The Cleveland Flats Revival


Anthony Raffin ‘17

Cleveland is a constantly changing city. We aren’t as big as some, but not as small as others. We have had our downfalls and our moments of success. In the 1980’s the Cleveland Flats was booming, a focal point for the entertainment and attention to an already changing downtown. In the early 2000’s a city crackdown on fire and health code violations led to the closing of many lucrative bars. Now, the Flats are undergoing a rapid revival that the city so desperately needs.

a statue in cleveland
Things are looking up for Cleveland

 Starting in September 2010 Cleveland Rowing Foundation bought 6.5 acres of industrialized land to create Rivergate Park. The park, now bought by the Cleveland Metroparks, is devoted to rowing, canoeing, kayaking, dragon-boating, skateboarding, and fine dining (Merwin’s Wharf).

 Bill Carroll, Ohio State Director Trust For Public Land included in his ribbon cutting speech, “This project [Rivergate Park] is transforming, it will change so many lives in Cleveland and make this, a better place to live.”

Many new businesses have found their niche among the quiet streets of the Flats. Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, Rivergate Tavern, C-Town Crossfit, The Flat Iron, Merwin’s Wharf; to name some of the successful businesses.

In 2012, The Cleveland Aquarium opened it’s door in the former First Energy Powerhouse on the East side of the Flats.  The aquarium includes ten exhibition areas, a 145 foot “shark tunnel,” and 35 exhibition tanks. As stated on their website, “The Greater Cleveland Aquarium adds a new and exciting dimension to tourism and educational outreach in Cleveland, Ohio.

The sun shines bright from wendy park looking upon the Cuyahoga River
The sun shines bright from Wendy park looking upon the Cuyahoga River

Just recently the Cleveland Metroparks acquired land along the Cuyhaoga near Tower City, Whiskey Island, RIvergate Park, and the former Coast Guard Station just off of Whiskey Island. The overall plan is to create a Tow-Path trail along the Cuyahoga that leads out from Tremont all the way to Whiskey Island. The Metroparks has already settled on plans to restore the Coast Guard station as a Museum to the building itself and the history of Cleveland.

In addition, on the West Bank of the Flats, Ernst & Young built a new office building and an Aloft hotel was built alongside accommodating those who stay with a view of the river and the lake.

By late 2015 it is planned for the completion of many restaurants, bar, and storefronts on the edge of the river which are now in the process of being built.

With the recent pride Clevelanders have taken in their city it will be interesting to the how the Flats will thrive with this new found patriotism and complete revival.

Photo Credits go out to Anthony Raffin ’17