Support the drive for a new Coventry park
It was early in my tenure as an elementary-schooler at the old Coventry Elementary School when a community of parents and civic leaders conceived, fundraised for, designed, and helped physically build one of our city’s recreational gems. It was an heroic effort, and the Coventry PEACE Park playground has been enjoyed by three decades of children—from me in the early 1990s to my four kids right now. It is an incredible edifice to the profits of community cooperation and engagement.
The park is in need of renewal, however. Wooden playsets are typically slated to last 20 years; perhaps a bit more with quality maintenance. Our playground was built well, but, at well over 30 years old, it is time to transition to a newer, safer playground—one that takes into account the current needs of the community and surrounding neighborhood.
When it was built, hundreds of children who went to Coventry school played on it every day. It required a volume [of equipment] that is no longer needed now that the Coventry building is no longer a school. The needs of the community are different, and the park should be updated to reflect that.
As a neighborhood realtor, I am compelled to mention that, from a real-estate perspective, parks add value to the surrounding neighborhood homes. You can find stats to support [increased values ranging] from low, single digits up to 20%—it is probably difficult to parse because of the uniqueness of neighborhoods, and the many different types of parks. Revitalization probably confers value benefits also, though this is less studied. Conceptually, it is probably a given that it is more appealing to live in an area with updated amenities versus amenities that no longer appropriately serve the needs of the neighborhood and city.
The more free, public-good, community-building features we can offer current and future residents, the more we are able to enjoy our city and attract new residents. Parks are a tangible manifestation of the quality of life for our citizens. We are able to interact, enjoy the vibrancy of Cleveland Heights, celebrate the diversity of personhood that we all represent, and just let our kids play.
Please support the fundraising drive to help revitalize one of our treasures by visiting bit.ly/FFHLPeacePark.
Thomas Hodgkiss-Lilly, a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, is an attorney and realtor, and member of the Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He has no affiliation with the Coventry PEACE Park fundraising committee, nor with the library.