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AKA 1908 Project Playground

Source: Sanerica D. / Sanerica D.

CLEVELAND — There are plenty of activities for children in downtown Cleveland over the next few days, with Major League Baseball’s Play Ball Park and free summer activities at Public Square. But for children living downtown, there are fewer options for places to play on a daily basis.

There are no playgrounds in downtown Cleveland right now, according to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA), but Joe Marinucci, the organization’s president and CEO, said the Alliance is working with Ward 3 city councilman Kerry McCormack and other local organizations to change that.

Marinucci said the organization has invested a lot into green spaces in the downtown area, from Public Square to Perk Plaza, “but our challenge really is to create more playground spaces, especially for young children.”

As new construction continues in downtown Cleveland, the population continues to grow. Marinucci said there are currently 17,500 to 18,000 downtown residents, and that number is expected to reach about 20,000 by the end of next year, with the potential of 30,000 total residents in the next seven to 10 years.

According to a 2016 U.S. Census update, Marinucci said, about 1,000 of the residents in downtown Cleveland were children under age 14 years old.

“What we’re finding is people are staying in downtown longer,” Marinucci said. “Either they’re getting married or have a partner, and they’re bringing children into downtown.”

That means demand is increasing for playgrounds, and it’s an issue Marinucci said downtown residents are hoping to address.

“I think they look at it as an opportunity and a challenge,” Marinucci said. “Obviously, they know living in a downtown environment, you’ve got other amenities that make it obviously attractive, so the key now is to work with them now to take this next step.”

Marinucci said while this project is still in the planning phase, organizations such as DCA, the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association and City Advocates are working to bring two playgrounds to the downtown area. One would be a traditional playground with swings and slides, while the other, in connection with LAND studio, would be more of a “playscape,” incorporating educational design elements along with recreation.

The playgrounds are estimated to cost about $100,000 each, so Marinucci said in addition to grassroots fundraising, the organizations would likely need to secure money from sponsors or from a foundation. The goal is to break ground on the playgrounds later this year and finish them by the end of the year.

 

READ MORE: News5Cleveland.com

Article Courtesy of WEWS News 5 Cleveland

First and Second Picture Courtesy of Sanerica D.

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