CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published June 4, 2021.
The Cleveland Metroparks’ plan to replace a crumbling sidewalk in the Edgewater neighborhood with a 10-foot wide path has been shelved for now, according to a letter sent to residents Sept. 1.
The plan – first reported by 3News – drew wide criticism from residents along the northside of Lake Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood, which includes nearly a mile stretch along Lake Avenue between Edgewater Park and 117th Street.
The Metroparks, with initial backing from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, wanted to add the new sidewalk to better link the park and future roadway-bike lanes in Lakewood. The Metroparks and City of Cleveland promoted it as a way to improve the sidewalk for residents -- and a way to attract bikers, walkers and those on rollerblades.
An overwhelming majority of residents along the proposed path signed a petition rejecting the plan. Forty residents affected by the path opposed it; five residents supported it and seven residents said they were undecided, according to a copy of the petition.
Many residents said during meetings with Metroparks officials that they worried widening the sidewalk posed safety issues by increasing foot and bike traffic across their driveways. They also complained that construction of the large sidewalk on the tree lawn threatened the tree canopy along Lake Avenue.
The Metroparks held small meetings with residents, but some residents charged that the Metroparks and the city were proceeding without first weighing their concerns, a point tacitly acknowledged in a letter to residents.
“The City Planning Commission and partners will be re-engaging the neighborhood in a community-driven process,” the letter reads in part.
The plan, known as the Lake Avenue Sidewalk Enhancement Project, was another effort by the Metroparks and others to create unprecedented connectivity to parks and trails around the city and region..
The Metroparks was to take responsibility of maintaining the new sidewalk as a part of a pilot program with the city. The sidewalk will be built on the existing tree lawn, which the city of Cleveland owns.
This article was updated to reflect the latest petition figures.