CLEVELAND-- A long-delayed set of pedestrian tunnels connecting the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood to Edgewater Park finally opened to the public on Tuesday.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and community members gathered to celebrate the completion of the project.
The tunnels stretch from West 76th Street in Battery Park, under railroad tracks and the highway, to the beach.
“It looks great so far. I haven’t been able to get through it; although it’s opening today, so I’ll take it on my way home,” said Mitch Zimmer, a cyclist from Lakewood, who often rides in the park.
According to Councilman Matt Zone, the public walkway is another sign of progress in the city. “You know, when people choose a place where they wanna call home, they want a quality of life and right now – in this neighborhood – you’re getting a high quality of life,” said Zone.
The project was required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to give everyone access to the public beach. But it was plagued with problems, including delays and cost overruns that almost doubled the price to approximately $6 million.
On Monday, construction crews also showed up to work and discovered someone had vandalized the inside of a tunnel. It was promptly cleaned up and repainted by members of the community.
“Well, you get ticked,” said John Hausman from the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. “But we’ve got such great residents that we knew it would be taken care of right away; so in a sense, it’s almost a great example of how great this community is.”
The Detroit Shoreway neighborhood has a graffiti program with volunteers committed to maintaining and patrolling the tunnels.
“It’s very unfortunate and a little sad that people don’t appreciate - you know – we’re tryin’ to do things to help better our city. We all live here, and why would you want to kinda destroy where you live? I don’t understand that,” said Kelley Williams, a park visitor.
According to ODOT, the tunnels will be under city control once the final inspection is complete.
Anyone caught vandalizing the property will face criminal charges.