NO DEAL ON THE Q!
GCC has learned that there is now a timeline for the Quickens Loans Arena deal legislation, starting at the county and moving to the city. It's a crucial time for us to demand a stop to the fast-tracking, maximum transparency, and a community equity fund from this deal!
Why is GCC “NOT ALL IN” on the Q arena deal? We don’t think the financing deal as announced gives any direct benefits to improve our citizens’ lives.
We think that as it has been announced, the Q Arena deal continues a familiar pattern: taxpayer-funded development at the expense of our neighborhoods. We have the hope that successful sports venues will support thriving business and that everyone benefits from the result. But we also want jobs for our unemployed citizens, help for those suffering from mental illness and addiction, and the physical rebuilding of our neighborhoods. As it was first announced, the total cost for facility renovation, including loan interest and funds for future stadium work, is estimated at $282 million, $160 million of which would come from public sources that could be better spent elsewhere. If there is enough money for arena remodeling there should also be enough money for our communities’ most pressing needs.
COMMUNITY EQUITY FUND
We are calling for a Community Equity Fund (CEF) that will match the city and county’s investment into the Q Arena project and will be funded through a direct stake in the Q deal. A CEF will directly link the growth and prosperity of one of our region’s strongest economic engines, downtown Cleveland, with the improvement of the neighborhoods and communities of the whole city and county.
EXAMPLES OF OTHERS
We think our leaders are missing an important opportunity. In other cities, tax-payer funded stadium and capital deals produced funding for direct community benefits too. In Milwaukee, owners of the Bucks contributed $30 million to address foreclosed and dilapidated housing in inner-city Milwaukee when the Bucks wanted a new stadium. In Baltimore, when Under Armour wanted hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidy to build a new global headquarters, the company negotiated a $135 million community benefits agreement with residents in the form of new affordable housing and jobs for Baltimoreans from distressed neighborhoods. When the Nationals wanted to build their baseball stadium in DC, they negotiated a Tax Increment Financing District that funneled millions of dollars to neighborhood development across the city. We want our community to be as innovative as those cities.
HOW YOU CAN ACT
STEP ONE: CALL AND EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
Make phone calls and send e-mails to your county councilmember expressing your strong opposition to the deal as it has been announced. If you live in the city of Cleveland, contact both your city councilmember and county councilmember. Please ask your neighbors, friends, and colleagues to do the same. Let’s generate hundreds of calls!
Click HERE for the flyer on how to find your representative, and a sample script for you to use.
***note: some of these councilmembers will tell you that the formal legislation on the Q deal has not been released yet. This is true. However, the deal will almost certainly contain well over $100 million of public subsidy with no concrete benefit for our communities, especially our most distressed communities.
STEP TWO: PACK THE FEBRUARY 14 COUNCIL MEETING
"NO SWEETHEART DEALS ON VALENTINE'S DAY!"
FEBRUARY 14, 5-7PM, COUNTY BUILDING
2079 East Ninth Street Cleveland, OH 44115.
The first reading of the Q deal legislation will take place on February 14 at the county council building downtown. Let's pack the hearing room with GCC to let the council know we are watching! We will prepare GCC leaders to speak. Please arrive at 4:30 for a brief GCC teach-in inside the county building. Please wear your GCC shirts. As this is Valentine’s Day, we will object to any 'sweetheart deals' the council supports! (We have been told that the county will provide vouchers for those who park in the garage directly next to the county building).
STEP THREE: LOOK AND SEE
DOWNTOWN SUBSIDY TOUR
FEBRUARY 25, 1-3PM, DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND
More details are forthcoming--we will have concretes by early next week.
STEP FOUR: ACTION
MARCH 9, 7PM, ELIZABETH BAPTIST CHURCH
6114 Francis Ave. Cleveland OH 44127
Save the date for a major GCC-wide action on the Quicken Loans Arena deal with our elected officials.
OUR OP-ED IN THE PLAIN DEALER