The Cultural Gardens in the heart of Cleveland has been both. But there is a plan to restore the gardens, founded in 1916, to their former glory.
Dr. George Parras, President of the Cultural Gardens Federation, says the group is working with the National Parks Service to have the 50-acre site designated as a national monument.
One criteria in the selection of national monuments is the significance and common bond they formed for all Americans. "The gardens are a powerful symbol of peace and brotherhood," Parras said.
Decades ago, the Cultural Gardens had an international reputation. Following World War II, the Cultural Gardens hosted "World Day" events.
But the park, with more than two dozen nationalities represented, has fallen on hard times recently. Thieves have stolen shrubs, flowers and bronze statues from the gardens.
Thursday, Donald Blevins of Cleveland was sentenced to probation and 250 hours of community service work at the gardens for his role in stealing and selling two statues.
But George Terbrack, who has spent hours working in the Slovak garden Blevins vandalized is hopeful for the National Monument designation. "It might be the most viable way to preserve this area for future generations."