Deal with county for Whiskey Island adds another jewel to Metroparks lakefront

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Metroparks adds another park to its growing stable of lakefront properties.

Whiskey Island and Wendy Park, as well as some other downtown parcels, were sold to the Metroparks by Cuyahoga County for $1. In exchange, Cleveland Metroparks will commit $6.25 million to be further invested in capital improvements.

A formal announcement was made by County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman.

“It’s a very popular park location and we’re really providing different amenities and unique amenities, green-space amenities in the city of Cleveland,” Zimmerman told NewsChannel5.

Calling it an historic day in Cleveland Metroparks’ history, Zimmerman said today’s agreement culminated a ten-year pursuit of the facility.

The county has been combing through its portfolio of real estate holdings recently to see what properties were in the best interest of taxpayers.

“We are partnering with Cleveland Metroparks because of their impressive efforts to strategically connect greenspaces throughout Cleveland,” FitzGerald said in a statement. “Cleveland Metroparks are proven stewards of our public spaces and I have no doubt that the development of these critical waterfront parks will be strategic and comprehensive.”

The lakefront park has a marina, restaurant, bar and volleyball courts. Vehicle access is through a narrow road between railroad tracks north of the West Shoreway adjacent to the Metroparks’ Edgewater Park.

Last June, the State of Ohio and city of Cleveland officially handed over Edgewater and other former lakefront state parks to the Metroparks.

Also included in the exchange of assets, Cuyahoga River frontage parcels on both sides of the Flats and Heritage Park 1.

This season, the Metroparks will gather information on the park and how to best serve visitors and full takeover is expected next summer.

Zimmerman expects the park to be connected by bridge to the rest of the Towpath on the south side of the railroad tracks.

As portions of the Towpath Trail snake northward, park areas where the trail is completed are absorbed by the Metroparks.

Cuyahoga County Commissioners purchased the land in 2004.

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