Cleveland leaders Armond Budish, Kevin Kelley sound off on Quicken Loans project

Cleveland leaders Armond Budish, Kevin Kelley sound off on Quicken Loans project

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Statements continue to roll in from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials following the Cleveland Cavs' decision to walk away from the Quicken Loans Arena Transformation project.

The Cavs withdrew their support after construction on the $140 million publicly-owned facility project was delayed due to a prospective referendum being placed on the ballot by the Washington, DC-based Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, represented locally by the "Greater Cleveland Congregations" (GCC), Service Employees International Union District 1199 and the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus.

The GCC issued the following statement in response to the news:

"Since January GCC has called on the Cavaliers, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to work on a substantive Community Benefits Agreement worthy of the $160 million of public money directed to the Q Arena expansion. GCC makes no apologies for prioritizing ending the cycle of using our jails to house the mentally ill or seeking to employ the jobless. GCC makes no apologies for standing up for our most vulnerable residents in our most distressed communities who feel like second class citizens in their own city. GCC makes no apologies for standing up for the 22,000 people who signed petitions and were subjected to voter suppression tactics rather being able to exercise their democratic rights. The loss of this deal squarely lies at the feet of those who put old school politics above the interests of the people."

"This is a tremendous loss for Cleveland. This represents a loss of tens of millions of dollars that could  have been spent in our neighborhoods. In the short term this means a loss of at least one thousand construction jobs scheduled to begin in September and the loss of the NBA All-Star Game," according to Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley.

The prospect of hosting the NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021 -- which Cleveland was in the running for -- will likely evaporate as the league had stipulated the Cavs hosting the marquee event was contingent on the completion of the nine-figure project.

"This is a significant loss for the community. It jeopardizes the future of two key economic generators: The Q and The Cavs. The deal would have guaranteed that the Cavs would stay in Cleveland through 2034 and it would have created and retained many hundreds of jobs for people living in our neighborhoods ... Contrary to misinformation put out by the opposition, the death of this deal actually means there will be less money, not more, available for social and community services for those most in need. By killing this deal, the opponents have harmed the future for our neighborhood residents." said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.

It's been a tumultuous few months for the Cavs, given the Kyrie Irving trade, reported infighting and a rocky NBA Finals performance.

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