Residents of the Buckeye, Central, and Ohio City neighborhoods have a chance — a very limited chance — to tell the American Heart Association whether they want celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to drop a teaching kitchen in their backyard. One of the neighborhoods could get the permanent facility, which will be used to demonstrate healthier cooking techniques and recipes in an effort to curb obesity and improve health. Once the neighborhood is chosen, the heart association will need only to raise about $2 million to build it.
In what seems to be an almost clandestine operation (the local chapter of the AHA reports it knows nothing about the effort — it’s being handled on a national level), the association will interview adult patrons of the Carnegie West, Sterling, and Rice branches of the Cleveland Public Library. They will not ask about health, but will ask whether residents would use the kitchen, sign up for cooking classes, or be interested in healthier cooking at home.
But you have only one day to weigh in, according to library spokeswoman Cathy Poilpre. State your case for Ohio City at the Carnegie West library today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for Central at the Sterling branch from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Monday, or for Buckeye at the Rice branch from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 25. The heart association hopes to talk to 100 people at each branch. That may be a tall order, considering nobody knows about it.
“It’s interesting they wouldn’t reach out to us as part of the community,” says Eric Wobser, director of Ohio City Inc. “But it could be they want to stay independent and not be lobbied.”