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Cleveland neighborhood advocate named Opportunity Corridor project director

Marie Kittredge will coordinate efforts to build boulevard that will spur economic development, neighborhood improvement in city

Cleveland, Ohio – Longtime community leader Marie Kittredge will serve as project director for the Opportunity Corridor project, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announced today.

Kittredge will be the civic liaison for the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee, overseeing and coordinating all activities including infrastructure construction as well as community and economic development activity. She will coordinate community engagement and outreach activities, oversee community and economic development planning and identify private, public and philanthropic resources for the advancement of neighborhood development activities.

Kittredge will also work closely with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the City of Cleveland, US EPA and other community partners on the coordination and implementation of green infrastructure development opportunities along and around Opportunity Corridor.

“Marie has the experience, knowledge and deep understanding of the complexities of the work that must be done and we are excited that she has agreed to serve in this new role,” said Jamie Ireland, Chairman, Capital One Partners, who also serves as co-chair of the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee. “Since 2009, the Steering Committee has worked together with our public, private, civic and neighborhood partners to secure the resources necessary to advance this transformational project. We’ve made considerable progress but our work is far from over, and Marie will now lead the effort to complete this vital project.”

The 3.2 mile Opportunity Corridor will connect 1-490 at E. 55th St. to E. 105th St., the gateway to the Fairfax Neighborhood and University Circle. The project is broadly viewed as a job-producing economic development catalyst. In addition to improving access to University Circle, the fastest-growing job center in the region, Opportunity Corridor will stimulate economic opportunities in the more than 300 acres of land adjacent to the boulevard that is now vacant and underutilized.

Kittredge said the project has the potential to transform an area of Cleveland that has seen minimal investment for far too many years.

“I am honored to have a chance to work with outstanding neighborhood, business and institutional partners on this project,” she said. “Our focus will be on realizing the full potential of the Corridor investment for each of the surrounding neighborhoods, with particular attention to the residents and businesses that are there now. We have some outrageous goals for this project that will meet the highest standards of excellence in the 21st century urban design.”

In 2013, Governor Kasich signaled a green light for the $331 million Opportunity Corridor project, announcing that the State of Ohio would collaborate with the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and other local partners to provide the resources necessary to construct the dual purpose transportation and economic development project.

Terry Egger, former publisher of The Plain Dealer who serves as co-chair of the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee, praised Kittredge’s appointment.

“When we created the Steering Committee, all of the partners recognized that this boulevard has the capability of infusing new vitality into this City and more importantly that it must be an asset that can be leveraged to drive unprecedented investment into the neighborhoods through which it traverses,” Egger said. “It’s always been about the boulevard and the surrounding neighborhoods. I am thrilled that Marie has agreed to lead this effort as we continue our work to advance neighborhood, community and economic development opportunities for all Clevelanders.”

Mayor Frank Jackson said: “Marie’s appointment offers the Opportunity Corridor project both the management experience needed to move the project forward and the understanding of community needs in the midst of such important economic development. This is an opportunity to collaborate and invest public, private and civic resources in our neighborhoods in a way that creates jobs and ensures an outstanding quality of life for every resident.”

Kittredge recently resigned her post as executive director of Slavic Village Development (SVD) having served in that role for the last nine and on staff for more than 20 years. During her tenure at SVD, Kittredge gained extensive experience with both the development of complex urban real estate projects as well as outreach to diverse constituencies. She has been an active member of the Steering Committee since its creation in 2009. A resident of Cleveland, Kittredge is a founding board member of Bike Cleveland and a former member of the Cleveland Board of Education.

GCP staff will support Kittredge in her efforts as well as the entire Steering Committee which will continue to meet on a regular basis to monitor construction progress of the boulevard. In addition, the Steering Committee is also establishing sub-committees to address numerous priorities including neighborhood development, green infrastructure improvements and community engagement opportunities. The Neighborhood Development sub-committee has been established and is co-chaired by Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, Ward 5 and Vickie Johnson, executive director of Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation.

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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.