Cleveland Metroparks receives federal grant for trail projects on the East Side

A map of the Greater Cleveland area with highlighted trails affected by the grant.
The projects aim to address areas where there's been a lack of investment and trail connectivity. [Cleveland Metroparks]

Four Cleveland Metroparks projects are advancing with the help of a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Roughly $950,000 will help to pay for planning and design of nearly six miles of trail and bicycle connections on Cleveland’s East Side.

The four projects are a part of the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan, a countywide initiative launched in 2019. They aim to address connectivity gaps by providing connectors and extensions to existing trails.

The grant comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) program, which prioritizes factors like safety, sustainability and quality of life, as well as improvements to racial equity.

“We are really looking to reconnect neighborhoods that may have been disconnected from former construction of interstates or rail lines,” McDermott. “What this grant received today through the RAISE program, it fills some of those gaps.”

The funds will allow Cleveland Metroparks to fully design the second phase of the Slavic Village Downtown Connector, covering 2.2 miles of bike path from the Morgana Run Trail to the Towpath Trail. The grant will also pay for designing an extension to Morgana Run, allowing for almost a mile of all-purpose trail leading to the Garfield Park Reservation.

Funds for the remaining two projects will focus on feasibility and planning, rather than design. Those projects are a 0.7-mile connection from Iron Court to the Opportunity Corridor Trail, and a two-mile bicycle connection in Euclid Creek Reservation.

“It provides the funds for us to do preliminary planning, engineering, so we can get these projects one step closer to shovel-ready,” Metroparks Chief Planning and Design Officer Sean McDermott said.

The work will improve upon the organization’s efforts to create a web of interconnected trails throughout the Greater Cleveland area, McDermott said.

“We’ve really seen and understood how people want to connect with the trail experience and access the outdoors in both the recreational way and multimodal way,” McDermott said. “Now it’s time for this focus and that application to be performed on the East Side.”

Additional support for the projects comes from the city of Cleveland and Metroparks funds. 

Cleveland Metroparks aims to start the planning and design process early in the spring and move quickly, McDermott said, so that the projects are ready whenever funding might become available for construction to begin.

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