by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, June 2022) The Cleveland Planning Commission voted unanimously on May 20th to approve the final plans for a 3-acre park on the MetroHealth Campus. The park, expected to be completed by the end of this year, will be located between W. 25th and Scranton Road on land that now has a 250-car surface parking lot, a Cleveland Public Power substation, the Farnsworth House and the St. Nicholas Belarusian Church.
The Planning Commission already had approved the demolition of the Farnsworth House and the St. Nicholas Belarusian Church at its May 6thmeeting. Plans for the 3-acre park call for screening around the Cleveland Public Power substation.
MetroHealth’s CCH Development Corporation Executive Director Greg Zucca said the new 3-acre park will feature green space and activities for the neighborhood. It will also have pathways and sidewalks that go between W. 25th Street and Scranton Road. The pathways are designed to go from the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus stops on W. 25h to crosswalks on Scranton that will connect to the new MetroHealth Glick Center and the future Apex Outpatient Care Facility.
The Glick Center will be the main hospital building that replaces the twin towers. The Apex Outpatient Care Facility, scheduled to open in January of 2024 just south of the Glick Center, will replace the current outpatient buildings that now are between W. 25th and Scranton. Those buildings will be torn down to make way for a future 12-acre park that will include the area just approved for the 3-acre park.
Zucca likened the proposed 3-acre park to Lincoln Park in Tremont. He said the park will have walkways, pathways, benches, areas for picnicking, bicycle access and sheltered bicycle parking. A central feature of the park will be the preserved steeple of the former St. Nicholas Belarusian Church. The park will have new plantings and trees, he said.
In addition to the park, Zucca says MetroHealth is working with the City of Cleveland to enhance the crosswalks on W. 25th Street with zebra striping and to create new crosswalks on Scranton Road to provide pedestrian access to the new MetroHealth buildings. Zucca said MetroHealth is also working with RTA to enhance the bus stops on W. 25th Street which he says currently just have signs hanging on telephone poles. He hopes to have a more inviting waiting area for people traveling by RTA.
MetroHealth’s Senior Vice President of Campus Transformation Walter Jones told the Planning Commission the new Glick Center is scheduled to open on October 15th of this year along with a new patient and visitor garage next to it. Jones asked for approval of a new roundabout that would take traffic directly from 1-71 to the southern end of the MetroHealth Campus and allow cars to access the new parking garage on View Road without traveling on W. 25th Street or Scranton Road.
Susanne DeGennaro, a project coordinator for the City of Cleveland Office of Capital Projects, presented the City Council approved legislation allowing for use of land from MetroHealth for the highway exit and roundabout. The Planning Commission offered their approval for the project.
City Council’s representative to the Planning Commission, Ward 17 City Council Representative Charles Slife, expressed concern about the location of the walking paths by the RTA stop rather than by Daisy Avenue. There was some discussion as to why there was no crosswalk or traffic signal at Daisy and W. 25th Street. MetroHealth representatives agreed to work with the City of Cleveland traffic engineers and RTA to study the intersection at Daisy Avenue for safety enhancements during the planning process for the future 12-acre park.