© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

North Coast Community Development Corporation Plan stalls in Cuyahoga County Council

Lake Erie and the Cleveland city skyline
Abbey Marshall
Ideastream Public Media
Cleveland's skyline from Edgewater Park.

Cuyahoga County Council has stalled progress on a new joint community development corporation focused on Downtown Cleveland’s lakefront.

The North Coast Community Development Corporation was approved in May by Cleveland City Council. The city committed $3 million over three years to staffing and operations of the entity, which would be tasked with guiding large-scale projects to bring forth a more cohesive and accessible lakefront for residents.

Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne asked County Council to approve the creation of the development corporation, which requires the thumbs up from both the city and the county, as well as a $750,000 commitment over the same three-year period.

"The core of the county remains in Downtown Cleveland, and in many ways the future of the economy of this region is going to be dependent in the future of tapping into the potential of Lake Erie," Ronayne's Chief of Staff Eric Wobser said in a Tuesday presentation to County Council's Committee of the Whole.

Council members weren't too keen on the proposal, citing issue with the county's two allotted seats as opposed to the city's seven on the 13-person board. The rest of the board would be filled out by major lakefront stakeholders, including the Cleveland Browns, as well as one gubernatorial pick.

“Cleveland is going to rule," said District 11's Sunny Simon. "We really don’t have a voice on this."

Wobser tried to assuage concerns, but ultimately said the plan is likely to move forward with or without the county, saying it was a matter of either two votes or no votes.

“If we choose not to be a part of it, that’s O.K., that’s your choice but you’re making a choice to sit out of a very important conversation in future generations," Wobser told council members after nearly an hour of discussion.

Members also expressed fatigue over the creation of new, non-elected boards that operate with what they view as little say from or accessibility to the public.

“This seems like another expansion I’m not sure is necessary," said District 4 Councilmember Scott Tuma.

Wobser said having an organization to focus on operations and project management would free up the county while it focuses on other matters, as well as pool resources from the city and county.

"We don't want to take away from the power of people, but the people do want us to find efficient models," he said.

Council President Pernel Jones ultimately opted to hold the piece of legislation. Further discussion will take place at County Council's August 4 meeting.

Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.