Announces significant progress on historic restoration project
Cleveland Metroparks today celebrated significant progress on the multi-year Garfield Pond Restoration Project. Officials today broke ground on the Garfield Pond Program Center, a planned 3,000 square foot facility that will serve as an education and recreation program hub in the heart of Garfield Park Reservation. Cleveland Metroparks also unveiled major progress on the restoration of the historic Garfield Pond and Wolf Creek.
The new Garfield Pond Program Center will be a one-story, year-round reservable amenity for the public and park guests. The new structure, expected to open in summer 2024, is projected to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified for its sustainable design and construction. The center and restored pond will return recreational opportunities to the reservation that were diminished a half century ago and establish Garfield Park Reservation as 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.
“Garfield Park Reservation has been a popular destination for the community for nearly 130 years,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “Thanks to generous supporters and project partners, this project is creating a healthier park and a more accessible and engaging destination for generations to come.”
Cleveland Metroparks today also announced significant progress on the restoration of the historic Garfield Pond that was a focal point for recreation in the reservation until the 1960s. The pond has been reformed and filled with water, with additional restoration continuing through summer 2024. Over the next several months, Cleveland Metroparks will be working to complete the restoration including enhancements to surrounding streams and wetlands and the addition of accessible trails, overlooks and fishing docks.
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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 319 are making this transformative project possible.
In addition to the recreational and educational benefits of the project, support from NEORSD and Ohio EPA are helping to restore Wolf Creek by establishing floodplain connectivity, stabilizing streambanks, enhancing aquatic habitat, removing invasive species and planting over an acre of trees and shrubs. The project will also enhance approximately three acres of floodplains and wetland habitat. Construction on the estimated $8 million Garfield Pond Restoration Project is expected to be complete by summer 2024. Visit clevelandmetroparks.com/GarfieldRestoration
for more information.
History of Garfield Park Reservation
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 century-old stone bridges, stairs and walls can still be seen by visitors to Garfield Park Reservation. Through decades of protection and improvements by Cleveland Metroparks, the reservation remains a popular spot for visitors and welcomed 365,000 recreational visitors last year. Recent improvements to the reservation include the completion of the Mill Creek Connector Trail, installation of approximately 500 new trees and shrubs, restoration of historic stone staircases and the completion of the new Iron Springs Shelter and accessible nature play area at Red Oak Picnic Area.
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