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Every Monday -- News from GCP

GCP urges state to contribute to Cleveland’s momentum

The first state capital budget containing “community projects” in six years is an opportunity to build upon Greater Cleveland’s efforts to grow and transform the local economy.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is recommending nine capital improvement projects for state funding.  Many of those projects are waterfront initiatives, such as improving public lakefront access in Cleveland, Euclid and Lakewood.

GCP was designated by the state to submit a priority list of economic development project requests for Cuyahoga County.  The nine projects seek a total of about $20.3 million from the state.  The state funding would provide partial financing; the nine projects have a total estimated cost of about $210 million.

“These projects would accelerate Cleveland’s ongoing, successful efforts to expand and transition our local economy,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “This funding would allow substantial projects that would affect many of our residents, and make Greater Cleveland a better place for residents, employees and businesses.”

“If the state honors these requests, it would accelerate our efforts to make our beautiful lakefront more accessible to the public,” Roman said. “The state would be investing about $20 million in Cleveland’s future and would get more than $200 million worth of economic development in return.”

Click here to read more in the press release.

Advocacy update: Federal outlook for 2014

With the beginning of the new year, it’s also time for the start of the 113th session of the U.S. Congress. We are entering what is known as the Election Cycle with speeches, bill introductions, and votes likely to be visited and revisited as we draw closer to the November 4, 2014 election.

And with approval ratings for Congress lower than the thermometer outside your window today, Members will look to improve their image and their re-election chances.

This session will begin with a flurry of activity as appropriators from both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate move to implement spending levels in accordance with the budget bill passed prior to the December recess. You can expect to see an Omnibus appropriations bill later this week that will fund the federal government for FY14, as the current Continuing Resolution funding the government expires Wednesday, January 15.

Next on the calendar is Friday, February 7, and the need to increase the nation’s borrowing capacity. This will require a vote to increase the debt limit. Late last year, we saw how this issue was managed and neither side wishes to bring the country to the edge of the fiscal cliff again. Expect to see and hear much on the issue as the date approaches, but in the end, the limit will be lifted.

The much-anticipated Water Resources (Reform) and Development Act (WRRDA) is awaiting the final conference report. This bill contains language critical to the Great Lakes and advocated for by the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

As the legislative action to this point has been positive and has been held up as a bipartisan example of what Congress can do, expect the differences in House and Senate versions to be worked out in the first quarter of the year with the bill quickly being signed into law.

The balance of legislative issues and their final outcome for the 113th Congress, Second Session, remains unclear, but we will be closely following and advocating on a range of items including:

Immigration Reform
: House Speaker John Boehner remains committed to the step-by-step approach that the House has been pursuing. His recent hiring of a prominent Senate immigration staffer for his office leads many to remain hopeful.

Tax Reform: With the pending departure of Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to become U.S. Ambassador to China, hopes for comprehensive reform are bleak. Baucus remains engaged on the issue, including recently releasing additional discussion documents, but it remains to be seen if his likely successor, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), shares the same vision. Baucus’ House counterpart, Dave Camp (R-MI), remains engaged in the effort and we expect to see movement from his Ways and Means Committee in the coming weeks, including announcements related to funding for transportation and infrastructure needs. In the meantime, expect to quickly see a retroactive “tax-extenders bill’ for up to 55 recently expired tax provisions of interest to business, including those impacting research, depreciation, and expensing allowances.

Surface Transportation:
The bill authorizing surface transportation and infrastructure within the United States expires at the end of the September. While some discussions have begun, we can expect to see a very busy schedule of reauthorization hearings as the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s first hearing has already been scheduled for Tuesday, January 14.

With the WRRDA bill’s process as an example, we expect this bill will be heavily focused on policy, not projects; what that ultimately looks like remains to be seen, but this bill will lay the critical path for infrastructure construction and projects for the years to come. The lead policy item will be funding. The House Ways and Means Committee, as referenced in the Tax Reform section, will lead this process and action is expected this month.

Election years always come with some surprises. So while Washington pundits claim that this is a “do-nothing” Congress and predict legislative gridlock, we expect much activity and movement on issues and areas of importance to GCP.

By November, Members of Congress want to point to their record of accomplishments and improve their image. The only way to do that is to move legislation.

GCP members can be assured that the organization’s Public Policy Agenda priorities will be part of the final product.

GCP 2014 priorities focus on maintaining, leveraging economic renaissance

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 2014 agenda will maintain focus on several action items that are critical to Greater Cleveland’s ongoing economic renaissance.

They include helping to determine the feasibility of seeking to bring either the Democratic or Republican national convention to Cleveland in 2016 and maximizing the neighborhood development component of Opportunity Corridor, which can change significant portions of Cleveland’s East Side. Other priorities include:

  • Continuing to assist the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in establishment of advisory boards for individual schools, adding to the CMSD pool of internship opportunities, and providing input/guidance on continuation and growth of the Transformation Alliance;
  • Supporting the Hopkins Hub by continuing to enhance the relationship with United. Cleveland will be the subject of United Hemispheres magazine’s’ largest regional supplement to date in February, host United CEO Jeff Smisek at the 50 Club meeting in February, and host the United’s shareholder meeting in June;
  • Enhancing GCP’s already strong role in advocacy, especially at the state level;
  • Strengthening connections with Engage! Cleveland and its young professionals constituency;
  • Continuing to enhance our partnership with the National Center for the Middle Market to more deeply engage our middle-market members through programming, research participation and access to exclusive data pertinent to middle-market companies.

Historic renovation of Fairmont Creamery proceeds
with CDA financing

Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s real estate development affiliate, has provided a $5 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation and $1.25 million loan to Oberlin developer Sustainable Community Associates, which has closed on financing to transform the vacant Fairmont Creamery site in Tremont into apartments, retail and office space.

Project financing also included federal and state historic tax credits, State Clean Ohio grant, Cuyahoga County brownfield loan, and forgivable loan from the City of Cleveland.

The five-story building was constructed in 1930 and has been vacant since 1980. The $14 million mixed-use historic rehabilitation is expected to lead to additional economic investment in both Tremont and Ohio City.

Upon completion, the 100,000 square foot building will have 30 apartments, 22,000 square feet of commercial space, and parking. Secured tenants include LaunchHouse and the Tremont Athletic Club. Twenty-five percent of the apartments will be reserved as affordable housing units.

Commission launching membership drive

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP, is launching a long-range membership drive in 2014, one of the recommendations that emerged from its Decade 2 study. The first phase drive will focus on GCP members who are not yet Commission members.

Recognizing that a key to success will be the engagement of a strong corporate base, the long-term goal is to add 200 new members to the Commission over the next five years, with a 2014 goal of 40 new members.

The campaign will emphasize the Commission’s ability to connect diversity and inclusion with bottom line results including the business value that its members receive through:

  • Direct access to local and national data and resources to meet an organization's diversity and inclusion goals;
  • Ability to associate a member's brand with the corporate diversity and inclusion leader in Northeast Ohio;

The membership drive is co-chaired by Dr. Ed Hills, COO of The MetroHealth System, and Greg Stefani, first vice president and COO of Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Commission Advisory Board members who chair the Commission’s Membership Impact Committee.

Crain’s highlights construction project skilled-worker
demand study

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s extensive survey of major construction projects to gauge the future need for skilled workers, featured in the Dec. 2 issue of Every Monday, is receiving an additional push from a Crain’s Cleveland Business story in this week’s magazine.

The study is one of of several recommendations presented to the Commission in a special report issued in 2012. It is a key driver in helping work toward the job-creation goals of the Community Benefits and Inclusion Agreement (CBA) that has been signed by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, representatives from key business, civic, labor and trade organizations, and several public- and private-sector project owners.

The study is being conducted on behalf of the CBA stakeholders.

Click here to read the story.

GCP, Commission members featured in DiversityInc magazine

For the fourth year in a row, ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts in Greater Cleveland are featured in DiversityInc magazine, a national publication that focuses on diversity management successes in the workplace.

The section, "Inclusion and Economic Prosperity in Greater Cleveland," highlights the work and positive impact of the Commission on Economic Inclusion and several Commission members. The section encourages readers to "find out how a collaborative network of committed diversity-and-inclusion leaders is fueling this Northeast Ohio region's turnaround and driving Cleveland's economic development."

The Commission maintains a strategic partnership with DiversityInc to benefit the region and its constituents by providing access to national diversity resources.

Click here to to access the Greater Cleveland section.

News from United

United ends 2013 with multiple industry honors

United closed out 2013 with multiply industry honors including:

  • Business Travellers’ Best Frequent-Flyer Program and Best Airline for North American Travel; and

  • Global Traveler’s Best Frequent-Flyer Program, Best Credit Card, and Best Credit Card Rewards Program.

Click here to read more.

United launches 2014 special edition hub “amenity tins”

To celebrate the “flyer friendly” campaign, United is releasing eight 2014 special-edition amenity tins that feature each of its eight hub regions. The tins are filled with in-flight amenities carefully selected to make your flight more comfortable.

Customers in United BusinessFirst and GlobalFirst on long-haul international flights departing from the United States will receive one of the tin designs, which feature distinctive imagery commissioned specifically for the campaign.

Get acquainted with flyer-friendly travel tools

Learn how you can use United’s flight status tools to make your travels easier and more relaxing.

Blogger Krista Koutsis shares her tips for reducing the stress of traveling beginning 24 hours before departure and until she boards the flight.

Click here for more information.