Former landfill transformed into 25-acre park in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood

Updated: Jun. 30, 2019 at 3:23 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Here in the city of Cleveland is at least 25 acres of green space that for years, no one has been able to figure out what to do with it.

It used to be the Henninger Landfill, which took in primarily construction debris, at 3967 Pearl Road.

“As I kid, I used to play on this site, probably illegally because I was trespassing," said Jim Rokakis, Vice-President Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

He continued, “But when I came to city council many years ago in 1978, we spent many years trying to re-purpose this property because it was a large piece of vacant land but we could never make it work, it was too long, too thin and we kind of gave up on it.”

Until now.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy and its partners plan to install trails for biking, hiking, walking, birding and other recreational activities. The project converts a brownfield into a green space.

“We get excited when we see that type of acreage particularly in Cuyahoga county and so having that green space available particularly an area that has not been publicly accessible is a huge win for the community," said Kendrick Chittock, Development Officer.

Sunday morning, dozens gathered to take a hike and see the lay of the land.

At least one mile of the new trail will include a connector between the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Brookside Reservation.

Those involved say this is a great way to link and serve the community.

“Hopefully changing the paradigm of landfills being just something to just drive by and ignore into something that can be beautiful and healthy for communities," said Chittock.

Groundbreaking is set for this fall and there are plans in place to open the park in late 2020.

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