Two weeks ago a prominent white water designer visited Kent to perform a preliminary site assessment of the recreational opportunities available in the Kent section of the Cuyahoga. The firm was careful to point out that they look beyond just white water kayaking; their goal is really about creating more opportunities for people to interact with the river and its ecology. Sometimes that’s as simple as building more trails, expanding river access and creating wading areas — as well as the more traditional canoe and kayak activity areas. I was glad to hear that they look to incorporate elements for all ages and all types of interests. The river parks that they build are less about kayaking than they are about creating public spaces for people to enjoy and reconnect to the outdoors through water. The public meeting they held was standing room only so this concept seems to have broad appeal. Here’s a short synopsis from the firm regarding Kent’s potential.
August 2, 2007
REP Project Manager, Mike Harvey, toured the Cuyahoga River, in Kent, Ohio; in the immediate vicinity of the Kent Dam, on July 25th.
The area of interest can be described as the Cuyahoga River, from immediately above Brady’s leap, to Stow Street. This reach includes the Kent Dam project, however no modification of this pre-existing project is proposed.
In general, the reach of the Cuyahoga through the area of interest can be described as heavily impacted by human activities. The stream through Brady’s leap is entrenched and evidence of historic quarrying is apparent. The Kent Dam was a clear improvement from the standpoint of fish passage and water quality while preserving the heritage elements. Below the Kent Dam the stream widens and returns to something resembling a natural section of stream.
My gut level reaction after the day spent on site and after subsequent reflection was that the upper reach, from Main Street to just above Brady’s leap is the most appropriate reach for conceptual planning, for the development of a stream enhancement project. The exact nature of these improvements would come out of the planning process but the following general goals would guide the process:
1. Enhance bank-based access to the Cuyahoga River for local residents and visitors.
2. Enhance the channel for whitewater paddling, canoe passage, tubing, and swimming.
3. Create a linear, community park along the reach which generally serves to attract visitors to Downtown Kent.
1. Creation of a conceptual plan for the project area from Main Street, upstream, to above Brady’s leap. Including but not limited to; conceptual renderings, order of magnitude cost estimates, and narrative descriptions of the proposed improvements.
2. Inventory of the required regulatory permitting.
3. Stream flow gauging at the main street bridge for a minimum of one year.
4. Economic impact projections.
Potentially, there may be additional planning or design elements which could be considered if requested by the City of Kent. If the City would like to have REP prepare a proposal for the above noted project elements or additional elements; we can do so immediately.
Thank you for the opportunity to explore the possibilities in Kent. I am excited about the potential for a vibrant river corridor in Kent and would welcome the opportunity to move forward with your community.
I think we’ll go ahead and get a quote for more work to see if we can keep this project moving forward. I’ll keep you posted.
The Firm’s credentials: Recreation Engineering and Planning
We are the industry leading In-Stream Whitewater Park Team
Recreation Engineering and Planning has been the trend setter in Whitewater Parks for over 30 years. In that time, Recreation Engineering and Planning has created 90% of all of the in-stream whitewater parks in the United States. These parks include the popular Reno Whitewater Park in downtown Reno, home of the Reno Whitewater Festival, the Vail Whitewater Park, which has hosted the Teva Mountain Games, and the Golden Whitewater Park, which is an example of how dramatic an effect these parks can have on the local economy.
REP’s Parks are not just designed for the many kayakers and river enthousiasts who will visit them, they are designed for the communities in which they reside. These parks are community parks with trails, streamside seating, fishing, tubing, and family areas. It is this all-encompassing design that led the Mayor of Reno to call the Reno Whitewater Park the, “Best capital investment project I’ve seen.”
Recreation Engineering and Planning has pioneered several in-stream design and restoration technologies. Among them are low-head-dam re-design projects that allow dangerous and unpassable dams to provide safe passage, recreation, and help to restore the river’s natural morphology in a way that allows fish to pass upstream and for a healthy and robust in-stream and riparian zone environment. REP has implemented these types of projects on small narrow low head dams, such as the existing structure at the Reno Whitewater Park and on large dams on wide rivers, such as the Bow River Weir Project in Calgary, Alberta that is more than 700 feet wide and drops more than 12 feet!
The following, conceptual level, planning elements are recommended going forward:
Cuyahoga River Whitewater Improvements Kent, Ohio 7/25/07 Site Visit Summary Prepared by: Mike Harvey