Cleveland Metroparks Opens Wendy Park Bridge to Pedestrians and Cyclists
Hundreds gathered at Wendy Park Thursday to mark the grand opening of the Wendy Park Bridge, connecting Whiskey Island to the near West Side.
Two metal pillars cut with images of birds mark one entrance to the new bridge, and on the other, pillars are cut with abstract images of clovers – an artistic addition to the $6 million Cleveland Metroparks project that was two decades in the making.
The 500-foot bridge was built for two primary reasons. One, to give pedestrians and cyclists easier access to the lakefront park over the Norfolk-Southern rail lines. And the second, to fulfill the dream of a father, businessman and Metroparks Commissioner Dan T. Moore III, who lost his daughter Wendy to a skiing accident when she was a young woman.
Moore has been the unyielding force behind Wendy Park and the Wendy Park Bridge, donating millions towards its completion and working for decades to keep the land and shoreline publicly accessible.
Moore was emotional as he spoke to the crowd at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, thanking the financial partners and supporters on the project. He thanked Cleveland Metroparks, which he called the best park system in the nation, for “working tirelessly” to build the bridge and the Whiskey Island Connector, a 1.25-mile trail connecting Wendy Park to Edgewater Park.
“This bridge connects people to the lake. It preserves the green space and the Whiskey Island Peninsula, and it’s a beautiful gem in the Emerald Necklace connecting Whiskey Island to the city,” said Moore. “Wendy Park Bridge will help the public better understand the need for public access to the lakefront. It will strengthen the view that if the public owned it, it should have access to it.”
Opening the bridge also marks the completion of the Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER Grant project, which links more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to centers of employment, schools, shopping districts and parks with more than four miles of trails.
During the ceremony, Cleveland MetroParks President Brian Zimmerman called the Re-Connecting Cleveland project a testament to the collaboration in “creating a more equitable and accessible transportation network in Northeast Ohio.”
“Last month we opened the Redline Greenway. We've talked about Canal Basin Park. We’ve talked about the upgrades at River Gate Park, and these new trails and connections, we're so excited to share with the community today,” Zimmerman said.
Moore said there was more work to be done when it comes to connecting the public with the natural beauty in the region, but he said his late daughter Wendy would be happy about the work completed in her name.
"Speaking for the rest of the Moore family, I can tell you Wendy Park and the Wendy Park Bridge are the perfect memorials and legacies to Wendy,” he said. “And in my view, it is impossible that we could do any better. If she’s looking down on us today, I would guess she would be telling her dog, Ripley, how ‘rad’ the bridge is, and how Heather and Halley would look much better if they were wearing the army boots she gave them.”
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