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30-year plan for the Cuyahoga River near Tower City could connect existing projects nearby

Reactivated Canal Road Courtesy of Bedrock.jpg
Posted at 8:38 AM, Sep 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 08:38:48-04

CLEVELAND — The future of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River could revolve around affordable housing in a riverfront neighborhood with new office space and more access to the river.

“A vibrant, accessible, and recreational waterfront is especially important to the next generation,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Baiju Shah announcing the 30-year vision.

Renewed Cuyahoga Riverfront Courtesy of Bedrock.jpg
Renderings show a re-imagined riverfront that right now is populated largely by empty parking lots and underused buildings.

That’s why he says it’s important for Cleveland to start laying the groundwork now for decades of future development along the river, behind Tower City, next to a variety of other projects that are already building momentum.

“Our intention is to create a true 15-minute riverfront neighborhood, with thousands of homes, new offices, increased retail, and hospitality options, and community facilities,” said Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner.

Revitalized Collision Bend Courtesy of Bedrock.jpg
The project around Tower City would connect development on both sides of the river near Cleveland Whiskey's new home to the right of the picture, to BrewDog's new home on Scranton Peninsula.

Bedrock owns Tower City and about 30% of the land that would be needed to make the vision a reality. He says the point of the apartments is for them to be affordable, making it easier for people at all income levels to live near downtown when they might be priced out of the market-rate apartments just a few streets away in Downtown Cleveland.

“How do we transform this into not just being bricks and mortar but a tool to address those underlying issues of inequities, disparity, and racism,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, explaining the mission of the development.

The Other Projects

This vision joins a handful of other projects up and down the river that have already started.

New trails near Wendy Park have made it much easier for people to get there. Irishtown Bend is making progress toward a new greenspace along the river. BrewDog is moving to Scranton Peninsula. Cleveland Whiskey is renovating a historic building for its new home.

Wendy Park/Whiskey Island

At the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, the recently-opened Wendy Park Bridge connects the historic Coast Guard station to Ohio City. Visitors can drive out to the park, or use the also newly-completed Whiskey Island Connector Trail to get to the Lake and River, putting them in position to watch boats go in and out of the Flats and trains pass on the bridge over the water.

Wendy Park Bridge
Wendy Park Bridge in Cleveland.

Irishtown Bend

The groups behind the Irishtown Bend project continue to take control of the plots of land they need to create a 23-acre park along the Cuyahoga River where Irish immigrants once settled in Northeast Ohio.

Irishtown bend.png
Renderings show what Irishtown Bend could look like in a few years when the hillside is stable and landscaping creates public space.

Brew Dog

The Scottish Brewery BrewDog plans to move into The Avian building on Scranton Peninsula by the end of the summer or early fall.

BrewDog rendering
BrewDog will be moving into a recently-renovated office building on Scranton Peninsula.

Flats South/Whiskey Island

Cleveland Whiskey is one of the first new attractions on what developers hope to one day call “Flats South.”

“Cleveland’s Downtown will draw upon a strong foundation to grow an exciting, energetic, 18-hour city with equitable housing and amenities to match,” said Rocket Community Fund’s Laura Grannemann.

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