We’ve worked hard to promote the recreational opportunities that are available in Kent thanks to the mighty Cuyahoga River that runs through it. The Kent Parks and Rec Director recently put a bid out to see if anyone was interested in running a canoe/kayak livery operation out of Tannery Park — it turns out he got two bids and he’s reviewing those to see if he can add this new boat service for folks that are interested in a little water based eco-tourism in Kent but they don’t happen to own all the equipment.
The livery concept has been talked about for years but when Parks and Rec secured a $250,000 grant from the state to improve access to the river it started to make a lot more sense. Parks and Rec is looking at improving access and enhancing canoe/kayak put-in locations from as far upstream as Riverbend (possible boat launch site) and at the Main Street bridge (with new slide rails for the boats along the stairs) with improvements also planned for boat take out and portage around trouble spots as far downstream as the Middlebury Road bridge.
Plus, as a bonus, the new Fairchild/Crain Avenue bridge is going to provide a walking trail that will connect the downtown riverwalk to tie in directly with the Lake Street Portage Hike and Bike trail segment. So whether you like to be in the water or walking along side it, Parks and Rec is making a serious push to make it easier for river fans to experience the river.
The idea of promoting passive and active river enjoyment goes back to the removal of the old Kent dam but the recent river activity is largely drawn from white water park study that Parks and Rec completed a couple of years ago. The white water park is an ambitous plan and if money wasn’t an obstacle I think it would be done by now but since money is an issue, I admire how Parks and Rec is incrementally implementing the parts of the pieces of the plan using a variety of grant sources to make if affordable.
The original whitewater park plan called for something in the neighborhood of $1.5 million to really create the kind of river environment the community was hoping for. That’s a lot of money to find but combining grants from different sources Parks and Rec will have completed most of out of river improvements that were suggested in the plan — which leaves the in-stream improvements to go after in subsequent years.
Admittedly the in-stream stuff (technical whitewater training grounds) is the most interesting and unique parts of the plan (and most expensivve) but I think it makes sense to build the (less exciting but less expensive) adjacent infrastructure first and then figure out how to build the river elements.
Until then, go out and enjoy the river.
Well sort of. It seems that the construction of the new bridge has produced a hazard for anyone that would like to put in upstream of the bridge. Warning signs are going up advising canoists and kayakers to avoid the hazard during high water.
Here’s a draft from ODOT:
High Water Hazard, Cuyahoga River, Kent, Ohio
An access causeway has been installed on the Cuyahoga River as part of a bridge replacement project. The hazard is located just upstream of the Crain Ave bridge crossing the river. It is approximately 1 mile downstream of the River Bend put in: 100 yards upstream of the historical Brady’s Leap.The causeway restricts the river flow from 70 feet to a 21 foot wide sluice with a bridge crossing. During high water periods, this causes increased flow speeds and a point for strainer debris collection. Paddlers should avoid the area during high water flows. A possible portage exists on river right, but high water might prevent easy exit from the river flow. The project completion date is the fall of 2012. The hazard will remain until the bridge replacement project is completed.