The Rocky River Master Plan updates the City’s previous Master Plan by focusing on Core Projects and citywide Goals to strengthen commercial centers, improve walkability, connect neighborhoods, and enhance the City’s identity.

The Rocky River Master Plan is a long-term guide for the future and is meant to direct the City for the next ten years. It was adopted by Rocky River City Council on July 23, 2018.

Cover of the Rocky River Master Plan
Rocky River Master Plan (adopted July 2018)

Rocky River Community Survey


The Rocky River Master Plan process was a six-phase process that started in June 2016 with a community survey. The survey was conducted to understand residents’ attitudes on a number of topics ranging from City Qualities (Why do you reside in Rocky River?) to Overall Quality of Life in Rocky River. The results came from 503 households, and were used to inform City actions, policies, and planning activities as part of the Plan.

A Working Group comprised of residents, business owners, and other key stakeholders guided the Plan through the next 18 months of the Planning Process. The Plan included an examination and analysis of current conditions, the development of the community vision for the future of Rocky River, action steps to achieve that community vision, and action prioritization.

The Final Plan was present to the rocky River Planning Commission on June 19, 2018. It was adopted by Rocky River City Council on July 23, 2018.

This presentation was made to the Rocky River Planning Commission on June 19, 2018. It is also available for downloading.

Public Involvement

Old RiverThe Planning Process is not complete without input from the public. There were three public meetings held to showcase the Plan and to gather feedback. For a few weeks after each public meeting, an online survey was posted to allow additional comments and input. All presentation materials and documents were posted online as well. Over the course of the Plan, approximately 245 residents attended meetings and 365 took the online surveys, and more than 1,536 individual comments were provided.

Master Plan Structure

The Rocky River Master Plan was the culmination of a six-phase planning process that included a Community Survey of residents and a review of the previous 2005 Master Plan, which helped to establish the Community Vision. The Community Vision, a series of ten Vision Statements that reflected residents’ and community leaders’ desires for the future were then used to lay the foundation for the Plan’s recommendations, a series of goals and associated actions to accomplish those goals. Those recommendations were grouped into either Goals and Actions, a series of Citywide goals and associated actions that are not necessarily place-based, and Core Projects, a series of descriptions, images, and conceptual designs that focus on individual places where there are opportunities for future change.

Rocky River Goals and Core Projects

10 Vision Statements

The Community Vision is comprised of a series of 10 Vision Statements that describe what type of future the residents and community leaders want in the next five-to-ten years. The Vision Statements span a number of community issues from maintaining the high quality of housing to strengthening neighborhood engagements and commercial vibrancy to improving the City’s streets and infrastructure. The 10 Vision Statements are described below:

  1. An Enhanced Downtown River – Improving the Town Center
    Rocky River has a thriving town center in Downtown River. This vision is for an expansion of Downtown’s vibrancy through new residential, office, and retail uses that enhance a strong, walkable town center.
  2. Quality Housing – Maintaining High Residential Standards
    Homes in Rocky River are attractive and well-maintained. This vision is for continuing those standards by encouraging home upkeep and maintenance to ensure neighborhoods remain strong long into the future.
  3. Housing Diversity – Accommodating A Broad Range of Lifestyles
    Housing diversity means having a range of housing types such as traditional single-family homes, accessible housing options, townhouses, or condominiums. This vision is for maintaining a diversity of housing styles so all people— young professionals, seniors, large families—can find the type of housing they desire in River.
  4. Commercial Vibrancy – Reinvesting in Business Districts
    Outside of the City’s Downtown, other business districts range from new shopping centers to older commercial stretches. This vision is for the upkeep and reinvestment of commercial shopping districts to foster vibrant areas and economic activity.
  5. Parks & Public Space – enhancing Our Quality of Life
    Rocky River’s public spaces range from formal lakefront parks and the sprawling Rocky River Reservation to smaller neighborhood gathering spots. This vision is for enhancing existing parks and public spaces to ensure they are accessible and have the features desired by residents.
  6. Parking solutions – Dealing with the Automobile
    Parking in Downtown River and in the City’s business districts should not be a detriment to shopping in those areas. This vision is for adequate parking for residents and visitors without large parking lots that detract from the walkability of business districts.
  7. Infrastructure Improvements – Creating Great Streets
    Rocky River invests heavily in maintenance of streets and infrastructure. This vision is for investments that are well-coordinated, advertised to residents, and include features such as street trees, lighting, green features, and bike infrastructure to maximize those investments.
  8. Connectivity – Creating a Cohesive Environment
    Transportation via bicycle, walking, automobile, and transit are important to residents. This vision is for a coherent network of trails, sidewalks, and roads that get residents around Rocky River and to surrounding communities and amenities safely and comfortably.
  9. Community Identity – Communicating a Spirit of Rocky River
    Rocky River has a strong sense of identity and pride based on its business districts, quaint neighborhoods, lakefront setting, and park access. This vision is for a physical layout that includes landscaping, gateway signs, and other features that convey that strong sense of pride to others.
  10. Engagement – Connecting with Each Other
    Neighborhood engagement is an important way of fostering community. This vision is for improved communication between the City and residents, as well as for events and spaces that encourage residents to connect with each other

11 Goals and Actions

The 11 Goals and Actions for the Rocky River Master Plan are citywide initiatives made up of goals and associated actions to accomplish those goals and focus on Citywide issues that are not necessarily based on a specific Focus Area. They include the following:

  1. Enhance and Program Parks and Public Spaces
  2. Improve Streetscapes through Infrastructure Repair & Enhancement
  3. Build Upon the City’s Brand and Outreach Program
  4. Collaborate with Neighboring Cities to Unify the Westshore Community
  5. Construct a Citywide Trail and Bicycle Network
  6. Incentivize the Beautification or Rehabilitation of Residential Properties
  7. Beautify the City and Protect the Environment with Green Infrastructure
  8. Update Codes to Allow Walkable Commercial and Multi-Family Projects
  9. Develop a Connected Network of Safe Streets
  10. Support the Growing Senior Population with Housing, Amenities, and Services
  11. Update the City’s Municipal Facilities

9 Core Projects

The nine Core Projects identified in the Rocky River Master Plan are a series of descriptions, images and conceptual designs for specific Focus Areas. These Focus Areas were key individual places where there are opportunities for future change.

  1. The Detroit-Westway Gateway
  2. Hilliard Boulevard Road Diet
  3. Wooster Road Recreationway
  4. The Bradstreet Neighborhood
  5. Municipal Center Improvements
  6. Reimagining Marion Ramp & Allen Court: Development Options
  7. Downtown River Parking & Development
  8. Linda Street District Development
  9. Center Ridge Road East Walkable Development
Greater Downtown River Development

The Downtown River Development Core Project was one of three projects that made up the Focus Areas identified as Greater Downtown River. Core Projects are not intended to be standalone efforts; rather, they are meant to work together. In the example of the Greater Downtown River Core Projects, the images below showcase how, together, the three Core Projects would foster a larger walkable district that acts as the heart of Rocky River, one of the desired Vision Statements for the community.

Greater Downtown River Development

Old River existing conditions
Downtown River development concept
Old River site layout
Center Ridge Road Full Streetscape and Development

Improvements to Center Ridge Road were the highest priority to residents from the Community Survey and at the Public Meeting. Mismatched buildings, too many curb cuts, and a street lacking in aesthetic appeal all contributed a desire for improvements for Center Ridge. The proposed improvements in the concept below shows how Center Ridge could develop into a more walkable and attractive form of development consistent with the desires of residents.

Center Ridge Road full streetscape