Planners Prepare To Reveal Irishtown Bend Concept

The planners working to redevelop Irishtown Bend will present their designs this week (Thursday) based on several public input sessions held earlier this year.

Project Manager Doug Blank of the firm Michael Baker International, heads the design group on Irishtown Bend – a large hillside between the Cuyahoga River and West 25th Street.  Earlier this summer Blank and a team of West Coast landscape architects partnered up with Ohio City Inc.  to gather public input.  Two conceptual camps emerged: folks who wanted a more passive park experience, and folks who wanted a more active space.

The design that’ll be formally presented to the public on August 31, at 5:30 pm at the St. Ignatius Breen Center for the Performing Arts present a park space loosely segmented by horizontal layers that rise away from the river bank following the land’s topography.

The space is divided into four sections from the riverbank to the top of the hill  -- a Maritime Theater, ecology and history, an Ohio City Farm, and a neighborhood park lined by West 25th street.   A pavilion, a canopy walk, a rain garden, café style seating, and connections to several intersecting trails map out different parkspace experiences.

Doug Blank says those trail connections are key to integrating Irishtown Bend into a much wider community.

“There’s many shared use paths that traverse the site that will connect the 4 trails that come to the corners that are under construction or are in use now.  The red line greenway, the lakefront bikeway, and 2 phases of the Lakelink Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail.”

Beyond trail connections, the Irishtown Bend hillside needs rehab to avoid collapsing into the Cuyahoga River.  Building projects over the years have dumped construction waste at the site and the material is unstable.  There are concerns that a collapse of the bank could block the Cuyahoga River and limit the ability of ships to reach upriver sites like the ArcelorMittal steel plant.

Parts of the project will get underway this year including initial drainage work and shoring up the riverbank.

Blank says after putting together the design, the funding model is the next big step.

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