Posted Thursday, June 12, 2003
Big bets. That's how some local leaders were referring to high profile; big-money public projects intended to revitalize Northeast Ohio's economy. In the summer of 2003 there was a big bet on the table called “a new convention center.” Business leaders and developers suggested a variety of different sites and plans. Which one was the best? And, how much would it cost to build? And could it stimulate economic growth for Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio? These questions and more were discussed in this tenth installment of A Quiet Crisis.
Madeline Cain, Mayor of Lakewood
Jimmy Dimora, Cuyahoga County Commissioner
Ned Hill, Prof. Urban Studies and Public Administration, Cleveland State University
Frank Jackson, President, Cleveland City Council
Ari Maron, Partner, MRN Limited Partnership
Steve Strnisha, Deputy Director, Cleveland Tomorrow
There were many signs of trouble in late spring of 2001. LTV Steel had just gone through bankruptcy—again. Cleveland’s last downtown department store was closing. The region’s largest multi-national corporation, TRW, was leaving town. No major downtown construction project was on the boards. Regional growth was lagging behind the national average. The so-called “brain drain” was sapping the region of its best and brightest young minds. And nobody wanted to talk about it.
This was the backdrop for A Quiet Crisis, a series initiated by The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest daily newspaper and ideastream, the multimedia content organization just formed by the merger of Cleveland’s public radio and television stations. For three years this innovative multiple-media series focused the attention of Northeast Ohio on the region’s most serious challenge—an economic decline that was unraveling the “comeback” renaissance of the 90’s and threatening the vitality of the region.
Through 14 round table discussions of community leaders that were broadcast on WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN, radio call-ins, in-depth reports on radio and television, newspaper articles, columns and editorials, the ambitious multimedia campaign highlighted the region’s problems and also offered solutions in ways that energized and empowered individuals and organizations to action and change.