University Heights celebrates park opening
The City of University Heights celebrated the grand opening of University Heights Community Park—the city’s newest and largest park—at a community celebration on Sunday, July 24.
The street festival began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the entrance to the park, at Fenwick and Northwood roads, with Mayor Susan Infeld, city council members, other city officials, and representatives from Braun & Steidl Architects (the park’s designer) cutting the ribbon.
Infeld thanked “the leadership of Fuchs Mizrachi School, specifically Mr. Morry Weiss, for sharing our vision to make a park and greenspace on the property.” The park is on the former site of the Fuchs Mizrachi School.
The festival on Fenwick Road featured music from the University Heights Symphonic Band, conducted by Matthew Salvaggio, and The Northcoast Jazz Collective.
Jungle Bob, Michael Roy’s Cirque du Papier, Dr.URawesome, an inflatable bounce house and balloon twister from A World of Magic, and arts and crafts were among the festival’s family-friendly activities.
University Heights businesses Ben & Jerry’s and Ellie’s, along with The River Dog Café food truck, were on hand to feed hungry parkgoers. The University Heights Police Department came with police cars and officers on bicycles, and the University Heights Fire Department brought its ladder truck.
More than 500 community members came out to celebrate, get their faces painted, slide down the slides, swing on the swings, and be in the company of friends and family.
The park’s opening celebration was the culmination of a four-year process during which the city purchased the property, razed the building, and conducted an extensive public process to design a park residents would enjoy.
University Heights residents approved a $1.8 million bond issue in November 2014 to pay for the park construction, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, through its NatureWorks program, helped fund part of the playground and adult exercise equipment. The city hired Braun & Steidl Architects to develop the park vision and Behnke Landscape Architecture as consultant to the architect.
The 6.25-acre park features a 0.35-mile pedestrian path, two playgrounds (one for kids ages 2–5 and another for those ages 5–12), a nature play area, restroom facilities, two adult exercise equipment stations, quiet spaces with benches, and an open-greenspace ball field.
The city’s other parks are Purvis Park and municipal pool, the Ashurst Rain Garden and the Saybrook Rain Garden. The city is also working toward the development of the Silsby Road Neighborhood Park, to further expand the greenspace available to University Heights residents.
Like all city parks, the University Heights Community Park is open to the public from dawn until dusk. Among the rules are: no grilling, and no reserving or saving space in the gazebo or pavilion, or of picnic tables, which have a 2-hour maximum use time. The city asks all park users to be mindful of their use of the park’s features so that everyone can enjoy the park.
As Mayor Infeld said to residents at the grand-opening celebration, “This is your community park. Thank you for sharing this vision with us, now let’s go have fun.”
Patrick Grogan is the community development coordinator for the City of University Heights. He works with residents and businesses to promote University Heights as a great place to live, work, shop and play.