Infrastructure Week on the Cuyahoga River (Ride-along with St. Ed's Crew)

Infrastructure Week on the Cuyahoga River (Ride-along with St. Ed's Crew)

Riding along the Cuyahoga River gives one a better sense of the infrastructure grid that serves as a catalyst for the local and regional economy. See that steel bulkhead, see that dock, see that bridge, see those pipes & wires? Yeah, that's infrastructure and it matters!

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7 things to know about Cuyahoga River dredging & disposal

7 things to know about Cuyahoga River dredging & disposal

The myriad issues behind disposal of river sediment can be complex and to some, baffling. To others, it's a very simple matter: don't place anything in the lake. With that in mind, we thought we'd provide a few details on this dredging topic.

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Is Waterfront Development Paying Off For Cleveland & Cuyahoga County?

A panel discussion will be held at Lakewood Public Library tonight giving several waterfront & neighborhood stakeholders an opportunity to weigh in on how waterfront development is paying off for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt will moderate the discussion with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Metroparks, Campus District Inc. and Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. Details on the forum are in Steve's recent Plain Dealer article:

Ask 50 people what "paying off" means to them and you'll probably get 50 different answers: Improved property values, enhanced quality of life, increased tax receipts, space to relax, creation of jobs, improved health, leveraging local history as a branding element for tourism, increasing waterfront access for residents, and attracting new residents all come to mind. Some organizations have even attempted to quantify the value of green-spaces: in a 2013 study the Trust for Public Land found Cleveland Metroparks generates $855M annually for the local economy.

A great summary by of a 2014 waterfront forum at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

A great summary by of a 2014 waterfront forum at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

If we were to come up with just ONE answer to the "payoff" question we think it's found in the above See Your Words graphic recording from a 2014 waterfront forum at CSU's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Do you see it? "People want to be connected to our water". Indeed, the reason Moses Cleaveland and his team of surveyors chose Cleveland as the capital of the Western Reserve was its location on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.

We're a little envious at the successes Waterfront Toronto and Pittsburgh's Riverlife have fostered so thought we'd share some of our favorite "developments" that have helped connect Greater Cleveland's residents to THEIR water:

That's a few of our faves - clearly in-process projects like The Foundry, a new rowing & sailing training facility on the east side of Columbus Road, Canal Basin Park's 20 acre redevelopment and Cumberland Development's 20 acre mixed-use development project at North Coast Harbor will add to the vitality of Cleveland's waterfront.

There will be many projects discussed during tonight's waterfront forum and we've got one fave that we feel delivers on a number of levels - Irishtown Bend.

For now that's a brief wrap of Cleveland's waterfront scene. Check out our Twitter feed tonight for details during tonight's 7-8:30 pm waterfront meeting:

The Day A Cuyahoga River Ship Went Viral

In this viral video era of skateboarding dogs, cats freaking out over cucumbers, and kids doing an endless variety of cute things, there's no telling who or what will be the next transient social media star. That's why we took notice a couple of weeks ago when a time-lapse video of Interlake Steamship Company's Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder heading up Cleveland's Cuyahoga River went from a personal share on a Facebook page to being distributed nationally by design & technology blog Gizmodo.

Like many viral videos it started innocently enough - Jeremy Mock, Master (Captain) of the 711 foot long, 70 foot wide Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, received a GoPro for Christmas and he lashed it to the Dorothy Ann's 75 foot high bridge before a 3 hour run from the Port of Cleveland's bulk loading terminal on Lake Erie to ArcelorMittal's steelmaking facility 5 1/2 miles up the Cuyahoga River.

On January 3rd Mock posted the 24 second time-lapse video to his personal Facebook thinking his friends would enjoy seeing what he sees. Mock recounted the night after the video first went public as he was sitting in the Dorothy Ann's galley when his 3rd assistant said "Your vid is up to 3,000 views and I bet it will hit 5,000 by midnight". Mock adds "It was the joke on the ship - I couldn't understand it. Then it zoomed right past 20,000 views. That original Facebook post now has over 85,000 views".

Interlake Steamship Company subsequently shared the video on their Facebook and a day later (Michigan's largest news and information site, 11M digital readers/month) called Mock and ran a story on the video. A few days later, Gizmodo posted it on their Facebook (1.25M followers) and Sploid blog.

MLive Website Post (11M readers/month)

MLive Website Post (11M readers/month)

Gizmodo Facebook post (1.26M Followers)

Gizmodo Facebook post (1.26M Followers)

"It goes to show the power of social media and I'm pleased the video has touched a lot of people" said Mock. When asked why so many people have an affinity for Great Lakes ships like his, Mock replies "a lot of our audience are people who had family members work on the ships, and when they see this enormous vessel passing a beach or a port, it reminds them of their history."

Interlake Steamship Company's President, Mark Barker, has embraced social media as a way to inform the public on the merits of the maritime shipping industry. "It's great that people get to see what our talented employees do while learning about the positive impact our industry has on the local, regional and national economy"

"We're a silent operation so folks don't know that much about us. People see trucks and rail cars all the time but ships aren't as visible - we come into a port, unload, and leave. In the Great Lakes our industry transports 100 million tons of raw materials per year in a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly manner. That's a great story that needs to get out there".

A different look at the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder heading up the Cuyahoga River

Chrissy Kadleck, Interlake's public relations coordinator, loves connecting with freighter fans by providing insight and engaging content about behind-the-scenes ship operations and industry news.

"It's a wonderful opportunity as a company to be able to highlight what our highly skilled and well-trained employees do every day working on the Great Lakes," says Kadleck. "You have to remember our ships aren’t typical workplaces as our employees live and work on our ships 24-7. Many people don't realize people are still working on the lakes.”

Kadleck loves how Interlake's fans share pictures and videos of the company’s fleet and she likes fostering conversations with the community by answering questions posted on Interlake's Facebook page. "It's my goal to create a compelling conversation with our fans. It’s important to have that the back and forth so I aim to answer every question and message we receive in a timely fashion.” Popular posts run the gamut from, weather related items such as waterspouts, lightning, and large waves to ship repowering projects and the expansion of emission-reduction efforts to 1/3 of its fleet.

"We never know what's going to take off with our audience," says Kadleck. "But our genuine connection also allows us to inform them on strategic issues impacting the Great Lakes shipping industry such as expansion of the Soo Locks, a new heavy icebreaker for the Great Lakes, dredging and uniform federal regulation of ballast water."

As the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder sits at an Erie, PA shipyard for its winter lay-up before heading back out on the Great Lakes late February, Master Jeremy Mock reflects on the Cuyahoga River's uniqueness in the Great Lakes system. "The Buffalo River is somewhat comparable in terms of twists and turns but the Cuyahoga River is like nowhere else - it's a completely unique beast".

Keeping the River Open for Business (Cuyahoga River Dredging)

The Cuyahoga River is a fairly shallow body of water until it enters the wider & deeper commercial navigation channel where the change in river flow rate deposits large amounts of sediment. Twice a year the US Army Corps of Engineers dredges the Cuyahoga River in order to maintain a 26 foot deep channel for freighter traffic. Earlier this summer we captured their contractor, Ryba Marine Construction, hard at work along the ArcelorMittal docks.

The dredging crane's “clam bucket” takes 15 cubic yard bites out of the riverbed and deposits the sediment into a scow (a hollowed out barge). Once full, the scow holds 1,500 cubic yards of sediment, enough to fill 150 dump trucks. The total weight? Two million tons! More on this process here:

Early this spring the Port of Cleveland deployed a bed load interceptor upriver in Independence and it's hoped this will reduce the amount of sediment making its way into the navigation channel, reducing the frequency of future dredging operations.

Cuyahoga River freighter time lapse

When you see freighters heading up the Cuyahoga River do you marvel at their ability to navigate through close quarters? We sure do, so we thought we'd give you a look at how these behemoths make the journey from Lake Erie to their industrial clients upriver.

You'll also see a wide perspective of the Scranton Flats Towpath as well as a segment of the newly dedicated Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail.

BTW, technically Interlake Steamship Company's Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder is a tug/barge combo but at one time, the Pathfinder WAS a freighter!