Cleveland Metroparks recent management agreement with the City of Cleveland for six lakefront parks is not the first of its kind. Over the years, Cleveland Metroparks has assumed management of a number of properties that were established by the Cleveland Board of Park Commissioners more than a century ago.
In the late 1800s, Cleveland was one of the largest cities in the United States. Early planners had not set aside space for parks within the city and it was determined that parks should be established in various regions on the outskirts of the city before the land was developed. Edgewater Park and Gordon Park, now managed by Cleveland Metroparks, were among the early parks established. In addition, the first 81 acres of Brookside Park on the southwest side were purchased by the City of Cleveland in 1894. Shortly after, the city park board acquired land from three farms between Turney Road and Broadway Avenue and opened Newburgh Park in 1896. It was renamed Garfield Park the following year. Washington Park, on the Newburgh Hts. and Cleveland border, was established in 1899 on a former amusement park property.
The sites for these parks were selected for their locations on the various edges of the city as well as for their natural beauty. Recreation areas with baseball diamonds, tennis courts, swimming areas, picnic grounds and more were established at the parks. The parks also featured walking paths, lovely architecture and postcard worthy landscaping.
Unfortunately, over time the parks began to decline. In the 1930s, the Works Project Administration was able to provide a great deal of rehabilitation. Eventually however, parks such as Brookside and Washington lost large parcels of land to freeway construction and other effects of progress. The city began to look for ways to improve maintenance and security at these parks.
Garfield Park was leased to Cleveland Metroparks in 1986 and became Garfield Park Reservation. Brookside Reservation followed in 1993 and Washington Reservation in 1996. As with the new lakefront parks, Cleveland Metroparks holds a long-term lease to manage and enhance each of these parks that continue to play an important part in the enjoyment of the outdoors close to the city.
Garfield Park Reservation