FutureHeights' Cedarbrook Society revitalizes Cedar Lee Mini-Park

2019 Cedarbrook Society students pose in front of a mosaic made of woodchips. Members are, from left: Ronan Karem, Aminah Abdul-Hafeez, Zelda Thayer-Hansen, Thalia Lisowski and Michaela Schomisch.

The Cedarbrook Society, a group of five Heights High students, worked with artist Tom Masaveg this summer to help FutureHeights enliven the Cedar Lee Mini-Park, a 7,500-square-foot site located between Boss Dog Brewing Company and Heights Arts in the Cedar Lee Business District.

For six weeks, the students, with Masaveg’s guidance, served as ambassadors for the space, welcoming visitors and guests, planting flowers, weeding the flower beds and creating signage. Masaveg installed a mural of white trees on the side of the Cedar Lee Theatre building and worked with the students to create augmented-reality artwork to interact with the mural via smart phone technology. With help from Heights Libraries, he installed a Little Free Library. The students managed a Cedarbrook Society social media account to document their activities and keep the community up-to-date. They also gathered additional input on future use of the space through on-site surveying.

The mini-park site was created when the city of Cleveland Heights vacated a portion of Cedarbrook Road in the 1960s as the parking lot was being constructed, creating a pedestrian walkway from the lot to the businesses on Lee Road.

FutureHeights, the community development corporation for Cleveland Heights, began gathering community input on the future use of the space following a study of the business district it commissioned in 2016. The study recognized the site’s potential to become a vibrant community space. The Cedarbrook Society student ambassador project was a direct outcome of the organization’s desire to include the voices of young people in the planning process.

The project was supported by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Other aspects of the improvements made this summer, such as the café tables and chairs that were installed throughout the perimeter of the site, were funded through donations to the FutureHeights Cedar Lee Mini-Park Fund.

Aug. 5, the project steering committee issued an RFP to architecture and design firms interested in illustrating the community’s vision for the site through a final design. Applications are due Sept. 15, and the organization expects to begin implementation in spring 2020.

FutureHeights representatives will demonstrate how to use a smart phone to activate the augmented reality mural at the 2019 Heights Music Hop on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Learn more about the project by visiting www.futureheights.org, liking the FutureHeights Facebook page, or following @futureheights on Instagram. 

Sruti Basu

Sruti is the director of community-building programs at FutureHeights.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:50 PM, 09.02.2019