Join Friends of Heights Parks for a Nov. 13 walk
If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s to embrace the outdoors. Here in the Heights, we’re surrounded by more than 135 acres of parks, but many don’t take advantage of them. Some community members want to help change that. They believe Heights parks are unique and valuable assets, and they are planting the proverbial seeds.
Still in its infancy, Friends of Heights Parks (FHP) has many ideas, but first on its agenda is opening up the conversation. (Or as they say these days, “expanding their friend group.”)
FHP comprises volunteers from Forest Hill Park, Friends of Cain Park, and Friends of Lower Lake, and is in the early stages of bringing community together to make every park a destination for residents, and a true reflection of our community. At the forefront is the question: How can we help preserve our parks and natural environment while fostering the values of caring about the earth and each other?
On Saturday, Nov. 13, at 11 a.m., FHP is hosting a “Walk in Forest Hill Park” with local landscape designer and activist Elsa Johnson, who has been focusing much of her work in the Forest Hill Park and East Cleveland neighborhoods.
The purpose of the event is to listen to what people want and need from the local Heights parks. Is it more nature camps for kids? Events with food trucks, local makers and artists? Farmers markets? Consistent signage and maps marking the history and the natural world of pathways and green spaces? Some, or all, of the above? Those interested in participating in the walk should meet at Forest Hill Pavillion, by the 11 a.m. start time.
“The Cleveland Heights community has always had a wonderful network of residents that support the parks and recreation department,” said Joe McRae, director of parks and recreation in Cleveland Heights. “Creating a parks-focused nonprofit to leverage the energy and expertise of our dedicated park-loving citizenry will only enhance recreation park amenities and programs going forward, and help the city to continue to improve the quality of life for Cleveland Heights residents.”
The Nov. 13 event in Forest Hill Park is the first of several, all intended to get more people talking and walking in Heights-area parks, including Barbara Boyd Park, Cain Park, Caledonia Park, Cumberland Park, Denison Park, Forest Hill Park, East Cleveland parks, and the Shaker Lakes Parklands. FHP wants to make each park a destination for residents, and a true reflection of Heights neighborhoods and community.
For more information about the Nov. 13 walk, or FHP, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Manzari is a 15-year resident of Cleveland Heights.