A ribbon cutting ceremony officially marked the opening of the new Fort Hill Stairs in Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation. Located behind the Rocky River Nature Center, the new Fort Hill Stairs ascend to stunning views 90 feet above the east and west branches of the Rocky River.
After significant movement of the shale cliff alongside the steps, the original 135 steps were removed for the safety of visitors. Following the process of removal, construction of 155 new stairs began in late May 2016. The design and engineering challenges of building the stairs required geotechnical guidance, and resulted in the use of 294,000 pounds of concrete - drilling to depths of 18 feet.
"The connection that visitors have to the Fort Hill Stairs is truly remarkable, and their support for this project has been overwhelming," said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. "Understanding the value of this asset to the community and entire park district, we set out to not only reconstruct the stairs but to enhance the experience for visitors."
This iconic landmark is one of the most picturesque locations in the Emerald Necklace. In addition to growing the stair count by 20 steps, they are fifty percent wider, measuring six feet across. Total investment for the project was $450,000, which includes design and construction costs.
With five miles of scenic nature trails surrounding the Rocky River Nature Center, the stairs not only offer spectacular views but first-class recreational opportunities.
"This is another great opportunity to enhance our partnership with Cleveland Metroparks and to encourage people to stay active and enjoy one of this region's most beautiful parks," said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD.
During Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony, members of the Lakewood Firefighters Association made a ceremonial run up the stairs to mark the official opening to the public. The group used the former steps as part of their conditioning.
For more information on Cleveland Metroparks trails for walking, hiking, biking, running and horseback riding download Cleveland Metroparks Trails App available through Google Play or the Apple App store.