Where to go on a beautiful day in Cleveland

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 10/31/2006 - 04:54.

It was a beautiful Fall day today, so I wanted to take my little bugger out to enjoy nature... I reflected on where to go. I thought the Metroparks would be nice, or perhaps the park in the Flats with the sculpture by Gene Kangas, and then it occurred to me I live in one of the most interesting neighborhoods in America, Ohio City, and I can enjoy that without driving a mile. So off we toddled to see what was shaking in the 'hood, and wound up at the smaller of the two community gardens down the street.

Tucked between two great old historic buildings, just off stunning Franklin Avenue on W. 45th, this gem of a garden is marked by a City of Cleveland sign, saying my city supports social consciousness. Inside, there were signs of harvest and some peppers still blooming and growing - nothing big or elaborate... just a nice little place where people go to grow food and feed themselves right. In that, I don't think there is a better garden anywhere in NEO. And there are many of these little gems spread all over the city.

This is a good place for some guerilla gardening this Fall, to plant some surprise bulbs for the neighborhood gardeners to enjoy in the Spring. And it should be a priority to develop more of these gardens all over town. While folks in the burbs, sub-and-x, have plenty of nature to enjoy, folks in the urban core have little - most of us live in rental multiunits so we don't have land at all to speak of. Yet Cleveland has enough vacant land to plant and feed half of Ohio, so we may as well put it to that use.

Public patches of nature, that we can recover from abandonment and carve out and protect now, when demand for land in the city is low, combined with high quality architecture, which remains in abundance from past eras of good builders, offers Cleveland (and East Cleveland and the other inner core communities) the potential to create a very attractive, high density, high walkability quality of neighborhood life where now people only see blight. That is the opportunity at hand for our shrinking city, and we must take advantage of that. Done right, in abundance, such greening and naturalization will offer Cleveland a competitive advantage in the future, and give Clevelanders a greater sense of pride and ownership in their neighborhoods today. And, people socialize and eat cheaper and better and get exercise and fresh air in the process. It works in Ohio City.

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Evelyn joined this garden


I was hanging at home with Claes one cold winter morning when the doorbell rang and a woman with several small children, all bundled for the snow and wind, aksed if we would be interested to join this very garden. I assured her my wife would, and she gave me a packet of seeds with her phone number on it. Evelyn since joined the garden and is becoming very active there, helping overall and taking on two large plots. I believe the sunflowers are already peaking up. More photos, and pumpkins, to share as this story grows...

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