© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
To contact us with news tips, story ideas or other related information, e-mail newsstaff@ideastream.org.

Euclid Corridor Plan in Jeopardy?

The dream of turning Euclid Avenue into a restored boulevard lined with trees and bustling businesses is getting a shot in the arm. One of the most talked about new additions to the Euclid corridor is the Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Center. The project is part of three lodging facilities owned by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and operated by the Intercontinental Hotel Chain. Its 300 upscale rooms and state-of-the-art conference and meeting facilities could be just what the doctor ordered. Leland Lewis is the general manager of the Intercontinental. He thinks it's a good fit with efforts to revitalize Euclid Avenue.

Leland Lewis: I think it's going to be an attraction to corporations and pharmaceutical companies and just any company that would want to have a high level technologically advanced seminar meeting summit, whatever.

Lewis says visitors will be lured into the Euclid corridor area by the hotel and conference center. Then they'll be exposed to the Clinic's medical facilities and research work being done by the hospital and in nearby university laboratories and business incubators.

Leland Lewis: That along with the state of the art conference center gives us the ability to really use this hotel as a vehicle or as a conduit to disseminate to the rest of the world the knowledge and the breakthroughs that come from the Cleveland Clinic. So a big part of our business will be spreading the word, spreading the knowledge that is developed here on this campus.

Elsewhere along the corridor, technology development plans are unfolding. Transportation and improving blighted neighborhoods are all a part of the overall objective. To the average man on the street, it may not look like much is going on in the midtown area. But not to Chris Ronayne - he's is the director the City of Cleveland's planning commission.

Chris Ronayne: We envision the day when somebody can walk out of one of the tech firms and manufacturing firms for that matter in the mid town corridor, sit out on a bench right out on the sidewalk open up their lap top in a wireless environment and log on and enjoy their sandwich in the sunshine and catch a bus downtown all the while and we think it all can happen.

City planners have the final say on development, but in Cleveland, the actual design begins elsewhere. While other cities rely solely on their own planning department, Cleveland leaves the original design phase to community development corporations, or CDC's.

CDC's are private non-profit corporations set up to improve economic conditions for both residential and business use. The Midtown CDC is usually the first stop for anyone with a business idea who needs land to develop in midtown along euclid and elsewhere in their territory. Staffers screen new projects and tell company owners where and how to get government and other incentives. Its goal is to transform euclid into a neighborhood where professionals can live, work, and shop.

James Haviland: The area between (East) 55th and East 79th Street provides some of the greatest opportunity and that's where we have still some blighted buildings available land and opportunities to redevelop that real estate into income producing, tax producing business and other uses and that's what we've been focusing on really since 1997.

James Haviland is the executive director of the Midtown CDC. Over the last decade his group has bought up 8 acres of land for redevelopment along the corridor. Some of it will be the home to the Midtown technology center located at 57th and Euclid. Haviland says the technology buildings will be a major force in creating a high-tech center in Cleveland. Something planners, the mayor and business leaders have made a top priority for economic development.

James Haviland: And what we've discovered is there is two things that go along with that, one the type of employees that are attracted to the technology center also like urban cool, urban living the warehouse district provides opportunities we are trying to provide another product mix for them to consider.

But not everyone is on board the Euclid corridor concept. Laura Hindulak is the director of marketing for Pierre's French Ice Cream Company. It's factory and offices are located on Euclid in the mid-town area.

Laura Hindulak: Our company built and has occupied the Pierre's facility since 1995 and the Euclid corridor project unfortunately would greatly impact our business in a non-positive way.

Hindulak says her company is not against street, sidewalk and beautification efforts. But thinks it's a bad idea and not worth the $260 million price tag.

Laura Hindulak: We feel the Euclid corridor project is problematic in that it would reduce automobile traffic to one lane in each direction. And we feel this would create serious problems to our business especially in terms of trucking issues. We also believe it would create a problem to the thousands of people who come from the near east side each day. We feel current public transportation is adequate on Euclid avenue and therefore an expenditure of this nature is questionable.

The federal government is providing about half the money for the transportation project. But the grant process hit a snag when the federal transportation authority decided the RTA needs to find away to increase cost effectiveness in order for the application to be funded. The RTA is now looking into ways to lower expenses on things like cement and the price of the new busses. Rider ship numbers are also being re-analyzed to make the project look its best on paper. In Cleveland, Mike West, 90.3.