Cleveland Metroparks staff, historians and volunteers are already working on the Park District's 100th anniversary celebration set for 2017. But as the stories and timelines illustrating the history and milestones of the Park District come together, they may be hard-pressed to find another single year with as many major accomplishments as 2013.
The historic transfer of six Cleveland lakefront park properties that previously had been managed by the State of Ohio to Cleveland Metroparks this past June was quite possibly the Park District's most significant addition since acquiring the Cleveland Zoo in the 1970s. Three of the properties, Edgewater Park, Gordon Park and the East 55th Street Marina, now comprise Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation. The other three properties in the transfer, Euclid Beach, Villa Angela and Wildwood, are now part of the existing Euclid Creek Reservation.
June also saw the completion of the Park District's other new reservation, West Creek, when the state-of-the-art Watershed Stewardship Center opened with a water-filled ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new West Creek Reservation in Parma represents an important partnership of land conservation and watershed protection between Cleveland Metroparks, the West Creek Land Conservancy and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
After several months of rigorous documentation and a very thorough inspection, Cleveland Metroparks was honored to receive full accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and join the ranks of the best park districts in the nation. Of the tens of thousands of park and recreation agencies in the country, only 117 are accredited by CAPRA.
The greatest endorsement the Park District could receive however came on Election Day in November from the residents of Northeast Ohio when Issue 80, Cleveland Metroparks operating levy, passed by an overwhelming majority. The property tax levy represents two-thirds of the Park District's operating funds and is vital to protecting greenspace, providing programs and services, and maintaining a park system that all Northeast Ohioans can be proud of.
While the new parks in the big cities of Cleveland and Parma might have received the majority of headlines, the Park District was busy in other areas of Northeast Ohio as well, including celebrating the 75th anniversary of South Chagrin Reservation's Look About Lodge in Bentleyville, opening a community connector trail at Big Creek Reservation in Parma Heights and acquiring 46 acres of prime wetlands habitat for protection in North Royalton and Middleburg Heights.
SUE ALLEN - 216-635-3338, firstname.lastname@example.org
JOE YACHANIN - 216-635-3310, email@example.com