CLEVELAND — Residents living in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood are no strangers to dealing with rapid development, but now they'd like things to slow down just a bit to save a small tract of land better known as Lucky Park.
South of Jefferson Block Club President Tim Harrison said a significant 3,000-square-foot section of Lucky Park, located at the intersection of Starkweather and Professor Avenues, has now been put-up for sale by its owner for $109,000.
Harrison said the block club and other Tremont residents are hoping the City of Cleveland and the Tremont West Development Corporation can find the funding to buy the land and preserve the park.
“It's a beautiful piece of green space that shouldn’t go away," Harrison said. "It’s a gathering space, Tremont Farmer’s Market started here, it became a park just organically.”
Harrison said he's concerned the land will be purchased by an out-of-town investor, who has no idea how valuable the green-space is to the community.
In response, block club member Deb Smith has organized a "Save Our Park" rally at Lucky Park on Sunday, May 23 starting at 7 p.m.
Smith said for the past 15 years the block club and Tremont residents nurtured the park by cutting the lawn and adding trees, flowers and picnic tables, and she said it will now take a neighborhood effort to save it.
“This park is our pride and joy," Smith said. “We got a grant for our mural back here, our Tremont mural, we got grants for our plant material, the beautiful trees. We are so proud of our little park and we love it. So now we want to save the park and say hey, 'SOS we’ve all got to come together here,' just to show our solidarity. It's a little gem here, just a little cherished gem, and we want to keep it.”
Tremont businesses near Lucky Park, like Lucky's Cafe, agree the park must be preserved.
Jamie Dejarnette, general manager of Lucky’s Cafe, said her business will help with a fundraiser to get the word out that the future of the park is uncertain.
"People are always like, 'Why don’t they turn this into a parking lot?' We get that a lot," Dejarnette said. "And I’m like 'Are you kidding me? We would never want to see the nature taken away from here.' It’s priceless, $109,000 is nothing compared to what this plot of land means for this community.”
The other half of Lucky Park is owned by St. Theodosious Orthodox Cathedral down the street. News 5 contacted the parish council president who said there are current no plans to put its part of the park up for sale.
News 5 also attempted to reach out to the property owner and the real estate agent handling the sale, but we're still waiting for a response.
Meanwhile, Harrison told News 5 his block club is also working with Ward 3 Cleveland Councilman Kerry McCormack in the search for funding.
“There’s definitely plans to try and secure this and do it fairly for the private property owners," Harrison said. “What’s better than a park, better than green space as a neighborhood asset?”