Millikin neighbors make revived playground a gathering place
Once upon a short time ago, in 2019, a group of neighbors living near the former Severance Millikin Elementary School decided that the neighborhood needed a spiffed-up playground and an attractive place for neighbors to gather. They formed the Millikin Neighborhood Group.
The old Millikin school occupies a unique spot in Cleveland Heights. South of the school, many of the residents are Orthodox Jews. North of the school, residents comprise the usual mixture one finds in many Cleveland Heights neighborhoods: young, old, black, white, lots of little kids, and multigenerational homes.
The Millikin Neighborhood Group believed that the school playground and its surrounding woods could become a place in Cleveland Heights where families and friends gathered.
In the last two and a half years, the group has been busy. Its members enhanced a once-meager playground with equipment and toys, planted and maintain a pollinator garden, successfully fought to maintain the woods surrounding the school, partnered with Heights High art students to create a mural, and hosted many neighborhood events.
With help from FutureHeights, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the CH-UH City School District, Heights Libraries, Reaching Heights, Heights Arts Collaborative, Karamu House, MetroHealth System, and Neighborhood Connections, the group accomplished its mission.
This year, the Millikin Neighborhood Group is focusing on family-friendly events at the playground. Hip-hop dance instructors have taught dance moves to a diverse group of people. Yoga in the playground will be offered several times this summer. Musicians, singers, and artists are part of the scheduled events, along with neighbor-led activities, such as tie-dying, making natural dyes, and meditation.
The Millikin Playground organizers seek to reflect the diversity of Cleveland Heights. For more information about the playground and its calendar of events, join the Millikin Neighborhood Group’s Facebook page, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robin Koslen is a mom, grandma, Cleveland Heights resident, retired teacher, part-time activist, and full-time rebel.