| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Green Space + Parks : For Good

22 Green Space + Parks Articles | Page: | Show All

volunteers needed for tall ship festival sailing into town this july

The Tall Ships are sailing back into the Cleveland harbor this summer, and are going to need some volunteers to stay afloat.

Okay, nobody will be hoisting the mizzenmast or lifting any bales, but there is a call for greeters, ticket takers, crowd control marshals, hospitality workers, docents, and more once the four-day event kicks off on July 3.

The Tall Ships Festival, returning to the lakefront for the first time since 2010,  is being organized and presented by the Rotary Club of Cleveland with support from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. Some 500 enthusiastic volunteers are needed to ensure everything runs swimmingly, says Rotary Club member Edward Thomas.

"We can use people to carry water, help people get off and on boats, and drive ship crew members to the grocery store," Thomas says. "Virtually anything that's needed to be done, a volunteer is needed to help out."

Volunteers need to be 18-or-over and available for a minimum of two shifts between July 3 and 8, note festival organizers. Applicants can sign up on the festival website.

The family-friendly happening will bring a dozen replica historic vessels, showcasing the Great Lakes' great past and allowing visitors to experience the heritage these historic ships symbolize, says Thomas. Officials expect about 100,000 visitors for the event.

"It's always good to be around something where there's lots of energy and excitment," Thomas says. "It will be a great experience for those willing to help us bring life to the lakefront."

SOURCE: Edward Thomas
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth 

port authority hears call of nature, re-opens lakefront preserve

The month of May has brought a stretch of warm weather to Northeast Ohio. The presence of sunny days is a happy coincidence for folks wanting to visit the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, re-opened by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority on May 1.

The 88-acre wildlife haven had been temporarily closed during environmental remediation of five acres on the site. New soil and seeds were added to the acreage, while a loop trail meandering through the space has also been re-opened to the public.

Since the park's comeback, about 200 nature lovers already have visited the preserve, reports Brian Lynch, the port authority's vice president for planning and development. May is the beginning of the spring bird migration season and a prime time for visitors to walk the trails of the former dredging containment facility along Lake Erie.

Feathered creatures aren't the only animals flocking through the park. According to the port authority, the preserve is also packed with various species of mammals, reptiles and insects, not to mention a healthy stock of plants, trees and shrubs.

"The life cycle is remarkable," says Lynch.

The preserve remediation project was conducted by the port in partnership with Cuyahoga County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA, and the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. Once the newly refurbished five acres officially becomes green space, Lynch can see the entire park becoming an even bigger destination for birders and people wanting to access the lakefront.

"It's great having this green space on the lake," he says.
SOURCE: Brian Lynch
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

county residents have a vote in how cac will award $300k in arts funding

Northeast Ohio has a vibrant arts and culture ecosystem, so why not let its patrons be directly involved in growing that environment?

This was a question asked by nonprofit Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) when putting to a public vote which large-scale arts or culture projects will receive funding through the organization's new Creative Culture Grants program.

Starting February 1, voters will be able to pick two winning arts projects from a list of six finalists chosen by an independent panel of arts and culture experts. The project finalists, among them a multi-media ballet led by Dancing Wheels, a multi-faceted light installation from LAND studio, and a community-wide arts collaboration between Cleveland's East and West sides, were chosen based on their creativity and prospective ability to impact thousands of Cuyahoga County residents.

"We wanted something that would be a stretch for these groups; something they may not have tried otherwise," says CAC executive director Karen Gahl-Mills.

The winning projects will get up to $150,000 each through the nonprofit's grants program. County residents can vote in two ways: Online up until 11:59 p.m. EST on February 20 or by mail until 4:30 p.m. EST February 15. Paper ballots will be available for download or by calling 216-515-8303. CAC will announce the winning projects on February 25. The chosen projects will take place between March 2013 and August 2014.

Gahl-Mills views the vote as the public's opportunity to have a real say as to where community dollars are going.

"Any of the six projects can be terrific for the region," she says. "We want the community to help make that decision."

SOURCE: Karen Gahl-Mills 
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

earth day coalition co-founder retires after 23 years with the organization

Steadfast. Tenacious and uncompromising. Someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues at hand.

Those are just a few of the plaudits Earth Day Coalition (EDC) executive director Scott Sanders has for his retiring compatriot, EDC co-executive director Chris Trepal, who will be honored on Friday, Nov. 9 during the organization's Instrumental Evening for the Earth.

Trepal co-founded the nonprofit environmental education/advocacy group with Sanders in 1990. As a devoted environmental advocate, she has played an integral role in the community projects EDC is best known for, Sanders says.
Among Trepal's career highlights:

* Helped establish the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve opened to the public in February 2012. The former Dike 14 has 80-plus acres of "wild" activity, including 300 species of birds that live and migrate on site.

* Spearheaded EDC's NatureHood project, which has restored native plants to 32,500 square feet of neighborhood-maintained vacant land. An additional 16,500 square feet of empty lot on the West Side has been converted into a plant nursery.

* Worked on such clean air issues as Diesel Hot Spots, idle reduction, mercury-fish consumption and Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy project.

Trepal has a drawer full of awards recognizing her accomplishments, including the Greater Cleveland Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Cleveland. These honors are well-deserved, says Sanders.

"Chris is masterful in terms of her knowledge and approach," says the EDC director. "She's one of the hardest working people I've ever known."

Trepal's executive director position retires with her. Earlier this year, EDC named Elaine Barnes as its development and program director. The organization will also be hiring additional advocacy staff to make up for the experience lost with Trepal's leave-taking.

"Our vision has crystallized in the last year," says Sanders. "We want to strengthen our neighborhood focus as well as continue collaborations with groups like the Metroparks."

Regardless, Trepal's leadership will be missed, notes Sanders. "I learned a lot from her over the years," he says.

Source: Scott Sanders
Writer Douglas Guth

new potluck event to build sense of community around local food

Everyone loves a potluck. They inspire people to bring their A-game and try new, exciting dishes, showcase diverse cultural backgrounds, and spark conversations about where our food comes from.

This Saturday from 4:30-7 p.m., what one might call the mother of all potlucks is taking place at Edgewater Park. The grassroots "Potluck in the Park" aims to bring residents together from across the city to celebrate local food in Cleveland and share a meal together.

"The idea was inspired when a group of us went to Detroit and learned about their potlucks," says Lilah Zautner, Sustainability Manager for Neighborhood Progress Incorporated and a lead organizer of the event. "They get 200-plus people at their potlucks, a big spectrum of folks. You'll find super-delicious homemade quinoa next to a bucket of KFC fried chicken. Everything goes on the table and everyone eats."

Although the primary purpose of the event is to build a sense of community around local food, the potluck will also celebrate the city's Year of Local Food. Zautner says the effort, led by Sustainable Cleveland 2019, has been a success.

"New farms are coming online literally every week, the strength and number of farmers markets are growing, and we're getting lots of press," she says. "The quality, size and sophistication of these food-based businesses are growing."

Helping urban farmers in Cleveland grow to the next level was also a big topic of discussion at a Cleveland Connects event hosted last week by ideastream and The Plain Dealer. It raised the question, "Can distinctive restaurants, food-related businesses and urban farms nourish the rebirth of Cleveland's neighborhoods?"

"We want to use microenterprise programs to help bring farmers to scale and create value-added products," responded Colleen Gilson, Executive Director of Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition (CNDC). "These products will allow farmers to sell their products for more money and create more jobs."

"People have innovation and drive but not the facilities," Gilson added. "The growth of commercial kitchens would really help to spur more development."

"The sky is the limit," said David O'Neil with the Project for Public Spaces. "Cleveland, you have enormous potential to grow your local food system."

The Potluck in the Park is open to anyone; bring a dish to share and, of course, local food is encouraged. Guests can register in advance on the Eventbrite page.

Source: Lilah Zautner, Colleen Gilson, David O'Neil

new event aims to put flats' rivergate on map as a recreation destination

Mention Rivergate Park in the Flats in conversation and you'll likely be met with blank looks. Yet an eclectic alliance of skateboarders, cyclists and urban recreation groups are trying to change that with Rollin' on the River, an event that aims to put Rivergate on the map as a recreation destination.

Rollin' on the River, which takes place Saturday, September 29th at 1785 Merwin Avenue, will bring together skateboarding, cycling and music for an afternoon of fun.

"A lot of change has come to the Flats over the summer and 2013 will hold even more," said Vince Frantz, Executive Director of the skateboarding advocacy organization Public Square Group, in a release. "We wanted to celebrate that and highlight the amazing recreation organizations doing awesome work in the city.”

Rivergate Park is a new, 2.4-acre Cleveland Metropark that lies adjacent to the Columbus Road bridge along the Cuyahoga River in the Flats. The Cleveland Rowing Foundation also owns acreage there which includes its boathouse. In the coming months, there are big plans for this small slice of urban waterfront.

The City of Cleveland will break ground on the long-awaited Crooked River Skatepark by the end of the year. The Metroparks also plans to develop its new park and offer programming that will include adventure sports, canoeing and kayaking. Rivergate Park is already home to the Head of the Cuyahoga regatta race, the Ohio City Bike Co-op and the Cleveland Dragon Boat Association.

The free, all-ages event starts at 2 p.m. with a pop-up skateboard park, dragon boat rides on the river, live music, beer and food. Bike Cleveland is also organizing rides to Rivergate, and a contest will be held for the best bike carrier for a skateboard.

Source: Vince Frantz
Writer: Lee Chilcote

euclid beach blast helps to envision future of treasured cleveland landmark

Stephen Love got involved in helping to clean up Euclid Beach Park when he visited his grandmother in North Collinwood and was shocked by its neglect.

"I visited the state parks and the beaches were terrible," says the Cleveland Heights resident, who works as an Information Specialist at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. "It was a wakeup call to see how I could get more involved."

To capitalize on the artistic energy of the Waterloo Arts District and draw people to Collinwood's diamond-in-the-rough beaches, Love helped organize the first Euclid Beach Blast in 2011. The one-day festival explored the area's relationship with its lakefront parks and challenged visitors to envision a better future.

"The Euclid Beach amusement park defines the past, but this event is really about what you could do in this space," says Love. "We have installations, performance art, murals and pop-up activities. We want people to learn about water quality."

The second annual Euclid Beach Blast takes place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, August 4th. Activities include making your own trash art with Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot, workshops, games, music, biking and skateboarding. There also will be an after-party with live music at the Beachland Ballroom.

Love and the Euclid Beach Adopt-a-Beach Team also organize regular monthly cleanups of North Collinwood's beaches. Love says that the long-term solution is for the Cleveland Metroparks to take over management from the State of Ohio, which has deferred maintenance. Recently, the group launched an Urban Beach Ambassador program in partnership with Friends of Edgewater State Park.

"We want to help people take ownership of cleaning up the beach on their own, even if they can't attend the monthly cleanups," says Love.

Source: Stephen Love
Writer: Lee Chilcote

300-plus young pros donate 1,200 hours of service to area urban gardens

On Thursday, July 18th, more than 300 volunteers rolled up their shirtsleeves and got their hands dirty during the recent "Summer of Service" event hosted by Business Volunteers Unlimited. The event engaged young professionals in maintaining urban farms and gardens to support the regional food economy.

Some of the projects included constructing hoop houses and helping to maintain a .4-acre forest garden at Community Greenhouse Partners; working as an "urban farm hand for a day" in Detroit Shoreway by building garden beds and fencing; harvesting blueberries for the Cuyahoga Valley Farmers Market; and building a community garden at the Free Clinic. 

“Forty five of our interns volunteered at Schady Road Farm in Olmsted Township for the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities,” said Lisa Johnson, Corporate Responsibility Manager with Hyland Software, in a news release. “BVU’s ‘Done in a Day’ program is a great example of how our employees get out there and flex their muscles to help our community. They love it.”

“BVU works with employers year-round to engage their employees in meaningful volunteer service,” added Brian Broadbent, BVU’s president and CEO. “Our annual Summer of Service event is specifically targeted as an opportunity for employers to connect their interns and young professionals to community service.”

The tally at the end of a long day of volunteering was quite impressive: A collective 1,200 hours of service valued at more than $26,000, says BVU.

Source: Business Volunteers Unlimited
Writer: Lee Chilcote

bookbox brings mobile library to market square park in ohio city

Market Square Park, which recently received a $1.5 million makeover from the City of Cleveland, was always intended to serve as a community hub where Ohio City residents and visitors could gather. Now, thanks to the Cleveland Public Library, there is another reason to do so.

In recent years, Cleveland Public Library has expanded its community outreach efforts. One example is the library's new Tech Central at its main branch, which offers card holders the ability to use the latest digital devices, such as tablets and e-readers.

Now the BookBox, a mobile unit of the Cleveland Public Library that connects with users in the community, brings CPL's outreach efforts to Market Square Park. The unit, which is stationed at Market Square Park and will open this month, offers reading materials, access to electronic books and programming in the park.

The BookBox was developed by architect Cristian Smitt of Santiago, Chile, who spent six months in Cleveland developing his idea for a portable, changeable retail unit. Smitt traveled to Northeast Ohio as part of the Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion program. Eventually, his ShopBox gave birth to the BookBox, too.

The BookBox will be staffed by Cleveland Public Library on Saturdays during the summer and fall. In the future, CPL could expand staffing to days that the West Side Market is open (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) based upon demand. The library also offers free wireless when the BookBox is open.

"This is an experiment and pilot project to bring the library to people in places where they already gather," says Greg Peckham, Managing Director of LAND Studio, a nonprofit organization that participated in the project. "Instead of bringing people to the library, how do you bring the library to people?"

The BookBox was made possible by a grant from the Creative Fusion program, which supports international artist-in-residence programs. CLEVELANDtm (teach and make), comprised of PlayhouseSquare, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, and LAND studio, secured the Creative Fusion grant. CLEVELANDtm's goal is to "bridge diverse cultures, expand the collective imagination, and promote global perspectives in the local community through the lens of design," according to LAND Studio's website.

Source: LAND Studio
Writer: Lee Chilcote

now in its seventh year, tremont farmers market continues to grow

The Tremont Farmers Market, which takes place on Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in Lincoln Park, has quietly grown into one of the largest in Cleveland, attracting more than 1,500 people on a recent Tuesday.

"People come from all over," says Jim Votava of the Tremont West Development Corporation, who organizes the weekly market. "We've tried to create a weekly destination event that embraces good food."

This season, the market's lineup has included demonstrations from local chefs, an art yard sponsored by the annual Tremont Trek benefit, live music and booths from local businesses. The addition of more prepared foods is also a change. Presenting sponsor MetroHealth provides information on healthy living.

Modeled after the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square, Votava says the market demonstrates growing consumer interest in local, sustainable foods.

The Tremont Farmers Market runs all summer long and continues into the fall. During the winter, the market takes a holiday break and then continues at Holy Ghost Greek (Byzantine) Catholic Church and Cultural Center on West 14th.

Source: Jim Votava
Writer: Lee Chilcote
Photo: Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer

healthy lake erie fund will help reduce harmful algal bloom

Lake Erie is a whole lot cleaner than it was decades ago, yet in the past 10 years, toxic algae has sprouted up en masse here, forcing state officials to post warning signs at popular area beaches.

The Healthy Lake Erie Fund, which was recently passed by the Ohio State Legislature and signed into law by Governor John Kasich, aims to address this problem by directing three state agencies -- the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency -- to work with farmers to help keep fertilizers and manures out of watersheds.

The $3 million fund could also help support projects such as enhanced education, soil testing, water quality monitoring and pilot efforts to reduce algae blooms.

"While we are all able to observe the harmful algal bloom problem, without effective research and monitoring programs, scientists and managers struggle to identify the causes and recommend, implement, and evaluate the most effective solutions," said Dr. Jeff Reutter of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab in a news release.

"Our $1 million annual monitoring budget of the 1970s and early 1980s was eliminated in the mid-1980s when people felt our work was done and the Lake had recovered from the 'Dead Lake Years' of the 1960s," he added. "I hope we have all learned that Lake Erie is simply too valuable to ever neglect again."

Source: Ohio Environmental Council
Writer: Lee Chilcote

friends of edgewater park hosts new summer concert series

Recent media reports have highlighted neglect of Cleveland's lakefront park system by the State of Ohio, yet less attention has been paid to the dedicated volunteers and local heroes who have worked tirelessly to clean up our waterfront parks and offer free programming to the local community.

One such group is Friends of Edgewater State Park, which recently received a grant from the Cleveland Waterfront Coalition to support a cell phone tour of the park, and a grant from the Cleveland Colectivo to support a summer concert series.

This Thursday, July 12th beginning at 7 p.m, Cleveland artist Nate Jones will perform a free concert in the Lower Pavilion at Edgewater State Park. The event is the first of a four-part concert series to be held in the park.

"We wanted to connect back to the history of music in the park," says Mandy Metcalf, President of Friends of Edgewater State Park, noting that there was originally a dance hall and music pavilion when Edgewater Park was created. "We also want people to experience the park in a way they haven't before."

The Edgewater Park cell phone tour is now available, with six recorded messages on such topics as water quality, the Shoreway project and a history of the park.

Finally, Friends of Edgewater State Park, Euclid Adopt-a-Beach and Drink Local Drink Tap are launching a new Urban Beach Amassador program. It's a super-friends program that aims to give Cleveland's lakefront parks some much needed lovin'. Ambassadors are people who regularly tend to and look after their local parks. An initial training is scheduled for July 26th at Euclid Beach Park.

Source: Friends of Edgewater State Park
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland heights dog project aims to make parks safer by overturning dog ban

Dogs in public parks have a positive impact on safety, says Kerri Whitehouse, a Cleveland Heights resident who wants to see a citywide ban on dogs in parks overturned. Dog walkers are active park users who enhance the safety of public spaces, she argues.

The Cleveland Heights Dog Project sprung from the efforts of the Cain Park Neighborhood Association, a grassroots group of neighborhood residents. Whitehouse says the association formed last year to address crime in the neighborhoods bordering Cain Park, a growing problem in recent years.

Instead of merely complaining, Whitehouse and a group of other residents decided to take action. "We wanted to do something productive that would make the park more of a destination and community hub," she says. "We were looking at ways to increase foot traffic. The presence of dogs has been found to reduce crime."

Whitehouse says that the city, which implemented the ban decades ago to address safety, nuisance and liability concerns, has been receptive to their suggestions so far. Dog Project organizers hope to implement a pilot project in Cain Park that will eventually allow dogs to be safely reintroduced to parks throughout the city.

Over the long term, Whitehouse says, the vibrancy of Cleveland Heights may depend in part upon the city's friendliness towards its four-legged friends.

To garner feedback and ideas and test community support for its efforts, the Dog Project has released a community survey regarding its proposal to lift the ban.

Source: Kerri Whitehouse
Writer: Lee Chilcote

shaker square arts offers free arts programs to connect residents

Chloe Hopson knows firsthand the disparity between urban and suburban arts education programs. Having grown up on South Moreland on the edge of Shaker Heights and Cleveland, she flourished in the arts-rich Shaker Heights school system while many of her Cleveland friends lacked similar opportunities.

That's why Hopson founded the Passport Project 14 years ago. She wanted to provide arts programs to youth living in the Buckeye, Larchmere and Shaker Square neighborhoods, and expose them to different cultures across the globe. "We help kids in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to build literacy skills, and we also help them see that there's a whole world out there," she says.

Now this "local girl with a global perspective," as she calls herself, is working with other arts organizations, residents and businesses in the community to launch Shaker Square Arts. The new organization will offer a range of free programming and classes and will use the historic Shaker Square shopping plaza as its home base.

"We're looking to create a more vibrant neighborhood and one where we get to know each other," says Hopson, who now lives in the Larchmere neighborhood and operates the Passport Project in a storefront at Buckeye and East 128th Street. "We hope to bring people together across perceived lines of difference."

Some of the programs include West African dance and percussion classes, capoeira classes, storytelling workshops and "Drinks and Doodles." This "happy hour with a twist" will invite attendees to draw on a napkin and enter their creation into a contest to win a $25 gift certificate from a local Shaker Square merchant.

Some of the partners involved in Shaker Square Arts include the Passport Project, Lake Erie Artists, City Dance, the Coral Company and area artists and residents. The free classes are supported by a grant from Neighborhood Connections.

A Drinks and Doodles happy hour will take place on Thursday, June 21st from 5-7 pm at Dewey's Coffee Shop. A free West African percussion and dance class will be held this Saturday, June 23rd from 12:30-2 pm right before Larchmere Porchfest.

Source: Chloe Hopson
Writer: Lee Chilcote

local preservation blogger leads walking tour of east cleveland

Christopher Busta-Peck first became interested in teaching others about Cleveland's architectural history when he developed summer history programs for kids as part of his job as a children's librarian.

Too fascinated to put the material down, he soon found himself enmeshed in creating a local history and preservation blog, Cleveland Area History, that has been called the voice of history and historic preservation in Northeast Ohio.

Part of what motivates Busta-Peck is the simple notion that our area's history often lies "hidden in plain sight" between modern buildings, tucked amid neighborhoods or covered up by garish additions. He also believes historic buildings are among the competitive advantages our city should trumpet.

"We have historic buildings that set us apart from other parts of the country," he says. "It's a monetary asset we need to think of when compared to other cities."

Through working to elevate the discussion about urban history, Busta-Peck hopes to make saving Cleveland's forgotten fabric a bigger part of our civic discourse.

On Saturday, June 9th, Busta-Peck will lead a walking tour of East Cleveland in collaboration with SPACES. Among the sites on the tour are a stone tannery he touts as one of the most significant early industrial sites in Cleveland and a large, once beautiful mansion that now lies hidden behind a gas station.

Source: Christopher Busta-Peck
Writer: Lee Chilcote
22 Green Space + Parks Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts