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Plans underway to turn Detroit-Superior Bridge streetcar corridor into a ‘park in the sky,’ county exec. says

Abandoned space could be opened to the public within 2-3 years
Posted at 9:45 AM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 21:31:16-05

CLEVELAND — Within the next 2-3 years, newly elected Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne hopes to reopen the streetcar corridor of the Detroit-Superior Bridge as a year-round "park in the sky" for bikers and walkers.

"I think this is all about connecting a new economy," County Executive Ronayne said.

Remnants remind those lucky to walk along the streetcar corridor of the Detroit-Superior Bridge of what life once was.

Right now, those trying to enter the 3,000 foot-long closed-off property will encounter a series of locks, fences and doors.

Pre-pandemic, the occasional tour or art display took place inside the corridor. However, this plan would permanently reopen the space, bringing bikers and walkers to the “low-line” year-round.

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A view of the Detroit-Superior Bridge from the east side of the Cuyahoga River.

"We could be ready by the time we hope the U.S Environmental Protection Agency de-lists the Cuyahoga River as an area of environmental concern and we can celebrate from this park in the sky the river down below," Ronayne said.

A view of the streetcars in use in 1948. They were ultimately decommissioned in 1954, and the space under the Detroit-Superior Bridge has remained mostly empty since then.

It's been an idea floated for years, but Ronayne told News 5 that Cuyahoga County residents are urging action for this prime piece of property.

News 5 walked the closed-off stretch of the bridge with Ronayne on Wednesday.

"You think about some of the special places around the country and the world; I sometimes think of the High Line in New York City," County Executive Ronayne said. "This is our Low Line – the Low Line under the bridge."

Travel High Line
People walk on New York's High Line, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The High Line is a public park that has been constructed on the remains of an abandoned elevated railroad in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Ronayne said discussions are already underway with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the city of Cleveland, with the goal between now and then to make it safe for a modern use.

It's not clear at this time the cost or source of funding for the project.

Clay LePard is a special projects reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter @ClayLePard or on Facebook Clay LePard News 5

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