. But. So I had friends that really, you know, did go into it too far, and I was fortunate enough to turn my direction where I was going in time. I should add too, if you know the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, one popular landmark is Honey Hut Ice Cream. So I grew up with those brothers, so we hung out together.

Sarah Nemeth [00:12:51] I don’t know anything about that. What?

Bob Gardin [00:12:54] It’s on State Road. It was started, god what was the year, ’73 or ’74. Their dad started the ice cream shop from a recipe from a family, but they now serve, they supply ice cream for Metroparks. If you go to Edgewater, for instance, that’s Honey Hut. So we’d hang out there. And as I got older, I went into- Well, I wanted to be- When I went to school at night college, I wanted to be an architect initially, and I got more interested in just doing the hands on work, so I ended up working in cabinetry. You know, I was a union cabinetmaker, so I actually made the cabinetry in the late eighties for the Honey Hut Ice Cream shop, among other projects. But, yeah. So what else?

Sarah Nemeth [00:13:48] Well, I know that you were only like ten, but do you remember when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire?

Bob Gardin [00:13:53] You know, I didn’t until later. [crosstalk] Yeah, so, yeah, I might have heard it, but, but, yeah, it didn’t really- Yeah, I know, like about 12, 13, I was into the landing on the moon. You know, I had models, right? The plastic models.

Sarah Nemeth [00:14:10] Did you watch it on TV?

Bob Gardin [00:14:13] I can’t remember. Probably did. Probably did. But I don’t remember, like, Kennedy being shot because that would have been, you know, ’64, ’65. I was way too young. Or Martin Luther King. My older sisters, we used to have family get togethers and we had one aunt, well the uncle was very conservative at the time and his sons that were older than me, my sister, your age or younger became somewhat conservative, and we’d have these big debates, and I remember that. So that’s where I learned more, you know, almost got into arguments and tears and everything, you know, with the politics, it gets so intense on the holidays. But from a day to day basis, I didn’t, you know, 5 to 15, 16 years old. You really don’t-

Sarah Nemeth [00:15:04] No.

Bob Gardin [00:15:05] Maybe kids that are more engaged. You know, I played, for the most part, horsed around in those eight for.

Sarah Nemeth [00:15:12] You to be doing kid things. Just didn’t know if you might have heard about that. What about when the interstates get put in like 1960s, the seventies? So do you remember some of your spaces going away?

Bob Gardin [00:15:29] Yeah, I don’t remember, like I-90, Clark Freeway. I do remember, like, as a kid going Clark Avenue down to. And then it went up the bridge that they had to go up to like, like Slavic Village area. I vaguely remember that. I don’t remember 71 going in, but I do remember when I was like 12, 13, as I said, I started to hang around, like, south Hills, that area, Spring Road. I remember that area where Jennings Freeway is now, right? 176. That was all cleared out. A lot of the streets had ended that. I had friends in anticipation of that freeway coming through. We used to hang. We used to call it the Gully, you know, that landscape. So we’d hang out there, and, you know, I had dirt bikes and everything. And then I also remember 480. So, like, when I was in my twenties, 480 came through, like, State Road to Ridge Road, that area. And, you know, a lot of people in the family, we had people that were on my dad’s side- Well, I should preface what’s saying that I come from Italian background, but all northern Italian, where most people in the country, the overwhelming, are from the south. And my parents tell me that both sides are from northern Italy, that where they grew up, Detroit Shoreway area, like between the forties and 65th, not the Little Italy west of 65th, that their parents said, keep away from the southern Italians and the bad mafia. So they didn’t really carry that heritage that much, but they did- My grandfather had come here first. They immigrated to Canada, but they came to Cleveland because there was a lot of work in marble. He was a marble setter, so he worked on, like, Detroit-Superior Bridge, I think, the Terminal Tower. I forget. I have to look back. I really should know what buildings he worked on. And so my dad’s twin brother became a marble setter, too, so we had an- I have some kind of inherent interest in maybe it’s, you know, in construction, and that’s partly why I got into it on my mom’s side. Her father came also immigrated down from Canada, and he worked for CEI, but he had interest in the travel and cities and that. So I think that kind of, you know, you could see those things, you know, the infrastructure, urban planning, and, you know, studying different cities and environments. That’s where my interests lie primarily, but- How did we get to that? I forget. What led us to be talking about the heritage, right? [crosstalk] Oh, okay. Right. Yeah. So when we’d have in-laws come in, we talk about, you know, it’s like, well, what would the guys do? It would be go out then to go look at 480 being constructed, you know. You know.

Sarah Nemeth [00:18:46] Yeah.

Bob Gardin [00:18:47] To see where the freeway is, and we talk about the, you know, the, you know, the clearing of the land and what neighborhoods are impacted, and then, you know, even how thick the base is and, you know, the road and that, and how they last, if they’re, you know, a thicker foundation. I also have relatives, like on my mom’s side that were involved in government higher ed, a professor of engineering, and the other one was higher up with Social Security in Washington. But it’s funny how you see a lot of those same interests, you know, you inherit.

Sarah Nemeth [00:19:27] How long did it take to build 480, just from your perspective? You don’t need the exact.

Bob Gardin [00:19:32] Yeah, boy, I don’t remember because there was stretches. I think there was a gap because they had the high level bridge to, like, Granger Road, Broadview area, and then it picked up like 130th going west. But there you had to get on Brookpark Road and that gap between, like, Granger and Broadview to Ridge or, or beyond Ridge, Tiedemann, 130th, that was built in like, was that eighties, probably in 1980s. So by that time, you know, the Jennings Freeway was complete, too.

Sarah Nemeth [00:20:26] Did that carve up the neighborhoods on the near-?

Bob Gardin [00:20:28] Well, it’s interesting. That was already planned. There, we had on the southern edge of Old Brooklyn neighborhood was the streets, I think Walbrook, and you had St. Leo’s, which was our parish with Old Brooklyn at Broadview. And then you had the big wooded area from there to the rail line. Right? That’s CSX. I think that’s CSX rail line just north of Brook Park. Well, those woods we used to play in, too, you know, in that area, but later those woods are then taken out. That’s, you know, I didn’t know at the time, but that was all undeveloped because go anticipating 480 coming through there.

Sarah Nemeth [00:21:11] Oh, okay. So all your green spaces kind of get eaten up by infrastructure, I guess?

Bob Gardin [00:21:15] Yeah, right, right. But I think the bigger impact on the west side was I-90 and I-71. And when I moved into where I live now it was Library Avenue between Pearl and West 25th, just north of 71? You know, I learned how it carved up that neighborhood, which is Brooklyn Centre. I was on the northern edge of the Brooklyn Centre. Just north of me is Clark-Fulton, talking about Clark-Fulton. So I’m like, on the border, it depends how you define them. The statistical planning area. I’m technically in Brooklyn Centre. But, you know, I mean, I hear all those years I’ve been there, 36 years on Library Avenue, but you’ve heard, and I still, you still hear how 71 carved up the Near West Side. I-90. As I became more involved, I initially I was at, while I went to night school, I went. I became a cabinetmaker. I became a union cabinetmaker. And then in the eighties, I was involved. I had an interest in city urban planning. I was a member of Cleveland Waterfront Coalition. I joined its board in 1999–2000, and was its president in 2003–2004. But through that, I was in the Innerbelt Scoping Committee, representing the Waterfront Coalition, Cleveland Innerbelt Commission. So that was like 2000 to ’04. And initially there were some efforts in that, that effort to mitigate the impacts of I-71 between 25th and Fulton. And I had proposed a pedestrian bridge to make the connection following West 32nd. They actually scaled it back then, the study area for the Innerbelt, so that never happened. Now they have sound walls. But I mean you hear all the time how much it carved up the neighborhoods. A lot of people left the neighborhoods for that reason. If you look at some neighborhoods, they have like bridges, like for Tremont going over 490. And that’s where I got the idea to proposed one along, you know, to connect, reconnect the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood.

Sarah Nemeth [00:23:51] Did they ever tell you why they didn’t, other than scaling it back? But was there a reason why they didn’t want the pedestrian bridge? Does it just cost too much?

Bob Gardin [00:24:00] Oh, yeah. Well, cost. Right. And there was, initially there was support, but then the state had funding dedicated towards sound barrier walls. And, you know, we were promoting, myself and with the, at the time, Clark-Fulton Development Corp., that if you did the pedestrian bridge and you lower those roads between Fulton and West 25th. Technically, ODOT calls them collector-distributor roads. You call them access roads. Right? They’re parallel. If those were to be lowered and moved in closer to mainline, which they admit they should have done, that’s what the Innerbelt study said, that they would do that. That’s why I said, well, if you could do that, if you could lower those CD roads, then you could do a pedestrian bridge. And they were receptive to that initially, but then, like I said, they scaled back the scope. The funding wasn’t there. And then they had the opportunity to build sound walls. And once that’s done, it’s like there’s your- But a lot of people like that because it would. You could expand the backyards on those streets, too. So Poe [Avenue] on the north and Riverside [Avenue] on the south.

Sarah Nemeth [00:25:10] Well, let’s go back to, after you graduate from high school, what do you do after that? You mentioned that you go-

Bob Gardin [00:25:16] Yeah, my parents, you know, they offered me to help me through college, like the sisters that went to Kent. And I said, well, I wanted to do, by that point, to actually work in the trades first and then go to school. Initially it was to be an architect, which is pretty hard to do. So I worked my way up through the trades. And first I worked actually for Petros family, which is now Petros builders, big developer. I worked with Sam’s father doing foundations, and so I learned surveying and doing footings and that. And then he had another team that did the foundation walls. But I worked with the old man and Sam and his cousins were going to school and they’d come down and help in the summer. But, you know, I stayed with that for like a year or two while going to night school. And then. But I had an interest. I worked with a carpenter briefly, and then I had an interest in cabinetmaking. So I, you know, I worked different shops. Cabinetmaker, eventually became a union cabinetmaker, doing more commercial projects while I was going to school at Tri-C to transfer to CSU. But as I went to school, my interest changed more into politics, business and politics. So I decided to start my own cabinet shop. I was weighing whether to say and go to school or start my own cabinet shop, which I did in ’90 or ’91. ’91. And I had a shop up on Park Road for eleven years.

Sarah Nemeth [00:26:58] What was it called?

Bob Gardin [00:26:59] My initials, Interiors. Because at the time, the union was Interior Systems. So, you know, a lot of people getting confused with interior designer. I later changed it to Restoration and Design, but I got a lot of work from my former union shop employers. So I did a lot of cool projects. You know, I did some of the woodwork in the Australian Outback at the zoo. I did the Cavs, the Gund Arena. I did the coaches’ lockers out of cherry. Did Mrs. Malley’s Chocolates’ entertainment units. And these are all from my old bosses. Otherwise I wouldn’t have- I did the food court at Parmatown Mall, all the banners and the lighting and all that. A lot of commercial projects, not too many kitchens kind of stuff. But-

Sarah Nemeth [00:27:51] The big projects-

Bob Gardin [00:27:52] Yeah, mostly commercial projects. Yeah, mostly commercial stuff. I mean, that was just my experience. Yeah, I did some kitchen work, some interesting jobs, higher end jobs, but so then around ’02, you know, I had more and more involvement, like I said, with Waterfront Coalition and, you know, with urban planning, and I closed the shop in ’02, and I just did contracted for installation work, you know. And I had a lot of work that a colleague moved to Florida, he gave me to do shopping mall renovation work, buildouts and new stores and that. So I, I kind of took some of those. It was interesting, you see that, you know, all the work that goes in a shop and, you know, designing and building and, you know, and installing, and then he’s making as much in one night that I make in a whole week. So. So I started- I started to do that and do installation work, and then I had more as I said, I was president of Cleveland Waterfront Coalition, ’03-’04 and then I saw there was a need for a watershed stewardship organization for Big Creek watershed, similar to what you see like you have Doan Brook, Chagrin River, Rocky River has ‘em, Euclid, Tinker’s Creek. And so I talked with a colleague at EPA and at the time the executive director of Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, Brian Cummins. And I kind of give credit to the three of us of founding, initially it was Friends of Big Creek. We changed it then to Big Creek Connects. But it was two-part mission. And you talk about the greenways, right? That was like one of the big, the bigger of the two initially was to see a greenway corridor from the Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga River, you know, through the zoo, through Brooklyn to Brookpark Road. Right now, the Metroparks’ Big Creek Greenway ends at Brookpark Road. And it was envisioned to go all the way up to Brookside. If you look at these old maps here, we have Stinchcomb, the founder of Metro Parks. You can see here the green corridor here. It was actually envisioned as a county boulevard to go north of Brookpark Road through Brooklyn all the way to Brookside. And the lower Big Creek valley, which would be basically from Pearl Road to Jennings, that was all industrial. It is largely now. But later on in the, the early 2000s, the development corp and representatives of the city had envisioned the lower Big Creek Greenway redevelopment plan. And that’s when we formed our organization to, in part, support that, but also to take that further through the City of Brooklyn. So the plans, the concept plans, which you see behind you, those were completed. The lower Big Creek was completed in ’08 and in ’09, the Brooklyn Greenway plan. So we’ve been working since then on doing acquisitions and trying to negotiate with property owners. Right now, Metroparks and the City of Cleveland, for them, it’s not the highest priority yet. You know, it’s the lakefront, it’s the Towpath, the Cuyahoga Valley and others. But they tell us to keep plugging, working on acquisitions. We have a couple in the City of Brooklyn, but, you know, we hope to step that up over the coming years.

Sarah Nemeth [00:31:49] Going back to the Cleveland Waterfront Coalition, which is now a different name-

Bob Gardin [00:31:55] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:31:56] They merged with two other-

Bob Gardin [00:31:57] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:31:59] The Ribbon-

Bob Gardin [00:32:00] Green Ribbon Coalition. Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:32:02] How did you get involved in that? Like, did you just walk outside one day like, oh, we need, I need to be involved in this?

Bob Gardin [00:32:10] You mean the initial Waterfront Coalition?

Sarah Nemeth [00:32:13] Yeah.

Bob Gardin [00:32:15] Well, you know, meetings open to the public and I guess attending and learning or getting to know the leaders of that organization. By the late nineties, it didn’t have used to have staff, but it’s President Genevieve Ray, I think I got to know her and some of the other board members and meeting with them eventually, they asked if I wanted to be on the board.

Sarah Nemeth [00:32:48] What was their mission, what was their history?

Bob Gardin [00:32:52] It was mostly public access to the lakefront. So when it was formed, well, initially, the late, ’78, it was incorporated, I believe, in early eighties, its focus was, like on the North Coast Harbor was one of its big initiatives. So it was the catalyst for the North Coast Harbor that we see today. So, you know, it had other vision of other ways that the lake, the city should connect to lakefront, like a land bridge, you know, from the Mall to lake, which, ironically, now I’m working with Green Ribbon Coalition on some concept plans for that, that we hope to present with the city. Moving I-90 at the Gordon park, moving it back around, the FirstEnergy plan. We’re looking at that doing concept plans. We’ve met with the city and FirstEnergy, and, you know, that-

Sarah Nemeth [00:33:54] Is it true that when they built the highway going, like, when you’re looking down in Detroit Shoreway from up on top and you’re looking down the river, I mean, the lake is all the way out here but it used to be way closer, didn’t it? Is there something built-?

Bob Gardin [00:34:11] You know, Detroit Shoreway, not so much at the beach. Edgewater Beach, I think that’s the historic beach.

Sarah Nemeth [00:34:18] Okay.

Bob Gardin [00:34:20] I’m not sure, like with Whiskey Island or the other, how much of that is built out. If I didn’t know, I forgot. But when you look on the east side, Gordon Park, that was as, or more popular than Edgewater Beach ever was. You know, Doan Brook that parallels MLK Boulevard came out right now where the boat docks are. And you have the big area where you have the Cleveland Lakefront Preserve. That’s- It’s not part of Metroparks. It’s state and port authority controlled, I believe. So it came out just to the west of the lakefront preserve. And that was an area where they had a huge beach house. They had beautiful beaches and landscaping, you know, of that time, the Group Plan area, City Beautiful Movement, really cool landscaping in that area. The Gordon Park, the upper Gordon Park was, you know, connected to that. You know, when they put the Shoreway through with the power plant, it severed that. You have now, you have I-90, the Shoreway, right up against the lakefront. And you’ve cut not only north-south axis up, but east-west. So if you’re, like, at the Gordon Park boat ramps in that area, you have to use the freeway, a limited access freeway, to get over to East 55th. You know, either that, or you’re going all the way south to St. Clair Avenue and cutting across and then coming up 72nd. So, I mean, we have a lot of arguments that weigh in favor of moving the Shoreway back. Now that the FirstEnergy plant is down, you can weave it through there, that site, and then go up behind Gordon Park. And city’s supportive. You know, Councilman Jeff Johnson is really excited about it. So we hope to be partners on, you know, further planning as long as we get FirsEnergy not to sell it off, develop it.

Sarah Nemeth [00:36:32] It’s so interesting the way that our city planning has developed over the years, as when people came to Cleveland because of the lake, because of the river, and then we, like, try to sever the people from those resources. So it’s interesting that there is work in progress to reconnect us to our natural spaces. What did the lake area, like Edgewater- Did you go to Edgewater effort when you were-?

Bob Gardin [00:37:00] Yeah, when I was a kid, yeah, we did.

Sarah Nemeth [00:37:02] What did it look like?

Bob Gardin [00:37:03] Uh, it was- It was dirtier then, you know? Yeah. You know, and then eventually, the state took it over, and it, you know, it was better in some respects, but nothing like we’re seeing with Metroparks now. But, you know, and my dad, my parents’ generation talk about it was, it was much more of a place to go, you know? And they had a big beach house that they talk about on Edgewater. But as a kid, you know, we did. I remember Euclid Beach more than anything. You know, we had our - because my grandfather and uncle were at CEI - we had our annual picnics there. I remember that up till ’69, I think it closed. But, downtown, I don’t remember a whole lot as a kid. I do remember some- Like, as we became teenagers, we’d go down to, like, Prospect Avenue, you know, that’s where we had the second-rate shops. The Goldfish Navy Store, I think, was one that was popular, you know, and we’d get our army fatigues, and, you know, those jackets were popular in the seventies.

Sarah Nemeth [00:38:24] Did other people- was downtown popular to go to?

Bob Gardin [00:38:27] You know, it wasn’t in the seventies. You know, it wasn’t what it is now, you know, and my parents were very civic involved. My mom was with the League of Women Voters, and, you know, they both supporters, strong supporters of the arts. And, you know, they were really interested in the Playhouse Square renovations you know, and then just seeing, like, their neighborhood, how much that turned around, you know, the Detroit Shoreway area. And, you know, I talk about what we want to see with Gordon Park. Well, the other part of this is the economic development potential. And we’ve drawn parallels. If you look at Detroit Avenue and St. Clair, right? If you take the development that’s occurring like West 54th, 58th to West Boulevard, and the potential you flip that, you almost have a mirror image. And from West 55th, East 55th to East Boulevard, you know, could you see that potential of, you know, and I think a lot of, you know, public officials over there are on the east side are excited about that. Yeah. Why can it happen? It’s actually closer to downtown. And, you know, they have MLK and East Boulevard, and West Boulevard pales in comparison, you know, so it’s cool to see people are, you know, looking at our greater assets, you know, our lakefront and riverfronts, and, you know, the history that we have.

Sarah Nemeth [00:40:04] You also were on the committee for the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory Committee. A mouthful. What did you do with that?

Bob Gardin [00:40:15] Well, the RAP, Remedial Action Plan, was created for Cleveland, as it was for numerous other Great Lakes states. It was an agreement with Canada, the International Joint Commission, to create what they call Areas of Concern. So initially, it was the Remedial Action Plan for that AOC. In recent years, they changed for Cuyahoga- They just call it the Cuyahoga AOC, but it’s a collaborative of stakeholder organizations. So I was represented with the Cleveland Waterfront Coalition, and it’s just to, you know, to work towards implementing projects with that Remedial Action Plan. The structures change a little bit more where those organizations have more input and have more direct control of what their actual work is done by the organization. And it has its own staff. But the work that actually occurs towards improving the water quality of the Cuyahoga River and reducing the flow and flooding and erosion is dependent, or more so, on all the tributaries that lead into it. It’s not just that valley, that river. So that’s in part, you know, why what we do with Big Creek and these other watershed groups, you know, West Creek, Rocky River and the west side, and I think I named the others, is so important. You know, we’re for Big Creek. We’re about 38 square miles. We got about 172,000 people in the square miles of those, parts or all of five cities. So when we- After we formed our organization, we were- We found a challenge to get staff, you know, like some of the other organizations. And then the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District set up a program to help funding the watershed groups that are eligible. And that’s how we became funded, and that’s how I then became a staff person of this organization. So most of what we do now is stormwater related programs that the Sewer District, we have a work plan with them, an annual work plan that they, we have to report quarterly, and then it’s on a reimbursement basis, just like a contract. But we’re at, we’re now looking at, you know, working with other organizations so we could be more focused on the trail parts of it because we don’t have the capacity that, you know, I mean, it’s been, we’ve been around since officially since ’05, so in twelve years, you know, I wish we’d just seen more actual on the ground acquisitions and trails. So we need to step that up.

Sarah Nemeth [00:43:23] So your work with this- So if someone dumps something into a sewer here, does that go into the Big Creek? I mean-

Bob Gardin [00:43:34] Oh, you want to get into the watersheds? Sure. Well, yeah. Well, basically, you know, first of all, watersheds, everyone lives in a watershed. You could drive divide the whole planet up into watersheds. They’re just like drainage basins that we used to call them. So we represent that Big Creek watershed, which is a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Then you have what’s called a sewershed, which is pretty close, depending, you know, I mean, you get near the borders, you could have a street that’s going to dump one way or the other. But you have two types of systems. Basically, you have combined sewers that are like your older cities, which is like almost all of Cleveland, a little bit of the edges of some of the suburbs, and then you have separate sewers. So your combined sewers, which is like most of your older cities in this country, basically your stormwater mixes with your sanitary sewers underground. And the good side is that in low-flow rain events, they all get treated. So all your runoff from your goes in the system, the treatment system. The bad side of that is if you have too much volume, the system can’t carry it all, so it has overflows, and that’s where the big problems are. So you have, people don’t realize that you have combined sewer overflows, they call them, in the Cuyahoga, even in Big Creek, the lower Big Creek area, and directly into the beach, like Edgewater. And, you know, on the east side, too, Villa Angela, and that, there’s, those outfalls aren’t that far away. So on high-volume rain events, that mixed sewage gets in, ends up into the lake. Now, the Sewer District has programs to address that. The sewer bore, they’re mandated. You know, it’s huge expense to create storage tunnels. So that, which is the best way to address it, really. I mean, you can do green infrastructure, but, you know, you’re going to need- You can only do so much in an urbanized environment. So we work with them on the green infrastructure side of that, with CSO’s, and then the other areas are your separate sewers. So for, like, Big Creek, for instance, it’s Brooklyn, Parma, two-thirds of Parma, all of Brooklyn, all of Parma Heights, part of Brook Park, and those are primarily separate sewers. Now, on the plus side is that all the sanitation goes directly to your treatment, but you have all that runoff, right. That goes right into your streams. And people don’t realize that. I mean, any rain event, you know, all that flashes right off into your streams, and it’s not just a pollutant load. It’s because you have impervious areas that the velocity and the volume of water that enters your streams is- It exceeds- It varies greatly. So it’s like very low on the. Too low on the dry side, on the low side, and too high after a rain event where instead of infiltrating slowly and having a moderate flow rate. So we work on green infrastructure projects in those areas, too. Working with communities, trying to get funding to do, to assist the communities through state or federal dollars and working with private property owners to incorporate instead of paving everything to see if you could use impervious paver, right? Or, you know, have bioswales or bioretention basins- [crosstalk]

Sarah Nemeth [00:47:24] Like even grids and then building the grass on top and you can still drive on it?

Bob Gardin [00:47:28] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:47:29] I forget what that’s called, but it’s really cool.

Bob Gardin [00:47:31] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:47:33] So do you, when you work with the CDC, do you collaborate in the sense that it’s trying to advocate an education of the public? Does the public know what you’re doing?

Bob Gardin [00:47:44] Yeah. You mean the community development corporations? Yeah, they’re good partners because they do similar programs. You know, it’s the suburban areas, they don’t have the equivalent of the CDC. So we probably do more in that area, but in all areas, yeah, that’s another thing that we do is we try to educate the public. Sometimes we get calls from individual property owners or homeowners. But when you look at the recent flooding events we’ve had in recent months at Brookpark Road by Tiedemann, Walmart and Sam’s Club? And I was interviewed by three of the news stations in April after the big flooding event. And I made a point of noting to them that, you know, it’s not just that this is a pinch point where, you know, all that flow is coming 20 something miles square miles, but, you know, you could open that up only so much. I mean, it’s an urbanized environment. What needs to happen is that, you know, most of the watershed is, if you look at a map of land use, most of it’s residential, you know, and then streets. You need to encourage the communities, to encourage residents to disconnect their downspouts, put ’em in the rain gardens. I mean, don’t disconnect them and just run off in the driveway. They’ve got to infiltrate, you know, so you’re not overwhelmed. So all that runoff isn’t going- It’s picking up your street chemicals and your fertilizers and everything else and going right in the stream. You need it to slow down and infiltrate and restore the water table. That’ll make a huge difference on our streams and eventually Lake Erie.

Sarah Nemeth [00:49:25] Yeah, well, it’s important stuff that you do, I think. I just recently wrote an article about Republic Steel, but again, this was in the early seventies, but it was all about the air pollution I did, not water pollution, but it was really interesting nonetheless. So all this is going on and you still live in this neighborhood, though?

Bob Gardin [00:49:49] I live, no, I don’t live in Old Brooklyn now. Like I said, 36 years. I moved over, let’s see, I was 20, 21, I moved over into Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, so near, near Metro.

Sarah Nemeth [00:50:04] So, Jones Home?

Bob Gardin [00:50:08] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:50:09] Do you live in that area?

Bob Gardin [00:50:10] Jones Home. Right. So I live in what’s now designated as the Jones Home Historic District. And about 20 years ago, the community development corporation there, which is Clark Metro Community Development Corp, they had looked at other neighborhoods that had, you know, historic districts, so they hired a consultant. A friend of mine now is Steve McQuillin. And, yeah, yeah, we were just at his summer picnic. He’s in Hayesville, Ohio now. Yeah, just Friday. And so Steve had identified three areas for potential historic districts. One’s Scranton Road, north of metro, lower Scranton, then 41st, 44th and Clark area, and then the third being the Jones Home district. So that one was like the strongest candidate. And they had done, started the application process, but it never carried through. So I talked with him about seven, eight years ago. I said, what will it take to carry that through? And he said, well, you know, he will drop the ball if I wanted to help do the inventory, update the 400-plus structures inventory. So I did that with him under his guidance, and then Councilman Cummins, who was working on combining the CDC that used to be Clark Metro with Stockyards and working with Matt Zone, and I think Jay Westbrook was on board with that. And he said, could we take this and carry it forward? I said, yeah, sure, I’ll work with you. So they finished up the application and put it through in 2012. We actually then got the National Register designation. And what it is, is the four streets are basically the Jones family farm. So that would be Library, Daisy, Marvin, and Woodbridge from 25th, not all the way to Fulton, about 39th. And that was initially in 1870s, Carlos Jones, because of his- He had a son and a daughter that died. I think that the son with the boating drowning accident and with his second wife- Oh, his wife had died, too. Yeah. But with his second wife, they decided to start an orphanage for children. So where the Jones home is now, the historic building, 19, is it 1912? That was the first Jones orphanage. And its name, oddly, was the Jones Home for Friendless Children, I believe.

Sarah Nemeth [00:53:09] They liked to use “Friendless.”

Bob Gardin [00:53:10] Yeah, yeah. But. But if you think of maybe it was in, you know, to garner sympathy. [crosstalk] Right? Not in anything, you know, not today. Yeah. It’s like, look, tell them they’re friendless. You want to help them, don’t you? Yeah. Yeah. So he then subdivided the farm into housing allotments, along with an Edwards. So if you look at a lot of the titles, it’ll be Jones or Edwards. And those homes- Mine’s Jones. And they were built as like, the first streetcar-type suburb. 1870s, you could say, because so. Well, it was newer at the time, it was a gap between Brooklyn Centre, which is, you know, the historic center of the township, right? Denison and 25th, Pearl Street and Archwood. And then there was this gap. And as Cleveland was moving south, with its north-south streets with smaller lots and a lot of industrial buildings intermixed, so they built this streetcar neighborhood that ran then east-west, and it also then had service alleys, which was, you know, the thing of the time. And at the time, they were like upper income, middle income, upper middle income homes. So we got the designation 2009. We’re still working with the CDC and the councilman on signage, markers, entry markers. But I also then came up with the idea to do a historic marker, state historic marker. So we worked on that. One side, we have it already. I don’t know what stage it’s- It should be ready pretty soon. But on one side, it has talks about the Jones Home for Children and then the other side, the historic district. So that should be up hopefully by next spring on West 25th, just south of Daisy.

Sarah Nemeth [00:55:07] Cool. Always getting a marker is really exciting.

Bob Gardin [00:55:09] Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:55:11] How many homes- I know you have to have a certain percentage of homes that are contributing before you can make it a historic district. But I think I read on your little bio that you’ve been rehabbing, helping to rehab homes? Do you offer advice or do you actually-?

Bob Gardin [00:55:29] Well, me personally? Well, the development corp, you know, and we encourage them either work with the development corp or, you know, to get advice through Cleveland Restoration Society. Right. You know that there are some programs, like paint programs. There was a program they had a year or two ago through the development corp - I can’t remember where the funding came from - but that it would, I think it’s fund up to like 50, reimburse you up to 50%. If you had any, you know, renovation, like a new porch or anything that was, you know, within the historic character of the home. A lot of, you know, a lot of homes, all it takes just knowing, you know, what do’s and don’ts. Like don’t remove that porch, don’t resize the windows. You know, look into a color scheme. It’s not that hard to research. So if we could get, you know, and we’re working on that, too, to do some kind of brochure, just the basic things you should and shouldn’t do.

Sarah Nemeth [00:56:33] Don’t put block windows in your basement.

Bob Gardin [00:56:35] Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:56:36] The big window thing, that’s a big deal. So could, maybe could you describe what it looks like now on those streets in your historic district? Like, what are the- Are there porch, front porches on everything?

Bob Gardin [00:56:53] Yeah. Well, on the north, the northeast corner, which would be Marvin and Woodbridge, up from 25th to 32nd, are the oldest. So those were cut in first and developed first. And you have some back to 1870s in there. And you’ll, you could see they’re more Victorian types, homes throughout the strict. The corners are more prominent. You see some more imposing, you know, houses. Daisy is kind of not quite as impressive as, as I like to think, like Archwood, or it would have been what, you know, Franklin was, but it’s the nicer homes at the time. Then it built out further east. I mean, further west and south. And my street Library was the last to build out. But a lot of them are similar in that they have big porches, stone block porches, good proportions. The setbacks are right. You know, they all have alleys. Well, there’s three alleys on the four streets. There isn’t a lot of diversity I mean, we have no Italianates in it, you know, but it’s mostly a transition between a Victorian and a Craftsman area. So you see a mix of, right, of those styles.

Sarah Nemeth [00:58:16] Yeah. So you get some of the simplicity of the reflection of the era, as well as some of the more showpieces.

Bob Gardin [00:58:24] Yeah. Okay. And when, during the nomination, which started 20 years ago, it was unique in them. Most of the houses, most of the lots, the structures were still intact, the original structures. Now, we’ve lost them since. And I remember, you know, doing the inventory, it’s like, geez, in 2011, 2012, it’s like, there isn’t that, you know, strong of a case, but we had just enough at the time to get through it because they even consider the garages. A lot of garages are like shed-type roofs, and they don’t hold up very well. And we have a lot of, you know, vacant lots. So we want to make sure that any new housing fits in with the, you know, the design of the character of the neighborhood.

Sarah Nemeth [00:59:13] Is the neighborhood transient or is it mostly like homeowners?

Bob Gardin [00:59:19] It’s, I would say mostly still homeowners. Yeah, yeah. And we’re hoping it stays that way. We’re hoping to work. We’re trying to work closer with Metro Health. You know, that they have more interest. Yeah. But they haven’t been that interested in going on the other side of West 25th. You know, it may be nice that they do. And one thing we’re trying to do too, we have neighborhood association. I had started the Jones Home Historic District Committee, and I figured it best to merge that then with what already existed was Daisy Avenue Block Club, which included adjacent streets. Anyway, so we changed it to Jones Home Neighborhood Association.

Sarah Nemeth [01:00:04] Do you work with Joan?

Bob Gardin [01:00:06] Joan Compton.

Sarah Nemeth [01:00:07] I just talked to her earlier.

Bob Gardin [01:00:08] Oh, cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so myself and someone on Woodbridge, Alan Foreman and I are like the chairs of the historic district committee. And then. But yeah, we figured that made more sense just to merge into one, you know, Jones Home Neighborhood Association is more encompassing.

Sarah Nemeth [01:00:38] What about the surrounding areas?

Bob Gardin [01:00:40] Yeah, okay. That’s what I was gonna get to. So one thing, you talk about Metro, that we’re trying to work with Metro Hospital, is, you know, the corner, the Trinity is Trinity United, 25th and Scranton, that they not take that down. You know, we have very little historic character left on West 25th. And that’s part of what makes a neighborhood, you know? And then right across from Jones Home, next to the church, is the Farnsworth home, which is, you know, very prominent. He was on the board of the first Metroparks board supervisors. He has the Farnsworth Building further down Archwood in 25th. You know, if they could incorporate that into the campus, we are for them taking I-71 exit and running it through to Scranton. As far as the parking, they could then shift the parking, use the parking to the north, that large parking lot. So we want to make sure that they, you know, keep those. And then the other church behind it on Scranton, I forget the name of that one, which is privately owned. You know, I mean, so much of that, the buildings were lost that, you know, that really made it an urban, dense neighborhood that people are trying to recreate now. Right?

Sarah Nemeth [01:02:08] Are you at all concerned about some of the gentrification that might come in and it become this new trendy hotspot?

Bob Gardin [01:02:17] Right, like Tremont. Yeah. I’m on a design review committee for Tremont historic district. And, you know, I hear that from a lot of people that, you know, that’s the concern with that area. But, you know, I get it could get to extremes, and I don’t know if we’re there, if that’s more of a concern, at least yet, versus look at the benefit that you’re getting, not just in the rehabilitation of the structures, but I think having people of more stable socioeconomic status affects the neighbors. You know now. Just being a good neighbor, I mean, that’s one thing. Where I moved, friends said, why are you moving further into the city? Right. This is 1980, ’81. And I thought, well, I didn’t plan on having kids. You know, I want to be an example. And, you know, I liked something about the neighborhood, the character and the layout and everything. You know, I knew I had some friends in the area there, too, of course, that’s why. But I knew that, especially at the time, if I did have kids, that the schools would be an issue. Not just the schools, because the neighborhood’s tough, you know? I mean, I don’t see it as an adult, but there’s too many negative influences, you know, for kids to be raised. But I’ve had tenants, you know, I have a two-family, and downstairs I had a woman and her two little kids. And, you know, for the most part, they’re pretty good neighbors. You know? I didn’t see a lot of negative influence, at least at that age. But once you get to teenagers, age different. Yeah. But, you know, I think it’s important if you can set an example and not leave the city, you know? It can make a difference for everyone. I mean, I’m close to everything. I do most of my hanging out in the Tremont neighborhood, but we want to see, and we’re talking, even in this neighborhood, Old Brooklyn, you know, they’re talking about all that moving south, right? And it’s going to hit the Jones Home-Metro area before it does here. And, you know, we’re looking forward to that. But the point being that you could set example, right, and change. You know, people can change just by example. They say, well, the poor and, you know, or the crime, it has to move somewhere. It’s like, yeah, but you could still be an example. You know, you could always have the goal of trying to improve lives, or not the goal. You always work to improve lives and, you know, and behavior. I mean, it’s never gonna disappear. You have to make that effort, and then you also have to, you know, make sure that there is mixed income. Right? You don’t want to be exclusive, you know, and I think that’s being done. You know, if you look in Tremont, you got the HOPE VI housing. Most people won’t even know that those are subsidized.

Sarah Nemeth [01:05:33] Look, on the surface of things, they don’t really get into it. There’s always that issue of, like, the investments. Good. The building up is good, good. Bringing in people of higher income will help out the poor. It’ll kind of like meet in the middle. But sometimes that doesn’t always happen.

Bob Gardin [01:05:50] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [01:05:51] The happy medium in a capitalistic society hasn’t necessarily gotten to that point yet, but there are people that are working to get there.

Bob Gardin [01:06:00] You look at Manhattan as an example. My God. Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [01:06:04] There’s not going to be anything left for anybody to go to unless you’re making I don’t even know how much.

Bob Gardin [01:06:12] Yeah, yeah. And it’s getting pretty out. I mean, to see some of these condos now are going for like 500,000. Unbelievable. You know? Yeah. So I don’t know.

Sarah Nemeth [01:06:28] Well, I guess in closing, if, for example, Parkview Tavern, there’s a whole bunch of building right by Battery Park that’s happening. Those corner apartments are going for $500,000. So.

Bob Gardin [01:06:41] Are they?

Sarah Nemeth [01:06:42] Yeah. Having people of those means coming into the neighborhood, or any neighborhood, do you think that what was essential to making that neighborhood trendy, what was essential to the character of the neighborhood, will be lost if it becomes-?

Bob Gardin [01:07:02] No, because, and that’s an example where it was vacant, you know, if, you know, vacant industrial lots. Yeah. I mean, it’s a win-win. Ironically, my, I think one of the first houses my dad lived was right next to Parkview.

Sarah Nemeth [01:07:22] Oh, really?

Bob Gardin [01:07:22] Yeah. He tells a story. No, he did. He passed away three years ago when he was 90, that his dad, his father had his supply of wine in the Parkview basement, whatever the tavern was then, I can’t remember the name, who owned it. And when they came to the US government, whatever division is, to take the wine out, they got the axes and the, you know, and the wine pouring down the gutters, and my dad telling the story that his dad would say, you know, that’s my private stash, you know, it’s not for sale. You know, don’t touch my- That barrel or whatever barrels and that. The guys lined up with the cups in the gutter trying to scoop- Can you imagine? But yeah, I mean, in recent years, yeah, it really hasn’t been of interest to people. I mean, it’s gone vacant. The property values have dropped. I’m not saying it can’t go to another extreme, but in most those cases, it’s a win-win. And wouldn’t you rather have the people moving there than building new and Medina or Lorain or Geauga? I mean, not just- I mean, socially, it’s better, you know, if you can keep a good mix with, you know, different income levels, economically, the cost of urban sprawl, right? And environmentally, certainly. And people, I know a lot of environmentalists that don’t understand the side of land use where if you look at compact, dense communities, you ever actually have less of an impact. You know, there’s things you can do with green infrastructure. Right? Whether it’s very dense, you’d have rain, roof gardens. Right? To having rain gardens in your yard versus, I mean, if you look at Manhattan, you take 3.5 million. If you were to spread those out at the density of one or two acres per person, you’d have a devastating effect on the environment. Can you imagine? Just in Manhattan itself upstate going up the Hudson Valley, what it would do? So density is not a bad thing. If you look at site-specific. Yeah, it’s going to have an impact. But if you look at per capita, you got to look at per capita. People don’t do that.

Sarah Nemeth [01:09:52] Yeah, you look at the whole. And it makes sense to live closer.

Bob Gardin [01:09:57] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [01:09:57] That way you can have the public transportation.

Bob Gardin [01:10:00] Right. [crosstalk] You justify the transportation, the public- Yeah. Yeah. So it’s cool to see that happening in the city, you know, and to be one of the- I have friends that, you know, that are like ten years older, the earlier [inaudible] who 10, 15 years older that I would call the pioneers, you know, and I could give you some names to talk to if you haven’t. Yeah. That I looked up to you, you know, that- Steve McQuillin’s younger side. But there’s others in that area, the neighborhood, that I could give you names, Rick Nicholson, Rick Jaworski, Rudy Horat. Some others in the Archwood area. Yeah. That I had looked up to. But it’s cool to be a part of that, to see. Yeah. We’re trying to pave the way for this to happen so that you can have socially, environmentally and economically sustainable neighborhoods, places where people want to live. Weave those trails, greenways in there. That’s part of the mix. It can’t be all forested land. It can’t be all open space. But to give that right mix of green space and public space, it’s pretty cool stuff.

Sarah Nemeth [01:11:25] It is. Well, thank you so much for meeting with me today.

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