CLEVELAND - Cleveland Metroparks today opened the Wendy Park Bridge and Whiskey Island Trail, the two final pieces in the transformational $16.45 million “Re-Connecting Cleveland” federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) trails project. The now complete transportation network of 4+ miles of interconnected bike and pedestrian trails along with the signature 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.
“We’re thrilled to reconnect Cleveland with its lakefront with the opening of the Wendy Park Bridge and Whiskey Island Trail,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. 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.”
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.
Construction of the $6 million Wendy Park Bridge was funded in part by $3 million from the Wendy Park Foundation as well as from the TIGER program, The Trust for Public Land, State of Ohio capital funds and LAND studio.
"We are so grateful to Cleveland Metroparks for its expert execution of this vision for a more connected and accessible lakefront for Cleveland,” said Halley Moore, Wendy Park Foundation. “So many public, private and non-profit organizations came together to make this happen—it wouldn’t have been possible without a substantial team effort. We are thrilled that the Wendy Park Bridge, which will be known as Wendy’s Way, is now open for use along with its massive network of connected trail systems. We expect significant positive economic impact for our community, along with improved health and well-being of those who choose to get out and enjoy them. Our contribution to the bridge honors Wendy Moore, the daughter of Wendy Park founder Dan Moore and Marge Moore.”
The $3.6 million Whiskey Island Trail completes a missing link between Edgewater Park to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island with 1.2 miles of all purpose trail. The trail provides a safe, off-road connection with great views of the active Port of Cleveland’s Bulk Terminal as well as several interpretive spaces that share the rich history of Cleveland’s lakefront.
Prior to the new trail, walkers, joggers and cyclists traveling between Edgewater Park, Whiskey Island and Wendy Park were required to share a narrow stretch of roadway with blind turns, cars, buses, trucks, boat trailers and more.
“A complete trail network throughout the city of Cleveland will provide safer and more sustainable ways for residents to access nature and to become more connected to the community,” said Sean Terry, Ohio Parks for People Program Director with The Trust for Public Land. “We’re grateful for the many partnerships that all allowed Wendy Park Bridge to become a reality and are excited to continue to make green space more accessible to more people.”
The Re-Connecting Cleveland project also included the recently opened Red Line Greenway, a nearly two-mile paved all-purpose trail that links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail to two RTA Red Line Rapid Transit stations, and provides six neighborhood connections from West 65th Street to downtown Cleveland. It also included the completed Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway Connector that links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail to the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway and the Canal Basin Park Connector that links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail to Canal Basin Park, Rivergate Park, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Waterfront Line Rapid Transit, eLCee2 Water Taxi and downtown Cleveland.
“The now complete Re-Connecting Cleveland project will serve as a catalyst for our communities by eliminating transportation barriers between downtown and our great lakefront,” said LAND studio Executive Director Gregory Peckham. “We’re thrilled with the outcome of this collaborative effort that will have lasting impacts for decades to come.”
Cleveland Metroparks, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and LAND studio, applied for and secured a TIGER grant in 2016 from the U.S. Department of Transportation that supported $7.95 million of the project’s overall cost. In addition to the TIGER grant, funds for the overall $16.45 million Re-Connecting Cleveland project were secured from the Wendy Park Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds facilitated through Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), Clean Ohio Trails Fund, State of Ohio, LAND studio and Cleveland Metroparks funds.
Earlier this month, Cleveland Metroparks was selected to receive a national award for Innovation in Social Equity for the Re-Connecting Cleveland project in recognition of the trail’s impact in reconnecting residents and breaking down transportation barriers.
The Wendy Park Bridge was designed by KS Associates, Inc. and constructed by Great Lakes Construction Co. The Whiskey Island Connector Trail was designed by E.L. Robinson Engineering Co. and constructed by Mark Haynes Construction.
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