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
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