Community campaign sees new vision for city park
by Rory Doyle
Apr 04, 2013 | 762 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cetin Oguz, one of the leaders of Flight 2020: The Vision of Cleveland, discussed possible renovations to Fireman's Park on Tuesday with Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell and fellow municipal leaders. The community development and integration project "is about beautifying our town and investing in our children," said Oguz.
Cetin Oguz, one of the leaders of Flight 2020: The Vision of Cleveland, discussed possible renovations to Fireman's Park on Tuesday with Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell and fellow municipal leaders. The community development and integration project "is about beautifying our town and investing in our children," said Oguz.
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Flight 2020: The Vision of Cleveland, a group of about a dozen volunteers, is continuing it's campaign to boost life in Cleveland.

One of the group's trailblazers, Cetin Oguz, led a meeting Tuesday at Fireman's Park with the Mayor's Council and a number of city leaders.

Oguz presented ideas to completely overhaul the park's central area, sandwiched between the baseball and soccer fields.

According to Oguz, the central space under the current layout is significantly underutilized.

"We met to discuss some short term and long term goals to make better use of this space," said Oguz. "The first phase is to design a dog park and then eventually move the playground equipment to the middle, surrounding a new splash park."

The concept not only enhances park function but also centralizes the play area for children, bringing them further away from the street.

Adding additional off-street parking areas is another safety measure mentioned in the plans.

"The center of the park is very dysfunctional right now," said Oguz. "With the playground on the edge by First Avenue, it's very dangerous. We need to pull things toward the center, the way parks should be."

While Flight 2020's vision for the park may seem grandiose, Oguz said the key is taking action step-by-step, progressing at a reasonable pace.

"I think the place to start is with the dog park," he said. "The costs would be minimal because it would just be fencing and plumbing. After that we can consider partnering with the city and community groups to help make the splash park possible.

"The dog park would be a great place for people really attached to their pets. It would also be another social gathering and networking opportunity. I think dog owners would really want to contribute to beautifying the park."

While estimates are rough at this point, Oguz anticipates the entire project costing $350,000 or less.

Mayor Billy Nowell has been very supportive of the plan, as well as local nonprofits the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland and the Delta Arts Alliance, which have offered to help in any way possible.

Applying for grants will also be imperative for development.

"All the ideas on the table are very strong," said Nowell. "Obviously these projects are money driven, but I've told (Cetin) not to worry about thinking too big or too small.

"If we are going to keep our status as one the best small towns to live in, we have to keep up with the times and continue to come up with new ideas."

Nowell agreed that partnering with organizations and pursing grants could help make the ideas a reality.

The city would not be able to cover all costs but Nowell said he would research how much support could come from the budget, which is established in August.

"I'm 100 percent on board with improving the park," added Nowell. "It's great to see Cleveland has ambitious and proud young people working to improve our city."

The Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department, which originally developed the park and donated it to the city, is also backing the campaign.

"I'm very supportive of the new ideas," said Fire Chief Darren Carroll. "The changes would bring something new and different to the community. I think it would be money very well spent."

Cleveland Community Development also praised the proposals.

"This could be a very positive thing for Cleveland as long as all the changes meet codes and regulations" said Brett Moorman, director of Cleveland Community Development. "The whole concept is really neat and would provide new opportunities for animal lovers and our children."

While talks of change are just underway, Oguz stressed the commitment would bring valuable rewards to citizens.

"We need to stop and think about what's going to happen 10 years down the road," he said. "When you direct your efforts toward the community I think it all comes back to you.

"It's about making our city more appealing and helping to keep our young families here in Cleveland."

For more on the campaign, visit Flight 2020: The Vision of Cleveland on Facebook.