Parmadale Demolition Will Make Way For Greenspace, Public Park Development And Watershed Conservation

The plan to redevelop and re-envision the former Parmadale Orphanage took a major step forward in July when Cuyahoga County awarded $1.35 million to demolish 13 old dormitories at the site. The project will clear nearly 80 acres for greenspace, public park development and watershed conservation. It will also remove a significant amount of impervious surface, decreasing stress on local waterways and infrastructure. The funding includes the demolition of four blighted Parma properties at 7259 Ridge Road, 11599 Kader Avenue, 4418 Pershing Avenue and 7407 Dorothy Avenue. "The repurposing of the former Parmadale campus first came on our radar in 2016 when we learned of its potential sale," said West Creek Conservancy Executive Director Derek Schafer.

West Creek contacted the Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, which owned Parmadale, to negotiate the sale. The property changed hands in May 2017 when West Creek paid the Diocese $1.75 million – $1.5 million from a Clean Ohio grant and $250,000 from the Cleveland Metroparks, which partners with West Creek. While the city of Parma agreed to take interim ownership, West Creek is tasked with reclaiming the site and leveraging funding to re-dedicate it as public park land. "I applaud Derek Schafer, who approached the city after seeing that our Cuyahoga County government has a program for demolition, which the city has utilized for a number of years. This is the first time where we utilized the funds for a project like this," said Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter. Cuyahoga County Councilman Scott Tuma said, "This project in Parma is precisely what the county envisions when evaluating the best use of demolition funds. I am glad to see this and other demolition projects moving forward. The demolition of these dilapidated and vacant structures will allow the city of Parma to fully realize its vision for the future of the Parmadale site,” he said.

Parmadale opened its doors in 1925 and was considered innovative because it offered a group-home environment, one of the first orphanages in the country to institute a cottage residential plan. By the time the Diocese closed the facility in 2014, 20 buildings occupied the spacious campus. Since the closure, water intrusion has caused irreparable damage to plaster, wood flooring, electrical and HVAC systems. Additionally, the money needed to bring the dated structures up to code and cover the environmental clean-up costs was too significant, according to Schafer. He is hopeful, however, that there can be some repurposing of certain parts of the property.

The plan is to demolish the cottages and dormitories over the next two years. Future funding will be needed to take down the remaining administrative and office structures. West Creek has hosted community meetings to gather public input about the land’s use. DeGeeter said he would like to see a dog park included in the master plan. Currently, a concept plan has been drafted and is under review. Schafer said the addition of the Parmadale land to the West Creek Reservation will create new access to the reservation for thousands of citizens. "This is a nice second phase for the Parmadale property – to open it up for the public. It's great for our city and our region,” DeGeeter said. “And, we certainly appreciate the support of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and County Councilman Scott Tuma.”

For more information, contact Executive Director Derek Schafer at West Creek Conservancy at 216-749-3720, ext. 12 or email

Carolyn Kovach

Communications Director, City of Parma, Mayor's Office

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 11:25 AM, 08.01.2018