CLEVELAND (WJW) – Turning a parking lot into a park and a whole lot more, designers revealed their latest plan for downtown lakefront redevelopment.
The plan for the “North Coast” is a work in progress, and Friday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they unveiled the latest tweaks and changes to the plan.
The master plan is about 60% complete. Re-developing the lakefront around Browns Stadium has been a top project of Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.
Cleveland’s downtown lakefront has gone through many changes over the years, but in the years to come, the area around Cleveland Browns stadium could look much different.
The North Coast is a 22-acre site north of the stadium and the plan calls for easier access to get across the Shoreway from downtown to the lake.
“Today is not exactly the best experience of being able to access Browns Stadium and so this is meant to enhance and improve on that experience,” said Lisa Switkin, partner with Field Operations, the urban designer firm working on the project.
The latest design includes several changes from the master plan revealed over the summer.
One of the larger enhancements is a redesign of the proposed land bridge to get pedestrians across railroad tracks and the Shoreway.
“Now, it connects into the future stadium renovation, which it had before, but it’s a little bit more detailed and now it actually takes a turn east and connects down to the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock Hall,” Switkin said.
Another change, reconfiguring the design of a proposed beach, which will include sand, some ledges that lead to shallow lake water, then some wetlands before Lake Erie.
“Last time, it was really sand that just went down to the water and so now there’s all of these sort of layers that really expand the edge condition,” Switkin said.
Other proposed amenities include a boat docking area, a fishing pier, so-called porches, a refined boutique hotel, retail, cafes and a food hall.
“That really was also a direct response to the really overwhelming feedback we received on having lakeside dining options and affordable dining options and sort of varied options,” said Switkin.
“I think it’s a great idea. I hope it happens. It won’t be in my lifetime, obviously, look at my age,” said a man who attended the presentation.
“I’m glad, since I’m a pilot, that they’re not going to touch Burke right away, but everything else, I hope will be an opportunity for everyone,” said another man who attended.
“I like that they said the word “affordable” a number of times because that’s really important to people. It’s important to have diversity and inclusivity,” said a woman after the presentation.
The process of developing the master plan will take about another three months before the final product is unveiled early next year.
So far, there’s no word on the total cost or timetable for construction.
For game day tailgaters, the plan, a few decades down the road, is to develop parts of the Muni Lot.
But, designers say they understand the tradition of Muni Lot tailgating and there should be plenty of parking spaces left to do that.