Cuyahoga Falls seeking grant for new boat launch facility
CUYAHOGA FALLS — The Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Department has applied for an $116,000 Cooperative Boating Facility Grant through the Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft, for the construction of a boat launch at River Front Park, according to city officials.
Officials are hoping to establish a kayak/canoe launch at River Front Park to take advantage of the Cuyahoga Falls section of the Cuyahoga River where two low-head dams, the LeFever Powerhouse dam and the Sheraton Mill dam, were removed last year. That effort aided in the restoration of the river, returning it to a more healthy and vibrant waterway, according to city officials. After the removal, the river emerged as a narrower stream conducive to kayaking, canoeing or rafting as potential recreational activities, city officials added.
Casual boaters are now able to enter the river at the Water Works Park boat launch, but they can’t safely exit the water before the newly created river rapids just south of River Front Park. This project would allow boaters to either safely exit before the rapids or allow experienced boaters to enter the river and proceed to the rapids.
The new launch would be American with Disabilities Act-compliant and give boaters safe ingress and egress from the river to the shore, according to city officials. The site is already equipped with restroom facilities, and the plans call for a restored parking lot that improves the ability for vehicles with trailers to pull through.
The boat launch project is supported by the National Park Service; Metro Parks, Serving Summit County; American Whitewater; Summit Soil and Water Conservation District; Friends of the Crooked River; and Citizens of the Valley, according to city officials.
City officials will learn in November if they have been approved for the grant, and construction could start in 2015. City officials added they are seeking to be a responsible steward of the river and provide a safe and accessible boating facility to accommodate paddling adventures for every skill level.
Maria Lindsay contributed to this report.
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