Friday, December 5, 2008
Cleveland Lakefront Needs To Be Green
My comments concern the lakefront and making it more environmentally friendly and creating a role model of waterfront sustainability for other places.
While so many other cities have completely paved over and developed their waterfronts with the same hodge podge of establishments, Cleveland has the chance to do something really different. Instead of following the typical development bandwagon that results on city waterfronts, we should strive to promote the restoration of some natural beach areas--which can be carefully implemented into any development. Such a plan could give people a glimpse of samples of what the shoreline might have looked like pre-settlement. Chicago is a pretty good example of maintaining beachfront, as well as Sydney, Australia. The fact that there is a lot of green space right in the city CBD makes such places standout cities, and places of choice in which to live.
Picture this: Swimable/fishable clean beaches near downtown Cleveland other than Edgewater....trees and natural prairie areas (as in Wendy Park)...interspersed with light residential areas that will NOT perpetuate the uses of lawn chemicals right near the lake, as so often is the case in the suburban shoreline areas. This would serve as a great example of living in harmony with nature in what is a heavy urban environment.
There is a lot of wildlife near the airport (Burke)--and in some ways, such an area became inadvertently---a preserve for many kinds of birds and backyard friendly wildlife because of the airport limiting human access to the lake. We should try to preserve as much of this rare city element as possible. I feel strongly that if we are going to be a city that is about innovation---sustainability, and 'being green'...we've got to implement ideas like this within our planning.
Lake Erie represents a major international flyway for migratory birds. It is our best physical attribute---And our strongest social and economic asset---so, we need to not practice the neglectful and abusive development habits of the past. It seems only a fair turn of events that would have Cleveland--and other cities with similar industrial histories notoriously noted for riverbank and shoreline abuse---demonstrate a complete turnaround in how such resources are treated. Such turn around would be restoring more of our natural heritage. Such was sacrificed to build the city we all know. Maybe it is time to give a little bit back.
On a side note: According to David Beach of Green City Blue Lake, a local organization working in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to promotes economic, social and environmental sustainability through out our Cleveland and North East Ohio area---during the Cleveland’s lakefront planning process several years ago, their organization conducted a workshop to explore ideas for implementing such shoreline restoration as described above, and they continue to support and promote such ideas. Here is a summary of the workshop, as well as a link to Green City/Blue Lake.
Photo: Lake Erie Sunset At North Coast Harbor Promenade-Downtown Cleveland