Ed Hauser needed no introduction in Cleveland’s government circles. The tireless kayaker-activist, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack last November at 47, fought for decades against anything that smacked of establishment collusion — especially if it had anything to do with the riverfront, particularly Whiskey Island. City and county leaders were leery of his due diligence, but came out, one after the other upon his death, to praise it.
“Ed was somebody who certainly spoke what he believed in,” said Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone. “He never minced words. You always knew where you stood with him.”
So why not give the guy a street? And what better street than Whiskey Island Drive, the road that traverses the peninsula he fought so hard, and successfully, to preserve for future generations?
For a decade, as founder of Friends of Whiskey Island, Hauser rallied in support of saving the verdant Wendy Park portion of the peninsula for public use: the marina, the volleyball courts, the restaurant. Hauser became known as Mayor of Whiskey Island. Zone proposed last week, and on Monday council approved, a new name for the drive. At first, it was Ed Hauser Street, but Zone thought best to call it Ed Hauser Way, “because he finally had his way.”
Mayor Frank Jackson and several others city leaders are expected to join Hauser’s family and friends at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2, to dedicate the new street. Stick around afterwards to enjoy the view. Ed would have loved that. — Dan Harkins