Friday, April 21, 2017

Planning for a review of greens space and parks and recreation assets in Ward 14

The Ward 14 office, together with staff from the Metro West Community Development Organization and  Cleveland Planning Commission, are continuing to review the conditions of our community greens spaces and parks.  This past year we were able to plant over 120 trees along the Denison Avenue area from Brooklyn Centre, through Clark Fulton, and Stockyard neighborhoods.

Johanna Hamm was instrumental in the tree plantings and also led an initiative to install a reading garden and pocket park adjacent to the Fulton Road Library - see the article on that project posted here.  In addition, the Ward 14 office has also worked to have two traffic median strips installed on the ends of the Pearl Road/W. 25th Street bridge over I-71.  The median strips have been planted with trees and grasses to soften the entrances and exits to the freeway as well as to the Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.

We'll be continuing with this work this year in reviewing the conditions and opportunities for improvements to the following parks and green spaces:

Our work is being complemented by the City's Planning Commission efforts to develop maps demonstrating where there is or not access to green space and recreation facilities.  They've begun work on mapping all city parks and recreation facilities and will be working to add school playground and play fields to better demonstrate and visualize are greens space and parks assets and where we should consider strengthening and adding amenities.  We also plan on adding to the maps the locations of active community gardens.  Although there are not a lot of resources for green space and recreation facilities improvements, with the City's enhanced budget it is expected that each of the 17-wards will be receiving $75,000 that can be used for such improvements.

It is expected that this summer we'll be scheduling community meetings for the areas of the neighborhoods closest to these sites to get input from residents on improvements and amenities they would like to see.  In meetings over the past few years there has been a lot of debate about the possibility of installing new basketball courts, or advocating for a soccer-field and even mini-skateboard-park amenities as well as more standard playground equipment for younger children as well as benches and seating areas.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns regarding green space and parks please call our office at 216-664-4238.

Division of Fire will be conducting a fire training at 3353 W. 56th Street off of Storer Avenue

The City of Cleveland's Division of Fire will be doing their annual live fire training for the 2017 Cadet Class.  They'll be using a vacant abandon home that the County has taken control of at 3353 W. 56th Street.

The structure's rooms will be sealed and fuel from pallets and straw will placed in them to simulate a house fire.  There will be cadets, fire apparatus, trainers and officials from the Division of Fire on hand for the training exercise that will begin at 9:00 am with the fire training starting at 10:00 am.  After the training the structure will be demolished and debris removed.  If any residents that live close by have any concerns or questions, please call the Division of Fire at 216-664-6880.

See the notice from the Division of Fire below.  Here are some photos of the training that was held in 2014.

New Fulton Library Reading Garden

By Johanna Hamm

For more than 20 years, the two commercial buildings located on the corner of Fulton Road and Arnold Court stood vacant, and eventually fell into disrepair and became an eyesore for many area residents. Despite their architectural significance, renovation for these structures was cost prohibitive and after several incidents of arson, they ultimately were slated for demolition. After the site was cleared, many area residents called our office to express their appreciation, however they also inquired about what will become of these two parcels.

After receiving numerous suggestions, and considering the needs of the community, our office decided to create a visually distinctive place that would add to the neighborhood’s identity and character. Working collaboratively with the Metro West Community Development Organization and the neighboring Cleveland Public Library Fulton Branch, we decided a “reading garden”, could be utilized by library patrons and residents alike. Moreover, this project would create a much-needed pocket park with many new trees and a place where anyone could come and rest, gather with others, and enjoy their community.

In 2014, working with Metro West CDC’s Green Space Manager, Sasha Ottoson-Deal, we were awarded a Neighborhood Placemaking Grant, one of only three projects selected throughout the city of Cleveland.  The Reading Garden project received $15,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding, which was primarily utilized for soil remediation, the installation of a brick pathway, and landscaping for the site. The benches and stamped concrete wall were generously donated by Terrace Construction and the park would also be chosen as a site for a squirrel sculpture, a 1930’s era re-production that is part of Councilman Cummins’ larger community-wide public art installation.

A special thank you goes out to a number of residents that helped with this project as well as to our partners at Court Community Service, all of whom contributed the work needed to see this project completed. In addition, the staff at Cleveland Public Library’s Fulton Branch have agreed to maintain the lot and treat it as a natural extension of our neighborhood Library.

Our office is proud to have helped envision and carry out this project, an effort which transforms a once forgotten space and will build community. The intention of the Neighborhood Placemaking Grant program was to fund projects that seek to create “great little places in our City’s neighborhood” and foster a better sense of community. We hope this little corner lot has done just that, and the next time you pass, we hope you will stop and pay a visit.