Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 05/31/2008 - 19:28.

My brother made an aluminum bow in his high school vocational metals class.  That thing could really fire an arrow.   But nothing like today.  And now we have added inertial reaction dampers.  Wait til you see!
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Archers in Forest Hills Park?

Where did you take this picture - it is quite an archery range.

I took archery in camp and it was lots of fun. I certainly couldn't get so in to it as to want to compete, and all the high tech bows seem to remove the archer from the simple beauty of launching a stick with another stick and string...

But it gets me thinking... perhaps we could have a simple, basic archery range and program in Forest Hills Park and the park by Rozelle, with the objective to field an East Cleveland archer in the next Olympics?!?!

What other public activities may be good there, in those beautiful, public, urban green and built spaces?

What about a mountain and extreme bike trail, to nurture world champions in that sport?

Some sort of Tiger Woods kids golf program, to nurture more Tigers?

A tennis camp to get local kids using all the tennis courts, seeking more Williams?

Dare I suggest a pool... could the lake in Forest Hills be converted into a cool "Swimming hole", where East Cleveland kids and adults may learn to swim, or just survive in water, and cool off and relax in the heat of Summer??

With the recent awesome addition of the KaBoom! Playgorund and the natural beauty of the park, how do we make it more fun, valuable and experiential for East Cleveland families, without adding physical structures - keep the nature but add other enriching learning experiences...

The Shaw Band is demonstrating to all in this region, and soon the world, that great things come from small urban villages, like East Cleveland, with good opportunities in the communty. How to offer more good opportuntiies in East Cleveland, which will attract other good families seeking excellent quality of life?

Such assets in East Cleveland would attract paying customers from other communities outside East Cleveland, as well - annual membership to the bike trail, or golf program, or tennis club, for example, which would help make them sustainable. Shaker does this, at Thornton, offering swimming, skating, tennis, batting... all available to anyone a la carte. East Cleveland should have a unique mix of recreational learning opportunities as revenue centers, as well.

Disrupt IT

Re-create passive recreation

 Don't we have enough societal push for the next Tiger Woods or whatever athlete? Considering the ever-increasing emphasis on sports over several decades, they do not seem to guarantee a strong economy, inner city growth or decreased violence.  And while WCPN is busy constantly applauding CSU for mentoring athletes - who already get the scholarships and attention and applause - how about mentoring kids who use their minds instead? And then feature that.


Seneca golf course, like many others, is in trouble, CMP's new urban Washington Park golf course took over three quarters of a city park,  but use is way below projections even with all the First Tee and CMP and media publicity. CMP touts their awards from National Parks and Recreation Associations (supported by sporting goods manufacturers whose goods they sell.) It's incestuous. Simple family outdoor activities do not get the push because they don't generate big bucks.



We should not let organized sports destroy the quiet escape of urban green space - sorely needed for city dwellers. Evidence is that kids don't need more structured time and the best athletes often come out of street players in Dominican Republic or barefoot runners or informal soccer players (not from leagues). 

 Archery was discontinued from West Creek due to safety concerns - I can't see it at
Forest Park. If schools have athletics fields then let's use them and get maximum bang for our tax dollar. If not, then have city park sports facilities which don't degrade passive use of green space. Green space can be used for frisbee, informal catch, sledding, kites - and families can enjoy these together.



Why can't we leave out "sports" for once?  Other areas of society have already been shortchanged by our obsession with them; we've heard enough denials and excuses for athletes' drug use (now even in junior high)  and their violence - youth and adult - and their failing grades until they drop out [which seems ok because they believe they'll be next LeBron or Tiger or ....]




And big sports money is behind many of the dismal funding arrangements that Roldo has so thoroughly dissected. From Browns to Dolans to IMG and USGA pushing First Tee  -  this is a HUGE part of today's problems - thinking that sports is the answer (for kids or for cities). Golfer Andre Thornton - who was the face of First Tee here - dropped out early on, but that was kept under wraps until the project was nailed down. Big name backers do not ensure big success.

Anyone who wants to use abandoned or brownfield sites for BMX or other uses - excellent idea!! And I bet that would attact local quickstop business and maybe more .... But the little bit of established green we've still managed to preserve - don't sacrifice that on the alter of sports.





Independent Green Republic parks

Not connected to a MetroPark, but containing part of Lakeview Cemetery and Forest Hills Park, Easy Cleveland probably is a higher %age green space than any place else in Cuyahoga - nearly half, I believe... and it is quite green, with old growth trees and everything nearly zeroscape. It is easy to escape in the large, natural area of Forest Hills Park.

It is possible now to add significantly to East Cleveland's green space, and plan innovative uses for that space, as there are 100+ properties in the city landbank and planty of others in foreclosure, etc... so East Cleveland may become a real garden city...

But that doesn't mean East Cleveland green spaces offer kids and families enough learning and recreation experiences, and structured services.

We didn't have a decent playground in the city until one was added to lower Forest Hills Park, last year, thanks to lots of good city leadership and KaBoom! And East Cleveland was named the most playful city in America, for that. But we need many more good playgrounds....

We don't have a single public pool... and few kids learn to swim (which I consider a survival skill).

More kids are hit by cars in East Cleveland than anywhere else in the region, in some part because they don't have ample other places to play.

We are just now getting some community gardens and need dozens more.

I think other interesting recreation activities can be supported, with little impact on the environment.

Now, if a kid in East Cleveland did want to be the best in the world in a sport, and go to the Olympics, what would be wrong with that? Why not archery? Cheap. Low impact on the environment. Seems as good as chess for getting a kid focused, serious, and thinking... and archery requires more walking.

What else may be of interest, and is cheap and low footprint?

Disrupt IT

running in the park

Last summer my son came home from his freshman year at college and engaged in a ritual in Forest Hills Park - heckling the Heights High School Soccer Team as they run up and down the sledding hill (portage escarpment) in Forest Hills Park again and again. For four years he was heckled by graduates as he ran.

The Heights Soccer Team (no matter their competitiveness in a given year) is FIT! Sean Sullivan, their coach and a teacher in the CHuH schools, sees to it. They work up to running marathons (at least 11 miles daily), and part of that is running in up and down the hill - forward, backward, sideways you name it.

We took a walk over to the top of the sledding hill that looks out over East Cleveland (the best one on the east side) and sat on the benches there looking out over the lake as the sun set. Ahhhhh he said... "I am so glad to be here sitting". "Yes," I said, "It is lovely here". "Yes", he said "and I am not running up the hill backwards for the fourth time in a day!"


Please let us allow the Forest Hills Park to be just that – a park – a green sanctuary where bird watching, cycling, sledding, walking, running are free – available greenspace with no sports pressure – no competition, just enjoyment of green.  


Today my husband who has moved away from our lovely Heights home to live in Stonebridge came over to help with a home improvement project. At an interval, he fell asleep in the backyard.  I asked him later where he might in his new environs sleep on the grass – “Nowhere”, he said.


Believe me – we need a place to rest in green. Please find another place for dreams of upper crust unsustainable pursuits such as golf (the most dastardly and corrupt of sports) and please recall that the kids in EC are as likely to ask – “Graffing anyone?” as they are to suggest “Tennis, anyone?”


The East Cleveland kids need more than a stroll in the park

We have tons of great green spaces on the East Side, so it is hard to cry poverty on that front. East Cleveland green space it not used in an optimal way for our community, and that can be planned better. I'd say that is the case in most of Greater Cleveland... especially as we may add miles of reclaimed land as neighborhoods shrink (e.g. Central Forest).  I wouldn't get too chocked up about the idea of EC kids hitting golf balls around The World's First Billionnaire's old back yard golf course, which Forest Hills was, when there is so much new green space to claim from real abuse and plan for the future.

Disrupt IT

On Strolling in the Park

I don't understand Norm.

Why would you want to take a beautiful park that was given to the people of East Cleveland so that they might enjoy the beauty of nature, and hand it to a company to build a golf course?

You say East Cleveland kids need more than a stroll in the park; I say East Cleveland kids need to stroll in the park more. When my children were small, Forest Hills was like Christopher Robin's Hundred Acre Wood. A place where we could discover rabbit nests and gopher holes, chase butterflies and catch grasshoppers, pick bouquets of buttercups and make dandelion crowns.

Are you suggesting that in order for East Cleveland's green space to be used in the most "optimum way" it needs to be developed? 

 Metroparks muse has it right. Build the athletic fields for structured recreation on property that was once occupied by abandoned buildings. Utilize the school yards year round for community activities. Cherish the natural sanctuary of Forest Hills for the rare opportunities it provides those families who may not have the easy means that you and I do to travel to the Metro Parks in Cleveland's outer-ring suburbs.

In this case I would say don't disrupt it, preserve it.

Environmental Literacy

Understanding how we relate to nature is not intuitive.  Children from all economic strata have lost touch with the natural world.  It's certainly not a thrill ride for mountain bikes and not a backdrop for golf outings.  Nature can be scary, impenetrable and dangerous.  The Metroparks has been charged with the responsibility of striking a balance between wild versus cultivated nature/recreation.  It's not an easy job to please everyone.  There is also a fiscal responsibility.  As residents, we need to especially keep an eye on that ball. MM deserves credit for watching our money and questioning Metropark operations.