New Parkland Planned for Cleveland’s Flats District (OH)

CLEVELAND 4/16/08 – The Trust for Public Land of Ohio (TPL) announced today that it has partnered with the City of Cleveland to bring future parkland and green space to the Flats district.

TPL, utilizing state and federal funding awarded to the City of Cleveland, purchased a 1.43-acre parking lot in the Flats on Merwin and West streets, adjacent to Heritage Park along the Cuyahoga River and the renowned Flat Iron Caf?. TPL then transferred the property to the City of Cleveland, for the city’s planned Canal Basin Park, a key component in the vision TPL shares with the Ohio Canal Corridor and the City of Cleveland to extend the Towpath Trail.

“TPL takes pride in its partnership with the Ohio Canal Corridor and the City of Cleveland in working toward a dream of bringing parks to people, insuring a livable and vibrant downtown where people are able to work, live and play along the Cuyahoga River,” said Bill Carroll, Ohio Director of the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization that works with private landowners and public agencies to protect land and create parks.

Because of its proximity to the Cuyahoga River and the former Ohio & Erie Canal, the conserved property had been the site of a variety of industrial businesses throughout Cleveland’s history. The land is adjacent to the area that once functioned as a dockyard for canal boats serving the schooner fleets that ferried cargo and passengers on the Great Lakes.

The property was the site of three vacant buildings which were demolished in 2005. For the last four years, the property has been used as a surface parking lot. But its location, with views of the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland skyline, make it a much sought-after parcel. This project ensures that in the future, those qualities will be enjoyed by the people of Cleveland.

“Extending the Towpath Trail to Canal Basin Park in Cleveland’s Flats neighborhood is another example of the City investing in its assets to create neighborhoods of choice. Linking Cleveland neighborhoods, the Towpath Trail and Canal Basin Park will provide Clevelanders with a unique recreation and transportation amenity. The acquisition of this key parcel moves us one step closer to accomplishing that goal,” stated Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson.

Tim Donovan, Director of Ohio Canal Corridor, announced: “We have designed a new future for Cleveland and the region through the development of a linear heritage park system – Ohio & Erie Canalway. We introduced the concept of Canal Basin Park as its northern terminus in our Corridor Management Plan in 2000, and after a series of concept plans, partnered with the city of Cleveland and TPL to begin land acquisition. Today marks a landmark day as we take the first step toward building Canal Basin Park. We recognize John and Mary Coyne for their civic-minded commitment and enduring patience throughout the process.”

The $2.3 million acquisition was made possible through funding from the state of Ohio’s Clean Ohio Conservation Fund (COF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) and the City of Cleveland.

Ohio U.S. Senators George V. Voinovich and Sherrod Brown were instrumental to ensuring federal support for the project.

“I have long been committed to the development and maintenance of Ohio’s national parks and historic sites,” said Sen. Voinovich. “Working with my colleagues and as a member of the Infrastructure and Transportation Sub-committee, I was able to secure federal funding for this vitally important extension of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Canal Basin Park will not only improve the lives of Cleveland’s walkers, runners, hikers and bikers who will be able to access the trail and park from downtown Cleveland, it will also help local economies slated to benefit from tourism revenue. I will continue to fight the good fight to conserve and preserve Ohio’s natural beauty. “

“Lake Erie deserves to be preserved for future generations of Ohioans,” Sen. Brown said. “This is the latest in a series of investments that will help protect the lakefront for years. It will create parks, it will enhance surrounding neighborhoods, and it will reenergize efforts to boost Lake Erie and the region.”

U.S. Congresswoman Tubbs Jones also supported the Canal Basin Project.”I am extremely pleased to have been able to assist in securing funding to create much needed parklands and green space in the Flats,” said Rep. Tubbs Jones. “This is a crucial step in the revitalization of Cleveland and will bring a new dynamic to the downtown area.”

Since it was founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2.2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Ohio, The Trust for Public Land has protected 10,000 acres valued at more than $67 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its mission to preserve land for people. The organization receives leadership support from the George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation and the George B. Storer Foundation.