At its Monday, July 17, public meeting, the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees unanimously voted to hire Regency Construction Services Inc. as the Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) for the Coventry PEACE park and playground renovation and construction.
The park will officially close in early October, and the current playground structures will be torn down soon after. Construction of the new playground is tentatively scheduled to be finished in late spring or early summer of 2024.
The playground is being funded by the nonprofit Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL), which began fundraising in October 2022 and has so far raised roughly half the funds needed to complete project, including a $100,000 pledge from the FRIENDs of Heights Libraries. The FFHL is currently working on garnering enough donations to meet a matching grant of $50,000. Other areas of the park will be funded by a $300,000 pledge from the Library. The entire park project is budgeted at $1.2 million.
“We are so moved by the support this project has received from our community,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “The park is a beloved community resource, and we are just so pleased to be moving to the next phase.”
Based on community feedback from the early design concepts, presented to the public in June and July of 2021 online and at public meetings, the new PEACE park design includes over 100 new trees, a large pollinator garden, an accessible quarter-mile trail, a performance stage, and an updated, more accessible playground featuring a large cardinal-shaped structure that will include climbing features and a big slide.
On Thursday, August 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Coventry branch, the Library will be seeking public input on the current design before it submits final plans to the City of Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review. This event, called “Tell Us What You Think,” is the sixth time the Library has solicited public input over the last two years.
The current playground was designed by landscape architect Jim McKnight, with input from local children, and was built in 1993 by community volunteers. Over the years, maintenance on the playground has been done by volunteers, the school district, and now the Library.
In May of 2021, Heights Libraries contracted with McKnight and another landscape architect, Andrew Sargeant, to prepare sketches and develop an overall plan for the entire PEACE Park property, including cost estimates.
Regency Construction has worked for Heights Libraries before, serving as the CMR for the University Heights branch renovation in 2016-2017.