Cleveland Metroparks has a long-term commitment to creating recreation connections into neighboring communities. The Mill Creek Connector Trail is one such project. Like beads on a necklace, the trail will link the Towpath Trail in Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation with Bacci Park in Cuyahoga Heights, the Mill Creek valley, Garfield Boulevard in Garfield Heights and Garfield Park Reservation on Turney Road. From the paved trails in Garfield Reservation, the overlook park at Mill Creek Falls can be readily accessed. Phase-1 of the project, completed in 2007, provided a paved all purpose path from a trailhead parking lot on Canal Road through Bacci Park along the wooded banks of lower Mill Creek. Giant cottonwood and sycamore trees can be seen as the trail winds through the flood plain.
Phase-2 of the project, scheduled to start spring 2014, will extend the trail north, crossing Mill Creek via a 150-foot-long bridge. The trail then heads toward Warner Road, before diverging away through a recovering wooded area up to an overlook where spectacular views of the Mill Creek and Cuyahoga River valleys can be appreciated. Continuing north past a switchback, the trail rises out of the woods and traverses a light industrial and urban area. This phase of the project will end at Garfield Boulevard where a fine example of an early 19th century stone house, the former home of Spencer Warner, an original settler of the area, can be seen. Other upcoming Mill Creek Connector Trail phases will include the establishment of bicycle lanes, streetscape improvements, trailhead parking and signage along Garfield Boulevard to direct patrons to Garfield Reservation and Mill Creek Falls.
The trail is expected to be open by spring 2015. It will be paved and include curves designed to accommodate bicycles at moderate speed as well as walkers and runners. There will be a challenging elevation rise of 130 feet from Bacci Park over the 1.25-mile length of the trail, but trail slopes will not exceed standards for accessibility (5 percent). The level overlook will be approximately two-thirds of the way up. A unique feature of the trail will be the reinforced soil retaining walls that allow the trail to be built on the steep slopes of Mill Creek Valley. The outside face of the walls will be planted, providing an interesting “vertical garden” aspect to the construction. The walls and drainage collection system will also slow and filter rainwater runoff, providing environmental benefits.
What do you think?? Please use the comment area below to give us your thoughts on additional amenities, features and general improvements you would like to see on this and future phases of the Mill Creek Connector Trail project.
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