(Plain Press, December 2014) On November 6th, about 150 people took the opportunity to view the proposed path for the missing links in the towpath trail as it winds its way along a five-mile stretch from Harvard Road to the proposed Canal Basin Park. A Towpath Trail Open House held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in the Tremont neighborhood offered views of maps of the proposed route, some details about the funding of the $57 million dollar project and timelines for completion of the various stages. Members of the Towpath Trail Management Committee from the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Metroparks and Canalway Partners were on hand to answer questions.
The first stage of the extension will start from the completed Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail by Harvard Avenue, cross Harvard at grade then head through a piece of industrial land toward a new pedestrian bridge which will cross the Cuyahoga River in the valley under the Harvard Denison Bridge. On the west side of the river, an elevated and canopied structure underneath the span of the Harvard Denison Bridge will proceed north over train tracks and industrial land then meet up with the existing one mile long trail at Steelyard Commons. The three quarter mile trail from Harvard to Steelyard Commons is projected to be complete in 2019.
On the north end of the Steelyard trail, a new path will run along the west side of Clark Fields and along the side of I-490, and take a turn up W. 4th to Literary Avenue. This 1.9 stretch of trail should be finished in the summer of 2017.
From that point a fourth stage of the trail will begin with a proposed bridge over Literary Avenue. The trail will proceed along University Avenue, which will be closed to traffic other than driveway access for residents, emergency vehicle access, and parking for Sokolowski’s University Inn patrons. From Sokolowski’s the path will go downhill through land now set aside for the Inner Belt Bridge construction. The Ohio Department of Transportation has promised to complete a roughly 1200-foot area of trail under the new George Voinovich Bridge. ODOT will also create two fifty-space parking lots and a pocket park in this area when it is finished with the bridge construction. This will serve as a trailhead where visitors can park.
From this point the trail will head north to an already completed eight tenths of a mile section of the trail called Scranton Flats. The trail then heads to Carter Road and crosses the Cuyahoga River on the Carter Road Bridge. The path will then go underneath Columbus Road and end at the future home of Canal Basin Park where the city of Cleveland plans to build a visitor center and recreation area. This part of the towpath trail is projected to be complete by fall of 2018.
Editor’s Note: A map and additional information on the proposed trail extensions can be viewed on the Canalway Partners website at canalwaypartners.com under the Towpath in Cleveland tab.