Ceremony marks start of work on nature preserve in Slavic Village

A ceremony today officially launched a project to create the 4-acre Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve and Learning Center on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. The preserve will be located on property where the powerhouse for the massive Cleveland Worsted Mill Co. complex once stood. It is next to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s Broadway Club, the Morgana Run Trail and Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Mound STEM School. The project is expected to be completed in late 2019. “All kids need outdoor experiences to become responsible and productive adults. This project will give approximately 1,700 youth in this neighborhood access to a place where they can discover nature,” said Ron Soeder, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, which coordinated the project along with, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Slavic Village Development Corporation and West Creek Conservancy. Soeder added, “This project is an investment in the neighborhood and the opportunity to turn a vacant lot into a community asset.” He said the entire learning center “campus” – the project site plus the adjacent school, trail and BGCC properties – actually totals about 13.5 acres. The project, which will feature ADA-compliant trails and boardwalks, will be funded entirely with money from the state’s Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Fund ($300,000) and a Green Infrastructure Grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District ($240,000). Third Federal Foundation has agreed to provide $25,000 for maintenance and upkeep, which will be done by Club teens. The project will improve the quality of the existing wetlands, restore degraded landscapes, remove invasive plant species, create areas for outdoor programming, improve water quality and protect rare plant and animal species. Worsted Mill, which operated from 1878 to 1956, was once one of the largest garment manufacturers in the country. The factory sat on the upper property that is now Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s headquarters, while its powerhouse was located on the project site below. After the mill closed, the buildings were never fully occupied, though sometimes used as warehouses for smaller firms and other times being vacant. On July 4, 1993 a spectacular fire destroyed the complex. In 2011, the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an environmental assessment and remediation on the lower portion of the site, cleaning up remnants of a junkyard, reviewing fuel tank locations and removing a crumbling smokestack. The remediation also removed several tons of junk tires and filled in the old tunnels that led to the upper mill site. About Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provides safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 after school at locations throughout the city, focusing on healthy lifestyles, academic success and character development. Each day, an average of about 1,000 kids go to the Clubs. About Slavic Village Development Slavic Village Development works with and for its residents, businesses, and institutions to promote civic engagement, community empowerment, and neighborhood investment. About West Creek Conservancy West Creek is a nonprofit land conservancy whose mission is to enrich the lives of people in Greater Cleveland by conserving natural habitats, restoring the ecological value and sustainability of urban lands, and expanding neighborhood opportunities to experience nature. About Third Federal Foundation Third Federal Savings and Loan and its foundation, along with various community, private, and civic partners, have worked to build an integrated continuum of support for education, youth development (in and out of school), and revitalization in the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, and other communities in which it operates. About the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District protects public health and the environment by leading effective wastewater and stormwater management. As the largest wastewater treatment provider in the State of Ohio, the Sewer District spans 380 square miles, serves 62 communities and one million residents, and treats 90 billion gallons of wastewater a year. About the Clean Ohio Fund The Clean Ohio Fund restores, protects, and connects Ohio’s important natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.

A ceremony today officially launched a project to create the 4-acre Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve and Learning Center on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. The preserve will be located on property where the powerhouse for the massive Cleveland Worsted Mill Co. complex once stood. It is next to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s Broadway Club, the Morgana Run Trail and Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Mound STEM School.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2019.

“All kids need outdoor experiences to become responsible and productive adults. This project will give approximately 1,700 youth in this neighborhood access to a place where they can discover nature,” said Ron Soeder, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, which coordinated the project along with, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Slavic Village Development Corporation and West Creek Conservancy.

Soeder added, “This project is an investment in the neighborhood and the opportunity to turn a vacant lot into a community asset.” He said the entire learning center “campus” – the project site plus the adjacent school, trail and BGCC properties – actually totals about 13.5 acres.

The project, which will feature ADA-compliant trails and boardwalks, will be funded entirely with money from the state’s Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Fund ($300,000) and a Green Infrastructure Grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District ($240,000). Third Federal Foundation has agreed to provide $25,000 for maintenance and upkeep, which will be done by Club teens.

The project will improve the quality of the existing wetlands, restore degraded landscapes, remove invasive plant species, create areas for outdoor programming, improve water quality and protect rare plant and animal species.

Worsted Mill, which operated from 1878 to 1956, was once one of the largest garment manufacturers in the country. The factory sat on the upper property that is now Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s headquarters, while its powerhouse was located on the project site below. After the mill closed, the buildings were never fully occupied, though sometimes used as warehouses for smaller firms and other times being vacant.

On July 4, 1993 a spectacular fire destroyed the complex. In 2011, the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an environmental assessment and remediation on the lower portion of the site, cleaning up remnants of a junkyard, reviewing fuel tank locations and removing a crumbling smokestack. The remediation also removed several tons of junk tires and filled in the old tunnels that led to the upper mill site.