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Cleveland Metroparks Blog

Mill Creek Connector Trail, Phase-2 Project

Posted: 2/26/2014
Posted By: John Kilgore

Cleveland Metroparks has a long-term commitment to creating recreation connections into neighboring communities.  The Mill Creek Connector Trail is one such project.  Like beads on a necklace, the trail will link the Towpath Trail in Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation with Bacci Park in Cuyahoga Heights, the Mill Creek valley, Garfield Boulevard in Garfield Heights and Garfield Park Reservation on Turney Road.  From the paved trails in Garfield Reservation, the overlook park at Mill Creek Falls can be readily accessed.  Phase-1 of the project, completed in 2007, provided a paved all purpose path from a trailhead parking lot on Canal Road through Bacci Park along the wooded banks of lower Mill Creek.  Giant cottonwood and sycamore trees can be seen as the trail winds through the flood plain.

Phase-2 of the project, scheduled to start spring 2014, will extend the trail north, crossing Mill Creek via a 150-foot-long bridge.  The trail then heads toward Warner Road, before diverging away through a recovering wooded area up to an overlook where spectacular views of the Mill Creek and Cuyahoga River valleys can be appreciated.  Continuing north past a switchback, the trail rises out of the woods and traverses a light industrial and urban area.  This phase of the project will end at Garfield Boulevard where a fine example of an early 19th century stone house, the former home of Spencer Warner, an original settler of the area, can be seen. Other upcoming Mill Creek Connector Trail phases will include the establishment of bicycle lanes, streetscape improvements, trailhead parking and signage along Garfield Boulevard to direct patrons to Garfield Reservation and Mill Creek Falls.

The trail is expected to be open by spring 2015.  It will be paved and include curves designed to accommodate bicycles at moderate speed as well as walkers and runners. There will be a challenging elevation rise of 130 feet from Bacci Park over the 1.25-mile length of the trail, but trail slopes will not exceed standards for accessibility (5 percent).  The level overlook will be approximately two-thirds of the way up.  A unique feature of the trail will be the reinforced soil retaining walls that allow the trail to be built on the steep slopes of Mill Creek Valley. The outside face of the walls will be planted, providing an interesting “vertical garden” aspect to the construction.  The walls and drainage collection system will also slow and filter rainwater runoff, providing environmental benefits.

What do you think??  Please use the comment area below to give us your thoughts on additional amenities, features and general improvements you would like to see on this and future phases of the Mill Creek Connector Trail project.



John Kilgore is the Chief of Engineering and Design for Cleveland Metroparks.


7/5/2016 7:08:20 PM by John Kilgore
We had some unexpected challenges last year that required additional time to solve, but at long last the trail is almost finished! All that remains is final landscaping, some of which will be done in the fall to avoid the hot, dry conditions of summer. Stay tuned for the official opening ceremony....
7/5/2016 6:23:10 PM by John McLeod
I just rode the path over the July 4th weekend and it's AWESOME
7/8/2015 10:46:19 AM by Matthew pflug
I hope they are going to resurface Warner Road because the entire road is detrimental to your car. I don't see anybody traversing that terrible road unless they have to for work but not for recreation.
11/12/2014 2:23:04 PM by John Kilgore
Thanks Cheryl. The short answer is that no, the work is not done yet. As might be anticipated, building an earth embankment on such steep slopes must be done carefully and with a lot of scientific analysis before it can start. This process is almost done. In the mean time, the 150 foot bridge over Mill Creek has been under construction: the concrete abutments are in place and the bridge pieces will be delivered in the next couple weeks. The bridge is expected to be in place by the end of the month. Unfortunately, the earthwork can not be done during wet and freezing weather, so the rest of the trail will be completed as soon as the weather breaks next spring, as scheduled.
11/12/2014 1:58:54 PM by Cheryl Onesky
Is Phase 2 of this project complete? I understand that it was to be ready for use by spring 2015 . . . but is the work done?
7/14/2014 4:46:54 PM by John Kilgore
Thanks Jim. Phase 3 of the project is conceptually planned as a bike lane on Garfield Boulevard from Warner to Turney, where it will cross into Garfield Reservation and link with the paved All Purpose Trail system, which extends to the Overlook Park at the Falls. Other amenities have also been discussed. The City has expressed interest in this concept and expressed a cooperative spirit. No time table has been established for Phase 3 at this point, but will likely be done within the next few years.
7/14/2014 3:13:00 PM by Jim Myers
What are the plans (Phase 3?) to connect from the ending point of Phase 2 to the Falls? Has that route been determined along with a timetable? Thank You Jim Myers
5/20/2014 12:13:46 PM by John Kilgore
Thanks, Vicki. Yes. While this project will end at Garfield and Warner, cyclists and pedestrians can reach the falls by either taking the neighborhood streets north of Garfield Boulevard, or by turning east on Garfield Boulevard to Turney Road. There, they can cross over into Garfield Reservation where there is a paved trail that goes directly to the falls overlook park.
5/20/2014 8:51:11 AM by Vicki Plata
I remember hearing that this trail would be going directly up to the falls. I trail monitor both parks and thought it would be a good way to get more people to see the falls. Is that still a possibility as a later phase.
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