Cleveland Metroparks receives nearly $8M TIGER grant

Published: Jul. 27, 2016 at 9:37 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2016 at 1:42 AM EDT
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Cleveland Metroparks plans to finish this big project in 2020. (Source: WOIO)
Cleveland Metroparks plans to finish this big project in 2020. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Metroparks has received a $7.95 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant for the funding of a transformative project aimed at re-connecting Cleveland.

The grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Re-Connecting Cleveland: Pathways to Opportunity project focuses on filling critical gaps in key shared use trails in the northern section of the Industrial Valley known locally as "the Flats" and along the western neighborhoods of Cleveland. The overall plan is estimated to cost $16.45 million; in addition to the TIGER grant, funds have been secured from the State of Ohio, The Cleveland Foundation, the Wendy Park Foundation and The George Gund Foundation as well.

"Trail usage is the number one reason Cleveland Metroparks attracts nearly 18 million recreational visits annually," said Cleveland Metroparks Chief Executive Officer Brian Zimmerman. "We are proud to secure highly coveted grant dollars to grow Cleveland's trails and connections. This grant validates our local partnerships and efforts on a national level."

This planned transportation network, via bike and pedestrian trails, will link more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to centers of employment, school, parks, recreation and commerce, is anticipated to become active by 2020.

The TIGER grant will be used as one of the funding sources for the following project elements:
  • Wendy Park Bridge - links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island and Lake Erie
  • Whiskey Island Connector - links the Wendy Park Bridge to Edgewater Park, three pedestrian tunnels and the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway
  • Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway Connector - links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail to the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway
  • Canal Basin Park Connector - links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail to Canal Basin Park, Rivergate Park, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Waterfront Line Rapid Transit and downtown Cleveland
  • Red Line Greenway - links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail to two RTA Red Line Rapid Transit stations, and provides a primary commuting corridor from W. 65th Street to downtown Cleveland

Metroparks officials say this is going to transform the city and make it easier for residents to get from one side to the other.

The goal is to get people to enjoy our waterfront more.

Jay Minor gets around Cleveland on his skateboard and he loves the Metroparks trails.

"You don't have to deal with cars, traffic, lots of things around you. It's a smooth run whether you're on a bike or a skateboard," Minor said.

He's thrilled to hear about the federal grant and what it will do for the city.

"That's a blessing, that's a good thing to have done that. 'Cause we need more trails, we need more bikeable areas," Minor said.

Kelly Manderfield with Cleveland Metroparks says they'll start planning and construction after they finish Phase II of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail.

The Re-Connecting Cleveland: Pathways to Opportunity project should be complete in 2020.

"It's a huge project, but it's a team effort," Manderfield said. "So there's many folks involved, many moving parts, but everything is planned for the year."

Residents like Muriel Storrie are excited to have more ways to explore our city.

"The idea of their being all of these walking and biking trails in a city is what cities need to become in the future rather than everyone sitting in their cars as you can see coming across the bridge. They're at a dead stop," Storrie said.

For the complete application, project location and description, CLICK HERE.

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