EUCLID, Ohio - Euclid City Council has approved a $6.8 million project that will create unprecedented public access to the community's Lake Erie Shoreline, while at the same time controlling erosion that has been gradually wearing away at the lake shore.
In 2013, the city opened a new pier at Sims Park. That was phase one of a three phase project that will include a walking trail along the shoreline, that extends to property that the city's owns about three-quarters of a mile to the east.
The shoreline improvement project includes agreements with private landowners and the cooperation of state and federal agencies including the Department of Natural Resources, FEMA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
A huge selling point for the project has been that the investment would keep property owners from losing more of their property to the lake.
"We have been experiencing what the Department of Natural Resources categorizes as catastrophic erosion, which means that we are losing on average a foot a year of land to the lake this lake," said Allison Lukacsy-Love, Euclid's Community Project Manager within the city's Department of Planning and Community Development.
"When this next phase is finished, what you are going to see is a stabilized shoreline that is more natural and better for the habitat. And, you are also going to see a multi-purpose walking trail which is really going to be unprecedented," said Jonathan Holoday, the department's Director.
The city has voted to use $2 million of local money toward the project.
Other state and federal agencies, as well as the county, are pitching in for the remainder.
"Our funders have many different interests, for example funding from the Ohio EPA is primarily because of the ecological impact and the positive benefit of the shoreline stabilization. FEMA is 100% interested in that erosion mitigation issue," said Lukacsy-Love.
The city expects to benefit by attracting more visitors and residents to Euclid. They estimate the development around the finished project could approach or exceed $4 million, which would ultimately add to the city's tax base.
"We do hope that this project serves as a model for other communities. We have worked for many, many years with our private property owners, and with the conditions that property owners are facing along the lake, like erosion, we think there may be an opportunity for other communities to do the same thing," said Holody.
Groundbreaking for the phase 2 trail is expected to take place in September, with that phase of the project anticipated to be completed in 2019.