The northern gateway for the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail in Cleveland’s Flats will soon be a more welcoming spot. Construction to transform a city parking lot at the original terminus of the historic canal into a trailhead has been completed. While the hardscaping is installed, additional earthwork and landscaping will take place in the spring, after which the trailhead will officially be open to public use. The Towpath Trail can be enjoyed in the meantime over the winter.
The work completed over the past two months includes the removal of 30,000 square feet of an asphalt parking lot, the addition of new sidewalks, and installation of curbing which demarcates the outline of the original 1832 Ohio & Erie Canal, obliterated over time by industrial development. Decorative stairs join the remaining parking lot to the Towpath Trail itself and serve as a gathering space.
“For the first time in generations, you can see the physical impact of the historic canal in the City of Cleveland. Canal Basin Park connects visitors to the spot where the Ohio & Erie Canal connected to the river, the lake, and ultimately the world. As the park develops, we’ll be able to more fully tell that story and illustrate its impact to the development of the nation”, say Mera Cardenas, Executive Director of Canalway Partners.
The construction of the trailhead is another step in greening the area, fulfilling the vision set out in a 2016 framework plan. This phase of the project was funded through NOACA utilizing $550,400 of savings realized during construction of Towpath Trail Stage 4. The City of Cleveland provided $532,950 dollars of local match.
“On behalf of the City of Cleveland, I want to thank everyone involved in the Canal Basin Park project for their partnership in making the Towpath Trail a great place for Cleveland residents and visitors to find recreation and enjoy our waterways,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “It has always been my goal to make Cleveland a great city to live, work, play and do business, and developments like this one in Canal Basin Park are key to achieving that goal.”
Project partners include the non-profit Canalway Partners, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metroparks, and NOACA. The Ohio Department of Transportation served as the project manager.
“ODOT’s mission is to provide safe and easy movement of people and goods from place to place and we recognize the importance of walking and biking in that mission statement. ODOT looks forward to continuing to collaborate with other regional partners in the Greater Cleveland area on projects like the Canal Basin Park Trailhead.” said ODOT District 12 Deputy Director John Picuri.
Construction services were provided by Cook Paving & Construction.