Cleveland Metroparks wins $19.5M for East Side trails

Adding more safe pedestrian and bike routes in Cleveland will result from the largest-ever federal grant awarded to the Cleveland Metroparks. Construction will likely begin in 2026 on these projects that will add 4 miles of all-purpose trails (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Largest-ever federal grant awarded to Metroparks

Cleveland Metroparks announced it has been awarded a $19.5 million federal grant, the largest ever to be received by organization to construct 4 miles of all-purpose trails on the city’s southeast side into Downtown Cleveland. Construction work on the trail segments is planned to begin in 2026.

The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation from its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The investment fully funds construction of two key trail projects. One is the Slavic Village Downtown Connector North along Broadway Avenue into downtown. The other is the Morgana Run Extension along Booth Avenue and East 91st Street to reach Garfield Park.

Both were identified as missing links in the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan. Design of the two projects was made possible under a separate RAISE planning grant awarded to Cleveland Metroparks in 2021.

“An investment of this magnitude is substantial because it allows Cleveland Metroparks and our partners to take a vision that’s been adopted by the community and transform it into reality, directly impacting the quality of life for residents who will greatly benefit from improved access and connectivity to the rapidly growing regional trail network,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman in a written statement.

He added the grant, which is a 100-percent federal award that does not require matching funding, was the result of working with multiple partners and the advocacy of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11).

Shown as blue lines, the two new trail projects are the Slavic Village Downtown Connector-North and the Morgana Run Extension. The importance of these projects in completing missing links in the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan is evident (Metroparks).

Senator Brown said these investments will increase safety and reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries from interactions between cars and non-motorized travelers. There is a high incidence of documented bicycle and pedestrian accidents in the corridors of both projects, he said.

“We passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in our communities, and update and repair the roads, trails, and transit Ohioans use every day,” said Senator Brown. “This investment is a continuation of our work and will make our roads and trails safer and improve our neighborhoods into the future.”

The Slavic Village Downtown Connector North will establish 1.7 miles of trail from E. 14th Street and Orange Avenue in Downtown Cleveland to the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Roseville Court. The Slavic Village Downtown Connector, including future phases, will total 3.2 miles and connect Washington Reservation to Downtown Cleveland while also connecting to the existing 2.1-mile Morgana Run Trail in Slavic Village.

Plus, the nearly 1-mile Morgana Run Extension will complete the Morgana Run Trail to connect users from the Slavic Village Downtown Connector to Mill Creek Falls and Mill Creek Connector Trail in Garfield Park Reservation at Warner and Turney Roads, and on to the Towpath Trail, Metroparks officials said.

The trails are among those included in the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan, which identifies areas of opportunity to make Cleveland a more equitable and connected city. The grant is a major step forward in providing east side trail access to residents, thereby providing alternatives to address transportation challenges and connecting residents to centers for employment, education, civic and recreational assets.

Today’s funding award will provide a safer and more comfortable walking and biking route from the city’s southeast side into Downtown Cleveland, reducing crossings by trucks and other traffic (Google).

“These trail projects connect residents in underserved areas to a multitude of resources while advancing planning initiatives like Complete and Green Streets, the Cleveland Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. “We are grateful to President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg and all the partners involved for this opportunity to make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and more resilient.”

“Multimodal investments for building better infrastructure and access to communities are a win-win for our region,” said Executive Director-CEO Grace Gallucci of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). “I am excited that these well-planned projects, the Slavic Village Downtown Connector, Morgana Run Trail, Booth Avenue Extension were funded through the RAISE grant program that promotes safety, mobility, and community connectivity.”

The project is made possible with strong collaboration from the City of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Slavic Village Development, Union Miles Development Corporation, Bike Cleveland, and others involved in the design of the trails. Furthermore, Cleveland Metroparks officials thanked Cuyahoga County and NOACA for their longstanding effort to further execute the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan.

In 2016, Cleveland Metroparks was awarded a similar grant of nearly $8 million dollars funding five trail projects as part of the Re-Connecting Cleveland initiative that addressed critical gaps in the transportation network on the city’s near west side, establishing an unprecedented connection to Cleveland’s lakefront.


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