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Developing the Waterfront: Cleveland, Ohio Shoreline Dev...

Developing the Waterfront: Cleveland, Ohio Shoreline Development Plan

A new urban planning and development scheme is being implemented in Cleveland, Ohio that will dramatically change the look and accessibility of the city’s underutilized waterfront. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland Ohio’s lakefront has long been neglected with little commercial development and fewer public spaces. EE&K architects of New York, in conjunction

Proposed Cleveland WaterfrontA new urban planning and development scheme is being implemented in Cleveland, Ohio that will dramatically change the look and accessibility of the city's underutilized waterfront. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland Ohio's lakefront has long been neglected with little commercial development and fewer public spaces. EE&K architects of New York, in conjunction with Van Auken Akins Architects of Cleveland, began developing a mixed-use waterfront scheme in 2009 that includes commercial space for shops, restaurants, offices, and public space tied together with with pedestrian and bicycle trails.

Architects and city planners have often cited the unused lakefront as a critical resource that Cleveland has failed to tap. Real estate on the lake is separated from downtown by a highway and congested with rarely used commercial piers and warehouses.  Public access to the lake is limited to a few locations surrounding several lakefront attractions. In order to emulate successful lakefront plans from cities like Chicago, Illinois or Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the scheme addresses critical issues that have halted previous lakefront improvement plans.

The development plan is a tiered scheme that will gradually fill 100-acres of downtown lakefront surrounding the mouth of a Cuyahoga River with public and commercial space easily accessible to city dwellers. Existing attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Museum, and the Browns Stadium will be stitched together in a cohesive urban plan. Beginning with construction of a bridge from Dock 32 to Voinovich Park and a short-term marina, initial construction is slated to start in summer 2012.

The strength of the design lies in its malleability. The scheme uses existing attractions as hubs to attract visitors to surrounding areas and leaves space for future development as the phases of the project develop over several years. It is hoped that hotels, restaurants, and shops will take up key positions along the lake. While the city is funding portions of the project with public funds, outside investors will be drawn to the lake to develop along the infrastructure as the success of the plan is demonstrated.

Cleveland's Shoreline Development Plan enhances the public access to Lake Erie while leaving space for commercial growth. Beginning with several vanguard projects, the urban plan will create an attractive mixed-use lakefront environment that draws visitors from downtown, to the lake.

Do you think the planned infrastructure is enough to spur growth in Cleveland's neglected lakefront?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

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Guest Blogger

Jordan Meerdink, a former GSP blogger, is a graduate of the The Ohio State University. He holds a B.S. in Architecture with a minor in studio art. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jordan inherited an early interest in mechanics and construction from ...

  • Theresa Dominish

    This is much needed. When I was in college they had what was called, The Flats down along the river and that was filled with bars & restaurants. Since that left, there has been no river or lakefront usage. I hope this project is a success!

  • Jordan

    Very Interesting comment. There have been several attempts to reinvigorate the waterfront in Cleveland that have failed in the past. The Flats themselves have gone through more than a few cycles of popularity/use and vacancy/dilapidation.

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