My relationship with Cleveland and its lakefront has had its ups and downs. A lot of my youth was spent in the honeymoon stage. I spent a lot of time at Edgewater Beach, digging tunnels to China in the sand, reenacting scenes from the Little Mermaid or hiding from 4th of July fireworks ( I was terrified of the sound).
By the time I was in elementary school, social studies taught me the history of the city and the infamous Cuyahoga River fire. This, coupled with others’ negativity toward the city, fanned the flames. I was starting to see the potholes in our relationship.
Once I hit my teens, our lake no longer seemed desirable and I fell to the desperate desire to get out of my hometown. Cleveland and I decided to see other people.
I’ve reached adulthood and after testing the waters with other cities, Cleveland changed. The streets where I grew up developed into the Gordon Square Arts District and even more trendy pockets began to pop up all over town. There is a restaurant scene, coffee shops and flea markets. Cleveland became that ex that I wasn’t quite sure why we broke up.
Now, I’m beginning to court Cleveland again and relearn its streets. Working at Cleveland Metroparks has encouraged me to explore more of the city in 2 years than I had in 24 years.
On May 30, 2013, Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners approved a long-term lease for Edgewater and Gordon Park, E 55th Street Marina, Euclid Beach, Wildwood and Villa Angela. In the first year since Cleveland Metroparks took over maintenance and upkeep, I’ve seen the land develop before my eyes. Just last week I was down there for a meeting and the beach looked beautiful, wildlife was flourishing and people were out walking on the all purpose trails.
There’s a lot of buzz about the work and the new programming at the lakefront this summer, especially Edgewater LIVE. Edgewater Beach is going to be the new after work destination on Thursdays this summer. Thursdays from June 12 to August 14 at 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., you can enjoy live music, beverages, games, food trucks and free yoga. I can’t resist scheduling a Thursday night to head down there, preferably when I can visit the most food trucks.
I hope to see some of you there, building your own relationships with the lakefront while you enjoy the music, drinks and atmosphere. In the meantime, Cleveland and I are still going steady and taking our time. Every day, I keep discovering more about it. It’s a city that keeps me on my toes.
To learn more about Edgewater LIVE and other programs at Lakefront Reservation and Euclid Creek Reservation, visit the Event Calendar at clevelandmetroparks.com.