Tourist Spot

Cleveland Browns, downtown Cleveland have a new vision for the future


Cleveland Browns fans, can you imagine not having to walk to First Energy Stadium and cross the entrances to the East 3rd or 9th Street bridges?

Right now, that’s what many Browns fans are doing, crossing old railroad tracks and a freeway, as they attempt to get to the entrances to First Energy Stadium.

Instead, there would be this massive, scenic land bridge that would be built from the Cleveland Convention Center to the stadium gates. Front desk and Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam are now supporting this new vision of building a huge land bridge that would filter out to the shores of Lake Erie.

The Browns and the City of Cleveland walked out earlier in the week with these new plans and visions of what the area around the Lake Erie shoreline would look like and it got me excited to imagine what it all might look like at l ‘to come up. What an absolute treat this could become for us Browns fans. Not to mention that accessibility to the stadium instantly becomes more accommodating.

New businesses, retail stores, apartments would all potentially be built along this new weekend destination.

After the recent NFL draft in the same neighborhood near First Energy Stadium, the city of Cleveland and the Browns are now planning to use this location more heavily as a true tourist destination.

For years, if you want to get off at the stadium, you have to cross those 3rd and 9th Street bridges. Not exactly an ideal and picturesque sight, but now with this new land bridge considered the entrance to the Browns games and all the new developments on offer would look truly majestic.

I remember the Cleveland Indians opening, then Jacobs Field, now called Progressive Field in 1994. After decades of watching games in the old municipal stadium where the former Indians and Browns teams played, going to my first game at Jacobs Field was fascinating.

“Was this the new Indian stadium?” I said with a stunned look on my face. Cleveland fans hadn’t seen anything like it and that’s what helped spark a city and baseball team to a string of successes, including two World Series appearances.

Cleveland is already making waves around the NFL league. They just made the playoffs and will be in Super Bowl contention for the foreseeable future.

The timing of this futuristic new land bridge and new development around First Energy Stadium is perfect for us fans to continue drooling over the prospects for success. I can’t imagine that the same excitement would have been generated when the 0-16 season came out in 2017, but when the going is good then go ahead and insist on more. And the Haslams, despite some past coaching selection mistakes, have certainly done it right in a lot of ways this year.

Many cities have already used their natural geographic features to become the destinations for which they are known. San Antonio, Texas has the “River Walk” running through the heart of the city and is a huge tourist spot the size of Texas. Cities like Seattle, Chicago, and Miami have all used their waterfronts to their advantage. Cleveland has not used its waterfront so far as other cities have.

The city of Cleveland has discussed ideas for such a development over the years, but nothing ever came out of those discussions. Now, with the backing of the Haslam-led Browns, this latest plan seems to be really successful.

After hanging out on the waterfront of Lake Erie and witnessing the NFL Draft a few weeks ago in person, this area all around First Energy Stadium is about to become something special.

You add a burgeoning Browns team to the mix, you have a tremendous opportunity for Cleveland and its die-hard fanbase.

And when that dream of land bridges, high-rise apartments, new retail stores, and beautiful parks comes true around the stadium, I’ll probably have the same reaction I had while watching the Cleveland Indians game in 1994 at Jacobs Field, with a simple but horny expression of “Wow”.