Reclaiming Urban Lands

Fulfilling a family’s wish along Bear Creek.

Conservation through Collaboration: Through the generosity of the Gries family, and working with several partners, a site in Bedford along Bear Creek where abandoned homes once stood is now an unimpaired flood plain habitat protected by West Creek Conservancy.

The Challenge: Three old abandoned houses. Obsolete heating and electrical systems. Failing septic systems. But with happy childhood memories of growing up in the backyard woods and creek. This Gries family inheritance from their parents came with a vision. Could these 3.6 acres along Bear Creek in Bedford somehow be transformed into "Lorry's Woods," a protected greenspace honoring the memory of their mother?

Our Action: West Creek Conservancy repeatedly demonstrates that by working together with its partners, many can accomplish what one cannot. Bear Creek flows into Tinker's Creek, the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Tinker's Creek Watershed Partners initiated an Ohio Environmental Protective Agency assessment of Bear Creek which determined that the old buildings impaired the floodplain. With cooperation from the City of Bedford , the Gries family then donated their urbanized property to the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Now eligible for funding from the Cuyahoga County Demolition Program, the empty buildings were demolished and West Creek Conservancy assumed ownership of the streamside property.

The Impact: "Lorry's Woods" has become reality. A neglected property has been replaced with greenspace. The flood plain and riparian area along a 400-foot reach of healthy Bear Creek are now restored as a living memorial maintained by the Conservancy for the public to enjoy.

This is a highlight from our 2016 Report to the Community of over 20 projects completed by West Creek Conservancy in 2015. The full report can be downloaded from our website.

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