Neighbors create new mini-park on Noble

Laura Marks and Barb Sosnowski create a new space in a vacant lot at Noble and Roanoke roads. [photo: Brenda H. May]

A new mini-park is shaping up at the corner of Roanoke and Noble roads in Cleveland Heights, where Laura Marks of Heights Tree People, and Barb Sosnowski of Noble Neighbors Gardeners, are turning a vacant lot into a place of beauty and delight.

Their plan includes enhancing the crushed brick on the park’s diagonal walkway by adding river rocks with fossilized ripples. A gathering area with a picnic table will be placed near the center of the walkway, and shade will be provided by ornamental trees planted by the city.

Sosnowski and Marks had separately considered how to transform the lot into a community-building asset. They shared their ideas with the Noble Corridor brainstorming group, a project initiated by Jill Tatem, in response to the Noble Road Corridor Planning process, led by FutureHeights last year. Discovering their mutual interests and priorities for the lot, Sosnowski and Marks teamed up. They got started by collecting ideas from neighbors, shopowners and their customers, and city staff from several departments.

Funding from FutureHeights' neighborhood mini-grant program will be used to purchase solar lighting and pay a local artist to create furniture for the children’s area. "So many neighbors and passersby are telling us how much they enjoy the project," Sosnowski noted. "We welcome community input and have already seen neighbors come add their touches," added Marks. A naming contest will be held later this year.

The formerly straight retaining wall at the rear of the property has been reconstructed with a curve. In a nod to the nearby quarries that once supplied building materials to Cleveland Heights, the wall comprises bluestone and Berea sandstone. Plants along the reconstructed wall will include pollinators and native species, like those featured in Green Noble, Tom Gibson’s pocket pollinator garden project in the Noble neighborhood. Edible landscaping is also being considered, in association with the Noble Gardeners' Market.

A children's area, with seating made from natural materials,and a little free library will be a part of the park. Heights Tree People has planted a white pine in a rear corner, to provide habitat for winter wildlife and privacy for adjoining residences. A rain barrel, filled by the roof of a neighboring commercial property, will be used to water the new landscaping.

The lot was previously the site of a gas station. The city of Cleveland Heights acquired the lot in 2015, cleaned it up and installed a few landscape elements, while holding the lot for future development. Sosnowski installed the park’s corner perennial garden using plant material donated by home gardeners. That garden, along with four other public perennial gardens, are maintained by a group of Noble neighbors.

Since those initial landscape elements were added, the space has been used for the Noble Gardeners' Market, an outdoor produce and flower market where home- and community-garden growers sell to neighbors. Noble Neighbors held a meeting there in the summer of 2019, but no other significant uses have yet emerged.

For more information about Noble Neighbors and the Noble Gardeners’ Market, visit Heights Tree People and Green Noble can be found on Facebook.

Brenda H. May

Brenda H. May is one of the leaders of Noble Neighbors.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 06.02.2020