Regional Partners Celebrate Towpath Trail Stage 3 Opening

The City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Metroparks and Canalway Partners today announced the official opening of the Towpath Trail Stage 3, a 1.9 mile stretch of trail between Steelyard Commons and Literary Avenue in Tremont. Stage 3 is the longest piece of the four phased trail project that together will make up a total of five miles on northernmost stretch of the 101-mile Towpath Trail. Click here to watch video of the ribbon cutting.

The completion of Stage 3 provides an important link between the populous Cleveland neighborhood Tremont, the employment and retail center Steelyard Commons and the public outdoor recreation area Clark Fields. As the Cleveland portion of the Towpath Trail project nears full completion, it has already become a regional “spine” in a network of trails that connect city neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs throughout Cleveland and down through Cuyahoga County and beyond.

“The completion of this project’s third stage brings us one step closer to providing an important new green space in the City of Cleveland,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “The building of the Towpath Trail will help our City’s neighborhoods be healthier for generations to come.”

Stage 3 not only provides an all-new multimodal transportation corridor in Cleveland, but also provides new recreational opportunities in underutilized portions of the Cuyahoga River Valley. The 1.9-mile stretch offers unique amenities to users including views of the city skyline from 30-foot-high grassy mounds adjacent to the trail and unique landscaping.

“The Towpath Trail is used and beloved by so many Cuyahoga County residents,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Stage 3 of the trail connects to exciting neighborhoods like Tremont and celebrates beautiful views of Cleveland’s skyline while providing free entertainment for all ages. The trail was able to utilize barren brownfields and turned them into spaces that all can enjoy, and I am grateful for the work of our partners to create such a valuable resource for our residents.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Railway Preservation Society and a generous grant from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Coca-Cola Foundation, the trail also features a unique interpretive space at a promontory above Literary Avenue in Tremont with interactive railroad themed artifacts that pull from the local history of a former 19th century roundhouse in the nearby Cuyahoga Valley.

“I want to thank Canalway Partners, Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland for their tremendous partnership on the Towpath Trail,” said Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO. “The Towpath Trail serves as a regional spine for transportation through our communities and we look forward to continuing to connect our trails, neighborhoods and amenities to the Towpath over the coming years.”

Construction is also underway on the final phase of the Towpath Trail Extension. Stage 4 will run 1.5 miles from Literary Avenue to the future Canal Basin Park in Downtown Cleveland’s Flats. In 2021, the northernmost section of the Towpath Trail is expected to be completed.

“The Towpath Trail is a catalyst for the city, county and the region. As one of the nation’s first National Heritage Areas, the Ohio & Erie Canalway has fostered and championed the vision for the Towpath Trail for nearly 30 years,” said Mera Cardenas, Canalway Partners Executive Director. “Through partnerships and perseverance, the Towpath Trail is becoming a reality and forever changing our relationship to the Industrial Valley and the way we move around the city. As we celebrate the completion of the final stages of the Towpath Trail, we’re excited to turn our attention and resources to Canal Basin Park which will mark the historic access to the canal and celebrate those connections.”

In addition to the Towpath Trail Extension, work is also expected to be completed in 2021 on the
Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER Grant Project that is adding an additional 4+ miles to fill critical gaps in the active transportation network in the city of Cleveland. The TIGER project consists of Wendy Park Bridge to connect Cleveland and the lakefront, the Whiskey Island Connector that is connecting Wendy Park to Edgewater Park and the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway and the Red Line Greenway that is connecting the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center to the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail and Towpath Trail. In total, these projects will add more than nine miles of trails in Cleveland that improve multimodal transportation locally and regionally and connect people to the lakefront.

Construction on the $14.3 million Stage 3 project began in February 2017 and was completed by June 2020 and funded by the following:

·       $11,388,443: Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Program, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency

·       $1,379,355: Clean Ohio Conservation, Ohio Public Works Commission

·       $1,032,222: Clean Ohio Trail Funds, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

·       ​$250,000: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District