Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park supporters stage another protest to save homes
Holding protest signs including “Fund our community, not our displacement,” about 10 supporters of the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park demonstrated outside of a Western Reserve Land Conservancy fundraiser at the conservancy’s Moreland Hills headquarters Friday morning.
The conservancy, which owns the land where the mobile home park sits in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, announced in February that more than 100 mobile home residents would have to move to make way for a new public park. Since then, United Residents of Euclid Beach (UREB) — a resident’s union with about 40 members — and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) have continued to protest the decision, saying the park and the mobile home park can coexist.
The conservancy bought the property in 2021 and made the decision earlier this year to hand the property over the Cleveland Metroparks. WRLC said it would provide financial and logistical assistance to residents as they seek new places to live. They can stay in the park until it closes more than a year from now. The decision was made in partnership with local officials, community development corporations and input from Collinwood community members.
“They behave as if it’s a rock-solid plan by not listening to us and not talking to us,” said Anthony Beard, a UREB member and a resident of the mobile home community since 2007.
Some NEOCH staff handed flyers to fundraiser attendees as they walked to the breakfast event. NEOCH Executive Director Chris Knestrick drove a trailer onto the conservancy’s property for the crowd to message spray painted on it: “Residents demand to stay.”
“We’re out here today just representing those 40 members and kind of creatively reminding the funding base and the board of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy that what they’re doing is displacing and destroying a community,” Knestrick said.
After the fundraiser, a conservancy spokesperson said the plan to close the mobile home park is unchanged.
“They have every right to express their opinion. They were peaceful. We appreciated that. But the reality is the Euclid Beach mobile home community is going to close August 31, 2024,” said Jared Saylor, WRLC director of communications and public relations. “We recognize that this is a big change in people’s lives and we don’t take that lightly.”
Beard said he remains hopeful the mobile home park will survive.
“We’re reaching out to everybody listening and someone, we believe, will come in and help us find a resolution that’s best for the residents,” Beard said.
Knestrick said he was disappointed that Matt Zone, WRLC senior vice president and director of thriving communities, wouldn’t recognize UREB as a union. Saylor confirmed that Zone and the conservancy don’t recognize UREB as a union.
Saylor said the conservancy expects to give residents more details on compensation packages next month. He said WRLC is working with housing organizations in the region, such as Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Habitat for Humanity and Cuyahoga Land Bank, to help find housing for the residents.
“All of these organizations that we’re working with to try and find suitable housing options and really to help residents get into a new home,” Saylor said. “I am proud of this organization to have made such an effort and I know for a fact no other mobile home community owner would have done what we’ve done and gone as far as we have.”
The WRLC fundraiser Friday morning was for the conservancy’s initiative to improve Cleveland’s tree canopy.