Winner of International Downtown Association Merit AwardOriginally completed in 1972, Perk Park was built when the street was seen as a menace so parks turned inward. Rolling berms around the edges and sunken areas in the middle, filled with concrete retaining walls, reflected that attitude. Not surprisingly, the park fell into decline; abandoned by the neighborhood and occupied for less desirable purposes.After years in this condition, the City and Park Works committed public and donor funding toward the park’s redesign and rejuvenation. Thomas Balsley Associates’ plan to reunite the community with its park is strong, simple, and logical. The “forest and meadow” concept preserves the park’s strong points -- the mature shade trees and the liminal mounds -- but replaces the central sink hole with a wide, sunny lawn on which daily urban life will unfold in its magical myriad of ways. On the north side, intimate seating areas are created among a grove of large, existing honey locusts which cast dappled shade on a forest floor of crushed stone. The oval mounds provide topographic relief, their swellings in contrast with a geometric grid of 20-foot tall light wands which echo the rhythm of the surrounding architecture while providing night-time drama. Clear lines of sight replace the huddled bunkers. Choices that range between sanctuary and urban social interaction abound. Perk Park embodies the untapped potential of small urban public spaces in our cities. A public waste ground has been transformed into a common ground, a source of pride and enjoyment for its neighborhood and Cleveland citizens. It serves as an example of a collective civic will’s vision and fortitude, and the power of design.