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East Cleveland community says ‘No’ to proposed Cuyahoga County jail

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 9:09 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some residents in East Cleveland don’t like what they hear about a planned new county jail possibly being built in their community. If it happens, it’s going to displace people who have lived in their homes for decades. They spoke about it with 19 News.

“We don’t want a jail over here,” said Harris Drummonds, who has lived in his house right next to the former Arco dump site for 50 years. He has the NIMBY attitude: NOT IN MY BACK YARD.

It was a long, hard fight that took years to win, but finally, the people on Noble Road got the Arco Dump cleaned up.

Now, they have a new fight on their hands. Cleveland.com first reported that Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish was by-passing a committee is considering the location of a new county jail by secretly asking consultants to focus on possible locations in East Cleveland.

Harris Drummonds says he’s discussed the issue with several of his neighbors, and they all agree.

“They put a jail over here they’re going to tear all the house down and everything and they’re going to try and screw us on our property,” he said.

In order to build a jail on the former Arco site about 70 homeowners would have to be displaced, according to the Cleveland.com report.

Art McCoy is a longtime community activist and business owner in East Cleveland.

“It was a slap in the face for them to put the dump out here in their backyard,” said McCoy. “So many of the seniors we’ve talked too feel it’s a slap in the face to go from a dump to a jail in their backyard.”

McCoy concedes a new jail may spur some economic benefit in East Cleveland.

“We all understand that. But, before they or Armond Budish or anybody, they’ve got to come to the damn seniors,” he said. The “people who have been living in this community for over 60, 50, 40 years and talk to them. If they agree that there should be a jail over there, then so be it.”

“We are absolutely disgusted about what we just heard about there being a prison.”

It won’t be if Betty and her husband have anything to do with it.

She and her husband Willie, who just had surgery, have lived in their house across from the site for 55 years.

“Please get this prison away from us. Put it on the West Side. Put it in Cleveland Heights. Put it anywhere but East Cleveland,” she said. “They just dump everything in East Cleveland. I think that because it’s a Black community.”

A spokesperson from the office of County Executive Armond Budish said quote: “I am sorry, but I have nothing more on this story for you.” end quote.

Again, Harris Drummonds.

“They put a dump over there for two and a half years. They said it was going to being jobs and help the community. What did it do? It didn’t help the community. It helped somebody’s pocket.”

Drummonds says he’s not going for the same trick twice.

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