I went to a conference this past weekend on Great Lakes Restoration, which took place in Cleveland. We’ll have much more in the future about this federal effort, so I’ll focus here on Cleveland.
I had never been to Cleveland and quite frankly, I was only able to identify a couple of people before I left who had ever been there – and that was largely just passing through. So I didn’t really know what to expect.
It seems the city hasn’t done such a good job of providing public access to Lake Erie. The vast majority of marinas are private. We took a tour to Whiskey Island, which is one spot people can actually get to the water – but it is also under pressure to be turned into an industrial site.
The city’s main connection to water is with the Cuyahoga River. This is the river, as you might recall, that once was so polluted it actually caught on fire. To their credit, they’ve done a seemingly nice job of developing the riverfront through downtown with the ability of boaters to dock and patronize the local establishments. I also appreciate the way they celebrate the river’s past with such things as the Burning River Fest. A little greenspace or some trails along the river wouldn’t be a bad thing, but that may be available farther upstream than I got.
Cleveland also features a demonstration-size wind turbine spinning on the shore of Erie. I like the fact that it is located between the Browns’ football stadium and Cleveland city hall because that way anyone who has a dislike of the Browns or politicians has a ready-made joke about what makes the wind blow. Hat’s off as well to the Great Lakes Brewing Company, which provided the conference with some tasty beer.
Admittedly, I may not make it back there anytime soon. But should you have the opportunity to spend some time in Cleveland with a good group of people, I’d recommend you take the chance.