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Investments in water quality supporting Cleveland's waterfront development

The importance of water and sewer infrastructure on the economic and environmental health of Northeast Ohio was the central theme of the 2014 Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC) Annual Meeting on Monday, July 21.

Keynote speaker George S. Hawkins, Esq. (photo left), general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority and a Greater Cleveland native, provided an engaging and passionate talk on the essential and often overlooked investments being made in D.C., Cleveland, and cities around the country to both provide safe drinking water and ensure healthy rivers and lakes for the benefit of the public.

Hawkins’ message is incredibly timely, as development in Greater Cleveland has become increasingly focused on its waterfronts. From the rejuvenation of our lakefront parks—thanks to investment by the Cleveland Metroparks—to the revitalization of the Flats East Bank along the Cuyahoga River to the promising realization of substantial development on the downtown lakefront, our waterfronts are helping to fuel our region’s economic growth.

BUGC stakeholders continued to invest with a focus supporting these efforts, with projects involving improved access to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, stormwater and wastewater management programs, and the expansion of waterborne trade through containerized shipping from the Port of Cleveland. BUGC Chairman Debbie Berry (photo center) discussed these and many other investments made during fiscal years 2012 and 2013, which totaled more than $1.4 billion.

The meeting concluded with the presentation of the Senator George V. Voinovich BUGC Public Works Employee of the Year Award to Robert Brown (photo right), the recently retired director of city planning for the City of Cleveland. Brown concluded a nearly 30-year career with City Planning where he worked to improve the quality of life in Cleveland's neighborhoods while contributing to the numerous waterfront investments that have been completed or are currently taking shape.

Created in 2010, the Senator George V. Voinovich BUGC Public Works Employee of the Year Award recognizes a public works employee whose commitment, hard work, and enthusiasm have been instrumental in advancing the BUGC mission.