Cleveland Metroparks, partners mark the completion of two projects

Last week, the Cleveland Metroparks held celebrated the openings to two long-awaited projects: The opening of the Wendy Park bridge and Whiskey Island trail and the opening Brighton Park in Old Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, June 20, the Metroparks, Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) and Old Brooklyn Development Corporation (OBCDC) together celebrated the opening of the 25-acre Brighton Park, which is part of the Metroparks Brookside Reservation. The park came about after a nearly six-year restoration of the former Henninger Landfill property.

Wendy Park Bridge and Whiskey Island Connector Grand OpeningWRLC bought the land in 2015 with a $561,000 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant to clean up the property and create usable greenspace and trails that will link to the surrounding parks and trails. The park will link to Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

“We’re thankful for the tremendous partnership of Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Old Brooklyn CDC to take a former landfill and turn it into a vibrant community asset,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman in a statement. “This new park will not only serve the residents of the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, but also provide a critical connection between Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Brookside Reservation to the Towpath Trail and beyond.”

Then on Thursday, June 24, officials held a grand opening at the Wendy Park bridge. bridge and the Whiskey Island trail represent the final two pieces in the $16.45 million “Re-Connecting Cleveland” federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) trails project.

The completed transportation network of four-plus miles of interconnected bike and pedestrian trails, along with the Wendy Park Bridge, links more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to centers of employment, schools, parks, and commerce and provides a new link between downtown Cleveland and its lakefront.

The Wendy Park Bridge links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island and Lake Erie. The 500-foot-long bridge extends over the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks and provides a new link between downtown Cleveland and Cleveland Metroparks lakefront parks. The bridge features a 12-foot-wide deck providing a new trail connection for both pedestrians and bicyclists and improved access to Wendy Park, Whiskey Island, the former historic coast guard station and Edgewater Park.

“We’re thrilled to reconnect Cleveland with its lakefront with the opening of the Wendy Park Bridge and Whiskey Island Trail,” said Zimmerman. “The Re-Connecting Cleveland project is a testament to the strength of partnerships and regional collaboration in creating a more equitable and accessible transportation network in Northeast Ohio.”