Jul 13, 2023 - Development

Mandel Foundation pumping $24 million into east side lakefront parks

A trailer with a painted message: "WRLC: Residents demand to stay!"

Demonstrators with the United Residents of Euclid Beach parked this trailer at a WRLC fundraiser this summer. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation this week announced $24 million in grants that will radically transform the public lakefront parks on Cleveland's east side.

Why it matters: Edgewater, on Cleveland's west side, is the city's marquee lakefront property. But residents on the predominantly Black east side haven't enjoyed access to premium lakefront recreation.

Details: Grants totaling $13 million for the Cleveland Metroparks — the largest private donation in the organization's history — will go toward construction of an off-road paved bikeway from East Ninth Street to East 55th Street along North Marginal Road, as well as the expansion of Gordon Park.

  • The Metroparks will assume control of 48 acres of the park's southern portion between East 72nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

Plus: An additional $10 million grant to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) will go toward the Euclid Beach project.

Catch up quick: WRLC is closing the existing mobile home community at Euclid Beach and converting it to greenspace to create a unified park alongside the Villa Angela and Wildwood Marina properties.

By the numbers: $6.2 million of the grant will go toward rehousing 124 residents.

  • Funds will be used to cover moving expenses, buy mobile homes from tenants who agree to sell, pay for the relocation of roughly 20 mobile homes, and compensate residents for their displacement.

What they're saying: "We purchased [Euclid Beach] to keep it in local hands, ensure it would not become expensive high-rise apartments, and to treat the residents of the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Community with the kindness and respect they deserve," said Matt Zone, senior vice president at WRLC.

The other side: "It's unclear what this grant means for the tenants," Josiah Quarles, director of organizing and advocacy for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, told Axios, "other than that those with wealth and access are continually enabled and emboldened to decide the fates and futures of everyday people without giving them any say in the matter."

What's next: WRLC said in a press release that it would reach out to residents in the coming weeks to apprise them of the available resources "to support their transition into alternative housing."


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