Brooklyn Sun Journal - Dec. 8, 2005

Towpath, park links eyed

Staff Writer

BROOKLYN — Efforts are under way to open major streets in the city to Cleveland Metroparks access. The issue was scheduled to be discussed Wednesday at a meeting conducted by Friends of Big Creek, a volunteer group.

The organization wants to connect the Canalway Towpath Trail with a trail alignment along Big Creek from Brookpark Road, connecting to the Metroparks. The trail would link the existing greenways and public amenities from the Harvard Road Trailhead to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo/Brookside Park, to the Big Creek Reservation at Memphis Avenue, along the Tiedeman Road area, on to the Big Creek Reservation at Brookpark Road.

The proposal, Chair Bob Gardin said, would connect a trail from Brookpark Road north under I-480 to Tiedeman, and from Brookside Park west to Memphis Avenue and Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn, with the purpose to enhance what is known as the "Kingdom/Oxbow" area.

The trails would run behind the Cascade Crossing area and Wal-Mart on Brookpark.

After Wednesday's meeting, members of the group said they plan to come to a consensus on what they would like to see in the area, as well as outline their objectives.

Gardin said the group wants to help preserve some of the green space they fear will be gobbled up as more businesses and development occurs in the city, as well open up the Metroparks to those who live and work in Brooklyn.

But the plans are complicated and mix in the legalities of private, city and state property, as well as zoning and environmental concerns.

The Cascade Crossing spot, owned by Forest City Inc., is being planned for parking when offices eventually are built. Gardin said he has spoken with representatives from Forest City and they seem receptive to the idea of cutting back on parking in order to build a trail.

He said the group is hoping Forest City will donate a land easement for the trail. So far, nothing has been offered.

Gardin called the land at Cascade Crossing the most crucial part of the plans. If no easement is donated, he said the group would be willing to purchase land if Forest City is willing to sell.

A representative from Forest City could not be reached by press time.

Gardin said in talks with both Mayor Kenneth Patton and a Forest City representative he has gotten a positive response to the plans.

He said, though Forest City would lose parking space, they would gain greenery.

"It enhances the whole area," Gardin said.

Patton plans to wait until proposals from the group are brought to him before he will comment on any of the plans, according to his assistant.

Final proposals and a master [conceptual] plan for the trail will not be released until Dec. 14 or 15, after the group meets with businesses and community leaders who are a part of the seven Watershed Communities. That group includes Brooklyn, Cleveland, Parma, Parma Heights, Brook Park, Linndale and North Royalton, as well as Forest City's Cascade Crossing board.

Correction (Dec. 15)

"...residents who might be affected by the along Tiedeman Road."

"Also, the first proposals for the trail were made by city leaders in 1919."

© 2005 Sun Newspapers
Reprinted with permission.