At the Cleveland Board of Aldermen meeting recently, Park Commission Director Stephen Glorioso discussed the upkeep of several parks.
He said the Exchange Club of Cleveland plans to donate funds to purchase new playground equipment for the Exchange Club Park on the corner of Yale Street and 7th Avenue.
Denise Strub, club president, said she is excited about repairing and bettering the look of the park.
One aspect in particular is that the park will become handicap accessible and have equipment that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
"We are going to level out the ground and remove the seesaw. It is going to be replaced by a standing seesaw, which is ADA compliant. We wanted to make sure everybody could have access to it. Everyone deserves to know what it feels like to swing or be up high on a seesaw. Play is for everybody," said Strub.
Michael Pierce, an intern with the park commission from the University of Mississippi, has gone out to access the equipment that has been there for years and reported to the Exchange Club that it was all sturdy and still usable with the exception of the seesaw.
He recently painted the equipment blue and gold (or bright yellow), which are Exchange Club colors.
"We're going to add two springy animals, a ladybug and a bumblebee. I think we're also going to add a park bench and a curb cutout so it's handicap accessible," added Strub. “This phase of the project is going to cost us about $12,000 but it will be worth it.”
Strub said this area could greatly benefit from the additions to the park.
"This area and neighborhood has a lot of families and small children. A lot of people still use the park. This will promote greater use and healthier families," she added.
Glorioso said the park has belonged to the city since the 1970s when Exchange Club gifted it and since then the city has maintained the park.
"It’s a two part thing. I have an intern from Ole Miss who's working on that project with Exchange. We are going to take out the old seesaw and put in dirt to level the ground.
“(City Engineer) Greg Korb is with the project and we're going to make it ADA compliant by putting in a ramp and have ADA swings so anyone can go swing," Glorioso said.
While the park is smaller than other parks such as Bear Pen or Fireman's Park, Glorioso believes it will benefit the children in the neighborhood.
"This is more of your neighborhood park and we have a few like that in Cleveland. It's for the kids in that neighborhood to have somewhere to go and run and play," he explained.
The Cleveland Park Commission works diligently to maintain the city parks, however it is sometimes difficult when visitors vandalize the areas.
"The biggest problems we have are with people trying to tear them a part and with graffiti. At Exchange someone grabbed a can of paint and threw it down the slide. To just fix what everybody tears up is probably $5,000 a year. I would said it costs anywhere from $300-$5,000 to maintain," Glorioso explained.
With the facelift the Exchange Park is receiving, it won't be long before more neighborhood children come out and enjoy everything it has to offer.