Last week, Cleveland.com and local television news had something on the announcement of a new innovation district in Cleveland connected to some of the usual players in our economy basically. While any investment counts, and it’s money from the State to boot, it’s again for jobs related to the health industry. After all, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.
Why doesn’t anyone go back and look at the idea of a design district that was proposed almost a decade ago? Also, with the Biden Administration’s new effort to fight climate change and promote renewable technology, why can’t the West Quad of Case Western Reserve University expand too? Even with the Maltz Center’s new addition, there is plenty of room on that site for a research facility looking at carbon capture technology for example.
While James Levine has been around almost as long as Joe Marinucci and Joe Roman, his op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com does come up with some ideas that are out of the box, or downtown. Along with the perennial proposals for Burke Lakefront Airport’s land and the lower level of the Detroit-Superior High-Level Bridge, Levine does mention redeveloping the Scranton Peninsula in the Flats and doing something finally with the old Aquarium in Gordon Park. I can see the latter as a sports and recreation center for the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood (especially since Goodrich House is now long gone).
Another interesting thing popped up this week was Amtrak’s proposal to add five new routes in Ohio. There is a map on the All Aboard Ohio website showing what is proposed. This includes a Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati route that was given federal money for under Governor Ted Strickland that his successor, John Kasich, returned. What I felt at the time was far more viable was a Cleveland to Pittsburgh to Washington DC high speed commuter rail route which I did a feasibility study on in 2012 with former RTA CEO Taras Szmagala for a class at Cleveland State University. What is ironic for the new Amtrak proposal is that there is a route from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, but this time heading on to New York City. Of course, there have been proposals like this before.
All these plans are fine and dandy but, even without a pandemic and violent crime off the hook, the odds of one of the above really taking off would be a miracle. However, if we can get one of those things (like Cleveland being an Amtrak regional hub) that would be an achievement.