It's our most impressive natural asset and one of our biggest missed opportunities, so Mayor Frank Jackson also recently unveiled his own lakefront development plan. Here's what you need to know about it.
The Scope: Jackson's plan calls for the development of more than 60 acres between the Port of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport with hotels, restaurants, shops and offices. Two pedestrian bridges and a marina for short stopovers are also part of the proposal. "This was the next step," says city planning director Robert Brown. "We have the big attractions, ... [but the lakefront is] not a place that's filled with activity."
The Funding: The total project could top $2 billion, according to Brown, and would be funded mostly by private investment. However, the city has already secured $5 million in grant money for the marina and a pedestrian bridge and has applied for an $80 million grant from the federal government to fund a promenade along the lake and a walkway that connects the lakefront to Mall C. A decision on that grant is expected next month.
The Timeline: The first pieces could happen by 2013, starting with the marina and the pedestrian bridge connecting North Coast Harbor. However, Brown says it could take 15 to 20 years or more for the plan to be fully realized. "The key to getting this plan off the ground is to build momentum so that the community will begin to visit the lakefront and developers will follow with investments," says Ricky Smith, the city's director of port control.