Cuyahoga Valley National Park turns Tower City into a green oasis

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including Gibbs has fond memories of the iconic dancing fountain in the center of tower city center-of1998, when he was 10 years old, go see the movie “A Bug’s Life”.

But as wonderful as those memories are, Gibbs is even more excited about what’s happening now at Fountain Square, 30 years after the first Fountain Dance.

Today, as Vice President of Community Partnerships with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park ConservationGibbs and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) work with a property developer bedrock to transform the now empty 2,100 square foot oval fountain into an indoor green space.

“Bedrock reached out and they had the idea of ​​creating a park in the Skylight Concourse area of ​​Tower City, and immediately I thought, ‘this is where the fountain was,'” says Gibbs . “Then I thought, ‘this will create new potential for this space, for families and good for children.'”

Gibbs and CVNP Ranger Pam Machuga immediately began brainstorming how to create a park in the middle of an urban environment, discussing the types of plants and trees native to the area, as well as the look and feel of the park.

“It was a natural opportunity to partner with CVNP and Bedrock to think about how people relax and come together,” says Gibbs. “What a value to find this green space when you are in the urban core of Tower City.”

This Saturday, July 16, the Conservancy and Bedrock will unveil the new Skylight Park in the lobby featuring lush green space, experiential programming and performances, food and drink pop-ups, and family-friendly activities.

Skylight Park is Bedrock’s latest initiative to enhance Tower City Center to create a more engaging experiential environment with shopping and retail experiences, dining and entertainment. Recently, Bedrock announced three new additions to Tower City, including Unwritten shop, ninja townand MODBites by Nuevo.

Crews have installed the new Skylight Park over the past two weeks, with a curated mix of live and artificial foliage with real flowers native to northeast Ohio like eastern purple coneflower and black-eyed Susan. The park will also have benches, picnic tables and chairs.

“We used plants native to Ohio and the Midwest region because we thought it would be important to highlight things you might see in your backyard,” says Gibbs. “It’s a continuation of the discovery of our region.

Additionally, CVNP and the Conservancy have included features known as “Moments of Mindfulness,” which feature encouraging quotes and mantras that will be displayed amid greenery to allow visitors to pause and reflect. .

Gibbs cites a quote from poet Maya Angelou as one of his favorite mindfulness moments: “We need joy like we need air. We need love like we need water. We need each other like we need the land we share.

Ivy Greaner, chief operating officer at Bedrock, says the urban garden concept is part of Tower City’s revitalization plan at a time when shopping malls are no longer viewed as destinations.

“There are currently 1,200 malls across the country, and only 200 are successful,” she explains. “People want more authentic experiences, and they take those experiences very seriously.”

Greaner says the concept of Skylight Park is to attract shoppers to malls like Tower City. “Most malls have seen better days,” she says. “But bringing the park indoors is an opportunity for people to get to the park at night, in bad weather, and escape.” She adds that the planned regular entertainment and activities will attract more people to Tower City.

Still, Greaner says they wanted to stay authentic to the northeast Ohio area with the plantations, which is part of the reason Bedrock brought in CVNP and the Conservancy.

“We could have brought in palms from Florida, but that doesn’t seem to be the spirit,” she says. “We thought, rather than just fix the fountain, let’s do something fun. That’s when the idea of ​​working with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park came about.

Gibbs adds, “Being able to reinvent this space, I look forward to seeing how Tower City continues to re-emerge as the center of urban nature in this region.”

The grand opening is this Saturday July 15 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday July 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday Events include CVNP’s “Creatures and Misunderstood Creatures” from noon to 4 p.m., to discover how creatures often considered pests (bats, bees, opossums) are essential to the ecosystem.

The muralists of #VoicesofCLE public art project will paint a mural and have an interactive blackboard for guests to share messages and images for all to see. There will be a free roller skating rink, balloon artists, face painting, fortune tellers, live music and entertainment from ListenCLE and the appearances of Cleveland Cavaliers PowerHouse Dance Teamand price discounts.

Saturday evening will be crowned by a free screening of “Sing 2at Skylight Park at 6 p.m.

Sunday July 18 Nuggets & Milk will be the host Social ice cream with roller skating, shows and entertainment.

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