The war on winter fun in the Heights
Wintertime is the best season, or at least it could be. With the cold and snow comes ice that is a terror on the roads, but a blessing on our ponds and lakes. One of the Heights' great traditions in the winter could have been ice skating between trees and snowbanks. However, the local government will do everything in its power to prevent you from indulging in the graces of a winter wonderland.
In early January, my friends and I (recent college graduates) attempted to play hockey on Lower Shaker Lake. We measured the ice to be 4 inches deep, so we began to shovel and put on skates. A man started yelling at us from the edge of the ice. He called the cops on us, and we were forced to retire. We went to a flooded sheet of ice in Shaker, which was fine until a local father began to yell at us to find somewhere else to play.
As it was made relatively plain to us that we would be arrested should we play on any of the Shaker Lakes, and after repeatedly being kicked off of Wade Oval Lagoon, we decided to go to the Forest Hill pond in late January. We shoveled off a large section of the pond by the gazebo, and found the ice to be 7 inches thick. We even flooded the ice to make the surface smoother. A few days after we played our last game, some younger kids and their parents played on the ice. The cops were called, and they were forced to leave.
Once again, law enforcement ruined the fun. The water could not have been more than 2.5 feet deep in the area we were playing in. Don't get me wrong, I do not think anyone should go onto ice that is thin, even if it appears they can stand at first. However, in each of these cases, the police kicked people off of skateable, safe ice.
Should our tax dollars really be spent preventing kids from playing hockey? The South Rink is still closed, and ice time is rare! There is no reason that residents should not be allowed to safely skate outdoors.
Joseph Houser, 25, is a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident.