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Cuyahoga County Announces Agreement for Cleveland Metroparks to Take Responsibility for Lakefront and Riverfront Parks


Transfer Includes Whiskey Island, Heritage Park 1, Flats East and West Bank Parks

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2014
Contacts: (County) Rich Luchette, (216) 797-0931
(Cleveland Metroparks) Sue Allen, (216) 635-3338


CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman today announced a new agreement to transfer ownership of Whiskey Island, Heritage Park 1, and greenspaces on the Flats East and West Banks – a move that will ensure efficient management of some of Cleveland’s most treasured real estate.

“One of my top priorities as County Executive has been to address the County’s complicated real estate portfolio and make certain we are using our spaces to best serve the taxpayers,” said FitzGerald.  “We are partnering with Cleveland Metroparks because of their impressive efforts to strategically connect greenspaces throughout Cleveland.  Cleveland Metroparks are proven stewards of our public spaces and I have no doubt that the development of these critical waterfront parks will be strategic and comprehensive.”

In the coming weeks, both the Cuyahoga County Council and Cleveland Metroparks' Board
of Park Commissioners will consider the proposal to transfer park land from the County to the Park District. Under the proposed agreement, the transfer of ownership would be completed by the end of 2014 for the cost of $1. In exchange, Cleveland Metroparks will commit $6.25 million to be further invested in capital improvements.

“This property acquisition is an important step as Cleveland Metroparks continues its strategic focus to link people with our waterfronts,” said Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO. “The Park District is committed to playing a leadership role in increasing the urban vitality of our lakefront and the Cuyahoga River and spurring opportunities for economic development.”

Whiskey Island, along the Lake Erie shoreline, includes Wendy Park, the Whiskey Island Marina, a restaurant, a dry dock, sand volleyball courts, and the planned location of the northern end of the Lake Link Trail. 
Heritage Park 1 is on the East Bank of the Cuyahoga River near Canal Basin Park and the end of the Towpath Trail.  Heritage Park I offers views of the freighters as they navigate the tight turns of the river as well as historic features, including the Irish Famine Memorial and a replica of the Lorenzo Carter log cabin. 

The small greenspaces on either side of the Flats East Bank and Flats West Bank, along the Cuyahoga River are strategically positioned next to the new East Bank Flats development on one bank and Windows of the River, Cleveland Aquarium, and connections to the Lake Link Trail on the opposite bank. These spaces will become a greenspace parklet with recreational amenities, including a water taxi.