AP NEWS

Slavic Village’s Morgana Bluff Nature Preserve reclaims land from former power plant

September 28, 2018

Slavic Village’s Morgana Bluff Nature Preserve reclaims land from former power plant

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Next year residents of Slavic Village will be able to enjoy the fall foliage from a new vantage point - the Morgana Bluff Nature Preserve.

The four-acre wetland is being developed along Broadway Avenue on the former site of the power plant for Cleveland Worsted Mill. The mill operated from 1878 to 1956. A spectacular fire destroyed the complex in 1993.

The preserve is the brainchild of Robert Koonce, development director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland The land is adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club, which was built on the former site of the main mill structure.

Koonce sees the project as a “major investment in the neighborhood and a step towards raising good healthy kids” in what can be a traumatic urban environment.

The preserve, which is slated to open in September 2019, will offer hiking and biking trails, outdoor learning and wildlife observation areas.

The project will cost upwards of $500,000. The money comes from the state’s Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Fund and a grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Koonce spear-headed the drive – working with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the City of Cleveland, Slavic Village Development Corporation and the West Creek Conservancy to secure the money.

Work already has begun to remove invasive trees and dense underbrush that clog the site. Crews will eventually plant trees and plants that are native to Northeast Ohio. Storm water from the Boys & Girls Club site will be redirected into the preserve to enhance the natural wetlands.

Koonce said deer and several species of small animals inhabit the site, but residents are fearful of wandering into the area because of gang activity.

Koonce got the idea for the preserve after reading a Philadelphia study which measured whether spending time outdoors could reduce stress. And as a staff member of the Boys & Girls Club, Koonce encounters many children who suffer from the stress of living in an impoverished neighborhood.

“This is not a war zone, but Slavic Village has its challenges,” he said. “And the folks that call it home are wonderful people who struggle against a set of systemic issues and challenges that are making it impossible for them to have a peaceful life.” 

 

 

AP RADIO
Update hourly