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Cleveland City Council authorizes $10 million in ARPA funds for West Side Market repairs

The city says the money will be used to renovate the market’s basement, repair its roof and facade, add air conditioning, and upgrade its infrastructure.

CLEVELAND — After weeks of negotiations, Cleveland City Council reached a compromise with Mayor Justin Bibb on Monday, agreeing to allocate $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds towards the West Side Market. 

The council passed the legislation by a 14-1 vote during Monday night's meeting. 

Originally, Bibb proposed that the market would receive $20 million in ARPA funds, but council opposed that amount. Bibb lowered his allocation request to $15 million, but on May 3, Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin told 3News that council would only approve $10 million.

"It could have been $5 million," Griffin told 3News' Lydia Esparra after Monday's meeting. "I pushed for $10 million."

The Bibb administration previously said the ARPA money will be used "to renovate the market’s 30,000 square foot basement, repair its roof and facade, add air conditioning, and upgrade the heating, electrical, and water infrastructure."

The council says the $10 million in ARPA funds can be combined with $3.3 million it allocated last year for a new roof, which has yet to be started. In addition, Cleveland City Council also passed $1.25 million in 2022 to pay to replace three freight elevators. 

During a meeting of the Finance, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee on Monday, councilmembers discussed the possibility increasing the parking fees at the West Side Market parking lot when the market is closed. The lot is frequently used by customers going to bars and restaurants on West 25th Street. The fee is currently $1 an hour and council stated that whatever the increase, it could be a funding stream for market improvements."

Jessica Trivisonno, the senior strategist for the West Side Market under the Bibb administration, told 3News' Neil Fischer that the market needs $45 million for improvements. 

Vendors were upset last month when the last working elevator inside the market stopped working. With no feasible way of getting their products and equipment up and down, some tenants were forced to close for the remainder of the day.

"Bandaid fixes aren't working anymore," Bibb declared on Twitter amid the elevator issues, urging Cleveland City Council to pass the $15 million ARPA proposal.

But Griffin held firm, explaining to Fischer that the city has spent $10 million on the West Side Market over the last four years. “We value the West Side Market, but we also know that this is a once in a lifetime chance to try and make investments in areas of the city of Cleveland where the market won’t go,” he added.

Last month, Trivisonno outlined the city's vision for the market's future to tenants. The upgrades would include a food hall with prepared food businesses, relocating produce vendors, and refurbishing the market's basement. 

The passed legislation for $10 million in ARPA funds comes as the market transitions into control by the nonprofit Cleveland Public Market Corporation, which was announced in February and is in the process of hiring an executive director.

Editor's Note: 3News' Neil Fischer and Lydia Esparra contributed to this story

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