Cleveland downtown business owners push to recover from May 30 riots

Downtown businesses fight to comeback after May 30 riots.
Downtown businesses fight to comeback after May 30 riots.((Source: WOIO))
Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 8:28 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For more than a decade, a concentrated plan and billions of dollars in investment has gone into building a dynamic downtown in Cleveland.

If you drive through downtown today, the progress is overshadowed by closed businesses and boarded up windows following the May 30 riots which caused countless dollars in damages to businesses in the area.

“It makes me feel unwelcome, kind of uneasy,” said Faith Tinkerphelps. “It’s overwhelming.”

Pizza 216 on Euclid Avenue was one of the few shops not damaged during the riot.

General Manager Christian Anzelo told 19 News, “We like to be the beacon, things are going to get better.”

But how long will recovery take, and will it set back progress already made on the area’s revitalization?

According to a Downtown Cleveland Alliance report, an estimated eight billion dollars has been invested to revitalize and grow Downtown Cleveland over the last decade.

Despite recent setbacks from COVID-19 and the riots, downtown is still a sought after real estate market.

“Residential continues to expand, a half billion dollars in investment is underway and additional projects are being planned,” Downtown Cleveland Alliance CEO Joe Marinucci told 19 News. “May 30th caused a challenge, but as a community, we have overcome challenges before and I believe we will overcome challenges were are facing now.”

Some people 19 News talked with, but declined to do an interview, said they were making plans to move out of the area. They found living downtown no longer worth the hassle and felt waiting for reopening of businesses and services wasn’t worth the cost of living.

Still, some residents are willing to wait things out.

Joseph Nelson is a recent law student graduate and downtown resident.

He has lived in the area about three years. While he admits the loss of the grocery store and other stores downtown following the riots has been a major inconvenience, he is hopeful for the future.

“I believe downtown will build itself up stronger,” said Nelson.

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