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GCP urges state to contribute to Cleveland's momentum

Nine local projects recommended for State Capital Bill funding that would trigger $210 million in improvements and help transform lakefront

Cleveland, Ohio—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.”

After a rigorous, collaborative examination of more than 40 economic development project requests for state capital funds, GCP narrowed the final list to nine projects.  The priority list will serve as recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly for the legislation that will be introduced early next year.  Selected projects are not certain to receive funds.  This first step in the process merely identifies the projects with a maximum impact.  Other projects will be considered as state leaders look to pass this important legislation.

“This was a difficult task because we examined many excellent submittals,” Roman said.  “We focused upon projects that best met our criteria, including job creation and overall economic impact.  We also looked favorably upon projects that have the potential to be transformational, meaning they will have an immediate, significant impact upon Cuyahoga County.”

Roman said GCP will, in the future, consider supporting projects that did not make the recommended list for state capital funding.

This capital bill prioritization process was overseen by the GCP – including its executive committee.  During the process, GCP engaged Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and other elected officials, foundation community leaders and GCP members to gain valuable perspective on what would have the maximum economic impact for our region.

Unlike past capital budgets, there are separate tracks for “economic development” and “arts” projects.   GCP prioritized economic development projects.  GCP nominated Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, to the statewide group that will make recommendations for projects seeking “arts” funds.

“We’ve seen significant investment in Cleveland in recent years and now is the time to build on that momentum with these projects and all the development that is being planned in our regional economy,” said Jackson. “State leaders should support funding for these projects because what is good for our regional Cleveland economy is also good for Ohio.

While many of the recommended projects involve the waterfront, the list that will be submitted to lawmakers in Columbus also includes other, substantial neighborhood improvements.

Communities from across Ohio will be vying for capital bill funding.  Roman and Jackson said it’s important that local leaders lead a focused and sustained effort to ensure Greater Cleveland gets its appropriate share of funding.

The final list was drafted only after all of the projects were measured by applying a wide set of criteria including economic impact, transformational aspects, degree of inclusion, community interest and others.

Here’s a brief overview of the nine projects and funding levels recommended by the GCP for inclusion in the capital bill:

  • Lakefront Access, Cleveland, $7 million.  This project, with a total estimated cost of $47 million, would connect Cleveland’s Central Business District to the Lakefront.  The project will feature a pedestrian connector that spans an existing 600 foot wide trench that houses fully operational freight and passenger rails, as well as a four lane highway.  This project is deemed to be a vital component to expanding and enhancing public access to Cleveland’s lakefront.

  • Flats East Gateway and Riverfront Park, Cleveland, $6 million.  Costing a total of $16 million, this public promenade and more would represent another step in the comeback of the East Bank of the Flats, and would help connect it to the adjacent Warehouse District.

  • New Economy Neighborhood, Cleveland, $3 million.  This $42 million, mixed-use technology research district within Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood would be located along the proposed Opportunity Corridor.

  • Euclid waterfront improvements, Euclid, $1 million.  This $30 million effort would increase public access to Lake Erie in the City of Euclid.

  • Lakewood Park Waterfront Enhancements, Lakewood, $350,000.  This $1 million project would seek to maximize the public experience along the waterfront by utilizing land that was previously unusable and inaccessible.

  • Saint Luke’s Manor, Cleveland, $500,000.  This $16 million effort would restore one of Cleveland’s most iconic structures and provide affordable housing as well as educational and health services.

  • Gordon Square, Cleveland, $1 million.  This $30 million proposal would help continue the revitalization of this West Side Cleveland neighborhood.

  • Central Neighborhood Clinic, Cleveland, $1 million.  This $9 million, 30,000 square foot community health center would be located at E. 30th Street and Central Avenue.

  • Stage 3 of Towpath Trail, Cleveland, $500,000.  This $17 million project would extend the Ohio Canal Corridor Towpath from Steelyard Commons to Tremont.

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About the Greater Cleveland Partnership

The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com.