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Looking ahead in 2016: Accelerating progress
and building positive momentum

The coming year promises to be a milestone in Cleveland’s history. The countdown is on with the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention only about 6 1/2 months away.

Working collaboratively to help our city successfully host this historic event is high on our 2016 priorities list. The collaborative effort of the private and public sectors is focused on ensuring that Cleveland is best represented when the international media spotlight is on our community during convention coverage.

We’ll also continue to advance other items on our economic development agenda that will support the ongoing positive momentum in our region.

Here’s a snapshot of some of our 2016 priorities.

Ensuring success of the 2016 Republican National Convention

Working with the public sector, we will continue to lead the effort to accelerate progress and community readiness to ensure that key physical development projects are completed on time. This includes completion of the Convention Center hotel and the renovation of Public Square.

In addition, renovations and upgrades at Hopkins International Airport also are on schedule.

We also will help recruit volunteers through targeted outreach to our members in 2016. In the coming weeks, we will launch a GCP Member Challenge initiative asking our members of all sizes to recruit volunteers from their workforce.

The Cleveland 2016 Host Committee website notes that “there are a variety of volunteer roles available including airport greeters, hotel greeters, transportation greeters and wayfinders.

“Volunteers are responsible for answering visitors’ questions about Cleveland, giving advice on where to visit and what to do, and distribute Host Committee information during Convention Week.”

In addition to being part of the convention’s volunteer team, employees from the same company who focus on one assignment can develop criteria to help make their participation a team-building opportunity as well.

Driving business development with a focus on expansion
and retention

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s award-winning Business Development Team is committed to retaining, advancing the growth of, and creating new opportunities for, local companies to increase the economic wealth and vitality of Greater Cleveland.

Working collaboratively across all GCP program areas and with our public and private partners and affiliates, our team’s outreach program involves meeting regularly with Greater Cleveland businesses to gain a better understanding of their growth opportunities and challenges. Our focus in 2016 includes:
  • Developing a pipeline of more than 40 projects; potential new jobs of 2,000 and retained jobs of 2,500 with projected $1.2B of capital investment.
  • Continue working with new Team NEO Board & leadership, regional partners and JobsOhio in advancing the Regional Economic Competitiveness strategy.
  • Completing our Business Development 2016-2018 strategic plan and agenda.

Advancing game-changing projects

The Greater Cleveland Partnership uses its resources to support and invest in catalytic real estate projects in the City of Cleveland. In 2016, we’ll continue working to ensure that projects of this type have the funding they need to move forward including:

Downtown Lakefront Pedestrian Bridge: The goal is to create an iconic pedestrian connector (image above) that will span rail and highway barriers and enable people to easily move from Downtown to the lakefront.

The bridge will link Cleveland’s revitalized civic core – a soon-to-be transformed Public Square and Mall, along with the new Cleveland Convention Center, Global Center for Health Innovation and Convention Center Hilton hotel—with world-class cultural amenities and natural resources on the lakefront.

In 2016, we’ll continue seeking $5M additional capital budget funds to support the project and pursue private resources through naming rights.

The Opportunity Corridor will be a three-mile boulevard of revitalization, breathing new life into Cleveland neighborhoods and improving access to the jobs, education and culture located in University Circle.

It will serve as a catalyst for reinvestment into nearby communities with the well-planned redevelopment of more than 300 acres of underutilized land into vital, neighborhood assets.

Phase II is going to bid in February 2016 with Phase III scheduled to begin late 2017 and completed by end of 2019 or early 2020. Funding sources have been identified but are not yet secure. We’ll continue to work with public partners.

In addition, the Opportunity Corridor Partnership office, which is housed at the GCP, will continue efforts to advance economic, community and neighborhood development in five neighborhoods surrounding the corridor. Over 70 community stakeholders are involved to advance activities in project area.

Expanding CEO engagement with inclusion initiatives

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of GCP, is working to make Northeast Ohio the best region in the country for the inclusion of minority individuals and businesses in the economic engines that drive our competitiveness.

Composed of more than 100 of our region’s leading employers, the Commission has advanced its work—over the past 15 years—through the commitment and involvement of CEOs and other C-suite leaders of its member companies and organizations.

In 2016, the Commission’s focus will include:
  • Developing cluster groups of CEOs and senior executives to address specific issues facing their industries.

  • Expanding use of data from the annual Employers Survey on Diversity™ to benchmark inclusion progress by our region’s employers.
  • Enhancing partnerships with national experts to ensure our region is best-informed of leading research, practices and value proposition for economic inclusion.

  • Developing a pilot Talent Accelerator with several major companies to help ensure minorities are included in senior executive searches and succession planning.

Helping drive The Cleveland Plan and supporting college
and career readiness

Working with other stakeholders, we’re focused on providing all Cleveland students with high-quality public and charter school options as detailed in The Cleveland Plan and supporting initiatives that can prepare students for success in college and careers.

In 2016, we will launch GCP Internship Central, resource that will be created through a partnership between Cleveland business community representatives and educators. The goal: to increase and improve internship opportunities in Northeast Ohio.

We’ll kick off our effort with the Greater Cleveland Internship Summit on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Cleveland State University. Click here to learn more.

We also will be involved in supporting the renewal effort for Cleveland school levy, which will go before voters in 2016.

Assisting county government with delivering
economic development outcomes

We will work with Cuyahoga County Executive Armand Budish’s administration to help deliver positive economic development outcomes. In 2016, our focus will include:
  • Engaging with County leaders to align a workforce development strategy.

  • Assisting the County with developing a Community Benefits Agreement policy.

Expanding air carriers and service at Hopkins Airport

The Greater Cleveland Partnership Air Service Demand Task Force will continue working with the city and Hopkins International Airport (CLE) to ensure that important nonstop markets are served. In 2016, our focus will include:
  • Monitoring completion of RNC-related constructions projects.

  • Participating with  CLE staff in discussions with airlines on service expansion to priority unserved or under-served markets.

  • Monitoring CLE operational competitiveness.

  • Participating in the CLE Airport Director search process.

Advocating for public policies that connect to our priorities
and partners

Late in 2015, the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) was threatened with a 10 percent cut–about $60 million—from in its fiscal year 2016 budget. Our congressional delegation led an effort to have the cuts restored.

Our advocacy agenda in 2016 will include addressing the ongoing challenges to GRC funding to focus on a proactive approach rather than re-active. We’ll also continue advocacy efforts to:
  • Close the $5M funding gap for the Public Square renovation project.

  • Advance our position on various ballot issues.

  • Leverage the collective voice of our members to speak out on other business community priorities from our 2015-2016 Public Policy Agenda.

Welcome, new GCP members

We’re pleased to welcome these companies and organizations that recently joined the ranks of Greater Cleveland Partnership Investors. Click the links below to learn more about them.

Port of Cleveland opposes Army Corps efforts
to cut Cleveland Harbor maintenance dollars

The Port of Cleveland has launched an effort to ensure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) does not cut funds dedicated to maintaining Cleveland Harbor. Traditionally, Congress has appropriated millions annually to ensure the harbor remains properly dredged and open for business.

But a USACE request has now caused a $3 million cut from the 2016 allocation, and the Corps is once again arguing that it must dump potentially hazardous Cuyahoga River sediment in Lake Erie’s open waters.

“It’s disturbing that the Corps has gone to such lengths to frustrate our coalitions’ efforts to keep unsuitable sediment from being dumped into Lake Erie,” said Will Friedman, Port president and CEO. “We are working to line up additional support to fight this unjustifiable cut in the harbor maintenance allocation and ensure that safe, clean water and a working Cleveland Harbor are both protected.”

The Port and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) have been engaged in a dispute with USACE over how to handle the up to 250,000 cubic yards of Cuyahoga River sediment dredged each year to keep waters deep enough for large commercial ships. Due to the persistent presence of contaminants such as PCBs, the Port and OEPA opposed open lake dumping, the favored plan of USACE.

The Port and the State of Ohio are currently pursuing litigation in federal court to prevent USACE from open lake dumping. Federal and state officials also have joined the opposition to USACE, and the U.S. Sixth District Court also issued a temporary injunction forbidding open lake dumping.

The reduced harbor maintenance figure also comes as Cleveland Harbor is busier than it has been in decades, with over 500 percent growth in shipping container moving through the Port’s docks and overall tonnage growth over 300 percent.

USACE has up to $273 million in additional unallocated funds at its disposal in 2016 for operation and maintenance of Federal harbor and channel projects. The Port is urging everyone to contact USACE and demand that a share of those funds be dedicated to environmentally safe dredging and sediment placement for Cleveland Harbor to keep Lake Erie safe and clean and Northeast Ohio’s economy moving.