With the wild success of New York's High Line park, cities around the US are looking to transform disused rail lines into vibrant urban parks. Cleveland has answered this cry with “The Red Line,” a proposed linear park championed by the Rotary Club of Cleveland that would be located in the city's old RTA Red Line trail. The three-mile greenway would pass through five Cleveland neighborhoods, and it would be longer than both the High Line and Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail.
The recent trend to reinvent these old railways is part of a broader re-urbanization trend that is taking place across the United States. As people return to cities, new parks are needed to promote health, safety and overall wellness for all residents. The Red Line is an obvious urban place-making effort to reimagine a piece of aging infrastructure and capture the imagination of Cleveland residents.
The idea for the project began forming 30 years ago when the Rotary Club and other organizations began an urban gardening project called ParkWorks, which ultimately estimated the work for this greenway to cost between $5.1 million and $5.5 million. In 2009 the Rotary Club of Cleveland made a rapid discovery of an old railroad repair yard that provided insight into what would become “The Red Line.” Rotary was able to salvage all the old scrap metal and raise money to develop this greenway. The Rotary Club has been persistent in their efforts to rehabilitate the miles of brownfield development along the railroad, and it appears that the manpower (and willpower) has paid off.