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Cuyahoga Co. Planning Commission looking for input about connectivity plans for Lake Erie shoreline

Posted at 8:17 AM, Jan 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-30 08:17:53-05

Cuyahoga County’s Planning Commission is looking for community input for how it can combine a handful of projects to improve access to Lake Erie from Bay Village to Euclid.

“My overall goal is to enhance the quality of life for people along the entire 30-mile stretch of the Lake Erie shoreline,” said County Executive Armond Budish in a pre-recorded video for the public meeting.

An overview of the three counties that have shoreline along Lake Erie show various projects all attempting to improve access to the water.

One of the County’s main goals is to eventually create walking and biking paths with various access points to the lake along the entire county while also addressing structural concerns and erosion along the shoreline. There’s relatively limited access to the waterfront right now largely because so much of it is part of private property.

SmithGroup’s Principal-in-Charge Jason Stangland says that’s why the project will largely depend on being able to partner with private property owners willing to allow for a public trail to be constructed on their property. In exchange for that agreement, Stangland says property owners will benefit from erosion protection work that can cost between $2,500 and $7,000 per foot to construct before the cost of maintenance.

A map of the Euclid project shows where private property owners allowed easements through their land to make a lakefront trail possible in exchange for erosion protection.

Stangland pointed to early success in Euclid, where a $7 million plan to improve the lakefront has been partially completed. Some private property owners agreed to let the trail pass through their property in exchange for allowing the project to move forward.

The city approved Phase II of that project in June 2020 with an anticipated completion date by the end of 2021.

The finished product shows the public trail with a lockable fence, preventing public access to private property.

“When complete, the Lakefront Public Access Trail will connect two public lakefront parks including one in a low-moderate income census tract,” the city’s website said. “It will directly connect to the Lake Erie Coastal Lakefront Bikeway (SR 283) and public transit lines connecting Lake County to the east and Downtown Cleveland to the west.”

That connection would mean users could potentially have access to other projects being designed in other parts of the county, like Vision for the Valley, CHEERS, and the Community Confluence Plan around the Rocky River. It could also be designed to connect with other major streets and public transportation hubs to maximize accessibility to the lake.

One of the largest problems with Lake Erie's shoreline is erosion which threatens public and private land.

Eventually, the hope is to connect to west side lakefront access like Lakewood’s Solstice Steps, or projects planned in Rocky River and Bay Village.

You can take a survey about what you’d like to see along the lakefront here.

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