Posted by: Tom on Jul 01, 2009
What would you do with $150 million if you had to use it toward some type of development initiative in Cleveland?
That was the final question of the May 27 AMPLIFY panel discussion on local development. Joe Roman, president of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the facilitator that afternoon, asked it. Four panelists answered it, each of their responses as provocative as the event itself:
- Peter Anagnostos, Cleveland State University vice president for University Advancement: “For me it isn’t in the development of land but in the development of the intellectual talent. … Put it into students. Young people have to be able to afford the education.”
- Ari Maron, partner of developer MRN Ltd.: “It’s the ‘golden spike’ we’ve been talking about (see news story on page 9). We’re so close, and if we can get a couple of projects done, we can be the envy of everywhere in the Great Lakes region.”
- Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc.: “(To develop) from the (Cuyahoga) River to the Harbor Front, obviously we have to move the Port (Authority). This is a development zone for tourists and future residents.”
- Andrew Watterson, program director of the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability: “I’d go with the offshore wind farm. It only takes 50 percent of that $150 million. And it would be the first of a kind in the world and critical for business attraction.”
What would I do with the $150 million? As a native of Garfield Heights, resident of Berea, and longtime proponent of Cleveland, three ideas come to mind immediately:
- A lot is made of attracting tourists and new residents, and rightly so. But how about doing something to recognize the die-hard Clevelanders who actually stuck it out here all these years? I agree with Ronayne when he says we should strive to be unique. But at the very least, let’s not be ashamed of who we are and where we came from.
- Do something for the kids. Get them while they’re young, and they’ll be smitten forever. That’s what happened to me in the late 1970s, when us kids would hop the 76 or 88 bus to catch a game at the Stadium.
- Finally, clean up the Red Line path from the airport to Tower City. Nothing is more depressing than looking out the windows of those trains. I can’t imagine what a visitor thinks.
Speaking of opinions, what would you do if you had the same $150 million to spend? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or respond to one of my blog postings at www.cbcmagazine.com. As Roman said at the end of the AMPLIFY discussion, “This town sorely needs ambassadors.” Maybe CBC can do something about that.