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Confluence of nature and intention

Marc Lefkowitz  |  07/10/08 @ 2:20pm

The West Creek winds eight miles through heavily developed areas of Parma, Seven Hills, Independence and Brooklyn Heights before unceremoniously joining with the Cuyahoga River through a pipe under a building. It's a reminder of how many creeks and rivers, not so long ago, were buried below concrete. Today, a few daring visionaries believe Northeast Ohio is hungry for something new- a connection to more parks and nature close to home.

"We know that we can never completely restore West Creek to the way it was back in the 1800s. But we can make it so that people want the stream to be a part of their lives," Neal Hess, watershed coordinator for the West Creek Preservation Committee, explains in the documentary film, "The Return of the Cuyahoga."

Hess, David Vasarhelyi and Dave Lincheck were the dreamweavers of restoring West Creek and, with a small army of volunteers, spent years knocking on doors, organizing support, and finally building an organization to create a West Creek Reservation.

Cleveland Metroparks assumed management of the 400 contiguous acres of greenspace in the West Creek Reservation on January 1, 2006. The Park District's goal is to effectively protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the West Creek Valley. (Read more).

A groundbreaking step will be taken this Friday as an abandoned warehouse sitting on top of the confluence, the spot where West Creek and the Cuyahoga River connect, will be razed. The building and parking lot on a 10-acre site will be replaced by a riverfront park, and West Creek will return to its original meandering flow into the Cuyahoga River surrounded by natural wetlands. Benefits include reduce flooding, less impact on drinking water, and restored wildlife habitat.

For more information about the event.

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