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New restoration project underway to revive Garfield Park Reservation as an outdoor destination

Posted at 12:01 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 06:26:39-04

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — A major overhaul has begun at Garfield Park Reservation, which will include the restoration of a historic pond, new trails and a recreational area for families to gather, the Cleveland Metroparks announced in a news release.

Since it became a public park in 1894, the Garfield Park Reservation has been a popular destination for the community. The park formerly featured two ponds that served as a year-round destination for family activities including fishing, row boating and ice skating. But by the 1950s and 60s during the industrial boom, sediment build-up in Wolf Creek deteriorated the health of the creek and ponds and stopped generations of families from enjoying the thriving water habitats.

But now a transformational project will help pay homage to the 130-year-old park by improving the ecological health of the reservation and the Mill Creek Watershed. The project will also increase recreational opportunities for visitors, the Metroparks said.

“Garfield Park Reservation has been one of our gems of the Emerald Necklace for over 35 years, however, the park’s history goes back much further,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman, in a news release. “Thanks to generous supporters and project partners, this restoration project will revive the park’s historic past while creating a healthier and more engaging community asset for generations to come.”

The Metroparks received two separate $1 million donations from Ohio CAT and the Brown and Kunze Foundation, along with support from other family foundations and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Since the spring of 2021, the Cleveland Metroparks sought input from the community through surveys, public tours and on-site activities.

The project aims to return recreational opportunities to the reservation lost half a century ago and turn the park into a hub for outdoor activities.

Renderings of future Garfield Park Reservation.

The restoration of the historic two-acre pond will feature fishing docks, overlooks and a new surrounding accessible trail network.

The public can also expect to see a new education and recreation program facility that will offer water-related activities like paddleboarding and fishing.

For the thousands of recreational visitors who visit the reservation every year, remnants of the historic park, including century-old stone bridges, stairs and walls, can still be seen today.

Construction for the Garfield Pond Restoration Project is estimated at $6 million and will be a phased approach with a pond and stream restoration. The project is expected to be completed by summer 2024.

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