Ralph J. Perk Plaza at Chester Commons
About the Work
Designed by New York-based landscape architectural firm Thomas Balsley Associates and local firm McKnight Associates, this site is surrounded by more than 2,000 apartment residences, offices, and hotels. Located on East 12th Street between Chester and Walnut Avenues, Perk Park serves a diverse population in an area of downtown that had been lacking in well-functioning green space.
Construction was completed at the end of 2011, but the first season of programming began in Summer 2012.
The park’s rebuilding has returned it to a vital gathering place that supports adjacent restaurants, encourages street-level retail, and provides an important amenity to serve nearby neighborhood residents, workers, and visitors.
LAND studio led all aspects of the project including the design, fundraising, and construction management.
Perk Park is now state of the art and is positively impacting the downtown neighborhood. Unique seating, a forest of light wands, poetry, greenspace and an eye-catching red trellis define this new public space.
How It Started
The idea to redevelop Perk Park at Chester Commons first arose in 2003. Downtown was lacking in functional, vibrant greenspace, and rejuvenating Perk was seen as a way to enliven an important downtown neighborhood.
This project would not have been possible without the support of our partners — the City of Cleveland, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, local landscape architecture firm McKnight Associates, lead designer Thomas Balsley Associates — and our generous funders including K&D Group, Ohio Savings Bank, the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust, the JP Murphy Foundation, Eaton Corporation, and businesses surrounding the park.
Changes included leveling the former sunken and multi-leveled layout of the park and adding a large multi-purpose great lawn.
Along East 12th Street, an overhead trellis covers sidewalks and a seating area and includes unique lighting. A forest of light wands is on display throughout the park, addressing safety concerns and creating an aesthetically pleasing pattern from street level and when viewed from above.
Numerous seating options provide opportunities for outdoor dining and for relaxing on warmer days.