CLEVELAND – March 18, 2014 – The Group Plan Commission expressed excitement today as a key funding link helped continue the momentum for a series of projects aimed at transforming Downtown Cleveland into a vibrant, thriving urban core.
The state’s 2014 capital budget, unveiled today, will include $5 million for the Group Plan Commission’s lakefront access connector project, which will feature an iconic pedestrian walkway that will span rail and highway barriers and enable people to easily move from Downtown to the lakefront.
The Greater Cleveland Partnership, designated by the state to submit a priority list of economic development project requests for Cuyahoga County, strongly advocated with Gov. John Kasich and key legislators for inclusion of the project in the capital budget.
“Securing this important funding reflects outstanding public-private partnership at its best,” said Anthony J. Coyne, Group Plan chairman. “We are grateful to Governor Kasich and our legislative leaders for keeping Cleveland front and center in the capital budget, and to Joe Roman and the Partnership for making such a strong case for this exciting project.”
Targeted for completion in 2016, the lakefront access connector is a key part of the Group Plan’s mission of working with a broad public and private coalition to transform and connect the city’s signature public spaces, unifying downtown and the lakefront.
“This is a big win for the city’s business and civic communities,” said Daniel P. Walsh, Jr., chairman of the Group Plan’s Governance Committee. “By finally integrating Cleveland’s revitalized downtown with our world-class cultural amenities and natural resources on the lakefront, this lakefront connector will not only connect Clevelanders to one of our region’s greatest assets, it will leverage Cleveland’s significant capital projects and spur additional investment both downtown and on the lakefront.”
The Group Plan is the coordinating body between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and philanthropic and private-sector partners, together the key driving forces behind the catalytic downtown projects – the lakefront connector as well as the revitalization of Public Square and the development of the Mall.
“Lake Erie is a unique asset to the City, yet we aren’t always able to easily access it,” said Jeremy Paris, Group Plan executive director. “By unifying our downtown and lakefront through an accessible and iconic connection, we can achieve what has been a dream for generations of Clevelanders. Today’s news is a big step toward achieving that dream."
About the Group Plan Commission
The Group Plan Commission was assembled in 2013 to update and build upon Cleveland’s Group Plan of 1903, the iconic vision that helped shape the heart of downtown Cleveland more than a century ago.
Taking action to complete the recommendations made in 2011 by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s initial Group Plan Commission, today’s Group Plan will complete projects to transform and connect the city’s signature public spaces.
The Group Plan is focused on three priority projects: redesigning and revitalizing Public Square, enhancing the downtown malls, and creating an iconic pedestrian connection between downtown and the lakefront.
Working with partners like the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and LAND studio, the Group Plan will combine public, private and philanthropic resources to complete these projects, complement the $3 billion in development in Cleveland’s downtown core since 2010, spur an additional wave of transformational development, and renew the heart of Downtown Cleveland for today’s Clevelanders and future generations.