Cleveland’s Lakefront West development project will benefit from a federal windfall, thanks to Ohio’s efficiency with other transportation projects. That from Governor John Kasich, who delivered the news to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson today. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports:
At a press conference staged before the Cleveland cityscape, Kasich praised Jackson’s efforts to build up the lakefront as a way to get jobs and tourism into full swing. He said Cleveland’s main three projects have been the Inner Belt Bridge, the Opportunity Corridor, and the Shoreway project.
Kasich then said Ohio’s Department of Transportation was in the top five nationwide for completing projects efficiently. As a result….
“Ohio has reaped this year, $72 million that we frankly have reclaimed from other states. Because they did not do their job, they were not on top of their projects…."
Kasich then turned to Mayor Jackson.
“You’ve already put $4 million into this project. You’re expecting to put in another $3 million in. Keep it in your pocket, Mayor. You don’t need to spend it…Okay? You don’t need to spend it….”
Jackson has pushed the Lakefront plan as a means to make Lake Erie the economic and recreational center of Cleveland.
“….meaning no more East Side and West Side, but really everything emanating from the lake," said Jackson. "And having the lake as a focal point. And the governor’s investment in this will take us a long way….” (:12)
City councilman Matt Zone says he recalls the first lakefront meeting back in December 2001. He says there’s already been some growth, despite turbulent times.
“This neighborhood that I’m fortunate to serve, is in the midst of over a half billion dollars of new economic development activity," Zone told reporters. "That’s new housing, infrastructure, and jobs that have been created. 77 new businesses since 2006, and all of that was tied into this lakefront plan.”
The announcement takes the edge off of recent news, that the City of Cleveland was not getting a $17 million federal TIGER grant for a lakefront pedestrian bridge.
City planners say they’ll keep working private and public options to finance the Mayor’s multi-million dollar project.