Dennis Lane would have liked this. In fact, he would have liked this on at least two fronts.
First, with an avid love of the water, biking and outdoor activities, Dennis would have appreciated what’s going on in downtown Cleveland along the banks of the Cuyahoga River just south of Collision Bend. As seen in this photo from my office window, the clearing of debris, dilapidated structures and scrub brush which began last fall is well underway for the first publicly funded portion in Cleveland of the Towpath Trail.
The Trail which will extend all the way to Canal Basin Park in Akron traces the path of the historic Ohio Canal. It will provide walking and biking enthusiasts with an opportunity to enjoy the Cuyahoga River in ways which could only have been dreamed of during the dark days of the Cuyahoga 40 years ago. Those were the years Dennis lived in Cleveland while we attended John Carroll University together.
Public funding for this stretch of the Towpath Trail came from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants and Clean Ohio funds. The project will restore 2,800 feet of natural shoreline and will convert nine acres of industrial wasteland into meadowland.
That’s good stuff. Dennis would certainly think so. Converting valuable riverfront commercial property into recreational land is not normally high on the wish list of those in the real estate industry. But Dennis was a different kind of real estate professional.
He spent his entire career in real estate. First working for the Rouse Company on the East Coast, West Coast and Sun Coast for many years, then with various other firms doing commercial brokerage and office development. Yet, Dennis always appreciated a vision of what could be done with an underused piece of property and that did not always mean converting it to the most profitable use.
Dennis would have spoken out in favor of this kind of project in his usual direct and unvarnished manner. For Dennis was a prolific blogger on all things relating to real estate and politics in his home base of Howard County, Maryland. His Tale of Two Cities blog exposed Dennis’s views on his beloved home towns of Columbia and Ellicott City. If you want to see what good writing and blogging is all about, go to for his “Tale of Two Cities blog”. He was universally recognized as the “voice of Howard County” and the most well-read blogger in suburban Baltimore.
Which explains the second reason why Dennis would have liked this. Dennis always encouraged me to blog more and to post more items to this Real Estate Advisor Law blog. In fact, he is likely the only person to ever comment on one of my blog posts – probably because I quoted from a Patti Smith song.
But I failed him in this regard. My last blog post was too many months ago and I have allowed others in our real estate practice to bear the obligation of blogging. Dennis would have liked the fact that I blogged about the Towpath Trail. He might even had commented favorably on it. I could have only hoped.
Dennis Lane’s last Tale of Two Cities blog post was on May 9. On Friday, May 10, Dennis was stabbed to death during the early morning hours in his Ellicott City home by the 19-year old boyfriend of his daughter. Senseless. Unbelievable. Dennis was my friend for 40 years, my beloved fraternity brother, the best man in my wedding, but most of all he was a good friend to many, many people of all walks of life, a great father, a loving brother to his four siblings and a wonderful companion to his dear Denise.
I will have to blog more often from now on. Dennis would be all over me if I didn’t.