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AUGUST 13, 2009   

Spray-painted on sidewalk: I luv this parkMe too

Spray-painting the sidewalk may not be the best way to say it, but I appreciate the thought. The park is Fairview Park, right across the street from my house. It was completely renovated a few years ago by the City of Cleveland after a year or more of planning organized by a couple of neighborhood moms.

I've been around community organizing long enough to know that it's relatively easy to generate heat, harder to get light. And hardest of all to get concrete results. Yet here on the concrete is testimonial to a process that worked when both the community and the city did things right. An under-used, semi-neglected park with a baseball diamond, swing set and a couple of trash containers became a neighborhood meeting place.

Group of people in parkLast night it looked like this:

We were all enjoying Dixieland music while a flock of kids overran the vastly improved play structure just visible at the left rear of the photo. Bi-monthly outdoor events like this have been a part of the park's rebirth. Planners wisely understand that it takes more than shiny new equipment to bring a place alive. It takes activities that draw people to the place. Like the sounds of Dixieland that Joanne and I heard as we ate supper. It worked like a charm, bringing us over to meet with friends and neighbors.

Feet and legs on couchAfterwards we went back home and relaxed on the couch, Dixieland tunes still in the background.


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