Monday, July 20, 2009

Everyone Agrees: We Need to Do Something More With Cleveland's Lakefront

PD Columnist Joe Frolik wrote an article for Sunday's paper titled "Let's figure out more creative ways to use our urban waterfront that can work today." In the article, he quotes Meg Walker, vice president of a New York-based nonprofit that helps cities develop open spaces. Walker commented that Cleveland's lakefront is beautiful, but it needs to be used.

To borrow a quote my kids when I state the obvious: DUH!

Cleveland has been talking about developing its waterfront for years. Frequently, an individual or developer or organization has an idea to create pedestrian areas that lead right up to the lake to offer recreation, dining, entertainment, etc. They are always great ideas. So why don't they ever happen?

Last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Whiskey Island for the first time. What a gorgeous spot! To stand along the shores of the lake and watch the sunset was breathtaking. But my husband and I were astonished that the land was so underused. Not that you have to turn it into a carnival-like atmosphere; however, you can certainly create opportunities for folks to stroll the property, maybe take a boat ride and even spend the night. We figured we weren't the first people to think of this.

In informal polls that I've taken, people in Northeast Ohio would love to have more access to our Great Lake. Now I'm taking another poll:

What's holding Cleveland back from making full use of its lakefront?

Please share your ideas and observations. Maybe we can finally get to the bottom of this so we can get someone like Meg Walker of Project for Public Spaces working with us on a plan for the Cleveland waterfront.