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Building a Regional Waterfront: New & Equitable Connections

Building a Regional Waterfront: New & Equitable Connections to Lake Erie in Cleveland & Cuyahoga County will share the historic challenges of equitable lakefront public access in the greater Cleveland area, present several recent planning initiatives, and share the ongoing efforts to engage residents in the design and implementation of improved lakefront public access. Each panelist will present project highlights, then open up for discussion with the audience. Cuyahoga County Planning Commission will highlight the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan which reflects input from six lakefront municipalities, private lakefront property owners, public agencies and stakeholders, and the general public It represents a strong public-private partnership of mutual interests in shoreline protection and equitable public access to it. The Plan recommends 3 Focus Areas for further planning and design, and one--the 3,300 lf Euclid Beach Connector Trail--is scheduled to commence construction in early 2024.

CHEERS partner organizations will share how the effort began as a way to improve the resilience of the east side lakefront in Cleveland. The planning process was community focused, with recommendations resulting in a project that will: ●Serve adjacent neighborhoods by connecting nearby neighborhoods to the water and implementing park features as envisioned by the community; ●Provide key regional economic needs by activating the shoreline and through the beneficial reuse of dredge material from the Cuyahoga River Federal Ship Channel; and ●Create new aquatic habitats and enhance crucial food and roosting locations for both native and migrating birds and insects. Black Environmental Leaders Association (BEL) is an essential partner and stakeholder and will speak to the role of their regional non-profit organization as a community leader and advocate of environmental justice throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. BEL is one of the six partner organizations involved in the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Strategy (CHEERS). The CHEERS session will share how community engagement efforts are evolving during the design stage and plans for initial construction to begin in 2025.

James Sonnhalter
SeMia Bray
Linda Sternheimer
Kelly Coffman



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