A proposed park in the city’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood got a big boost this month from the National Park Service, which awarded $661,724 to the city of Cleveland to help develop the project adjacent to the Clark Recreation Center.
According to a release from the National Park Service, the grant will go towards helping to develop the project at W. 56th and Clark, which is expected to include new infrastructure and landscaping, a splash pad, play equipment, basketball court, outdoor game tables, and park benches.
Clark-Fulton is one of the neighborhoods in Cleveland with the highest potential to serve people with a new park, along with West Boulevard, Union Miles, Kamm’s Corners, and Old Brooklyn, according to the Trust for Public Land. In an interview last month, TPL told The Land that the park could have a transformational effect on the Clark-Fulton area, which is undergoing more than $1 billion in new development.
“Right now, 83 percent of residents in Cleveland have access to a park within 10 minutes,” said Sean Terry, director of the Ohio office of the Trust for Public Land, citing Clark-Fulton as one of the areas of Cleveland that is in desperate need of new parks. “But there’s a lot of room for improvement. There’s a lot of room to improve the quality of parks.”
According to TPL’s report Advancing Park Equity in Cleveland, the new park “is expected to produce at least $256,000 in economic benefits each year. Over the next 10 years, this park is expected to generate at least $2.08 million dollars in economic benefits although benefits will continue to accrue beyond that point in time.”
City of Cleveland representatives did not respond to request for comment before deadline, but TPL representatives told The Land that the city had verbally committed to help fund the park and renovate Clark Recreation Center. According to Terry, it’s necessary to acquire several buildings and properties to make the new park a reality, a process that is currently underway.
He added that community engagement is key to the park’s success. Although the Covid-19 pandemic stymied planned community engagement work last year, the group is moving ahead this year. “We’re all about centering community voices in building community spaces,” said Terry.
The park service this month funded “19 project proposals to develop new or improve 15 parks and 4 trails in economically disadvantaged areas in 13 states,” according to the release. These projects are part of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program and will result in a federal investment of $16.8 million in Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF).
“Through these grants, cities are able to provide equitable access to their parks and other outdoor recreation areas where none, or little, currently exist,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge in the release. “Local parks, especially in urban areas, serve as a vital resource for economically disadvantaged communities. This grant program is available to every state and boosts communities’ outdoor recreation opportunities.”
To learn more about Trust for Public Land’s work in Ohio visit https://www.tpl.org/our-work/ohio. To learn more about Clark-Fulton visit https://www.metrowestcle.org/. More info about the Clark Avenue Park is here: https://www.tpl.org/our-work/clark-avenue-park.
Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land.
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