The idea for the E. 200th Street Stroll actually began in 2004 when I (Sherrie Zagorc) was looking for a way to do some fundraising for FRED’S Club Tutoring Programs. Euclid had just repaved E. 200th Street and incorporated tree planting cut outs up and down the street but only weeds joined the trees. At the same time new, expensive homes were being built on the lake. Who would want to travel up an unattractive street to get their home on the lake? So, my fundraising idea was to visit E. 200th Street businesses, tell them about FRED’S Club, and then ask them if they would be willing to donate to FRED’S Club in exchange for a group of volunteers to weed and plant flowers in front of their building. I called that the P.I.E. Project – Pride in Euclid – but I also planned to bake an apple pie for the businesses that donated. (I was a recently retired Family and Consumer Science teacher so I had to get food in there somewhere.)
So, I met with city managers to ask for permission and I worked with them to select Stella d’Oro daylilies as the flower we would plant. I assembled some volunteers from FRED’S Club and The Master’s Church – the home of FRED’S Club – and we began weeding, planting, and watering during that entire summer. While on the street I began to realize how busy that street was with motor, bus, pedestrian, and bike travel and just how many planters there really are. I also met some great business owners and neighborhood people who appreciated our work. It was great working with my husband, Ray, who “volunteered” too.
This was a busy time. I was planning to open up a nonprofit child care center on E. 200th Street with 2 friends – Carole Mozeleski and Linda Mitchell – Kiddie City Child Care Community. I also started to become more active in the city and attended a community meeting at Church of the Epiphany where were sharing our dreams for the city of Euclid. As I would weed and plant on the street I would do a lot of thinking and one of my ideas was to hold a street event that would bring people to E. 200th Street to see all the great things that I was seeing so I mentioned that in my small group at that community meeting. Tom Woods, the administrator at Gateway Retirement Community, told me to come and discuss the idea with him and so I did.
To be continued…..