Public to see plans Tuesday for new park on land known as Irishtown Bend on Cuyahoga River

CLEVELAND - To those sitting at the MetroPark's Merwin's Wharf along the Cuyahoga River Irishtown Bend is simply a steep green hillside leading up to Ohio City but that could soon change.

The public will have their chance Tuesday to see plans for what could be a 23-acre park on the hillside connecting the growing Ohio City to the river below.

The bend, named after the shantytown set up there in the 1800's by the city's Irish immigrant workforce has been slowly, steadily eroding into the river for years requiring constant dredging to keep the channel open to freighters making their way to the steel mills up the river.

"The Cuyahoga River represents a $3.5 billion economic engine to our economy and there's also 20,000 jobs that are associated with it," said Ohio City Inc Executive Director Tom McNair.

"So all of this has been about how do we shore up the hillside and keep the ship channel open."

A San Francisco-based landscape architecture firm CMG and another firm, Michael Baker International came up with two plans that will be presented to the public for their input at a meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at St. Ignatius High School's Breen Center.

"What they have proposed thus far are not meant to be concrete and firm proposals, said McNair. "What these are are two proposals that have lots of different ideas within them for people to say 'I like this part' of it or 'I don't like that part of it.'"

"One is much more passive," McNair said of the proposals. "It finds ways to allow the hillside to be the star so to speak and different ways to kind of navigate that hillside," he said of the flowing meadows and passive green space. "The other one has much more angular ways for people to get from the top of the hill down to the bottom, it is filled with a lot more things to do on the hillside," he said including a possible zip line.

The designers will take into account what they before coming up with a plan to be presented to the City Planning Commission.

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