"Great cities around the world have shown for decades — if not centuries — that beautiful parks, streets and public spaces are essential to urban vitality, economic energy and civic pride," says Litt. "Cleveland finally seems to be getting the message."
"That’s the big take-away from the historic agreement between Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson over how to spend excess cash raised for construction of the downtown convention center and Global Center for Health Innovation, formerly known as the Medical Mart."
Litt lists some of the projects the two leaders would like to pursue using an expected $300 million to $350 million budget pieced together from many sources (leveraged by the $93 million in excess cash). These include: a 650-room convention hotel, improvements to the downtown Mall and Public Square, a pedestrian bridge, and a 740-space parking garage.
"The net effect of all these investments, if carried out well, could be huge," argues Litt. "They’d link the Mall and Public Square to each other and to the lakefront as never before."
"They also could trigger residential, office and retail development that finally fills the gray wastelands of surface parking lots on either side of the downtown core in the Warehouse District and Campus District."