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Ohio City Inc. and LAND Studio to hold free public tours of Irishtown Bend on Tuesday evening

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ohio City Inc. and LAND Studio are offering tours of Irishtown Bend on Tuesday evening for anyone interested in how the area could be turned into a 17-acre park overlooking the Cuyahoga River. Representatives of the nonprofit LAND Studio and Ohio City Inc., the nonprofit community development corporation, have invited the public to join the tour at 5:30 p.m. today at Major Hoopple’s, 1930 Columbus Rd., Cleveland. The Port of Cleveland is also a co-sponsor of the evening. They’ll provide information about the summer-long planning process before the tours. Depending on attendance, tours may occur in shifts. The two-mile planned route will include a climb up Franklin Rd, followed by a walk north on West 25th Street to Main Avenue. The tour will then turn back south on West 25th to descend Franklin Road hill and take a “short jaunt” onto River Road. A spokesperson for Ohio City Inc. said: “We will end back at Major Hoopple’s where people can enjoy a pint and likely a basketball game!” Last month, members of a team of planners including the Cleveland office of the engineering firm of Michael Baker International and the San Francisco landscape architecture firm CMG, took a similar tour of the area. They say they were “blown away” by its potential to become a spectacular regional park that could leverage significant economic development for Ohio City. Named for a 19th-century Irish shantytown that once stood there, the steep, sloping bend has threatened for decades to slide into the Cuyahoga and disrupt a $3.5 billion shipping industry that serves 20,000 jobs in the region, according to the Port of Cleveland. The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency contributed $80,000 to the planning process. Ohio City Inc. and the Port of Cleveland each contributed $10,000. Their $125,000 project is being funded by $80,000 from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, plus $10,000 each from Ohio City Inc. and the Port. Land Studio, the nonprofit agency that led the recent renovation of Public Square, kicked in $25,000 donated by the Joseph and Nancy Keithley Foundation to enhance design quality. The goal of the planning project is to create a vision that powerful enough to galvanize public and political support to fix the deeper problems of hillside, which could cost an estimated $49 million, apart from what it would cost to build the park, according to studies by the Port of Cleveland. Fixing the hillside would mean replacing bulkheads that have rotted away along a riverbank blasted by side thrusters of the big ore boats that cruise around the tortuous curve. It would also include blocking or diverting sources of water that have turned areas around Riverbed Street into wetlands.

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