Referendum Planned on Deal to Make Over Quicken Loans Arena

Members of Greater Cleveland Congregations and others watch council hearings in April.
Members of Greater Cleveland Congregations and others watch council hearings in April. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Opponents of Cleveland’s deal to fund the Quicken Loans Arena makeover are trying to put the issue to a citywide vote this year.

The coalition includes faith group Greater Cleveland Congregations, the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 and AFSCME Ohio Council 8.

They’re pushing for a referendum on the measure passed by Cleveland City Council to fund arena renovations with $88 million in admissions tax collections over 11 years. They’ll have to submit around 6,000 valid petition signatures in 30 days.

GCC and others have pushed for changes to the deal between the city, the county and the Cavaliers.

“Ultimately, what we want to see is greater equity and investment our neighborhoods that is equivalent to the investment that we are making into our downtown infrastructure,” said Rev. Jawanza Colvin, a GCC member and the pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church.

The referendum effort gets underway as Mayor Frank Jackson seeks a fourth term in office.

Jackson signed legislation this week to approve the project, calling it “a great deal.”

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