CLEVELAND – May 11, 2023 — The Port of Cleveland board of directors today took several measures that invest in critical infrastructure and better position the Cleveland Harbor to remain competitive while at the same time enhancing a publicly accessible lakefront.

”Today’s actions solidify our commitments to responsible stewardship of our lake, finding ways to remake the water’s edge into a natural habitat to be enjoyed by more people and continuing to modernize our port to maximize economic and community benefit,” said William Friedman, Port president & CEO.  Below are summaries of key board actions approved today:

Continued progress on CHEERS project with added design and engineering work

The Port board approved additional consultant services with Arup, a global engineering consultant, to take the CHEERS project to the next level of design.  The additional services will be paid for from a $2 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

CHEERS is short for the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Strategy, a collaborative effort with partners including the Cleveland Metroparks, the City of Cleveland, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the nonprofit Black Environmental Leaders Association.

When complete, the project will create a new lakefront park with open spaces, trails, fishing and other amenities along roughly 80 acres between the East 55th Street Marina and Gordon Park on the city’s east side.

“This project will be transformational for the city and particularly east side neighborhoods that currently do not have the same access to lakefront property as those who are living on the west side,” Friedman said. “We are committed to engaging community members throughout the planning and development of the site.”

The parkland would be developed using clean sediment dredged along the navigation channels, with the Port spearheading the creation of the in-water infrastructure to create the park on top of it, which will be led by the Metroparks. The park will fully be developed over the next two decades, but construction by the Port can begin potentially within the next three years with the initial park phase open within the next seven years.

Investments in improved infrastructure, environmental sustainability

A combination of port funds along with state and federal grants will be invested in significant port upgrades:

  • Zero Emissions Master Plan for General Cargo Terminal and development of a Maritime Learning and Resource Center for CMSD students: Approved today was the first contract in support of what is currently estimated to be a $34 million dollar project to modernize a key warehouse on-site, expand stormwater collection and treatment, and upgrade the electric infrastructure servicing the Port Authority’s General Cargo Terminal to prepare it for the next 50 years.

 The modernization project will include power upgrades to the terminal and a complete rehab and upgrade of “Warehouse A,” built more than 50 years ago. The improved 144,000-square-foot warehouse will become an electric distribution hub for the rest of the port, allowing cargo handlers and crane operators to switch from diesel combustion engines to more environmentally-friendly battery-electric and other zero-emission emerging industrial power alternatives.

Friedman said the Port is enthusiastic about the development of the Maritime Learning and Resource Center for students from the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School, part of the Cleveland Municipal School District.

“The Port has enjoyed partnering with this program in the past several years and helping these high school students who are interested in careers on the water and keeping our waterways clean and safe,” Friedman said.  “This facility will give them a learning space on the port and place where they can stow some of their gear and store their boats in the winter.”

  • New storage containment capacity for dredge materials: With all permanent fill storage capacity exhausted, the Port must construct new storage containment facilities in advance of next year’s dredge season. The cost – slightly over $1 million — will be recovered by fees paid for by users of the facilities.
  • Improvements to the dock used for the Cleveland-Europe Express: The Port of Cleveland is the only Great Lakes port with regular container service to Europe. Directors today approved a bid to pave and improve the infrastructure of Dock 20N, which is used for the Cleveland-Europe Express. The existing surface of the dock needs to be upgraded to handle the growth of containerized cargo.  The project will cost slightly over $4 million. Funds will come from a grant awarded to the Port by the Ohio Maritime Assistance Program, ODOT and Port matching funds.