The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) is participating in the national Library Giving Day on April 7, 2021, to raise funds for Heights Libraries’ Coventry P.E.A.C.E. PARK playground replacement.
Donations can be made starting April 1, 2021, at www.heightslibrary.org/fund-for-the-future-of-heights-libraries.
All funds raised will be used to replace the 30-plus-year-old playground that has reached the end of its life. When Heights Libraries obtained the PEACE Park property in 2018, it pledged to become a good steward of the six-acre property, which was once an elementary school. The Library has leased the building to Coventry PEACE Campus, Inc. and now is focusing on creating a fully accessible playground for use by people of all ages and abilities.
The original playground was built in 1993 on the steep hillside site by volunteers from the community, organized by the Coventry School PTO. The group raised more than $300,000 for design and materials. The structure, built over a rainy October weekend, still stands. It is unique, with its wooden materials and structures that resemble a pirate ship, dragon, and castle. Over the years, maintenance on the playground has been done by volunteers, the school district, and now the Library.
“The time has come to turn the playground into a more accessible and inclusive family community gathering place,” says Jackie Nachman, president of the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries. “I hope my one-year-old son will be able to play on it and that there will activities for my husband and I as well.”
The FFHL has set a modest goal of $5,000 for the Library Day of Giving and hopes to attract matching donors from the community. Any donations made during April will go toward creating a master plan for the park and playground (the master plan process will allow for community input). Another campaign will be launched at a later date for construction.
“We know people are still hurting from the pandemic. That is why it is just as important to get a greater number of donors who can contribute a small sum, and build our list of supporters.” Nachman added. “We encourage people of all ages to contribute on April 7.”
Since taking over the park, the Library has sponsored a “Black Excellence” mural in the parking lot, replaced benches, planted trees, improved pathways, and installed new dog clean-up stations.
The park has been home to movie nights sponsored by the Coventry Village Improvement District as well as hosting performances by the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, flea markets, the Pekar Park Comic Book Fest, and impromptu soccer games. Last summer, during the pandemic, it offered a safe outdoor location for community prayer services and social justice events.