Cuyahoga County leaders say they want to make it much easier for residents to enjoy the Lake Erie waterfront.
Officials shared the outlines of a plan Thursday that would connect lakefront parks across the county and improve lake access from major north-south roads.
“To make the lakefront available to everyone, we have to think big,” Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said in a news conference Thursday. “I envision connected paths, trails and boardwalks along the lake, all the way from Bay Village to Euclid.”
As part of that vision, the county intends to complete its “greenway” project that calls for on-street bike lines near the lake. The county is seeking $200,000 from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to study more lakefront connections.
“I said, finally, a plan that connects far west to far east,” Cleveland City Councilman Anthony Hairston said at the news conference.
One study area focuses on a stretch of Cleveland between Downtown and the Glenville neighborhood, including a portion of Hairston’s Ward 10. The study also will consider a proposal to move I-90 back from Lake Erie’s edge on both sides of East 72nd Street, creating more green space and easier water access.
“If you travel down to the 55th [Street] Marina, if you travel down 72nd, it’s quite difficult to travel from the houses there, the residential area, over to the waterfront,” Hairston said.
The plan also includes a possible lakefront trail in Lakewood between West 117th Street and Cliff Drive.
The county also will look at the potential for trails between East 185th Street and the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cleveland’s North Collinwood neighborhood.
In these areas, the county has an opportunity to repair eroding shorelines in return for more public access, County Public Works Director Michael Dever said. The county hopes to emulate Euclid’s waterfront project, he said, which includes a lakefront trail extending east from Sims Park.
“It’s so exciting to think about how we can connect that to a larger county vision, and see that that impact grows countywide,” Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail said.
Budish said the county won’t forcibly take any private property or obstruct residents’ views and there will be chances for public comment.
Also Thursday, the Cleveland Metroparks’ board approved $5.6 million to build a bridge connecting lakefront Wendy Park with the west bank of the Flats by 2021. The board awarded another $3.6 million for a path between Edgewater Park and Whiskey Island, where Wendy Park is located.