Oakwood Golf Course offers opportunity for a new community asset in the Heights

The buzz around town and in the Heights Observatory Forum (www.heightsobserver.org/deck/) is that the Oakwood Golf Course may be for sale. 

This is an opportunity to add a valuable amenity to our area: a passive park. Urban land use rotates; maybe, at some point, the best use of this land will be housing. But that is not its best use now.  

When I did an Internet search for homes in Cleveland Heights that are for sale for over $300,000, I found 54 properties, including two on Oakwood Drive, located on the golf course. Many of these properties include a 10-year tax abatement.

Cleveland Heights has plenty of empty or low-quality commercial space that can be demolished or reconfigured if demand for commercial property increases. Remember the empty school properties when you are looking for large tracts of land to put to new uses.

It’s time to think big. What if the founders of Cain Park in the 1930s had failed to act on the opportunity to create something long-lasting and meaningful for the community?

Without amenities we will not attract and keep the best and the brightest residents. There are wonderful possibilities of tying this in with other sections of the Nine Mile Creek watershed, including the completed Nine Mile Creek wetland project in South Euclid.

We have a successful model to follow just a short distance away: The Geauga Park District recently acquired Orchard Hills Golf Course and turned it into a passive park in perpetuity.

During the recent political campaign, candidates, nonprofits and the Step It Up citizens group all talked about sustainability, regionalism, collaboration and quality of life. This project includes all of these concepts. It is time to do something to improve our community.

Leaders of our community, private citizens and the governments of Cleveland Heights and South Euclid must work collaboratively on this exciting project.

We have to create our own future. Otherwise the failure of leadership that created the devastation in East Cleveland and other parts of our region will also destroy our city

All that is needed is citizen leadership. Will someone willing to take this project on please contact me? I’m ready to help and I know a lot of other people are, too.

Fran Mentch is a Cleveland Heights resident and ran for City Council in the most recent election.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 7:59 AM, 12.21.2009