The Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan aims to build a comprehensive vision for better connecting our residents to our Great Lake.

Lakefront Public Access Plan

County Planning, in partnership with the County Department of Public Works, is pleased to announce the release of the final Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan as prepared by our consultant team led by SmithGroup. The Plan reflects input from private lakefront property owners, public agencies and stakeholders, and the general public—and represents a strong public-private partnership of mutual interests in shoreline protection and public access to the Lake Erie shoreline. To learn more, please see the full Lakefront Public Access Plan and the interactive story map.

Cover of the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Access Plan document

Project Background

The Lakefront Public Access Plan was announced by County Executive Armond Budish during his State of the County address in 2019 and aims to improve transportation networks and increase public access to Lake Erie in concert with shoreline stabilization efforts. The Lakefront Public Access Plan covers three general topic areas: improved public access to Lake Erie, erosion control and ecological enhancement, and enhanced transportation networks along the shoreline.

Currently, over 90% of the Lake Erie shoreline within Cuyahoga County is not publicly accessible. This plan will detail a multi-modal network of connected paths, all-purpose trails, boardwalks, roads, bridges, and public access points across the Lake Erie shoreline. This will positively impact the lives of Cuyahoga County residents by increasing public accessibility and lakefront resiliency.

The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission is partnering with the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works and a consulting team led by SmithGroup to develop the Plan. This process is being done in coordination with lakefront communities and regional entities. The Plan will include detailed analysis and robust public engagement intended to build a unified, countywide vision for enhanced lakefront access.

Project Area

The Plan covers the entire 30-mile Lake Erie shoreline within Cuyahoga County. From the County's border with Lake County in the East to Lorain County in the West, the shoreline traverses six jurisdictions (the Cities of Bay Village, Rocky River, Lakewood, Cleveland, Euclid, and the Village of Bratenahl) and three Cleveland Metroparks Reservations (Huntington, Lakefront, and Euclid Creek). The Project Area is focused on the immediate shoreline, including the properties, roads, and infrastructure adjacent to Lake Erie.

Expanding the ‘Euclid Model’
The vast majority of Cuyahoga County's Lake Erie shoreline is privately owned, therefore cooperative partnerships with private property owners are essential to improving public access. One of the most successful local examples of this type of public-private partnership was created by the City of Euclid as a foundational part of their Waterfront Improvement Plan.

Private property owners, beach clubs, and condo associations along Euclid's waterfront were faced with a quickly eroding shoreline and expensive erosion control measures. Rather than confront the problem as individual property owners, they formed a unique partnership with the City of Euclid. The parties entered into an agreement in which the property owners granted the City an easement across their property in exchange for the City funding the construction of shoreline protection infrastructure and a publicly-accessible waterfront trail.

The Lakefront Public Access Plan uses the ‘Euclid Model’ to identify areas impacted by shoreline erosion in order to determine opportunities to improve transportation networks and increase public access to Lake Erie as part of public-private partnerships for shoreline stabilization.

Public Meetings

Virtual Public Information Meeting #2 (July 13, 2021)

Download the presentation

Virtual Public Information Meeting #1 (January 28, 2021)

Download the presentation

Regional Planning Context

County Planning is coordinating with local communities and regional entities to develop the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan. The Plan builds upon past and current planning efforts including the following:

  • Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) Lakefront Connector
  • Cuyahoga Greenways Plan
  • Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Study (CHEERS)
  • Community Confluence TLCI and Preliminary Engineering Study
  • Vision for the Valley TLCI
  • Downtown Cleveland Transportation Connectivity TLCI

See the Regional Planning Context page for more information about these planning processes.

Public Engagement

Public input is important to the success of this planning process. Whether you are a lakefront property owner or a resident interested in better access to Lake Erie, your input matters. We will host public meetings throughout the planning process in order to gather your thoughts and ideas.

County Planning is committed to meaningful public engagement, and the restrictions placed on public gatherings due to COVID-19 present unique challenges. In response, County Planning and our partners is conducting virtual meetings with clients, stakeholders, and the general public. We are continually working to improve public engagement by incorporating the latest technology and techniques during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest News

Find news and documents for the Lakefront Public Action Plan below:

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