CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland is about to make a major investment in the waterfront courtesy of COVID-19 recovery money. 

In a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the city council approved $15 million from the American Rescue Plan for landmark projects.

Among them is the North Coast Connector, a project that would create a land bridge from Mall C and the roof of the Huntington Convention Center all the way to Lake Erie. That money will go toward feasibility and design studies.

As Mayor Justin Bibb discussed in November, it’s a project that will alter the landscape of the city.

“For a long time our lakefront has been a dividing line in our city, east side, west side, black, white,” said the mayor, “And I truly believe as we write this next chapter in Cleveland’s story for our lakefront, we have a historic opportunity to finally get it right.”

Another key project to receive American Rescue Plan funds is Irishtown Bend

Council allocated $5 million towards stabilizing the hillside which is sliding into the Cuyahoga River.

The ultimate goal is to create a riverside park and boardwalk with stunning views of the city. 

Tom McNair, executive director of Ohio City Incorporated, has called it a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a civic asset for which Cleveland can be known. 

“I think that all of us know that this is something that is vitally important, not just to stabilize the ship channel for our economy, but also that idea of opening up our riverfront to the people of our neighborhoods.”

There is also $500,000 for the Euclid Creek Greenway which would create a 2-mile trail from the Euclid Creek Reservation to the waterfront and another $1.5 million for detailed designs of the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Strategy (CHEERS) which will add parkland and habitat along the shoreline.

Cleveland’s southeast side will benefit from $5 million in economic development allocated by the city council. 

Those federal dollars will contribute to building up Lee-Harvard, Union Miles, and other predominantly black neighborhoods which have suffered from a lack of investment.