Budget cut spurs citizen action

From left to right, Dianne Hunt, Ruth Anna Carlson, and David Hunt take matters in their own hands to add plantings to the Fairmount median.

Among the many cuts made by Cleveland Heights City Council to balance the budget were the landscaping, plantings and flower baskets that add to the quality of life in Cleveland Heights. This year, we won’t see the baskets of flowers gracing the gateway to Cleveland Heights on Cedar Glen or plantings on the medians on our boulevards, among other touches of beauty around the city that we have grown accustomed to.

For several neighbors on Fairmount Boulevard, these cuts meant they needed to take action themselves. Ruth Anna Carlson lives accross the street from Dianne and David Hunt in condos in the Cedar-Fairmount area. They share a view of the end of the boulevard median, and that view needed sprucing up. “We decided to do something about it,” said Ruth Anna Carlson. “If the city couldn’t do it, we thought maybe we could.”

Carlson and the Hunts contacted Alex Mannarino, director of public works for the city, and told him they wanted to landscape the median at the base of the Historic Fairmount District sign, and that they wished to do so at their own expense. “We were happy that the city agreed to let us plant on city owned land,” said Carlson. “They were very cooperative.”

According to Carlson, Mannarino sent several city workers to the site to turn over the grass and dump a load of fresh topsoil. “Alex and his workers were great,” Carlson said. “They even said they would put down mulch when we were done.”

Carlson and the Hunts plan to arrange a watering detail among their neighbors. “A tremendous amount of the city’s landscaping budget went to daily watering, so we’ll have to do that ourselves also,” Carlson said. “This is really a small first step,” said Dianne Hunt. “Since there is so much more to do, we plan to appeal to local garden clubs that are a part of the Federated Garden Clubs. This parent organization has as a part of its mission a commitment to civic beautification. Hopefully we can secure funding to continue this kind of work.” Groups or individuals wishing to make similar beautification improvements should contact the city for approval.

Hugh Fisher is a Cedar-Fairmount resident.

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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 11:27 AM, 06.03.2008