Climate-Smart Cities™ Cleveland and Sandusky

Climate Smart Cities, Cleveland, Sandusky Green Infrastructure Basin in Cleveland’s Urban Agriculture Innovation ZonePhoto credit: TPL Archive

Lake Erie is heavily impacted by stormwater runoff from Ohio's coastal cities. But recent state and federal funding as well as a partnership with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is helping the cities of Cleveland and Sandusky pilot park and land protection projects that feature water-smart infrastructure, and The Trust for Public Land is leading the way. Cities in the Great Lakes region are eager to boost their environmental resiliency and through our Climate-Smart Cities™ program, helps cities plan for and implement strategies to slow climate change and reduce its impacts.

Through 2017, we'll be working with the Cleveland and Sandusky communities to plan for investment in parks and public spaces that address climate challenges and human health. In Cleveland, for example, less than 25 percent of residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park. Improving stormwater management through potential park investments, while improving access to parks, is a win-win.

In both Sandusky and Cleveland, our work is funded through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and support from an EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant. The study will recommend pilot projects such as green infrastructure basin parks; locations for future parks, or recreational trails to decrease runoff to Lake Erie and area rivers, while improving public health, recreation, and native habitat.

We are also identifying public space enhancements and environmental education opportunities through NEORSD's Project Clean Lake program, with the goal of reducing combined sewer overflows into Lake Erie and area waterways.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.