Cleveland Heights Green Team hosts 3rd annual

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The CH Green Team will mobilize forces this Saturday afternoon (May 27) for its third annual Heights EcoFest, a holiday weekend celebration of sustainability at Coventry PEACE Park.

More than three dozen ecologically-minded organizations and businesses will set up a wide variety of booths, tents, tables and attractions from noon to 4 p.m. providing a family-friendly, community-building event.

“Visitors are invited to connect with local resources and join in activities designed to promote and expand awareness of sustainable practices and intended to inspire and promote a greener and healthier lifestyle,” a CH Green Team press release noted.

The extensive lineup of exhibitors and partners will be organized into four categories, or “eco-zones:”

— Sustainable Living Zone — Resources, tips, and solutions for an “eco” home and garden

— Healthy Living Zone — Enjoying  ways to connect body and mind through exercise, proper diet, entertainment and performing arts

— “Eco-Kids Zone” — Exploring, creating and discovering eco-friendly, hands-on fun while learning about bees and pollinators, composting with worms, recycling right and native plants — with an eco-scavenger hunt also planned

— A nature-inspired Art Zone — With this year’s theme of “This Art is for the Birds,” the brainchild of artist Robin VanLear, founder of Art Acts and creator of Parade the Circle just down the hill from Coventry Village

“This year, VanLear will collaborate with Lake Erie Ink and Artful to bring awareness, through creative experimentation, to the fragility and importance of birds to our natural world,” the press release noted.

“The immersive art experience invites children and adults alike to write poetry, explore sidewalk chalk art, and craft birds from upcycled materials while learning why and how to care for them,” organizers added

The community fair will also feature performances by local artists, healthy and sustainably-sourced food for purchase, yoga, tai chi, cardio-drumming, and dance in the park.

In addition, Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio will be on hand providing the community an opportunity to recycle clothing, household items, home décor, electronics (working and non-working), toys and books.

Heights EcoFest will be hosted by Heights Libraries, with its adjacent Coventry Branch and the CH Green Team in partnership with FutureHeights and the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID).

Visit https://www.chgreenteam.org/eco-fest-2023 for a complete list of activities, exhibitors, performances, and parking information.

Sharing a passion for environmental advocacy, the Cleveland Heights Green Team formed as “a grassroots volunteer organization” in 2021 after residents and co-founders Natalie Ellwell, Alex Sitarik and Catalina Wagers met at a “Recycling Ambassador” seminar offered by Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.

PEACE Park Playground

Ahead of hosting the EcoFest, the Heights Library Board also got the green light May 10 from the Cleveland Heights City Planning Commission on the revised conditional use permit for renovations to the Coventry PEACE Park.

This allows Heights Libraries to move ahead with its construction timeline for the public park, with the understanding that it will provide the city with additional plans for lighting, the walking path and new trees at a future date.

Based on community feedback from the early design concepts presented to the public in 2021, the new PEACE park designs include over 100 new trees, a large pollinator garden, an accessible quarter-mile trail, a performance stage, and an updated playground featuring a large cardinal-shaped structure that will include climbing features and a big slide.

“The PEACE Park will also feature sustainable, nature-focused design concepts and construction materials as part of the Heights Libraries’ commitment to the health of the local environment,” a May 19 press release stated.

Funding for the $1.2 million PEACE Park expansion and renovation is being raised by the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) foundation.

The FFHL began fundraising in October 2022 and has so far collected roughly half the funds needed to complete the park, including a $100,000 donation from the Friends of Heights Libraries.

“This public park has been the heart of the Coventry Village neighborhood for at least 30 years, ever since the current playground was built by volunteers in 1993,” Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin said in a press release.

Library officials have also requested a $300,000 allocation from the City of Cleveland Heights as part of its $38 million federal allocation for COVID-19 relief through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“We are so happy, and proud, to be ushering in a new era for the park that will expand its use and make it more accessible to all members of the community, no matter their ages or abilities.”

There will be another community open house on August 10 to discuss the new design at the Coventry Branch Library.

Levin said a groundbreaking for the new park design will take place in the fall, and that the library hopes to have the first phase of the park renovation completed in June 2024.

The latest plans for the park redesign can be seen at https://heightslibrary.org/locations/coventry-peace-park-redesign/.

‘You Talk, I Listen’

Also coming up at the Coventry PEACE Campus, Councilwoman Davida Russell will host the first of a two-part “You Talk, I Listen” strategy session on the “Pathway to Home Ownership in Cleveland Heights.”

Noting that “home ownership is affordable and obtainable in the City of Cleveland Heights,” Russell has partnered with various financial institutions and realtors to bring the community information and resources to prospective homebuyers.

The first session will be held at Coventry PEACE Park from 6-8 p.m. June 8, where information and resources on how to obtain a house will be available, including:

— A checklist of what is needed to obtain a mortgage

— Discussion on the availability of new and renovated homes availability will be discussed

— Examples and strategies for “the homebuying journey” will be created for prospective buyers

The second session for prospective homebuyers in the Heights will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 10 at Disciples Christian Church, 3663 Mayfield Road.

“Stakeholders can meet one-on-one with realtors and lenders to discuss lending protocols and discover the possibility of pre-approval to secure your dream home,” Russell noted.

Participants at the sessions will be asked to bring proof of income (W-2 forms, pay stubs, two years of tax returns), as well as any concerns about credit reports.

“At these education sessions, people will learn the how-to’s of buying a home but will also get the opportunity to connect with professional partners who can help,” noted real estate agent and 20-year Heights resident Denise Shepherd.

“People who attend the sessions can get their questions answered about the process of buying a home, including the goal of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan and finding other financial resources that may be available,” Shepherd added.

The June 10 session at Disciples Church will overlap with the second part of another “You Talk, I Listen” forum, this one entitled “Landlord-Tenant Law 102,” hosted by Russell, Cleveland Heights Municipal Judge J.J. Costello and attorney Lon’Cherie Billingsley.

This follow-up to last year’s “Landlord-Tenant Law 101″ will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in a different room.

For more information, contact Russell at: councilwomanrussell@gmail.com

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