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East Cleveland residents upset by recycling center

Neighbors complain they had no idea what the project involved.
East Cleveland recycling center

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Almost 80-year-old Charles Holmes has lived most of his life in East Cleveland. Lately he's watched the city struggle and its quality of life deteriorate because of severe economic problems.

On Monday, he got a close look at what he calls the straw that broke the camel's back.

"It's an embarrassment," he said, looking at a recently opened recycling site for construction materials in the middle of town.

The center opened last August along Noble Road. It butts up against homes on one side.

Neighbors complain they had no idea what the project involved.

Neighbor Frank Garner said, "We thought it was going to be a factory. We did not know this was coming."

Neighbor Cathy White said, "Nobody ever told us they were coming. Property taxes have not been lowered and the value of our property is just gone."

The city sold the site in March 2015 for $125,000. The city owned it, after getting it from the old General Electric Lighting complex.

Christina Beynon owns Arco Recycling, which operates the center.

She says Arco has hired local workers and pays the city taxes, turning the property into a plus.

"We have all the required permits and licenses to run this property. The city is aware of it. The state is aware of it," she said.

Actually, the State EPA does not regulate the center because no garbage or trash goes there.

Local air pollution concerns are addressed by the City of Cleveland for the Cuyahoga County Health Department.

Neighbor Willie Morrow complains about the dust and the noise.

"Those 18- and 27-wheeler trucks come up and down the streets and wake you up in the morning," he said.

He complained that the mayor and council members have been unresponsive to complaints and concerns..

Mayor Gary Norton said he sympathized with neighbors and promised to push the center to at least provide measures to hide the center's operation from adjoining neighbors.

On Tuesday night, East Cleveland Council was to consider a measure that could give the city a second such operation.

The proposal would involve leasing the city's old trash transfer station for another recycling materials center.

Charles Holmes said he holds Mayor Norton and council responsible for any problems caused by the center.

He's been a dedicated East Cleveland resident, but said this situation is the last straw. Holmes said, if someone offers him half the value of his home, he will move out of his beloved city.

Follow WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres on Twitter: @TomBeres

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