Readers' plea: Don't tear out doors!

Monday, May 18, 1998

BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Be careful when you open your voice mail. There's a mob forming to save the old doors at Union Terminal.

"Change those beautiful doors? Over my dead body!" -- Ralph Fields, Ludlow.

"Save the doors! Those babies are one-of-a-kind items." -- Allen Rose, Landen.

"The doors must stay! You'll never again get art like that in the world." -- Don Reinhold, Mount Washington.

"It would be a crime to replace those doors." -- Amanda Ross, Mount Lookout.

"It would be a shame." -- Ed Williams, Anderson Township.

"It would be a sin." -- Alice Bradford, Bridgetown.

These callers and 101 other readers voiced their strong objections to a plan put forth by Museum Center President Dick Glover to replace, rather than repair and renovate, the art deco front doors of the former train station. (No one called to support the idea.)

The calls and faxes rolled in last week. They were triggered by my column about the Museum Center's requesting $250,000 from city council to make historic Union Terminal's front entrance handicapped-accessible by replacing the original doors.

The column quoted experts in the field of architectural preservation who said the doors could be saved and mechanized. Instead of $250,000, the price for automating two original doors was $10,000.

"For $250,000, you can gold-plate them and still have money to allow them to open freely. Don't ruin the entrance to this gem." -- John Sansalone, Camp Washington.

"The tremendous arrogance of bureaucrats who run historic buildings is only exceeded by their stupidity." -- Vernon Lancaster, Kenwood.

"Dick Glover needs to be replaced!" -- Diane Jones, Forest Park.

"Why does everyone think "new is best'? It's not!" -- Arlene Fischesser, Bridgetown.

"Where do people come from with these high and mighty ideas? It doesn't take 10 men and a boy to figure out the doors can be saved." -- Millie Didlake, Anderson Township.

"We can't be too diligent in preserving beautiful architecture." -- Sara Paxton, Wyoming.

"In the '30s, people in wheelchairs didn't need automatic doors at the terminal. Doormen opened the doors. Bring them back." -- Phyllis Karp, downtown.

"Don't touch the doors. Don't mechanize them either. Hire me to be a greeter like they have at Wal-Mart. I won't cost $250,000." -- Michael Kelly, Price Hill.

Alex Wilson of White Oak offered a brief history lesson with his phone call objecting to removing the doors.

"Thousands of men went off to war and came home through those doors," he said. "The terminal gave employment to workers in need of a job in the Great Depression. Here's why they shouldn't be removed: Touch those doors and you touch our history and our heritage."

Deerfield vs. Mason

Deerfield Township and Mason have been battling for years over the city's annexing of township land and the related tax revenues. Last week, the fighting spilled over to the joint fire department that protects both communities.

After poking around Deerfield Township and talking with some of the people who are hopping mad, I offered a column last week that suggested the strong emotions were a reflection of the township's threatened sense of identity. And, I hoped both sides might embrace the idea of turning to a professional mediator.

Reaction suggests we're not quite there yet:

"The way Mason just takes our land is just like the way the Gestapo acted in World War II." -- Charlene Brooks, Landen.

"Mason's City Council is as stupid as the one in Cincinnati." -- Todd Burns, Deerfield Township.

"Come out and tour Mason. There are two sides to every story." -- E.C. Hanes, Mason.

"You just can't talk to the (township) trustees. All they want to do is shout and play political football with our fire department." -- Cay Steinhauer, Mason.

Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.

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