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Stadium repair and renovation requests keep coming for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County

A view of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Ideastream Public Media
A view of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Cavaliers this week said they need $28 million to upgrade and replace elevators, escalators and broadcast equipment at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The request comes as the Browns are planning an extensive renovation of their stadium that some estimates put close to a billion dollars. That renovation fits in with a larger development plan to better connect the city with the lakefront. The Guardians are in the beginning stages of a multi-year, $200 million renovation for fan enhancements at Progressive Field.

Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are on the hook for paying for upkeep and upgrades and do so through the Gateway Economic Development Corporation. A main revenue stream for the upkeep of the venues comes from the sin tax.

The story tops our look at the week’s news on the Reporters Roundtable.

Also up for discussion, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 83 this week, also known as the Higher Education Enhancement Act. Sponsored by Republican Jerry Cirino of Kirtland, supporters say the bill will change the direction of higher education in Ohio and address concerns that “woke” or liberal bias on campuses and in classrooms is stifling conservative viewpoints. Opponents of the bill say it is an assault on academic freedom and will drive good students and professors to other states.

State Issue 1 is what voters will see on their ballot when they are asked to decide to increase the threshold for approving future constitutional amendments. Republican lawmakers want to increase the voter support needed from a simple majority to 60%. State Issue 1 also sets a higher bar for collecting signatures to qualify for a ballot.

The Ballot Board approved the language along party lines this week. But a lawsuit filed last week seeks to stop the planned August 8 special election.

The city of Cleveland will invest $10 million to fund infrastructure improvements at the West Side Market. The money will come from the city’s share of federal stimulus dollars received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The amount is less than what Mayor Bibb proposed and less than what’s needed to repair the aging market. Members of council, however, pushed back on the request saying low- and middle-income neighborhoods in Cleveland need help too.

Guests:
-Stephanie Czekalinksi, Deputy Editor for Engaged Journalism, Ideastream Public Media
-Kabir Bhatia, Senior Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a producer for Ideastream Public Media's the “Sound of Ideas” and the “Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.”