Filed Under Parks

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park carries on a piece of the tradition of the closed Coventry School next door. The park, now almost twenty years old, originated when neighborhood residents became concerned that the school's playground had seen better days. In 1991, the Coventry PTA formed a committee that got elementary school students to submit drawings of their "dream" playground.

The visioning group in the PTA incorporated as Coventry People Enhancing A Child's Environment, or Coventry P.E.A.C.E., an acronym that evoked the school's peace theme. Through a series of T-shirt, candy, lemonade, and bake sales, and benefit performances and dinners, the non-profit organization raised the nearly $300,000 needed to create Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. The park's construction in October 1993 was in the "New England barnraising" style and proceeded despite torrential downpours.

In 2001, the newly formed nonprofit organization Heights Arts sponsored its first public art project in the park: Coventry Arch. Designed by Barry Gunderson, an art professor at Kenyon College, the 180-degree span of aluminum pipes includes four whimsical, abstract figures (two on each side) reaching across the path to form an arch-like entry to the park. Gunderson's creation, according to his original proposal, is "a symbol of greeting, accommodation, and celebration of differences."

Home to summer movie nights, winter sledding, after-school playing, and the occasional peace demonstration, Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park remains a beloved green space and a symbol of the neighborhood that outlived the school from which it was born.

Images

Detail of Coventry Arch The Coventry Arch frames the entrance to the park but also provides a sense of arrival in Coventry Village for residents of Grant Deming's Forest Hill neighborhood to the southeast. Creator: J. Mark Souther Date: 2012
Coventry Playground, 1973 Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park developed from concerns about the upkeep of the old Coventry School playground. At one time the school had an upper and lower playground. Today's park spans both areas. Source: Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Planting a Tree, 1996 A group of community volunteers prepares to plant a new tree on the Euclid Heights Boulevard side of the park. Source: FutureHeights
Planting Shrubbery, 1996 Volunteers plant perennial shrubs on the edge of Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. Formed through community voluntarism, the park owes its upkeep to the ongoing commitment of active citizens. Annual spring clean-ups play a signal role in maintaining the park as a clean and safe place for children. Source: FutureHeights
Playground, 2012 With one of the region's most extensive playgrounds, Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park is not only a beacon for Cleveland Heights children but also a destination for kids from miles around. The park's long, fast slide takes perfect advantage of the hill that once separated Coventry School's upper and lower playgrounds. Creator: J. Mark Souther
Song and Dance Artist Barry Gunderson's Coventry Arch reflects his talent in working with aluminum. A similar but unique counterpart to the arch may be seen at Lincoln Park Civic Center in Kettering, Ohio (outside Dayton). Song and Dance, like Coventry Arch, dates to 2001. Creator: Barry Gunderson
Hawk at Playground, 2012 A hawk perches atop the playground equipment early on a spring morning at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. It is a rare sight, for the park is usually filled with dozens of exuberant children. Creator: J. Mark Souther
Youth of Coventry, 2012 Members of the Youth of Coventry, an organization that brings a teen perspective to issues of importance to Coventry Village, pose in a fitting place - beneath the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch. Formed in 2011 after unrest marred the annual Coventry Street Fair, the group seeks to foster peace and reconciliation. Source: FutureHeights

Location

Metadata

J. Mark Souther, “Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park,” Cleveland Historical, accessed December 4, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/437.