CLEVELAND - To have a dream, have people embrace that dream and have it head for reality is an awe-inspiring feeling.
In 2008, a 17-year-old had an idea to help his neighborhood, Tuesday night he was overwhelmed that his idea had attracted a room full of people
Jaovvoni Garrison is a skateboarder and felt if his Slavic Village neighborhood was going to rebound, it needed a catalyst. His idea was to have a skate park as a place for Clevelanders to not only skate and socialize but to have it create an economic impact.
The project is expected to be a magnet for economic growth in an area hard hit by the housing foreclosures.
“I’m modest in a sense of confidently knowing I’m waiting to see when the final product is finished,” said Garrison. “This park is really community based and it started from an idea that a person from this neighborhood wanted.”
The Slavic Village Development Corporation offices hosted the meeting with skaters in the seats and their boards lined along a wall.
This conceptual design meeting was held to gather ideas about the look and location of the proposed park.
A representative of Grindline , a world-renowned Seattle skate park design company showed the crowd designs and videos from other parks.
Vince Frantz, executive director of Public Square Group, is aware of the hurdles facing the project but also feels the project can have a long lasting impact.
“The more reasons you have to do your living inside the city of Cleveland, the more chances you’re going to stay and build and build on your ideas there,” Frantz said.
Sites along Broadway Avenue are being scouted, groundbreaking could happen in 2014.
“We’re not talking a million dollar project, we’re talking a half million or less,” Frantz said. “For what you get when you put one time in the ground and kept it swept afterwards, you’re not talking an increase in costs every year from a facility like this. So we’re talking about something you put in and you reap the benefits for a decade later.”
They expect benefits to include and increase in building, renovations of existing buildings as well as additional residents moving in.
Funding sources can be private donors as well as economic development funds and even grants from art funding organizations as many parks are considered to be an interactive urban sculpture.
“The dynamic you get when you’ve got five-year-olds to 40-year-olds skating on what amounts to like 19,000 square foot of public art is very unique,” Frantz added.
Pondering how far the project has come, the man with the idea continued to look forward.
“It adds that next level of what a future is for our community in these blighted areas…of where it can be and how people can progress toward something different,” said Garrison.
More information on future meetings can be found at publicsquaregroup.org
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