Noble Neighbors celebrates six years
Noble Neighbors gathered on Jan. 7 to celebrate six years of working together to make the neighborhoods along Noble Road friendlier, safer and more attractive. While enjoying a potluck dinner, participants recounted the activities of the previous year.
The newest initiative was the Noble Gardeners' Market, held on Saturday mornings during the summer. Sellers offered backyard- and community garden-grown vegetables and flowers. Buyers learned to arrive early for homegrown shiitakes, heirloom tomatoes and garlic. Children bought bags of cherry tomatoes and ate them like penny candy. Growing community identity was a priority for the market, and the stories told around the potluck tables attested to its success. According to one participant, “People came to buy vegetables and stayed for the conversation.”
In 2019, Noble Neighbors established a new relationship with Neighborhood 9, the East Cleveland community group that shares its Noble Road geography. Using the Noble Road Corridor planning project as a springboard, the organizations worked together to host a hot chocolate and cookie tent when GE Lighting threw the switch on its annual holiday display at Nela Park. Residents have a tradition of walking to the event and strolling along the sidewalks to see the lights. This year, neighbors were delighted with the treats as they learned more about both neighborhood groups.
Thanks to funding from FutureHeights’ Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program, a team of neighbors—the Litter Busters—don blue vests and patrol the streets of the neighborhood to pick up litter. Noble Road is certainly looking cleaner for their efforts, as well as those of the many residents who pick up litter on their own.
New groups formed for friendship as well as affinity. The Street Strollers met twice a week at Denison Park for exercise and conversation, and a book group is reading Melody Warnick’s This Is Where You Belong to gather ideas on how to make the area even more cohesive. Two film nights with TED Talk videos about urban gardening in Detroit and placemaking in Memphis sparked conversations about possibilities for the neighborhood.
Green Noble met in person and on Facebook to consider gardening, ecology, renewable energy, habitats and human social impacts, with an eye to implementing projects in Noble. Its most popular project in 2019 was growing microgreens in windowsill containers.
Noble Neighbors invited residents to create chalk-art greetings to welcome students back to Monticello Middle School on the evening before it reopened. Old and young, parents, adults without children, and able-bodied and mobility-challenged neighbors wrote words of encouragement on the sidewalks near the entrance.
Several projects and events were continued from previous years. Beautification remained a priority. Volunteers maintained five perennial gardens that were complemented by the city of Cleveland Heights' stunning hanging pots and container installments. Noble Road was ablaze with floral color through the summer and fall.
“We Are Noble,” the annual celebration of the neighborhood, brought visitors to experience the culture of our Bhutanese population, buy used tools at Home Repair Resource Center, browse yard sales, visit open houses, and enjoy the offerings of Noble's institutions and businesses. New in 2019 were kite-building and a chalk-walk, and a bounce house in Denison Park.
Election forums asked candidates and issue representatives to address the concerns of the Noble area, and “Light Up Noble!” encouraged residents and businesses with Noble Road-facing property to display lights for Nela Park visitors.
Noble Neighbors is actively affecting the northeast quadrant of Cleveland Heights. Visit www.nobleneighbors.com to see the organization’s “quote wall,” and learn more about how it is changing the neighborhood.
Brenda H. May
Brenda H. May is one of the leaders of Noble Neighbors.