Cleveland’s renaissance is still in its nuclear stage. In many ways, our heart has gotten ahead of our hands. There are many development projects in progress, from bringing real opportunity to the Opportunity Corridor to kick-starting the lakefront. Here are three areas that need a renewed focus.
Lakefront pedestrian bridge
Despite an effort to lump the bridge with the pre-Republican National Convention timeline of Public Square, the connector between downtown and the lakefront has yet to get off the ground. The lavish design may prove too expensive. But spanning the 14-acre gulch that separates downtown from the lakefront is vitally important to future development along the water, as is sprucing up the walkways that already exist. If Cleveland wants to become a lakefront city, we must be able to actually get to the lake.
A lightning rod just a few years ago, this project’s construction is underway. The first phase is nearing completion. But the larger promise of the corridor — that it would be a large-scale economic driver — hasn’t materialized. One site, at East 105th Street and Cedar Avenue, will be the new headquarters of IBM subsidiary Explorys. That’s a great start. But if the Opportunity Corridor is to live up to its name, many more sites must be filled to link University Circle to nearby neighborhoods.
A string of developments are beginning to spring up along Euclid Avenue, stretching from a construction boom at the Cleveland Clinic: the new headquarters of Dealer Tire at East 70th Street, the upcoming University Hospitals Rainbow Center for Women & Children at East 59th Street, and an adjacent office park called Link59. Filling developments along the corridor with growth industry companies is the city’s best chance at clawing back our position in nationally competitive industries. Further, it could siphon the economic power of University Circle into the surrounding neighborhoods.