More than 2.5 million people use the iconic 87-mile Towpath Trail each year for recreation, exercise and commuting. The number of visitors is only expected to grow in 2020, when the trail will be completed and extend the full 110 miles from New Philadelphia to Lake Erie.
This project is a major transportation, recreation, and placemaking initiative that celebrates our history and commitment to our environment, while giving residents and visitors access to what makes Cuyahoga County special.
“Companies in Northeast Ohio realize that access to transportation options and recreational amenities is an important component of attracting young talent,’’ said Joe Roman, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “The Towpath Trail provides both of these elements and has helped contribute to substantial investment in the communities it traverses.”
The Towpath Trail project has involved decades of planning, design and construction. Putting together the last part of the project has been a complicated $30.5 million effort involving numerous partners and broken into four stages, including:
- Stages 1 & 2: Stage 1 is a 0.7 mile, $4 million section that connects the Towpath’s Harvard Road Trailhead with the already complete Stage 2 section at Steelyard Commons. Stage 1 will be completed this summer.
- Stage 3 is a 1.9 mile, $13.5 million section running from the northern entrance of Steelyard Commons to Literary Avenue through Tremont. Stage 3 will be completed this summer.
- Stage 4 will begin construction this summer and will be the final 1.5 mile, $9.5 million connection from Literary Avenue to Canal Basin Park in downtown Cleveland. Stage 4 includes an already completed portion of the trail that was constructed as part of the Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge project and funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The funding and project development for this final part of the trail was led by Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metroparks and Canalway Partners.
- Cuyahoga County is the project manager for the trail extension. The Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works is in charge of tracking project funds and contracts.
- The City of Cleveland is the landowner of the Towpath Trail. They are responsible for capital repairs to the trail. The Cleveland City Planning Commission contributes its expertise.
- Cleveland Metroparks handles the day-to-day maintenance of the trail and their park rangers provide security.
- Canalway Partners is the chief fundraiser for the Towpath Trail in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. They take the lead in strategic decision-making, grant writing and community outreach.