Councilmember: Money for 'Q' separate from demolition budget

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland city officials say money being used for the multi-million dollar Quicken Loans Arena transformation can't be used for abandoned homes following protests.

Many, including the family of Alianna DeFreeze, have protested the renovations and questioned why the city can't find the resources to get rid of more abandoned houses.

Councilman Tony Brancatelli said the city has been fighting the problem of abandoned homes for years, and it's not as simple as moving money from one place to another. Records show that last year the city and county tore down more than 1,000 abandoned homes, including in the area where police found DeFreeze's body.

"Eighty percent of our resources go toward our neighborhoods. Downtown has projects, and they look big, and they do get a lot of attention, as they should," said Brancatelli.

Brancatelli said the money for The Q's renovations can't be used for anything else (like demolitions).

"The subsidies of what they're asking for is not subsidies that would be available for many other resources these are ticket tax, taxes around parking these resources that are generated because the facility exists," he said.

According to the Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers will pay for $70 million, or half, of the renovations.

In 2016, The Q generated $245 million in direct spending and $44 million in state, county, and city tax revenue from different streams.

"It is important that it succeed because it provides jobs for my neighbors and your neighbors so that we can continue to have a robust economy," said Brancatelli.

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