Edgewater Park spic-n-span for summer season

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Northern Ohio is home to hundreds of miles of Lake Erie shoreline, including some pristine places in the Cleveland area. But after taking a beating for years, Edgewater is now cleaner than most can recall.

“It’s really nice, it’s pretty,” said Deaira Knox from South Euclid who was enjoying the beach on Wednesday.

While the season is just beginning, beach goers are already relaxing, jumping in the lake and even sticking their toes in the clean sand, yes, the sand at Edgewater. The park has been under the control of the Cleveland Metroparks for less than a year.

“You know, it’s our personal pride, it’s our community, it’s what we’re giving back to the community for people to come and use,” said Brian Zimmerman, the Cleveland Metroparks CEO. “The park is alive today, there’s kids and there’s school groups, there’s people using the beach.”

But anyone familiar with Edgewater over the past few decades knows the water and the sand were anything but clean.

In 2009, it ranked among the dirtiest beaches in the nation by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ten years earlier, in 1999, an environmental magazine rated Edgewater the eighth worst beach in the United States, due in part to the amount of trash and water quality.

“I never really liked it because the water seemed to always be pretty dirty and we never really got in the water,” said Amber Sandys from Medina. “My mom was always kinda hesitant with bacteria and everything. We mostly just sat on the beach.”

“You had, like, lots of nasty birds and people used to litter all the time all around the rocks and around the water,” said Domonique Adams from Cleveland.

Not anymore.

Edgewater is getting closer to becoming an ‘award winning’ beach, according to Zimmerman. He said the staff is committed to keeping it clean so people can let the sand flow between their toes for the first time in a long time, because the beach is raked almost daily.

“Crews are actually starting between four, three and four in the morning to actually get the beach done and clean in enough time that we’re out of the way,” said Zimmerman.

He also wants people to know it’s a safer environment and over the course of time, it’s only going to get better.

Domonique Adams agrees.

“It’s nice, it’s clean," said Adams.

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