Game changer: Edgewater Beach House transforms classic park

After much anticipation, the new 12,000-square-foot Edgewater Beach House opened last Friday. The open air, two-story amenity offers stunning views of Lake Erie and a place to kick back and relax with friends. It also serves as a connection point with walking paths leading to the popular green space from surrounding neighborhoods.

“Really, it’s about connecting the community to the waterfront,” says Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman. “I think one of the most significant parts of this project is the community connector, connecting into the Detroit Shoreway, the Gordon Square area, really inviting the community to be a part of this transformation that’s gone on down here at Edgewater.”

Designed by Bialosky Cleveland Architects, the Albert M. Higley Company began construction last September on the $3.3 million building and $1.1 million site construction.
The new facility is the fourth iteration of beach houses in Edgewater Park's history, says Zimmerman.
“We’ve added over 12,000 square feet of public access, we’ve added additional food service, we’ve added a bar component to it, we’ve added bike racks, wash stations, we’ve added a plaza,” he says. “We’ve really added a lot of amenities that allow people to come down and be a part of the beach scene that’s going on here in Cleveland.”
The first level serves as a concession area, where customers can select food items from a digital menu that range from the classic burgers, nachos and grilled cheese, to local favorites like pierogies and Honey Hut ice cream.

“We’ve got lots of different things, but it’s really designed for the beachgoers to come down and grab their food,” Zimmerman says.
While the pavilion will be open year-round, the concessions will only be open in the warmer months. “The food service is really designed to be through the beach season, and then we’re going to see how long the season extends,” Zimmerman says. “Some falls can be absolutely gorgeous here in Northeast Ohio and others aren’t, but food service will not continue through the winter months.”

The second level features a full bar, fireplace, ceiling fans and spectacular views for watching the sunsets over the lake.
“We know the weather conditions in Cleveland can be unique at times,” says Zimmerman. “It’s an open-air pavilion and it’s really designed to embrace the weather we have in Cleveland. And we didn’t want to impair the construction with the wonderful views of the sunsets.”
The plaza and surrounding area can accommodate up to 250 people at picnic tables. Additionally, artists Stephen Manka and Stephen Yusko have fabricated three swinging benches made of stainless steel and ipe, a South American exotic hardwood — call that a perfect place to watch the world go by.

Zimmerman stresses this latest improvement is just one more step in the Metroparks’ efforts to create an accessible community gathering spot. “It’s really designed as a place for people to gather, nosh, watch sunsets and create a memory at the beach,” says Zimmerman, who recalls one couple he met during the very first Edgewater Live three years ago.
“They were in their 80s, holding hands and eating ice cream — and they did the same thing when they were courting almost 60 years ago,” Zimmerman says. “This park has so many opportunities to rekindle memories and then create new ones. Cleveland Metroparks turns 100 years old this year and what we’ve created here is moving us into that second century of public stewardship.”
Zimmerman says he hopes others will have similar stories to share with the new beach house. “What we’re trying to do is create a place of community and self,” he says. “There are so many activities you can do down here.”

The view of the beach from Edgewater Park's new Beach House

Concessions will be sold seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bar will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays; and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
While the beach house officially opened last Friday, the real kick off will be during the first Edgewater LIVE of the season on Thursday, June 8. The evening begins at 4:30 p.m., with food trucks and live music. The bands will play from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring headliner Faction.
“June 8 is going to be an amazing time here for people to come down and rediscover what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Zimmerman says. 

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.