Grandview Heights High School students hope their ideas for the city-owned land at Grandview Yard make an impression on city leaders.
The suggestions the city of Grandview Heights has received for potential uses of civic space at the Yard development include proposals submitted by Grandview High School geography students.
As part of the development agreement with Nationwide Realty Investors, one acre within the project area will be donated to the city. Grandview also has the option to purchase another acre.
The city held a town hall meeting Aug. 22 to solicit suggestions from the public and invited other residents or groups to submit their ideas by Sept. 21.
"I had a parent who made me aware of the public land issue, and I realized it was applicable to the first unit we're doing in class, which concerns location," said Vince De Tillio, who teaches three geography classes at the high school.
"When we're talking about location, it's not just where people are, but how people interact and affect the environment and the economy," he said.
De Tillio divided each of his classes into groups of four or five students and asked each group to develop an idea for using the public land that would benefit the community.
"We dug up some demographic information about who Grandview is and who lives here so they could better design the space to meet the needs of the community," he said.
The students came up with a variety of ideas that demonstrated they were thinking about the community at large and not just their own interests, De Tillio said.
Kayleigh Stelling's group proposed creating a passive park that would be highlighted by "a very ornate kind of fountain.
"It would be eco-friendly with lots of green space," she said. "There would be benches for people to sit on. It would be a place all different generations could enjoy."
Her group originally considered proposing a "sporty" park, but instead settled on the concept of "a nice green space," Stelling said.
"We tried to look at what everyone would like," she said.
Anna Kahle's group proposed a joint venture with COSI, which would be sort of a permanent version of the COSI on Wheels exhibits the science museum brings when staff members visit schools.
"It would be both entertaining and educational. COSI is a really family-oriented place," she said. "Kids could learn a lot from it, but adults could enjoy it, too."
COSI is expert at making learning fun, Kahle said.
"When you go to their museum, you're having so much fun, you don't realize you're learning," she said.
Preston Robson's group suggested a public building that could be used for educational programs and community meetings, where residents could discuss and debate issues.
"We'd make it a fun place, too," he said. "There could be a flat-screen TV and space to do fun activities."
Xavier Gronbach said his group proposed an idea that has arisen periodically over the years: a dog park.
"The reason we ended up with that idea is that many people in Grandview own dogs and pets and would like a nice open space they could take them to," he said.
The dog park would be fenced in so dogs could run free, Gronbach said. The group's concept for the park includes installing a fountain and benches where pet owners can sit while they watch their dogs.
De Tillio said he is anxious to see what kind of response his students' suggestions receive from the city.
"What's nice about this project is that it's a real-world experience for them," he said. "We try to make up things like this for class projects, but it's never as good as something that's real."