CLEVELAND (July 7, 2014) -- Congresswoman Kaptur joined Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and other local leaders in dedicating Scranton Flats project on the Towpath Trail. “This project is all about connectivity,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “We are witnessing the reconnection of our community with its natural setting—and the result is an enhanced quality of life.

“We live in the most sustainable place on the planet,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “Nowhere does this much arable land adjoin this much fresh water.”

Congresswoman Kaptur addressed a large crowd on hand to help dedicate the $9 million project that will offer an enhanced natural experience to millions of Northeastern Ohio residents and visitors.

She and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown noted that the project received the largest combined funding for a single project in from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ($3 million) as well as the largest Clean Ohio conservation grant ($3.2 million) in state history.

She praised former Congressman Ralph Regula for his legacy of creating trails throughout Northeast Ohio, including his home county, Stark. “He always believed in bipartisanship and helping the people of his district,” she said as she joined him on the stage.

Scranton Flats, the first publicly-funded section of the popular Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cleveland proper, will include a pier over the Cuyahoga River and viewing spots for birders and ship fans alike. It will also restore 3,000 feet of natural shoreline and create more habitat for fish in a river that was once the emblem of ecological disaster.

Scranton Flats, which opened to the public today, will increase access to the Cuyahoga and build a critical section of the Towpath Trail connecting the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland with the doorstep of downtown.

"The collaboration at the heart of this project is a true testament to the working spirit of our region,” said FitzGerald. “Every level of government prioritized the revitalization of the Cuyahoga River, one our greatest assets, and today we celebrate that shared vision. Cleveland, particularly downtown, is beginning to truly regain its confidence thanks to these transformative projects."