ECPA calls for Forest Hill Park volunteers

The East Cleveland Parks Association (ECPA) has decided to explore long-term solutions to the park’s many issues facing Forest Hill Park by organizing task groups. Interested Heights residents are invited to join one (or more) groups.

The ECPA will meet on Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m. at the Forest Hill Park Pavilion. Interested residents unable to meet on that date, can e-mail organizer Elsa Johnson at vicnelsa@earthlink.net.

The ECPA is forming the following task groups:

Watershed and Natural Systems. This includes the lake and the water systems that run into it, the health of the lake and how to improve it, lake edges and what to do with them, health and safety, and, last but not least, aesthetics. It also includes the Upper Dugway and Lower Dugway streams and the watersheds contributing to them. Dugway in the park’s lower valley is culverted, which is another issue to explore. All drainage systems within the park are within this group’s charge, with the exception of the Cleveland Heights ball fields at the east end of the Great Meadow.

The Great Meadow. This includes the area originally included in the Great Meadow as designed by A.D. Taylor in 1938, from Lee Road in the East, in Cleveland Heights, up to and including the interceptor sewer on the Great Meadow’s western edge. The charge is to look at how to keep what remains of the Great Meadow intact; how to bring it forward into the future as a Great meadow; and how to integrate its eastern Cleveland Heights edge and ameliorate its western interceptor sewer edge. 

The North Quad. This includes the area south of the middle school, the East Cleveland ball fields, and the other green spaces for active recreation found here. Questions include how to integrate the school and the park as originally clearly intended in the 1938 plan; what to do with underutilized tennis courts; and how to provide for contemporary recreation needs, such as basket ball and community gardens.

Architecture and History. This includes all historical structures--the lower valley picnic pavilion, the bowling-green pavilion, the boat house, the comfort stations, and all bridges, and all retaining walls, including the retaining walls along Forest hill Boulevard and the lake retaining walls. Could one of these structures house a park history and orientation exhibit? Are other structures needed to fit contemporary needs? There is currently an archeological project taking place at the top of the sledding hill where the Rockefeller house once stood. How could the group build on that?

Borders and Edges. This includes parking lots, fences, public edges along roads, and improving access, aesthetics and the perception of safety. What could both East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights do to coordinate their separate pieces of the park “pie” so it feels more cohesive? The emphasis is on how to solve problems through natural instead of engineered systems (except when nothing but an engineered system will suffice); how to involve people so they have a sense of ownership and pride; and how to showcase the park as a cultural and educational resource, as well as a place for both passive and active recreation.

Each task group will be asked to research and study the issues, design alternatives and strategies, identify costs and possible funding, report to the ECPA board, and suggest action steps to coordinate with cities and public relations.

Elsa Johnson is a community volunteer.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 3:41 PM, 05.13.2010