FutureHeights to unveil Cedar Lee Mini-Park design
FutureHeights, the community development corporation for Cleveland Heights, is working on a redesign of the Cedar Lee Mini-Park, a 7,500-square-foot, city-owned site located between Boss Dog Brewing Company and Heights Arts in the Cedar Lee Business District. At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, FutureHeights will share the new design at a Virtual Open House. Register to attend the Virtual Open House at http://bit.ly/CedarLeePark.
The design is the result of more than two years of civic engagement with community members and stakeholders, to remake this underutilized area into a vibrant public space that is attractive, welcoming, and offers opportunities to gather and host public programs. Through surveying, visioning, design sessions, and in-person interviews, a FutureHeights-led steering committee sought to understand the community's desires and aspirations for the site. In fall 2019, through an RFP process, the group selected landscape design firm MKSK Studios, of Columbus, Ohio, to illustrate the community's vision.
While working on a complete redesign, FutureHeights has led several small-scale improvements to the site. Last summer, artist and botanist Tom Masaveg worked with a group of high school students, who called themselves The Cedarbrook Society, to enliven the space with fresh plantings, artwork and signage. For six weeks, the students served as ambassadors for the space, welcoming visitors and guests, and gathering additional input on the future use of the space.
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. This summer, Masaveg worked with some of the same students to refresh the plantings and maintain the site. In June, he added a colorful deer motif to the mural, and signage to explain how to access the interactive feature.
The site now also features café tables and chairs, funded through donations to the FutureHeights Cedar Lee Mini-Park Fund, and a Little Free Library, funded by Heights Libraries.
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 began gathering community input on the future use of the space following a study of the business district it commissioned in 2016.
FutureHeights has raised a portion of the funds that will be needed to implement the new design, including funding from the city’s CDBG program and Cuyahoga County. Learn more about the project by visiting www.futureheights.org/programs/cedar-lee-mini-park/.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.