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Back in Business: Start of water recreation season sparks new optimism for businesses along Cleveland’s shores and banks

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 9:08 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Dozens of stakeholders in Cleveland’s recreational waterways marked the beginning of summer with a ‘share the river’ event on Wednesday.

“Don’t be a statistic on the water. Boat safe, boat smart, and boat smarter,” said Lt. Jeremy Maginot of the United States Coast Guard.

The majority of the event focused on water safety, but there was also a feeling of optimism among those in attendance.

“This is a moment that a lot of us have been waiting for, for many months,” said Interim Downtown Cleveland Alliance President Michael Deemer.

While there was an increase in water recreation in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions on alternative activities, many businesses along the shores and banks struggled.

One of those businesses, Collision Bend Brewery, hosted Wednesday’s event.

Count general manager Michael Grano among those hoping for a rebound, especially during the major summer holidays.

“The holidays are a really something that’s a really good economic driver for us,” he said. “Last year, we just didn’t have them. The 4th of July, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend ... they were not the big economic drivers that we needed.”

With restrictions set to expire the first week of June, Grano and his team prepare for a more normal season.

“It’s gigantic, it’s huge,” he told 19 News. “We’re hoping this year everyone is kind of pent up and excited to get out again. We’re already starting to feel it now.”

More outdoor events are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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