Sure, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and Cleveland Browns Stadium are lakefront attractions. But there has long been a sense that CLE could do so much more to take advantage of its lakefront landscape. Shooters in the Flats is packed every summer with people wanting to sit out on the patio near the water or pull their boats up. Imagine that, times ten, plus family attractions and more. As anyone who has been to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore or Navy Pier in Chicago will tell you, there are amazing opportunities for growth near the water.
This week, the Cleveland Browns and the City of Cleveland announced lakefront development plans involving 20 acres of land behind the stadium, currently owned by the city. The idea is to capitalize on the combination of public and private investments to spur development.
While many were excited about the plans, the Browns’ announcement was meant with cynicism from some corners. After all, over the years, there have been many lakefront development plans proposed and little action on any of them. Perhaps this new plan will meet the same fate. But, I choose to still be hopeful, anticipatory, and even inspired by the new plans. When (not if) CLE’s lakefront is finally developed into all it can be, it will be through unique partnerships, commitment from public and private entities, and out-of-the-box thinking. Is the Browns’ plan that panacea for our underdeveloped lakefront? Probably not completely. But it’s a step. It’s an effort. And, as I dream of strolling through shops and restaurants on the banks of Lake Erie, I choose to find it inspirational.
Have a great weekend and a happy holiday to whom that applies. Do something inspirational!