Changes to Cleveland
Roundtable: Steve Litt, Architecture Critic, The Plain Dealer; Leila Atassi, City Council Reporter, The Plain Dealer; Brian Tucker, Publisher, Crain’s Cleveland Business
New City Wards
Cleveland City Council has approved a new map carving the city into 17 new wards. Council must be downsized by two seats because of population loss. There were concerns, however, about some longstanding neighborhoods being assigned to multiple wards. Downtown business leaders are unhappy because downtown will now have three council members instead of just one, currently Councilman Joe Cimperman.
Early this week, Cleveland popped up on the Forbes magazine list as one of the top 15 cities in the U.S. with emerging downtowns. But despite this recent recognition, the debate as to how exactly our emerging city takes form is still underway. Some activists in Cleveland are fighting plans for new, enclosed walkways, pointing to the view that the key to a vibrant downtown is more feet on the streets. On the flip side, boosters believe linking downtown hotels to the city's new convention center will help Cleveland compete. And in the meantime, it was announced that the new convention center and medical mart will open early and under budget.
The debate over Internet sweepstakes cafes in Ohio appears to be coming down to this: elimination vs. regulation. A House bill approved this month effectively would put the 821 establishments across the state out of business. In response, a well-funded coalition of sweepstakes backers is pushing regulation as the bill moves through the Senate. But meaningful regulation could be unrealistic, as some sweepstakes computer terminals are self-contained, while others are connected to a server in other states.
Newsmaker: Lexi Hotchkiss, Director of Communications Positively Cleveland
The Cleveland National Air show became a victim of the sequester as the federal budget constraints grounded the annual event. It's the first time the air show won't be held in Cleveland since its first event in 1964. The air show attracts 60,000 to 100,000 visitors to Burke Lakefront Airport and nearly 35% of them are from out of town. It also has an annual economic impact of $7.1 million.