Downtown Cleveland Alliance Still Cleaning Up, Volunteers Could Return Soon
Most Downtown Cleveland sidewalks are finally clear of broken glass and clean after protests turned violent Saturday night. Now, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) is talking with business owners and the city about next steps.
Graffiti removal is next on the agenda, said DCA President Joe Marinucci. But that will take days, he said, and there is a longer-term recovery to discuss.
“This is not going to be a short-term process. It's going to take a little bit of time for us all to work together to not only stabilize the situation but also again to put us in a position where people are going to be more comfortable coming back into Downtown,” Marinucci said.
Practical issues including more trash cans are part of the recovery process DCA is now discussing with the city. Marinucci said while the Downtown Alliance overall did not suffer many financial losses over the weekend, the double crisis of COVID-19, the damage and the resulting curfew restrictions is stretching the organization – and Downtown businesses.
“From a staffing perspective, our concentration working with our partners now, obviously we're in the mode of aggressively working day and night with our property owners, our businesses to kind of help them through this,” Marinucci said.
The combination puts business owners in a crisis, according to Marinucci. Cleveland City Council legislation that would expand restaurants’ outdoor seating onto sidewalks and streets is encouraging, he said.
“Those are things I think we need to embrace even more aggressively as a result of what happened over the weekend and make sure that we as a community recognize that we have to move quickly to put some of these solutions in place for the businesses,” Marinucci said.
Marinucci also praised the volunteers who helped clean up from the post-vandalism damage on Sunday, noting the city banned further volunteers over safety concerns and the curfew. Those volunteer efforts could resume next week.
“We are talking about again being that formal conduit for either individuals that would like to maybe get involved from a volunteer perspective,” Marinucci said. “We've actually had some companies who've also reached out to us that said they'd like to get their staffs involved.”
The DCA and Cleveland officials could can tweak some of the confusing curfew rules that prevented Downtown residents from getting food or medicine earlier in the week.
“The Alliance, we're going to explore creating a platform where maybe we can have those delivery services provide groceries on a discounted basis if that's what people need,” Marinucci said.