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RIVEREDGE TOWNSHIP

RIVEREDGE TOWNSHIP was founded in 1926 by residents in the western section of BROOK PARK Village who were dissatisfied with the results of a bitterly fought local election. The township encompassed a narrow 48-acre strip of land bounded by the Rocky River, the CLEVELAND-HOPKINS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, the NASA LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER, and Interstate 480 and took its name from its location at the edge of the river. It was once known as the smallest township in the state of Ohio.

In 1932, the township acquired 40 acres north of the airport from the city of Cleveland in order to secure additional federal funding for the construction of the Brookpark Road Bridge which connected Riveredge with PARKVIEW VILLAGE across the Rocky River Valley. Shortly thereafter, however, Riveredge was divided in two when the city of Cleveland annexed township land for airport expansion. While Brook Park annexed the southern portion of Riveredge in 1950, the northern portion of the township no longer adjoined Brook Park and by law could not be annexed. Through the mid-1950s, Riveredge was little more than a truck farm (see AGRICULTURE). In 1956, John Baluh purchased the Fischer family land holdings for $70,000. A grocer by trade, Baluh invested in real estate, promoting mobile homes as an affordable housing alternative. Riveredge became a privately owned trailer park, with 477 residents in 243 mobile homes. Its population grew forty-fold after 1960. The township boasted a volunteer fire department and a police department with a reputation for strict enforcement of traffic laws. When Riveredge went into default in 1978, its fire department was replaced by service from Cleveland and FAIRVIEW PARK. The township also lost its police force when Cuyahoga County officials refused to renew Riveredge's federal grant. Area students attended school in the Berea School District.

The city of Cleveland purchased the 48-acre township in 1983 for use as an airport noise buffer zone. However, the city of Fairview Park contested the acquisition by formally annexing Riveredge so as to prevent the expansion of airport runways and changes in flight patterns that would adversely affect its residents. With neither side willing to yield, the ensuing legal battle over the fate of Riveredge Township lasted for nine long years, reaching the Ohio Supreme Court twice. The two cities finally came to an agreement in 1992, dividing the uninhabited township.