About the Valley
The Cuyahoga River Valley is an invaluable regional asset that presents opportunities to heal our community and position it to be competitive in the global marketplace. The Valley’s features, if integrated in a sustainable way, hold the potential to offer new economic opportunities for Northeast Ohio and position the region as an innovator. The characteristics of this asset include:
Place of Connection
Catalyst for Innovation
Location for New Lifestyle
- Place of Connection: The Cuyahoga River Valley is Northeast Ohio’s central spine connecting people to people and people to place throughout the region. The river’s one hundred mile journey begins in Geauga County, ends in Cuyahoga County at Lake Erie and drains over 800 square miles of land in six counties of the region. It provides one unifying context, linking north and south, east and west. The region’s world class green space amenities and destinations such as the Summit and Cleveland metro park systems, the National Park, the Towpath Trail and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad all are interconnected within a geography known as the Cuyahoga Valley. The Valley is a transportation nexus for road, rail, and ship, connecting goods and services within the region and throughout the globe.
- Unifying Identity: The Valley’s centralized geography and incredibly diverse features provide a tangible, unifying, inclusive identity for the region that holds the power to attract from around the world. The Valley is a part of Cleveland and Akron and is integral to their identity. However, the Valley also transcends any one community. The serene beauty of nature in our National Park, the connection to the past along the Ohio & Erie Canalway, scenic train rides, Cleveland orchestra concerts in the park, working farms, industrial sites - both current and old, piles of bulk materials and slag, urban skyscrapers, as well as iconic roadway and waterway bridges, …all are revealed in a journey along the Cuyahoga River Valley. In this one place, contrasting elements provide authentic experiences and the context for the incredible diversity that makes Northeast Ohio unique in the world.
- Catalyst for Innovation: Following the logic that geography becomes destiny, the Cuyahoga River Valley’s geography has been and continues to be a catalyst for significant innovation. Its location helped to catalyze the petroleum industry (in the lower river valley) and the rubber industry (in Akron).The tragic river fire catalyzed the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Akron’s rubber industry has successfully evolved to a thriving polymer industry. To the north, the industrial river valley is beginning to emerge as a place of eco-innovation. If leveraged, the Valley’s complex environmental, social, political and economic challenges could position it to be a hotbed of innovation for Biomimicry, new collaborations and ways of working together, renewable energy, and sustainable/green technologies. This innovation potential can position the region as a global learning center, and provide examples of how to use one’s home community to address the complex challenges of the planet.
- Location for New Lifestyle: The Cuyahoga River Valley is an asset to a region attempting to position itself as an attractor for business and individuals. Emerging demographic data indicate that more and more people want a live-work lifestyle that provides them easy access to the great outdoors and the amenities of urban living. The Cuyahoga River Valley provides that lifestyle. A person can live and/or work in downtown Cleveland or Akron and easily access the Towpath Trail, connecting them to amazing industrial landscapes and the quiet beauty of nature. Such a lifestyle includes the vibrancy of urban living, the tranquility of connecting to nature and the satisfaction of having it all in one centralized, accessible location.
- Authentic Destination: In one location that spans the Northeast Ohio region, both a local resident and an international traveler can have an experience in the Valley that inspires their physical, intellectual, and spiritual development. The Valley provides endless opportunities for individual and group recreation. In one week, without a car, (and with the Towpath Trail’s completion), an adventuresome explorer could sail on Lake Erie, dine in Akron, bike for miles and hours amongst incredible scenery, visit a zoo, ride the scenic railway, view a steel mill, shop at a farmer’s market, experience the Rock Hall, go bird watching in a National Park, and sleep in luxury accommodations all in one location; the Cuyahoga River Valley. The Valley's history, industry, scenery, diverse communities, and vast natural beauty offer an incredible opportunity for a resident or visitor to live, work, learn and play.