Designing our Future

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 07/17/2020 - 10:38.

See the trees and the grasses in this photo? This is not a natural landscape. It was designed by a landscape architect to help save 60+ year old English Oaks in a city park that underwent a massive reconstruction project in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a very political and stressful situation for residents.

Saving these trees was a personal victory for me. I trained as a landscape architect, but never formally practiced, after trying - but giving up in frustration. I even worked for the City of Cleveland in the department that designed and managed park properties. If I had stayed on - I might have helped design these tree wells, constructed to adjust the grade that was elevated 2' around the trunks of the oak trees.

Today I was reminded of my earlier career ambitions and I had a good little cry when I read this free picture book--Green Trees and Sam by Shannon Gapp:The book is part of wonderful mentorship program that encourages high school students to dream big and leave a legacy in their world. Please SEE:

I learned about the program when a student, who studied at Cleveland Public Library and lives in my neighborhood won a $40K scholarship to study design and construction management at Kent State University.   I know Diego. He is a bright light!


I don't know the landscape architect who SAVED our park trees, but it makes me happy to know this person helped our neighborhood. The grasses are beautiful and keep the operators of heavy grass cutting machinery from damaging the trees (and sinking in the gravel).

Life doesn't always turn out the way you planned, but it still goes on! Don't give up! LISTEN to Diego!

Advice for incoming ninth graders: “Don’t try to fit in. Your time will come where people come to you for help.”

Quote: “I want to start my own business, leave a mark and give back to the community. We are only here for a short time. If you are not hustling to leave a mark on the world, what’s the point?”



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WE Saved these TREES !

  Just a reminder - Tony Brancatelli is EVIL and wanted to kill every tree in our city park.  WE stopped him.  Mabeldog deserves the lion's share of the credit as she charmed Michael Cox, who then went to Darnell Brown and made our case. 

Parks will figure into the future of our city.  Parks and Recreation Centers, along with library locations, can be WiFi hotspots for families to connect with their schools and other vital resources during this pandemic.  Outdoors.  We have a municipally-owned public utility.  Digital Inclusion IS not insurmountable.

Diego attended CMSD Scranton - and Metrohealth Wellness Camp

Notable: Participated in the ACE Mentorship program, representing the architecture, construction and engineering industries. Received $40,000 ACE National 2020 CMiC – Allen Berg Memorial Scholarship, which is named for the founder of the CMiC construction software company and given to talented, deserving ACE seniors who pursue education and training that leads to careers in architecture, engineering, construction or skilled crafts. Ran cross-country and indoor and outdoor track for the John Hay Campus, finishing third in the Senate League cross-country championship meet. Also played soccer, earning his team’s MVP trophy.

Plans for the future: Attend Kent state university to study construction management. Become a construction manager for a large construction company and eventually start his own construction company in Northeast Ohio.

Challenges faced: Standing out from the crowd.

Impact of the coronavirus: “I feel bad it ended this way, but that just meant I got to work more on myself."

Who helped him succeed: His father, who came to the United States from Mexico to give his children a better life, and ACE mentors who introduced him to opportunities in the construction industry and inspired his career choice.

Advice for incoming ninth graders: “Don’t try to fit in. Your time will come where people come to you for help.”

Quote: “I want to start my own business, leave a mark and give back to the community. We are only here for a short time. If you are not hustling to leave a mark on the world, what’s the point?”

Almost there!

I worked at TWDC in the nineties - first as a contract employee and then as a board member.  I submitted and was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Grant that allowed the CDC to explore development of a trail along the Tremont bluff.  The proposed project was called the Tremont Promenade and was part of the redevelopment of vacant land (mostly due to arson) held by the City of Cleveland Land Bank.  At that time, I actually got along with Tim Donovan and there was discussion of using the vacated W 4th St. right-of-way for the extension of the towpath north to Canal Basin Park and the Hart Crane park that Ohio Canal Corridor, now Canalway, had purchased in the flats.

Canalway would not exist if not for the federal monies provided throught the National Heritage Area. In Akron - the federal monies also support the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition staff.  I am grateful to finally see the trail extension - mis-labeled as the "towpath" - extended to Canal Basin Park.  The real towpath ran along the east side of the Cuyahoga River, but that route was ruled out b/c of the obstacle posed by LTV Steel - now ArcellorMittal.  I don't know if I will live to actually see the benefits of the National Heritage Area proposed for my neighborhood - Brooklyn Centre.  I do resent the politics that have made this project such a real estate racket. 

I consider Lennie Stover one of the real true heroes of this trail network.  His work on the Red Line Greenway SUPERCHARGED the Cleveland Metroparks into finally making the north-south connection to Akron possible.  Without the federal TIGER grant - which hinged on the Redline Greenway element of the proposal - Cleveland Metroparks would not have had the funding to make this completion finally happen.   Thank you Lennie.  Thank you, too - to NOACA's Grace Galucci for first recognizing the potential of the Red Line Greenway trail as a key element to the west side trail network.

There is much work to be done on east side trail connections.  I hope that the Mill Creek and West Creek watersheds will finally be connected to the towpath trail.  The historical elements preserved in Newburgh and Brooklyn townships were the justification for the National Heritage Area designation.  These elements have been shamefully ignored in the development of the project from the end of the actual towpath at Old Harvard.  I hope that the new board members at Canalway will help rectify this injustice.