About the Project
Garfield Park Reservation is undergoing a major transformation thanks to the support of the community and project partners. The project includes the restoration of a historic pond, enhancements to streams and wetlands, new trails and the addition of a new education and recreation program facility. The project will pay homage to the nearly 130-year-old park, increase recreational and educational opportunities for visitors, and improve the ecological health of the reservation and Mill Creek watershed.
Two separate $1 million donations from Ohio CAT and the Brown and Kunze Foundation, along with several other family foundations and individuals, and support from Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) Stormwater Management Reimbursement Fund and Ohio EPA Section 319 are making this transformative project possible. The restoration of the historic two-acre pond, made possible by a lead gift from Ohio CAT’s Ken Taylor, will include fishing docks, overlooks, and new surrounding accessible trail network. A new education and recreation program facility, thanks to a generous grant by the Brown and Kunze Foundation, will offer water-related try-it sports such as paddleboarding and fishing, both of which were identified as high priorities by the community.
The project will return recreational opportunities to the reservation lost a half century ago and turn Garfield Park Reservation into a hub for Cleveland Metroparks Outdoor Recreation programs as well as its Youth Outdoors program that strives to meet the needs of youth living in or near the City of Cleveland.
History of Garfield Pond
(Conceptual rendering of program center
Garfield Park Reservation has been a popular destination for the surrounding community since it became a public park in 1894. The park formerly featured two ponds, first built in the early 1900s, that served as a year-round destination for family activities including fishing, row boating and ice skating. However, the construction boom of the 1950s and 1960s led to sediment build up in Wolf Creek (a tributary to Mill Creek), deteriorating the health of the creek and filling the ponds, and the recreational and educational opportunities that had drawn generations of families to the park were diminished.
Remnants of the historic park, including stone bridges, stairs and walls can be seen among Garfield Park’s 223 acres of streams, woods, open meadows, and recreational areas. The stone walls constructed in the 1940s is the only evidence of the former ponds.
The first phase of the project will restore Wolf Creek by stabilizing streambanks, enhancing aquatic habitat, removing invasive species and planting over an acre of trees and shrubs. The project will also restore approximately three acres of wetlands in the area.
Construction for the project is underway and will be completed in a phased approach beginning with pond and stream restoration. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2024. Additional opportunities for community involvement and philanthropy will be shared once final design is complete. Visit clevelandmetroparks.com/donate
for more information.