The City of North Olmsted has been selected as the recipient of two grants by Cuyahoga County that will improve parks and recreation amenities in the community. One grant will result in a new walking path at North Olmsted Community Park. Another grant will be used to construct a pocket park on Butternut Ridge Road.
“With the support of Cuyahoga County, we are excited to be able to make these investments in our community,” said Mayor Kevin Kennedy. “At this time of social distancing, access to nature and open space has become even more important to our health and well-being. These projects will encourage North Olmsted residents to get outside, get some fresh air and exercise.”
Planning and Community Development Director Kim Lieber believes community support for these improvements was important to the city’s success. “Local volunteer and recreation organizations really helped us make the case for these projects by showing up at public meetings and writing letters of support,” said Lieber.
Both projects are currently in the planning and design phase. Construction is anticipated in 2020.
North Olmsted Community Park Walking Path
The North Olmsted Community Park Walking Path project received $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds through Cuyahoga County’s Municipal Grant Program.
The project involves construction of a new walking path around the perimeter of the park. The 6-foot wide asphalt path will be designed to provide an accessible walking and running surface. The layout will build off the small segment of existing path at the northeast corner of the park and will connect existing and future park amenities.
Recreation Commissioner Betsy Drenski is thrilled that the walking path will become a reality. “This path is something that we have been talking about for a very long time,” said Drenski. “We are grateful to Cuyahoga County for the opportunity we now have to improve North Olmsted Park. So many park users will benefit from this new amenity, and it will also bring new visitors to our park as well.”
The project will support community goals for health and wellness by removing barriers to fitness, both physical and financial. Since the park is open to all, visitors can benefit without needing special equipment or memberships. The proposed path is designed to serve all population groups, from youth to seniors to those with disabilities, accessible to everyone in the community.
Senior Center Administrator Jackie Chavez-Anderson believes the new path will be a great addition to programming currently offered at the center, which is located in the park. “The Senior Center organizes a health and fitness walking challenge every year, often competing with other Westshore senior centers,” said Chavez-Anderson. “Having a convenient and safe walking path is a wonderful way for older adults to build strength and balance and have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful park setting.”
Butternut Ridge Pocket Park
The Butternut Ridge Pocket Park project received $50,000 through the Community Development Supplemental Grant program funded by the county’s Casino Revenue Fund. A small, vacant lot on Butternut Ridge Road near Canterbury Road will be improved with seating and landscaping. The project will incorporate public art, the City of North Olmsted’s first public art project.
“This project will benefit North Olmsted on many levels – providing new park land, increasing awareness of the historic district neighborhood, beautifying the community and demonstrating pride for our city,” said Lieber.
As a first step toward the development of the pocket park, the city acquired the property through a land donation made by the Kiwanis Club of North Olmsted in 2019. Kiwanis representatives continue to be involved on the planning committee for the park’s design. A key goal of the committee is ensuring the park complements the Historic District.
“Butternut Ridge is a special place in North Olmsted with an obvious historical significance, and this park will be a great addition,” said Ward III Councilman and Landmarks Commission member Paul Schumann. “It is one of our oldest streets with a diverse and unique housing stock that tells the story of North Olmsted’s growth and development. This project will be another chapter in that story.”