First Annual Coventry PEACE Chili Cook Off Billed as a “Friend Raiser” Affair

Sun 3/24 @ 5:30PM

After a few bumpy years of uncertainty, the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus in Cleveland Heights is looking forward to getting back to its mission, which is providing the area a unique arts, education, recreation and community service hub.

Home to nonprofit organizations Ensemble Theater, Lake Erie Ink, Family Connections, FutureHeights, Reaching Heights, ARTFUL and Urban Oak School, the former Coventry School building, which was previously a part of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, is beginning its next chapter.

“Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus sort of came out of a group effort when we were told that the building was perhaps going to be sold to the city of Cleveland Heights and bid out for development,” said ARTFUL board president Brady Dindia, who is a Coventry P.E.A.C.E. lead volunteer.

“The community stepped up and said we don’t want development here. We support these organizations. We love this playground and park. That’s when the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library stepped up to the plate purchasing the building and its six acres from the school board. We now currently rent our space in the building from the library.”

The cooperative, which formed new 501(c)(3) as Coventry P.E.A.C.E., is the type of operation that Dindia said many Northeast Ohio communities spend a ton of money hoping to recreate.

“Our space happened organically,” Dindia said. “We’re lucky in that regard that we already have a building and established organizations working together under the same roof.

“We look at ourselves as a sort creative community hub. We serve all generations. We have programs for retirees, new families, refugees, people from the area and beyond the Heights. It’s such an eclectic mix of offerings we have there that it’s nice people are able to come to one spot and fulfill many different needs.”

Such an event is the first annual Coventry PEACE Chili Cook Off taking place Sun 3/24 at the Washington Boulevard building. An all-you-can-eat affair (meat and vegetarian options) is included with cost of entry. Attendees can vote on their favorite chili, with winning cooks earning cash and prizes. There will also be raffles.

“We’ve been referring to it as a friend-raiser,” Dindia said. “We just sort of feel like it’s time to get everyone back together, update them on where we are in the process, how our partnership with the library is going and start sort of making everyone aware of our collaboration.

“Technically, it’s a fundraiser, but we’re not looking to raise a ton of funds. We just kind of want to invite everyone back into the building and remind them we’re still there and that we’ll be here for a long time to come.”

[Written by John Benson]

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