Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Rivers Roads and Rails: West Creek and Cuyahoga River
77 total

Jacqueline Graef and Jane Schooff interview, 28 June 2006

Jacqueline and Jane discuss various aspects of the Moravian Church and its role in Dover's history. They discuss indepth the history of the church, special ceremonies, the foundation of the church, and how the church has played a significant role in the town's development. Interview was conducted by various members of the Rivers Roads and Rails (TAH Project) Dover team.

Lester Williams interview, 28 June 2006

Lester gives an well-rounded history of the town of Dover, Ohio. His interest in and appreciation for Dover's history and history in general stems from the work his family has done in this field. The subjects he discusses are vast in scope. Everything from racial discrimination to the Ohio Canal are discussed in detail as they pertain to Dover. Interview was conducted by various members of the Rivers Roads and Rails (TAH Project) Dover team.

John Debo interview, 2008

John Debo is Superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He talks about the influence of Earth Day and the environmental movement on his decision to seek a job in the National Park Service. He arrived to take a summer job at what was then the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area having never visited. He discusses the state of the park in the 1970s and the work done there in the 1970s-90s. He discusses the Towpath Trail, Environmental Education Center, the formation and early work of the…

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Thomas Yablonsky Interview, 2008

Involved in historic development in Cleveland, especially the warehouse district and gateway district, Cleveland native Thomas Yablonsky discusses the Ohio and Erie Canal He is on the Ohio and Erie Canal association board as well as the Ohio canal corridor. He also discusses the changes and developments in the Tremont region.

Michael Owen Interview, 24 June, 2008

Background in real estate and art. Created network between creative people and revitalization. Self employed as a consultant for Cascade Locks; set out to create an arts district. Northside Project Ice House renovation with choreographer, David Shimotakahara. Northside intended to be magnet for Metropark visitors. Saddened over damage done by 'urban renewal". Rails against local leaders and entrenched old boy network. Looks back on transformation of the area. Credits two local entrepreneurs. Joy…

Neil Hess Interview, 2008

A Jackson County native and graduate of Ohio University's geology program, Neil Hess discusses his work in environmental consulting and his specific work on the West Creek project. Hess reflects on the initial goals of the project as well as the experience of working with volunteers and a public separated by class as well as education. Hess details throughout much of the interview the economic, social, political, and pragmatic use of nature and the importance of conservation projects.

Tim Dobeck Interview, 2008

The Law Director of the City of Parma, Tim Dobeck reflects on the grassroots effort to initiate the West Creek Project in 1998. While ignorant of the land area as a child, Dobeck speaks of the impact the project and space has had on his professional and personal life in recent years. His legal effort saved the space from commercial development and he discusses the land's use as an environmentally protected greenspace.

Sue Zurovchack Interview, 2008

This interview focuses on the origins of the West Creek conservation projects as well as the collaborations between citizenry and government. Particularly focusing on community organization and activism, the interview emphasizes the significance of a public understanding of issues pertaining to environmental concerns. Also discussed are educational inititiatives and the significance of the involvement of the MetroParks in the project.

Dan Rice Interview, 2008

Dan Rice, Curator at the Summit County Historical Society, discusses his role promoting the Ohio and Erie Canalway project and working with developers seeking to mesh their projects with the canal. Rice discusses the roles of congressmen John Seiberling and Ralph Regula in building public support for the Canalway initiative. He also discusses the use of the canal in educational programming and efforts to teach about sustainability. Throughout the interview, Rice emphasizes his faith in the…

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John and Diane Palivoda Interview, 19 June 2008

Long time citizens of the community, Diane and John Palivoda talk about their role in facilitating community organization around the West Creek project. Discussion topics include childhood memories of nature and the surrounding area, the generational divide on issues pertaining to the environment, and the economic and social impact of the West Creek conservation project.

Barbara Hermes Interview, 2008

A Parma resient since the late 1960s, Barbara Hermes reflects on the organization of citzens around the preservation of West Creek and the improvements of watersheds for the purpose of creating a towpath. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Hermes talks at length about funding and political issues and debates surrounding this and other conservation projects. The interviewee also comments on the role of the committee in educating future children about the environmental significance of WCPC and…

Jen Maurer Interview, 2008

Cascade Locks Association director Jen Maurer explains the strategic plan to preserve and rehabilitate the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She argues that the historical benefits for the public outweigh disagreements over the park. Maurer discusses the Mustill house and store and how Virginia Wojno-Forney was the visionary for its successful restoration.

David Lincheck Interview, 2008

Dave Lincheck, Director and co-founder of the West Creek Preserve and Greenway discusses his grassroots fight to preserve the greenspace of Cleveland from commercial developments that undermine living space. Projects include the wetland restoration project and the conservation of physical landscapes in Cleveland's west side. Lincheck believes that conservation projects increase the livability of the city, underlying issues such as urban sprawl and the development of rural areas that may have…

Pat Holland Interview, 2008

As a railroad breakerman since 1978, Pat Holland discusses his goal in connecting downtown Cleveland with the Midwest Railway. The interview discusses the loss of records due to fire, restoration, and historical preservation of the railway. Holland also discusses the fundraising and economic challenges that have impacted the RR in Cleveland.

Dean DePiero Interview, 24 June, 2008

The mayor of Parma, Dean Depiero discusses his political effort in concert with the West Creek conservation project and the impact of the environmental efforts on his community. From a political perspective, the mayor focuses much of the interview on the process by which he and local constituents came to support the efforts of conservationists and the impact the project has had on Parma's economic, environmental, and social landscape.

Walter Allen Interview, 2008

Walter Allen, an artist and active participant in West Creek preservation, details his life and work as a designer for the organization. Born in the 1920s, Allen's story highlights not only his work with West Creek and carreer as an artist, it highlights the historical impact of national events on the city of Cleveland. Allen, a product of the GI bill and graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, details this and other elements of history in relation to the greater Cleveland area.

Charles Germana Interview, 2008

Charles Germana, President of Parma's City Council, discusses the issues surrounding the city and the impact of the West Creek Project. Discussed at length are issues of population density and overdevelopment. The issue of the use of land in Parma is described as a "synergy" of influences. Ultimately, the councilman discusses the impact of West Creek on a specific issue of land in Parma to be used as a park and to combat issues of population and the density of retail in a suburban community.

Jim Kastelic Interview 2 of 2, June 2008

Educated in urban geography and a former employee of the Cuyahoga County Regional Planning Commission, Jim Kastelic details his array of experience with West Creek preservation. Kastelic details the challenges of convincing a suburban community of the benefits of green space and the significance of preservation and restoration in general. Kastelic notes the positive impact that the West Creek Preservation Committee has had on the residents of Parma and the influence that he believes will…

Ron Schadrach Interview, 2008

A self-described "active observer," Ron Schadrach discusses his unique role in the identification of areas for preservation. Schadrach speaks about the involvement of local boy scouts and the paradoxical struggle to utilize education effectively. While the boy scouts proved helpful, Schadrach emphasizes the lack of teacher support in the creation of a learning facility in West Creek. In a related issue, Schadrach also highlights the dissatisfaction of many citizens of Parma in the wake of the…

Scott Curtis Interview, 2008

Scott Curtis discusses his past work as a councilman and member of the WCPC. Issues discussed include the opening of trails and projects in Seven Hills, Hinkley, Pleasant Valley, and work with ODOT. Curtis also highlights his transition into the legal profession and the impact and influence of preservation and conservation in Cleveland on his career.

Laura McShane Interview, 2008

A librarian and board member of the WCPC, Laura McShane discusses the grant writing process, watershed projects, maping program, and citizen support of the work of the organization. As a librarian and researcher, McShane provides some historical background of the area while emphasizing the role of the project in community building. McShane attempts to make clear the role of environmental conservation in preserving communities, linking sprawl with environmental hazards.

Tim DeGeeter Interview, 2008

A former Parma Law Clerk with an educational background in Cleveland, Tim DeGeeter discusses the political and legal effort to see the goals of the West Creek project become a reality. Believing that greenspace and parks are areas that communities grow around, DeGeeter's use of the ballot to increase efforts and citizen's awareness are vital to the success of the West Creek project.

Joel Testa Interview, 24 June, 2008

Joel Testa is the chief operating officer of Testa Companies, a real estate development firm. Testa discusses his background in industrial design, his company's growth and various projects it has undertaken, and the potential for bringing a "Manhattan lifestyle" to downtown Akron through development that correlates with the Towpath Trail. He also discusses the importance of green space and sustainable development.

Pete Henderson Interview, 24 June, 2008

Pete Henderson is a past leader of the Cuyahoga Valley Community Council. In this interview he discusses his city and regional planning background and the challenges he addressed in the Cuyahoga Valley, including overcoming local governments' fears that a national park threatened to reduce the tax base through acquisition of otherwise developable land, problems of traffic, deer overpopulation, and gypsy moths. He also discusses farm restoration efforts.

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Peg Bobel Interview, 2008

Peg Bobel grew up in Akron and became interested in nature by spending time in Virginia Kendall Park and Munroe Falls, which led to her environmentalist activism, including in the Sierra Club. Bobel later served as Executive Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Association (later CVNPA) from 1989 to 2001. She wrote "Trail Guide to the Park," "Nature of the Towpath," and "Beyond Cleveland on Foot" and hosted the first Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor planning meeting to help preserve…

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Chris Soukoup Interview, 2008

A Detroit native, Chris Soukoup discusses the legal aspect of land acquisition for West Creek. His legal perspective specifically addresses the challenging and paradoxical issue of land preservation and commercial development. Using first hand accounts and experience, Soukoup explains how urban commericial development can be achieved without compromising the intent of preserving greenspace and land.

Terry Stahurski Interview, 2008

Terry Stahurski discusses his work in West Creek Preservation after a court ruling that resulted in the destruction of wooded areas of the west side. Hoping to preserve green space, reduce pollution, and secure environmental protection, Stahurski began grantseeking and fundraising. He describes the environmental degradation in the West Creek watershed in Parma. The interview also focuses on the necessity to inform the public and continuing support for conservation projects.

Kerry Metzger Interview, 2008

Kerry Metzger moved to New Philadelphia, Ohio, in 1978. He gave up his dental practice to become a Tuscarawas County Commissioner. In this capacity he oversees the purchase of land for bridge planned to connect the Towpath Trail over I-77 as well as working to secure the lands needed to extend the trail from Dover to New Philadelphia. He discusses the hiring of Gail Doyle as Park Director, the development of a technology-based industrial park, and the environmental hazards posed by a large…

Tim Donovan Interview, 2008

Tim Donovan explains his work with the Ohio Erie Canal Corridor and the Erie Canalway Association. Focused on articulating a sense of Cleveland's history and culture through a Canal Heritage project, Donovan believes that a connection and understanding of the Canal and its usefulness both historically and in the present can reinvigorate the city of Cleveland and the surrounding areas. Donovan details the political and professional work that he has done and continues to do to ensure the goals are…

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Elaine Marsh Interview, 2008

Elaine Marsh of the Friends of the Crooked River talks about growing up in Cleveland and moving to Independence as a teenager in 1959. She recalls canoeing on the Cuyahoga River, camping with her family, sleeping in deserted areas of the Cuyahoga Valley on the hottest summer nights, hiking in the area at a time when its limited access afforded privacy. She became active in the Sierra Club as a young adult. Marsh describes the beauty and mystery of the night sky as viewed from Virginia Kendall.…

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Pat White Interview, 2008

Pat White, a former mayor of Bolivar, Ohio, got involved in the Ohio Canal project through Dick Lebold. As Mayor, she supported the project despite the cost overruns and slow pace because of what she viewed as its commercial, employment, and public advantages. She lists various fund-raising events, discusses grant funds for park purchase, and how the EPA limited the negative impact of a landfill on the area.

Tom Long Interview, 2008

Tom Long, a design and parks development expert, discusses a city/park partnership working towards completing eight developmental units, including plans for the Towpath Trail along the Ohio Canal. Birth of the Cascade Locks Park Association and the movement toward the parks' grand opening as more organizations got involved, fundraising for the Schumacher Mill Site restoration and waterwheel project, and plans for the Richard Howe house. He also discusses the role of the park in economic…

Tom Fritsch Interview, 2008

Tom Fritsch works in the Akron Metro Area Transportation Study (AMATS) division of the City of Akron, mapping short- and long-range plans for federal funding. He became an environmental activist in college, motivated by an article in the Akron Beacon Journal. Fritsch conducted school-bus tours of the park for children, helped in the Beaver Pond and other park cleanup projects, and joined a chapter of the Sierra Club to help preserve the Cuyahoga Valley. He was directly involved in developing…

Robert Greytak Interview, 2008

Robert Greytak, a resident of Parma and graduate of CSU's civil engineering program, discusses his leadership of and work with the West Creek Reservation Committee. While focusing primarily on fundraising and the arduous process of receiving grants, Greytak also details his rise in the organization and his passion for environmental conservation. As environmental concerns increase with each passing year, Greytak's discussion of fundraising and grant acquisition for enviromental projects is placed…

Tom and Bertha Jones Interview, 24 June, 2008

Tom and Bertha Jones are longtime residents of the Cuyahoga County in Summit County. Tom and his father built Tamson Park in Peninsula, while Bertha was a township clerk. When the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was formed, the Joneses sold their home to the NPS, accepted a twenty-year residency, and now rent from the park. In this interview they share early memories of the Cuyahoga Valley, including social life in Peninsula in the 1940s-50s, the trains that ran through the village, and how…

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Jim Kastelic Interview, 19 June 2008

A graduate of Kent State University in urban geography, Jim Kastlic outlines his vision for reconstructing the towpath trail. Centered around the national park, Kastlic outlines how the towpath can provide Cleveland with a sense of history, economic opportunites through tourism, and how the towpath falls in line with new residential visions. This path, a utilization of the natural landscape in an urban setting, he belives, is vital to Cleveland's future.

Ron White Interview, 2008

Ron White discusses his work as the Director of Economic Development for the city of Independence and emphasizes how local environmental projects are affecting his city particularly. White discusses how the regional developmental projects are connected intrinsically to the city's "two year plan," which includes property development, land and building restoration, and wildlife and green space conservation. Overall, White articulates how the economic and social future of the city is connected to…

Bridget Garvin Interview, 24 June, 2008

Bridget Garvin gives background, childhood memories in Toledo, and inspiration to work in the perservation field. Describes Cascade Locks,including some history, benefits, and passion to curb suburban sprawl.Garvin notes some milestones in using the Cascade Locks to link the city as a boost to the economy, rather then just a park. Discusses fundraising challenges, donors, political supporters.Virginia Wojno-Forney began the project and Garvin picked it up in 2001. Describes Cascade Mill, and…

Anthony Spzak Interview, 2008

Active in pressuring Parma's City Council in the late 1960s and 1970s, Anthony Spzak reflects on his past work to improve the landfill conditions of the city in order to protect his children and family. Motivated again by health in relation to sewage, Spzak discusses his motivation for working with WCPC to halt the building of a golf course and to the adverse affects of poorly managed drainage systems. Spzak's interview notes the correlation between issues pertaining to public health and the…

Dean Perry Interview, 24 June, 2008

Dean Perry was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and moved to northeastern Ohio as a child. Perry began working as a seasonal motor vehicle operator in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the early 1980s and eventually worked his way up to supervisor of grounds and trails. Perry discusses the remedial work required restore the Canal Visitor Center and the Towpath Trail from their state of abandonment, as well as the restorations of Gleason Farm and Everett Village. He also describes the impacts of a…

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Irene Toth Interview, 2008

Irene Toth, a member of the board of trusttees of WCPC and an amatuer historian discusses both the history of the West Creek area and her life in Cleveland since 1928. Also discussed are the positive environmental effects of the project and the social identification of the "naturalist group" she is a part of. Toth also examines the group's future and transition from a single-issue committee to a conservancy advocate.

Christine Freitag Interview, 2008

Christine Freitag, curator of Botany at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and native of Akron talks about her work with Ohio's conservation effort, focusing primarily on the the impact on the natural landscape, wildlife, and environment in the region.

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David Whited Interview, 24 June, 2008

David Whited is Chief of Planning & Development for Summit County Metro Parks. Trained in Landscape Architecture, Whited oversees new bike trails, towpath completion, and land acquisitions. In this interview, he discusses Munroe Falls, Nature Realm, and plans to develop Cascade Valley Park. He provides some of the history of Summit Metro Parks, including the park district's reputation as one of the oldest, largest, and most influential in the area of land conservation. He describes the problems…

Jeff Lennartz Interview, 2008

Jeff Lennartz, acting treasurer of the West Creek Preservation Committee and a development engineer, addresses viable fundraising and economic issues facing the group and the effects on projects. Accompanying this discussion are the social, political, and fiscal challenges that are at the core of preservation and conservation and the impact they have had on the work of Lennartz.

Darwin Kelsey Interview, 2008

Darwin Kelsey discusses the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Initiative, a nonprofit founded in 1999 to rehabilitate local farms within the park. A former employee of Sturbridge Farm, a living history site, Kelsey discusses working in the research department and how a background in historic preservation and living history facilitated future endeavors such as the CVCI. Kelsey discusses in detail the necessity of agricultural and farm preservation and how increased awareness of farm advocacy can have…

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Rose Mary Snell Interview, 2008

With family connections dating back to Schaffee Rd. and the Cuyahoga Valley since the 19th century, Rose Mary Snell discusses the Council mission to act as a liason between residents, the park, and civil governments. Important to Snell is the cooperation between Summit and Cuyahoga Counties for regional water and park management. She also discusses her desire to see land purchases of the National Park, Metroparks, and Sagamore Hills.

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Siegfried Buerling Interview, 2008

A native of Germany, Siegfried Buerling discusses his work with the Western Reserve Historical Society as well as the resurgance of Hale Farm and Village. Discussing the challenge of the inclusion of RR into the process and the role of the National Park Service, Siegfried Buerling also discusses first person interpretation. Discussed in detail are the issues, problems, and impracticality facilitated by the "first person paradigm."

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