The community in Northern Cleveland is trying to solve the lack of equitable access to green space, particularly for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) residents. Despite the shoreline on Lake Erie offering natural amenities and recreational areas, it is cut off from the city by railroads, a highway, and a steep change in elevation. This has resulted in disparities in access to trees and parks, with predominantly White communities having better access than majority Black neighborhoods. To address this challenge, the City of Cleveland is developing the North Shore Master Plan, which aims to transform the shoreline into a community hub promoting equity, climate resilience, and economic inclusion. A key component of this plan is the North Coast Connector. This land bridge will provide safe and convenient access to the shore from Downtown Cleveland, facilitating multimodal transportation options and consolidating passenger train stations.

FUSE Executive Fellow Linda Frazier will manage the North Coast Connector project and ensure its completion. She will establish strong relationships with various stakeholders, including local government leaders, county agencies, private sector partners, environmental and economic justice leaders, and the public, focusing on BIPOC communities. Through a stakeholder listening tour and a literature review, Linda will gain insights into these partners’ strengths, needs, and aspirations and identify best practices for inclusive green infrastructure investment. Linda will oversee the development of the North Coast Connector, including strategic design, procurement, and coordination with internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, she will build a team, establish processes, and define roles to ensure the project’s continuity beyond the Fellowship year. The goal is to provide Cleveland residents with improved, inclusive access to alternative transportation and Lake Erie, the city’s greatest natural resource.