CLEVELAND — A new "pocket park" commemorating Cleveland's first lighthouse has opened in the city's Warehouse District.
Lighthouse Park, located on the corner of Main Avenue and West 9th Street, had its grand opening on Aug. 24 at 3 p.m., bringing the city a new public space that organizers say was "born from the desire to celebrate the location and enhance pedestrian connections between the Warehouse District and The Flats."
The "pocket park," a trendy term for small parks popping up across major cities, features landscaping, seating, bench swings, electrical hookup for device charging and other amenities including bike racks and crosswalk upgrades on the surrounding streets.
“As we engaged with the community on the park, we were continually reminded how important spaces like this are in a neighborhood – like a place to simply relax outside with your dog and get some fresh air,” Thomas Starinsky, vice president of urban planning and design for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, said
The park was developed by the DCA and the Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation, with funding provided federally through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and through local contributions from the Cleveland Foundation, Ohio & Erie Canalway Strategic Initiative Program, George Gund Foundation and private funding. The DCA and HWDDC also contributed funds.
"If we are going to make a positive impact on the quality of life of our community, we need to continue to cultivate partnerships where the City works with non-profit organizations and provides great opportunities like Lighthouse Park to become a reality," said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.
For the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which recently announced it was seeking funding for a project bringing more walkable and multi-modal amenities to the E. 66th Street Corridor on the east side, the project continues the agency's commitment to modernizing Cleveland's neighborhoods.
"NOACA funding toward projects like Lighthouse Park illustrates our commitment to dynamic walkable neighborhoods,” said Grace Gallucci, Executive Director and CEO NOACA. “A true multi-modal system is about more than cars. You need access to transit, bike lanes, and connections to great public spaces."
The park features amenities designed around input from local community members and continues a nationwide trend of small-scale naturalistic infrastructure to enliven otherwise cramped and unused stretches of land in major cities.
"It was important to the organization to build upon experimental pop-up parks and deliver a park like this with high design, quality craftsmanship and swings," said Starinsky.
Michael Deemer, president and CEO of the DCA, said the organization's work to improve the city's urban infrastructure will continue.
"As DCA continues to build upon its vision of a vibrant, welcoming city center, it will not be enough to only build great spaces like Lighthouse Park," said Deemer. “The success of an inclusive, walkable downtown will depend on how public spaces are programmed, managed, and maintained.