CLEVELAND — The city of Cleveland is seeking federal funding to revitalize an east side corridor that it believes has suffered decades of “systemic disinvestment,” Mayor Justin Bibb announced today.
The city, along with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), are working to apply for a $10,732,046 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the E. 66th Street Corridor area between Superior Avenue and Euclid Avenue.
The project, called "DREAM 66," which stands for Delivering Resilient Equitable Accessible Mobility to East 66th Street, will include a multi-purpose trail with porous asphalt to improve water quality, new sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, pollinator plantings, new trees, benches, trash cans and bicycle and scooter parking.
“These multi-modal investments will enable E. 66th Street to act as a tributary to the Euclid Corridor’s bus-rapid-transit and bicycle facilities – creating strong connections to jobs, education and healthcare opportunities,” read a fact sheet on the project provided to media.
PHOTOS: See renderings of City of Cleveland's proposed DREAM 66 project in E. 66th Corridor
The City of Cleveland has committed $3,500,000 of its own money to the project, along with a $1,500,000 commitment from the NOACA, raising the total budget to $15.7 million.
The two entities will work together to apply for the $10.7 million grant through the DOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program. Other stakeholders include Democratic U.S. Representative Shontel Brown (D-OH-11), MidTown Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
“This funding would help end decades of disinvestment in Hough and MidTown, two of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods, and capitalize on the momentum to rebuild and revitalize the region,” said Bibb.
The city boasted the one-mile corridor as being “steeped in history,” home to League Park and the Baseball Heritage Museum. Investment in the corridor has increased recently, with the Cleveland Public Library building a new branch in the area and the Cleveland Foundation undergoing construction on a new headquarters.
The E. 66th Street Corridor is also located between downtown Cleveland and University Circle, two of the city’s biggest hubs of industry and education.
“Multimodal investments along East 66th Street will also bring connections to the adjacent St. Clair-Superior neighborhood,” said NOACA Executive Director and CEO Grace Gallucci. “This collaboration between community residents, the business community, and local and regional partners has the potential to become a bustling connector in our region to produce more equitable avenues for access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities.”
The project, if completed, would be the first project in Cleveland to comply with the new "Complete and Green Streets" ordinance passed by city council in June, which calls for roadway designs that make Cleveland streets “safer, greener and more welcoming for pedestrians, bicyclists and others.”
According to DREAM 66 organizers, along with public safety and sustainability, equity is at the forefront of the project. Streetscape improvements were designed with underserved residents’ input after “an intensive public engagement process” elucidated residents’ top needs and concerns.
The NOACA’s project statement associated with the effort calls for the city to “create a national model public space that emphasizes seamless connectivity an accessibility – promoting physical social and technological links – with an overarching commitment to justice and equity.”