Cleveland Metroparks Open House Offered Community Members an Opportunity to see the Start of Big Plans for our Lakefront Parks
On Thursday, March 6th at the Collinwood Recreation Center, community residents had an opportunity to attend a public open house where Cleveland Metroparks presented updates about management, safety, programming and infrastructure improvements of the Lakefront Parks. The open house was one of two events coordinated by Cleveland Metroparks in partnership with Land Studio to provide residents on the near west side of Cleveland with updates about the coming year at Edgewater Park and residents in the Collinwood and Glenville neighborhoods with updates about the coming year at Euclid Beach, Villa Angela Beach, Wildwood Park and Gordon Park/East 55th St. Marina.
Cleveland Metroparks staff and administration, including Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman and COO Joseph Rozak were present at the meetings and available for questions and suggestions from community members.
The Open House Tables included tables outlining: An Overview of Park Operations, Programming, Events & Communications, Park Infrastructure, Safety & Security, Natural Resources, and Future Planning & Community Engagement.
Some of the most notable updates provided at the meeting centered on proposed park infrastructure improvements. Following extensive surveying and site condition assessments at the parks over the last several months, a proposed capital improvement budget for the Lakefront parks was discussed at a work session with the Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners back in February 2014. Cleveland Metroparks plans to spend over the next three years $17.6 million in infrastructure improvements, $9 million of which is planned to be spent in 2014 alone. $14 million out the $17.6 million in estimated improvement costs will come from the funds that the State of Ohio agreed to allocate to Cleveland Metroparks last summer when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources relinquished management of the parks.
In 2014, it is anticipated that the $9 million will be spent on: facility upgrades (restrooms, concession areas, pavilions), Infrastructure (utilities, roadways, retaining walls, shoreline protection), other improvement amenities including the reconfiguring of roadways at Edgewater to create a transportation 'Hub' and a Pedestrian Bridge over Euclid Creek linking Villa Angela Beach to Wildwood Park.
Preliminary plans regarding the pedestrian bridge were available at the open house. The other proposed infrastructure improvement call for the reconstruction of the Euclid Beach Pier and retaining wall. This would mean demolition of the existing Euclid Beach Pier, Fountain structure and retaining wall. A new and larger pier would most likely be located further west of the Pier's current location and in its place, an outdoor amphitheater/performance space would be constructed. At this point in time, the renderings and the timeline for the construction of a new pier and amphitheater are in the preliminary stages, and Sean McDermott, Director of Design Services at Cleveland Metroparks was on hand to answer many questions and comments from community members and decision makers, chief among them, why the existing historic Euclid Beach Pier could not be saved. McDermott presented a number of engineering photos and core sampling that demonstrated the structural instability of the pier and the use of multiple building materials in the concrete as well as significant deterioration and hallowing out in the adjacent retaining wall. While the pier will remain accessible throughout the 2014 summer season, the areas adjacent to pier along the retaining wall will remain fenced off until work begins on the demolition. At this point in time, it is anticipated that demolition could begin as early as this fall. We hope that there will opportunities in the near future for more community input regarding the design and functionality of the new pier and amphitheater space as well as the pedestrian bridge construction.
Both Cleveland Metroparks and Land Studio staff explained that these initial infrastructure improvements were designed to address immediate needs and 'low hanging fruit' opportunities to bring the parks up to Cleveland Metroparks standards, just as safety and security were and continue to be the focus for Metroparks Rangers. It is hoped that as master planning meetings for the Lakefront get underway that the community will have an opportunity to directly engage in the process. According to Tiffany Graham at Land Studio, more community feedback opportunities are in the works for 2014. And it is with excitement, that I announce the Euclid Beach Blast on August 2nd (www.euclidbeachblast.com) will be one of those opportunities for feedback!
As always, we will continue to keep the community informed of any opportunities for engagement that we are made aware of as this exciting process unfolds!
If you did not make it to the meeting, Clevleand Metroparks has prepared a helpful video that summarizes key takeaways. See the link below:
For questions and more information regarding Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront updates, call 216-635-3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are very fortunate and excited to have Cleveland Metroparks in our neighborhood's 'front yard', our Lakefront Parks!
Euclid Beach Adopt-a-Beach(TM) Team
Stephen Love is a Lake Erie fanatic from Cleveland, OH. In his day job he works for the Cuyahoga Land Bank and in every other waking moment is the founder and coordinator of Euclid Beach Adopt-a-Beach Team and Euclid Beach Blast! He started Euclid Beach Blast out of a desire to explore the connections between environmental stewardship, art, public spaces, music, and community.