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.