Resident invests in a 'P.E.A.C.E.' of CH's future
I’m a lifer. Save for a few years after college, Cleveland Heights has been home since I was born. We are far from perfect as a community, and we do love to squabble. But this past Christmas morning, I was reminded of why I cannot get enough of living in Cleveland Heights.
The snow was thick on the ground, the wind was harsh in the face, but I thought it a good idea to bundle the children, grab the sleds, and march over to Coventry P.E.A.C.E Park to flatten all that snow on the hill. We were alone at first, but gradually a small, hardy crowd gathered for the simple pleasure of sledding down a hill.
For a century, we have been gathering in this space. When the school district needed to let go of the property, we debated its future and made the right decision to save it.
Not only is the park one of the most popular year-round outdoor spots in our city, but the school building has gradually become a thriving arts center.
This did not happen by accident. Many people in our community have invested over the years—from those who built and maintained the playground, to the creative and agile nonprofit leaders inside the building, to those who have come to see a show or have brought their children for a learning experience. So many contributed to build something special.
Heights Libraries has done a fantastic job of maintaining the park since it took over ownership, and is considering ways to enhance this crucial amenity.
At the same time, the tenants of the school building are forging a vision and working out the details to create a true regional asset—one that will be a regionally unique combination of artistic, educational, and recreational amenities also serving as an economic accelerant.
It’s a building that draws people in: people who bank, buy books, eat dinner, shop and then want to live in our beloved Coventry neighborhood.
As a lifer, I want nothing more than to see our community thrive on the other side of this pandemic. For this reason, I have donated to the campaign which aims to raise $100,000 to set the foundation for another century of this asset’s place in our community.
I also have joined the board of Coventry P.E.A.C.E., hoping to give more than money to our future.
The pandemic has upended our lives and put many of our community's businesses, institutions, and nonprofits into a state of tremendous uncertainty.
Fortunately, pandemics end and, at some point (hopefully soon), this one will as well. I feel confident that while the details of our community’s future may be uncertain, the overall result is not.
Join us in building this brighter future for Cleveland Heights. Learn more at http://coventrypeacecampus.org/. Then, close the laptop, grab your sled, and come on out. I’ll see you there.
Robert Koonce, a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, is currently board chair of Home Repair Resource Center and a board member of Coventry P.E.A.C.E.