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Reclaiming the Flats for healthy recreation

Marc Lefkowitz  |  01/10/11 @ 2:18pm

As Cleveland positions itself for renewal as a 21st century economy, much of the Flats remains a symbol of the past, with empty industrial buildings, vacant land, and bulk-material storage lining much of the Cuyahoga River. But the Flats also remains a dynamic place, home to a working steel mill, market-rate housing, public housing, a new shopping center, restaurants and entertainment.

A new vision for Cleveland-centered in the Flats-is taking shape, Trust for Public Land (TPL) reports in its winter newsletter. Last year, TPL purchased 13 parcels that fit into the city, Parkworks and Ohio Canal Corridor's plan to thread the Flats with trails and parks.

"This green network will link the Lake Erie shoreline and downtown with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Cleveland and, in so doing, help revitalize the whole city."

Signature projects underway include:

  • The 1.3-mile Lake Link Trail corridor will convert a long-buried rail line threading the West Bank from lake to river (with connections to Ohio City)
  • Canal Basin Park a new green space below the Detroit-Superior Bridge, at the northern terminus for the Towpath Trail
  • Rivergate Park, converting a seven-acre marina into a public rowing center. "It will transform concrete industrial wasteland to an emerald gem in the Flats."

"This work is not just about parks and trails, it's about creating a new Cleveland," says TPL's Dave Vasarhelyi. "People can't imagine Chicago without its lake and riverside parks and trails. Soon it's going to be just like that with Cleveland."

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Take a virtual tour of the Flats Link to the Lake Trail

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