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Cuyahoga County releases plan to improve public lakefront access

Cuyahoga County
Cuyahoga County
A page from Cuyahoga County's plan to make Lake Erie's southern shore more accessible to the public.

Cuyahoga County is looking for ways to connect the lakefront parks that stretch along the southern shore of Lake Erie from Bay Village to Euclid.

The county on Wednesday released a 102-page plan laying out ideas for giving residents and visitors more access to the 30-mile-long lakefront. Accompanying the report is an interactive web page.

Read the full plan here.

The plan builds on lakefront improvements already undertaken by the county, Cleveland and suburbs, identifying ways to link them together, according to county Public Works Director Michael Dever.

“Somebody had to start knitting these pieces together and start looking at the gaps that are along the way here to connect those great assets,” he told Ideastream Public Media. “And if there are opportunities to get access to the waterfront, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

While it doesn’t call for a single boardwalk that stretches from one end of the county to the other, the plan imagines a series of connections – such as trails and bike lanes – linking points of lakefront access.

The plan elaborates on a lakefront proposal outlined by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish’s administration in fall 2019. It identifies four focus areas for the county: the Lake-Clifton bridge between Rocky River and Lakewood, Lakewood’s Gold Coast, the path south of Burke Lakefront Airport and a new lakefront path in North Collinwood.

Cleveland and the county are seeking state capital dollars to make the Lake-Clifton bridge more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. Further east, the county envisions improving public access next to Lakewood’s Gold Coast apartments while protecting the bluffs from erosion.

Across the Cuyahoga River, the plan calls for improved paths and trails between East Ninth Street and East 55th. The plan also lays out an expansion of lakefront access west of Euclid Beach in Cleveland.

“I’ve had a vision of connected access for all to our lakefront for many years, and the release of this plan maintains positive momentum on the work we’ve been doing thus far,” Budish said in a news release. “This plan can guide us, partnering municipalities and organizations, and private landowners as we determine opportunities and priorities for creating better public lakefront access for all Cuyahoga County residents.”

Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.