Reimagining Cleveland’s Lakefront: A Vision of Collaboration And Inclusivity

In a recent panel discussion covered by, Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb asserted their shared commitment to redeveloping downtown Cleveland’s lakefront, overcoming past challenges and promising to transform it into an inclusive and accessible community asset. The event, titled “It Takes A Planner,” was sponsored by Advance Ohio and the American Planning Association and moderated by reporter Steven Litt.

Executive Ronayne emphasized the importance of strategic alliances, highlighting that successful redevelopment requires cooperation from the public sector, private entities, and non-profit organizations. His vision includes enhancing the city’s appeal by creating accessible pathways to the waterfront, thereby enriching the residents’ quality of life and strengthening Cuyahoga County’s tax base.

Mayor Bibb echoed this collaborative sentiment. He acknowledged Cleveland’s previous struggles with lakefront development plans but emphasized his optimism for the future, given the unique alignment between his office and the county executive’s.

For decades, city planners, developers, and civic organizations have proposed numerous plans to enhance the downtown lakefront and improve its connectivity with Lake Erie. These ambitious visions have historically been hindered by infrastructural barriers, such as the Ohio 2 shoreway and rail lines.

However, Ronayne noted several promising prospects. Cuyahoga County is seeking proposals for a new courthouse and considering plans for a new jail that could free up substantial space near the lake for development.

The collaboration was recently challenged when Cuyahoga County Council delayed a decision on Cleveland’s proposal to form a lakefront development authority, the Northcoast Development Corp, with the county. Yet, both Ronayne and Bibb remain hopeful that council members will come to appreciate the value of this initiative.

Mayor Bibb added a poignant perspective, acknowledging Cleveland’s history of racial segregation. He shared personal experiences highlighting the lakefront’s symbolic inaccessibility and emphasized the opportunity to use the lakefront master plan to dismantle these historic barriers.

Both Bibb and Ronayne assured residents that their voices are crucial to the redevelopment process and will continue to be heard. Executive Ronayne underscored this sentiment by proposing a Freshwater Institute aimed at educating the next generation about water ecology.

The panel also included Brian Zimmerman, CEO of Cleveland Metroparks, Joyce Pan Huang, city Planning Director, and Mary Cierebiej, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.

As the Green Ribbon Coalition, we stand firmly in support of these inclusive, environmentally-conscious endeavors. We believe that access to our beautiful waterfronts should be a right enjoyed by all. Stay tuned as we continue to monitor and advocate for these critical initiatives to ensure they align with our mission of a greener and more inclusive Cleveland.

For more detailed information, you can find the original article here.

Please join us as we support and advocate for more accessible, sustainable, and inclusive waterfront spaces. Together, we can help shape a brighter future for Cleveland.