People gathered for meeting for Erie Road Park

Erie Road Park public meeting, May 15, 2017

People waiting to climb aboard canoes at ADA accessible canoe kayak launch in Eastlake Ohio

ADA accessible canoe/kayak launch

Kayaking along the Chagrin river

Canoe tour route

Eastlake Erie Road Park

The Planning Process: 

Waterfront access is an enormous asset to our region, however 87% of the 312-mile Lake Erie shoreline is privately owned. Erie Road Park is the only public boat access on the Chagrin River and only public access point to Lake Erie within 15 miles of coast. Paddlers starting at Erie Road Park can access Lake Erie and Anchor Island, a permanently preserved public green space.   The Port Authority of Eastlake, the Cities of Eastlake and Willoughby, Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc., Lake Metroparks, local fishing groups, and various lake county governmental departments identified a need to provide and develop recreational opportunities along the Chagrin River and Erie lakefront for not only Eastlake residents, but to better serve the residents of adjacent communities and Lake County. Original park amenities included a Port Authority of Eastlake boat ramp, Chagrin River Salmon Association building, gravel parking, and a small playground area. Chagrin River Kayak and Paddleboard Rental and Repair shop now share the building with the Salmon Association.

 

In 2006, Lake County's Landside Communities Master Plan noted that public access to the water in this area is very limited and identified enhancing public access to the Chagrin River and Lake Erie as a high priority. As a follow up to that plan, a community stakeholder engagement process was led by the Port Authority of Eastlake in 2012 with funding from The Cleveland Foundation.  The plan identified a lack of safe and attractive public access to the Chagrin River and Lake Erie as a major problem. Public input from diverse community members and stakeholder groups contributed to the development of the Erie Road Park Conceptual Planning Project (Conceptual Plan) to enhance public property along the confluence of the Chagrin River and Corporation Creek.

 

The Port Authority of Eastlake selected the Landscape Architectural/Planning firm MKSK to assist with the plan. At project kick-off meetings on January 23 and 24, 2013 the project planning steering committee and numerous stakeholders were engaged to review the study process and begin the exchange of information and ideas concerning the potential and appropriate development and enhancement of this property. Initial study exhibits were presented and discussed during these planning sessions (see January 23, 2013 Port Authority of Eastlake Park Planning Project Steering Committee Meeting presentation).

 

The conceptual park plan was presented at a public meeting on April 10, 2013.  Over 60 people attended this public meeting to discuss options for park improvement in Eastlake near the Port Authority boat ramp.  Please click here to view the meeting presentation for more information.  If you have comments or questions, feel free to contact Heather Elmer, Executive Director of Chagrin River Watershed Partners at helmer@crwp.org.

 

Implementing the Plan:  

To gain additional feedback on the conceptual park plan, a public meeting was held on May 15, 2017. Click here for meeting presentation. Over 30 people attended this meeting to learn about CRWP’s assistance to the City of Eastlake, including recent grant applications for improvements to Erie Road Park to implement components of the conceptual park plan. The public was also invited to provide input about potential park improvements, including boat launch upgrades, picnic area improvements, stream restoration opportunities, and playground improvements. The following topics were discussed by meeting attendees:

  • Revenue generated through recreational access to the Chagrin River at Erie Road Park
  • Cost of conceptual plan implementation, including City’s obligations
  • Future maintenance of park improvements
  • Ways to improve aesthetic values of Erie Road Park, including tree plantings
  • Benefits and concerns about pedestrian bridge over Corporation Creek included in conceptual plan
  • How improvements at Erie Road Park fit into the City’s development plans and priorities

 

In July 2017, CRWP was awarded a Cleveland Foundation Community Responsive Grant to design and install Phase I of a permeable pavement parking area and streamside plantings along Corporation Creek at Erie Road Park. The Lake County Port and Economic Development Authority provided match for this project by installing a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible dock and ramp system for kayaks and canoes at Erie Road Park. Northfield (an Oldcastle company) committed to donating the pavers for the parking lot. A collaboration of the Cities of Eastlake and Willoughby, the Port Authority of Eastlake, the Lake County Port and Economic Development Authority, Lake Metroparks, Northfield (an Oldcastle Company), and CRWP, this project will also engage community groups including the Eastlake Police Activities League (EPAL) and Support for You through  volunteer tree and shrub plantings, canoe tours, and other nature-based education opportunities. For more information, please see a July 17, 2017 News-Herald article about this grant-funded project: “Erie Road Park in Eastlake to be made more accessible thanks to grant.”  CRWP is working with project partners to seek additional funds to complete the Chagrin River public access project.

 

CRWP assisted the City of Eastlake with a successful grant application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks Grant Program to install a natural playground and park furnishings at Erie Road Park. Natural playgrounds incorporate the use of natural materials such as living plants, wood, boulders, and water. These natural playscapes provide children and families with a connection to nature and encourage exploration, free expression, and creativity during play. In-kind match for this grant-funded project will be provided by the City of Eastlake, Port Authority of Eastlake, Big Dig Underground Repair Services, and Kurtz Bros., Inc. Installation of the playground is anticipated in fall 2019.

 

In 2018, a new accessible canoe and kayak launch was constructed for $27,331.75 with Lakeshore Improvement Project funding from the Lake County Commissioners. The opening of the launch was celebrated with a ribbon cutting and paddling event at the July 29, 2018 Eastlake Nature Weekend, where visitors were able to take free guided canoe tours of the Chagrin River.  CRWP will again offer two guided canoe tours on June 30th, 2019 in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Scenic Rivers Program.  Registration is required and both tours are full.  If you would like to be added to the email announcement list for 2021’s canoe tour please contact Linda Moran at lmoran@crwp.org or (440) 975-3870 extension 1000.

 

These tours were made possible through support from the City of Eastlake, Port Authority of Eastlake, Lake County Stormwater Management Department, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Boating and Watercraft, and Lake Metroparks. CRWP would also like to thank Steve and Terri Parker of Chagrin River Kayak & Paddleboard Rental & Repair for their generous assistance.

 

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