(Plain Press, August 2015) A two-year effort to transform a vacant lot into an attractive and environmentally friendly EcoVillage Gateway way station at 6009 Madison near the W. 65th Rapid Station, has reached it’s culmination. Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) announced that it held a ribbon cutting on July 15th, attended by representatives of partners that worked with neighborhood residents on the project including: DSCDO, the City of Cleveland Community Development Department, Neighborhood Progress, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and Councilman Matt Zone.
The new EcoVillage way station is located just east of the Father Begin (pedestrian) Bridge over the rail tracks.
“This is such an exciting project for the neighborhood,” says DSCDO Project Director, Nicholas Wikar. “With the help of our amazing partners, we were able to transform an underutilized parcel of land, restoring it with native trees and plants.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation is set to complete construction of the Madison Avenue and W. 61st Street pedestrian bridges, while DSCDO is supporting residents in their ongoing efforts to restore the site to a native wildlife habitat. The ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony officially opened the EcoVillage Gateway and surrounding bridges for the public and native pollinators to take advantage of their new, vibrant way station.
The vision for a safe and inviting “welcome mat” for the neighborhood, first gained momentum in 2013 as a $30,000 Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Inc. ReImagining Cleveland 3.0 grant. In 2014, the project garnered an additional $15,000 in financial support from the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development. Beyond dollars and cents, the new configuration, open sight lines, increased lighting and much more will have a priceless socioeconomic impact on the neighborhood for the foreseeable future.
Work has been completed with the help of numerous neighborhood organizations, block clubs and community organizations. On Arbor Day, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy was on-site to plant trees as they launch their Reforest Our City Campaign, aimed at reintroducing Cleveland’s urban canopy with the donation of 10,000 trees citywide. Less than one month later, DSCDO staff and residents joined KeyBank employees for their annual Neighbors Make the Difference Day event.