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Cleveland City Council approves $2.5 million to explore lakefront development project proposed by Browns owners

The Cleveland City Council has approved $2.5 million in matching funds for a study regarding the impact of a lakefront development project.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

In May, the owners of the Cleveland Browns, the Haslam family, unveiled its vision for Cleveland's lakefront.

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On Tuesday, Cleveland City Council approved $2.5 million in matching funds for a preliminary impact study of the proposal, which would extend a land bridge from Mall C, that sits next to City Hall, to connect with the waterfront area around FirstEnergy Stadium. The Ohio Department of Transportation had previously approved an initial $2.5 million for the study, which "will consider the impact on traffic from pedestrians, automobiles, rail and mass transit."

According to the Cleveland City Council, the study is expected to begin before the end of 2021 and be completed later in 2022.

If approved, the transformation project would mark a significant shift for the landscape of downtown Cleveland, particularly as it relates to FirstEnergy Stadium. The project is expected to cost a total of $230 million in public and private funding.

“Lakefront connectivity has long been a complicated issue for our region, and a long-term solution has been elusive," Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in a statement in May. "Our preliminary vision, led by a landscape architect with experience around the world, intends to create a transformational pedestrian pathway unlocking public spaces and significant development opportunities on the lakefront. It would create year-round destinations accessible to our entire region, provide direct connections to nature and result in substantial economic development while driving density and engagement in the lakefront neighborhood our community shares. We recognize that there is a long road ahead for a project of this magnitude. 

"Still, it must start with a vision, which will be appropriately studied, vetted and modified based on input from community stakeholders. We greatly appreciate the City’s leadership and commitment to transforming the Lakefront and look forward to supporting the City as it engages in a community dialogue to understand better what is best for our region. We support the city’s TRAC application for funding to study this initial vision and are grateful for the positive reactions we’ve received so far as we’ve shared preliminary details with stakeholders whose support will be critical for a concept like this to become a successful reality for all.”

Credit: Haslam Sports Group
Proposed land bridge that would link downtown Cleveland to the lakefront.

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