By Kevin Kelley
The city’s three master plan studies all called for better utilizing the city’s proximity to the Cleveland Metroparks.
Now, with a grant application to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), the city plans to take the next step and propose new hiking and bike entrances to the Metroparks.
The city is seeking $36,800 from NOACA under its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative. If the application is approved, the city and Metroparks would kick in $4,600 each to pay for the study, officially called the Fairview Park-Rocky River Reservation Trail Connector Study.
The study would result in a written plan identifying preferred and alternative routes for the walking and biking trails connecting the city and the Cleveland Metroparks’ Rocky River Reservation.
Currently only one pedestrian-only access point to the Metroparks exists. That’s the Old Lorain Road Trail, located near the Emerald Necklace Inn, at the intersection of Lorain and Story roads.
“This lack of walkable and bikeable options typically leads residents and pedestrians to either drive into the Metroparks, increasing automobile congestion in the Rocky River Reservation, or risk their safety by attempting to traverse the narrow driving connectors on bike,” the city’s grant application states.
“A core objective of the proposed project is increasing public accessibility to the high-quality natural areas offered by the Metroparks,” the application continues.
If the grant is approved, a steering committee would be created, consisting of representatives of the city and the Metroparks, to oversee the study. Public meetings would be scheduled at which residents could learn more about the plan to connect the city and Metroparks and offer their own input, the application states.
A resolution authorizing the city to apply for the NOACA grant was approved by City Council at its Monday night meeting.