Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance Monday night that could dramatically alter the city's physical landscape. Maybe not dramatically, but certainly symbolically! The legislation provides a funding mechanism for the demolition of payphones across the city.
Ord No. 1074-17, which you can read in full below, authorizes the city's director of finance, Sharon Dumas, to enter into contracts with various companies who will be paid to get rid of the payphones and restore the sidewalks from which they'll be rooted out.
The ordinance allows for as many as four years to get the work done — an initial two-year time frame, and two one-year extensions, if necessary — but the harsh reality is as follows: Cleveland's payphones will soon be relegated to memory. The photographers who have so meticulously chronicled this particular emblem of urban decay will have to cast their lenses elsewhere.
For the rest of us: Though we can no longer pay for calls, we can certainly pay our respects. For my part: Thank you, Cleveland payphones. My parents didn't let me have a cell phone until, like, senior year of high school, so I'm eternally grateful for a few frantic nights in particular, when, by your intercession I was saved from social derision by acquiring the home addresses to new acquaintances.