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In Hough, New Park Opens Amid Big Development

Newton Avenue Park in Hough [Justin Glanville/ideastream]
Newton Avenue Park in Hough

A new park opened Tuesday on East 97th Street in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood.

Newton Avenue Park is tucked in between a block of historic block bungalows, some new apartment buildings and senior housing. It’s also across the street from a new health education campus being built by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. The idea for the park goes back to some early community meetings about how the mostly low-income surrounding neighborhood could benefit from the new campus, said Vickie Johnson of the Cleveland Clinic.

"We heard from the families that there was a need for a space that would be safe and that would encourage health and wellness," Johnson said.

The park is about two-thirds of an acre, and cost about $350,000, much of that in-kind labor donated by contractors who work with the Clinic and CWRU, Johnson said. The perimeter is framed by mature trees left over from the three vacant lots it replaced. Newton Avenue Park has playground equipment for kids, including a shiny chrome jungle gym and a miniature basketball hoop, along with a paved walking track and workout stations for adults.

The new health education campus is due to open this summer, bringing an influx of students to the neighborhood.

"We want everyone to use the space," Johnson said, "but we were not shy about the number one priority being the folks who live there."

The nonprofit Famicos Foundation, a neighborhood group, will maintain the park in part through a landscape training program for local youth.

Justin Glanville is the deputy editor of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.