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Local Matters

For the Love of Cleveland: Reinvestment and Opportunity

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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"How do you take the vibrancy that exists within neighborhoods and manifest it?" – Keisha Gonzalez

Anchor institutions like Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals purchase upwards of $3 billion in goods and services per year. Their growth as contributed to Cleveland’s emerging identity as a hotspot for jobs in healthcare and higher education - “eds and meds.” This, coupled with millennials’ renewed interest in city living, has positively impacted our “brain gain.”

Yet, despite the driving force that these institutions play in the economy, many neighborhoods surrounding them often lack access to the very resources that envelope them - whether that be education, healthcare, or even food.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Clark-Fulton was bisected by the construction of the I-90 and I-71 freeways which razed parts of the neighborhood, cutting the area off from surrounding resources, including the steel yards and nearby MetroHealth Medical Center. The poverty rate in Clark-Fulton is 46.6 percent, exceeding Cleveland’s overall poverty rate of 35.9 percent. And yet, the neighborhood is starting to see some sparks of investment – it was a finalist for the Cleveland Hustles spin-off show Cleveland Chain Reaction that could lead to further job creation and economic development.

The East side neighborhoods of Fairfax and Hough share a border with some of the city’s most distinguished arts, cultural, and medical institutions. And yet, they are predominantly low-income, with poverty rates at 40.7 and 48.1 percent respectively. In an attempt to bridge the gap, city leaders are looking to take advantage Fairfax’s structure and create two distinct neighborhoods – and Arts and Culture District and the New Economy Neighborhood.

In addition, all of these neighborhoods are part of Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s $65 million project aimed at commercial and residential development to spark further outside investment, create jobs and improve quality of life. What can we do to ensure projects like this succeed and benefit those in poverty? How are our anchor institutions reaching out and supporting the surrounding neighborhoods? As Cleveland continues its renaissance, how can we avoid creating a city characterized by alternating pockets of growth, physically separating those with wealth and those in poverty?

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