Public-Private Partnership Leads to Conservation Victory for Eastlake, Chagrin River
A broad partnership between public, private and nonprofit organizations has led to the permanent conservation of an 11-acre property in Eastlake near the mouth of the Chagrin River. Future plans for this property, to be called the Chagrin River Landing, will create a prime steelhead fishing location and non-motorized boating access and create a natural space in the midst of an urban neighborhood.
Chagrin River Watershed Partners, the City of Eastlake and Western Reserve Land Conservancy took advantage of various public and private funding sources to acquire the property and plan for its restoration. The property, formerly operated as a commercial marina, will serve as a destination point and connector piece for the Chagrin River corridor and Lake Erie trail plan in Western Lake County. The project partners hope that this property will someday connect the missing link between Chagrin River Park and Eastlake’s Erie Road and Woodland Parks.
“This is one of those ideal situations where commercial and conservation needs are met, and everyone benefits,” said Brett Rodstrom, vice president of eastern field operations for Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “When we can partner with local organizations, city government and small businesses to conserve land and improve the community, it is a win for everyone.”
Future plans for the property include removing abandoned watercraft and a dilapidated structure, building a parking area, an improved non-motorized boat launch, treating and removing invasive species, installing walking trails and replanting native trees and wildflowers.
Anglers will have better access to the Chagrin River bounty, kayakers and canoers will be able to launch into the river and eventually into Lake Erie, and local businesses will benefit from the increase in visitors to the area.
“This is just what Eastlake and its residents need and deserve,” said Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley. “The vision for this site was made possible through collaboration, partnership and determination. We could not have planned a better outcome than this and we are very excited to be a part of what this property will become in the future.”
This project generated significant support from various public and private funding sources due to the importance of protecting this vital piece of Chagrin River shoreline. The project was partially funded through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund in the sum of $261,213 dollars.
The City of Eastlake contributed $100,000 from a fund specifically designated for park acquisition. Additional funding for the project was obtained through the Arbor Day Foundation ($20,000), First Energy Foundation ($27,000) and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Trout Club ($7,000). Support for the project was also generously provided by gifts and in-kind support from John & Constance Dymtriw, Lake Metroparks, Holden Arboretum, Lake County Ohio Port & Economic Development Authority, the Port Authority of Eastlake, Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders, BIG DIG Underground Repair Services, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Chagrin River Watershed Partners, and the sellers of the property, the Borac Family.
“The efforts of multiple partners and funders are coming together to protect and enhance this portion of the Chagrin River,” said Heather Elmer, executive director at Chagrin River Watershed Partners. “Keeping the Chagrin River clean and accessible is a priority for many local communities. This property gets us one step closer to ensuring the Chagrin River will be forever protected for future generations to enjoy.”