Cleveland to Debut Parks and Rec Master Plan This Week

Clevelanders can give their critiques at six separate feedback meetings this week

click to enlarge Public Square's greenspace last year. - Mark Oprea
Mark Oprea
Public Square's greenspace last year.
After five months of drafting, the city will be releasing its master plan for the future of Cleveland's parks this week.

Throughout four days of open houses, from May 14 to May 17, Clevelanders will have a chance to laud or critique the long series of recommendations the city's hired consultant, the Philadelphia-based OLIN, have made for Cleveland's 179 parks and recreation areas.

That master plan debut comes after the city and OLIN paired up to survey some 1,500 city residents, which revealed some high hopes for expansion in the next 15 years, along with some glaring criticisms: Roughly 60 percent of those surveyed don't believe that Cleveland's parks are in good condition. Eighty percent felt similarly about its rec centers. Many don't feel safe in either.

"Our parks and public spaces belong to the residents," James DeRosa, the director of the Mayor's Office of Capital Projects, said in a press release "and we are committed to making sure these spaces meet the community's needs.”

A huge chunk of the plan debuted this week will be centered on MOCAP's best strategy to fund what would be a pricey overall.

If the city were to focus on deficits discovered by Cleveland's system's rating on ParkScore—scoring 26th in the country—there could be, in theory, millions spent on improving playgrounds, installing permanent restrooms and adding long-missing dog parks and splash pads to the mix. And more trails, which was a concern for 41 percent of those surveyed.

And, to amend another long-running critique from two-fifths of survey takers: fix up and keep open the city's 40 pools.

As Cleveland's pursuit of beautifying its downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods comes further into view, it's obvious that a parks master plan would fit snuggly alongside promised development on the horizon, from the Irishtown Bend Park to a half dozen miles of tree-lined cycle tracks to pop up near decade's end.

Clevelanders can attend these feedback sessions, which run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the following dates and locations:
  • Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Ave., on Tuesday, May 14

  • Collinwood Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 16300 Lakeshore Blvd., on Wednesday, May 15

  • Estabrook Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 4125 Fulton Road, on Thursday, May 16

  • Lonnie Burten Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 2511 E. 46th Street, on Friday, May 17
There will also be two pop-up sessions with different times:
  • Wednesday, May 15 – Pop-Up at Senior Day at Public Auditorium (500 Lakeside Ave.), 10 a.m. to noon

  • Monday, May 20 – Pop-Up at Kerruish Park (17200 Tarkington Ave.) with The Trust for Public Land and the Cleveland Parks & Greenspace Coalition, 3 to 6 p.m.

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Mark Oprea

Mark Oprea is a staff writer at Scene. For the past seven years, he's covered Cleveland as a freelance journalist, and has contributed to TIME, NPR, the Pacific Standard and the Cleveland Magazine. He's the winner of two Press Club awards.
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