CLEVELAND — The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded $2.5 million to the city of Cleveland in order to further its study of the proposed lakefront transformation plan submitted by the Haslam Sports Group.
The funds are coming from ODOT's Office of Jobs and Commerce. Combined with the matching funds from the city, $5 million has now been committed to the project.
The plan calls for a park-like land bridge over State Route 2 and the railroad tracks. The hope is to link the lakefront area around FirstEnergy Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of downtown, specifically to the mall atop the Huntington Convention Center.
The proposal calls for a combination of private and public money to help pay for its funding, which at this point, is estimated to cost $230 million.
"Now that funds have been committed, a scope for this initial phase of work will be finalized, after which the procurement and project agreement process will commence in conjunction with ODOT," the city of Cleveland wrote in a joint statement with the Haslam Sports Group.
You can read the entire statement from the city of Cleveland and the Haslam Sports Group below:
"We appreciate the time ODOT has taken to review the City’s TRAC application for the lakefront vision. We have had productive conversations with ODOT and understand their funding recommendation today based on the preliminary stage of this project. ODOT has made it clear that they are supportive of the Mayor's vision and the feasibility work proposed as next steps for this endeavor that would help drive economic development for our city and the region. We continue to receive strong community support for the vision and will work with ODOT on potential alternative funding sources to match the City’s commitment to explore how best to properly and safely connect pedestrians and cyclists to our region’s greatest natural resource, Lake Erie.
"The awarded $2.5 million from ODOT coupled with the city’s matching funds will provide a significant $5 million to advance the planning and engineering work needed for the land bridge project. Now that funds have been committed, a scope for this initial phase of work will be finalized, after which the procurement and project agreement process will commence in conjunction with ODOT. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with ODOT and other stakeholders to move this important project forward."