The City of Cleveland has currently designated a plot of land for the Croatian Cultural Garden on historic Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in its nationally recognized Rockefeller Park. This will be the first garden of its kind in the United States and Canada to celebrate the contributions of the Croatian people and to serve as a visible symbol of Croatia’s rich heritage. The successful completion of the garden is dependent on the contributions made by our large local and national Croatian Community and friends.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, within Rockefeller Park, consists of 27 ethnic gardens. The gardens were first dedicated over 75 years ago with the goal of recognizing the immense value of cultural diversity by portraying the customs, beliefs and traditions of the nations represented. We Croatians will finally have the opportunity to exhibit our significant contributions.
A committee was formed in January 2009 to establish the Croatian Cultural Garden. Throughout the year we have worked on design, fundraising and coordinating the site selection with the Cleveland Cultural Garden Federation and the City of Cleveland. The design committee has been working with landscape architect Jim McKnight to create a garden which reflects the Croatian culture.
The fundraising efforts have begun with a large concert of various Croatian cultural groups participating in November. It was our first opportunity to explain our designs to the community, which were well received. It was a successful event, raising approximately $20,000. Since then we have received additional donations from individuals and organizations. Thanks to a generous matching donation from a Croatian businessman our total is $90,000 at the end of 2010.
Our total estimated cost for the entire project is $500,000. We are planning to complete the garden in several phases with initial groundbreaking in the spring of 2011. It is our goal to raise the first $125,000 for phase I so that construction can begin. In order to do so, we are reaching out to other sources of funding as well as to Croatians across the United States.