April 19, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria’s Riverwalk needs repairs

ELYRIA – Just four years after the East Falls Riverwalk opened to the public, the guardrail on the walkway will be taken down so the city can repair the rusting steel and replace the peeling paint.

“We`re trying to arrange funds to have it refurbished over the winter,” Mayor Bill Grace said. “It appears we`ll have to take it down.”

CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE
Mayor Bill Grace says work will be required over the winter to refurbish the East Falls Riverwalk.

Grace said he doesn`t know how much the repairs will cost yet, but figures it might be in the $25,000 range. He expects to know more in about a month.

The city completed the $600,000 Riverwalk project in 2003, using grant money to build the platforms, walkways and stairs that form the observation area over the East Falls of the Black River in Cascade Park. The railings were an upgrade from the wooden railings that were planned when the project came in under budget.

Councilman Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, said he was surprised to learn that what was supposed to be the crown jewel of the city`s park system is already in need of a major repair job.

“I don`t know if that`s currently a priority we should be spending dollars on,” he said.

Grace said he is looking into whether the contractor who built the guardrail – Lamplight Industries out of Lorain – gave the city a guarantee on the guardrail that could cover the cost of the repairs.

“I`m not sure we got the best workmanship,” he said.

Grace downplayed the problem, saying it would be dealt with over the winter and anything that wasn`t fixed this winter would be handled in the spring. When the railing is taken down, Grace said the city will take the necessary measures to ensure it remains safe, but he wasn`t certain what those would be yet.

“It`s not that big a deal,” he said.

Any outdoor structure is going to need refurbishing, Grace said.

“Things require maintenance,” he said. “We just have to go through the first round of maintenance earlier than we`d thought.”

Grace had high hopes for the project, which he said could eventually include permanent park buildings, a restaurant and other amenities.

But so far, the Riverwalk remains a parking lot behind the Elyria Police Station and the walkway. Not what the mayor promised when he used federal grant money that might have been spent on improvements elsewhere in the city, Gibbs said.

“Was it dollars well-spent? Right now, probably not,” Gibbs said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.