Cleveland's Lakefront Plan:
Updates on current ideas

The following update on Lakefront planning expands on a summary that appeared in the March 2004 EcoCity Digest

The City of Cleveland continues its public lakefront planning initiativethe first attempt at community consensus on shoreline design and development issues in more than 50 years. The city's study area includes eight miles of lakefront extending from Edgewater Park to Gordon Park. The planning process began in April 2002, and has proceeded through several rounds of well-attended public meetings, along with monthly meetings of a Lakefront Advisory Committee.

City planners have structured discussion around four major systems:

  • Access and Circulation
  • Waterfronts
  • Parks and Open Spaces
  • Neighborhoods

They've incorporated thousands of public comments and their consultants' recommendations, leading to a draft Waterfront District Plan that was approved in concept by the Cleveland Planning Commission last summer.

The City is now working to integrate these system ideas into four, holistic "small area plans." For each district they'll host a technical working group charette with key stakeholders, and weeks later will review those ideas and solicit new ones in an evening public meeting.

The City intends to finish the small area planning within four months, culminating in a June public meeting to review the overall plan. Discussions are also underway about models for implementing the plans, including a new waterfront development authority to coordinate project funding.

The Harborfront District

The Harborfront District includes the water's edge between the Cuyahoga River and the west end of Burke Lakefront Airport. The technical working group charrette took place on February 17, and will be followed by a public meeting in late March.

Key assumptions include:

  • Land bridge connecting Mall C to the waterfront over bluffs and railroad tracks
  • The port authority vacates all holdings east of the river and migrates west to Whiskey Island
  • Significant new housing construction - 10,000 or more units
  • The Port Authority will hand over Dock 32 (behind the Science Center) this summer. Options for giving immediate public access are being studied, with longterm land uses still an open question.
  • Funding has been secured for the design of a movable bridge between the North Coast Harbor finger pier and Voinivich Park. The City will issue a request for proposals this summer.

The Edgewater/ Old River Channel District

The Edgewater/ Old River Channel District encompasses the area from Edgewater Park's west boundary to the Cuyahoga River, including Whiskey Island.

  • The State of Ohio has committed $49.8 million for reconstruction of the West Shoreway as a boulevard, with construction anticipated to begin in 2007. The project will include a dedicated lakefront bike path on its north boundary.
  • The city and county continue to pursue different strategies for public ownership of the Whiskey Island Partners property, with both aiming to protect much of it as greenspace.
  • Ownership of the Coast Guard station was transferred to the city on December 31st, and they're pursuing grants that would help stabilize its condition and evaluate future uses.

The Kirtland Quay/ Gordon Park District

The Kirtland Quay/ Gordon Park District encompasses area between the east edge of Burke Lakefront Airport and the east edge of Gordon Park, including Dike 14.

  • Planning continues for a lakefront boulevard, an extension of RTA's Waterfront light rail line, and improved connections between the St. Clair/ Superior neighborhood and the lakefront.
  • Activists are calling on the City to develop a paved lakefront perimeter trail for the 88 acre Dike 14 site as a first step toward welcoming the public. The City has applied for a state grant to conduct a risk assessment and public access study. In a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Mayor has affirmed the City's position that the Dike should remain closed to dredge materials.

The Euclid Beach/Wildwood District

The fourth "small area" to be studied will be at the east edge of Cleveland in the Euclid Beach/Wildwood Park District. As with the other plans, the focus will be on maximizing the lakefront public realm and improving neighborhood connections to the water's edge.


Update from May, 2003

In May 2003, The city of Cleveland held its third round of public meetings to gather input on its process to redevelop the land at the edge of Lake Erie in conjunction with the I-90 Innerbelt redevelopment project.

The city has published its current plans on the City Planning Web site, including maps and proposed ideas to expand access to open space, develop or redevelop land for recreation, access to the water, green space, and new housing.


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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



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