CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The mayor, city officials and leaders from four banks announced a new initiative to invest in traditionally underprivileged neighborhoods that are next to areas of investment.
The city plans to spend $25 million in three targeted neighborhoods, and there is a $40 million commitment from the private sector for the project city officials said Wednesday. Representatives from Key Bank, PNC Bank, Huntington Bank and 5/3 bank all spoke about their commitment to the initiative.
The initial neighborhoods the new program will focus on include areas near MetroHealth on the W 25th St Corridor, areas on E 105th, E 93rd and E 79th streets. The city announced Wednesday specific plans targeted at specific areas within those zones.
The neighborhoods were picked, in part, due to a Cleveland State University study commissioned by the city. The study found that jobs have grown significantly on the city's east side, but the housing values have increased on the city's west side. A presentation also specifically singled out the area of Tremont as containing a lot of wealth that is beginning to spill over into nearby neighborhoods.
When asked by Cleveland 19 why this plan is different than previous investment plans the city may have attempted in the past, the planning director, Freddy Collier, said the focus of this plan is different.
"This plan represents new tools that the mayor and the administration is utilizing - focusing deliberately on those neighborhoods of challenge," said Collier.
He said those neighborhoods tend to be next to areas of economic investment and job creation.
"When you think about growth in the city of Cleveland, people always talk about downtown, University Circle, Euclid Corridor, but at the end of the day you have neighborhoods that are right next door to those assets that are ripe for development."
Collier said that the initiative also focuses on areas where traditional models of growth and revitalization have not succeeded in the past, saying that he thinks this investment will work.
"I think for a couple of reasons, one you have a concerted effort. The city of Cleveland has a very robust community development system. The banks, the institutions, philanthropy when we really come together and focus our resources I think that's when good things happen," said Collier.
He spoke about how he hopes the investment will spur economic development and improvements, and also about the need for the community to be engaged in the process.
Collier stressed to Cleveland 19 that this isn't a plan to gentrify these communities.
"It's about those women or men who have lived in the community and who've been living there in dire circumstances for some time, and leveraging opportunity for them also," said Collier.