Petitions challenging the agreement for a proposed renovation to Quicken Loans Arena have been withdrawn, potentially putting the project back into motion.
Earlier this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert announced that they were no longer planning to participate in a proposed $140 million overhaul to the arena. This came after a coalition that included the Greater Cleveland Congregations, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and Service Employees International Union District 1199 advocated to have the proposal placed on the ballot. The group had pushed for the referendum after the City of Cleveland voted to allocate its funding contributing, which was expected to amount to $88 million in admissions tax revenue over 11 years, beginning in 2024.
It was announced on Thursday that the Greater Cleveland Congregations had withdrawn the petitions, and will work with Cuyahoga County on committing to mental health and substance abuse crisis centers. More from The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A letter from Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish to representatives of United Pastors in Mission does not specify the county will build anything new.
“As much as we have done, we recognize there is much more to do, and we are committed to doing more throughout the County (including pursuing additional facilities and services for substance abuse and mental health crises), subject to the availability of resources and determinations of the best practice to follow,” Budish wrote in the letter, which the county sent to cleveland.com.
“With respect to mental health services, we historically provide a very significant subsidy to the ADAMHS Board ($40 million this past year), which in turn supports a wide range of mental health services. And as I described, we are also engaged in many other efforts.”
The statements came Thursday after a press conference and a related protest planned were canceled. The groups later rescheduled, and Greater Cleveland Congregations withdrew its petitions for a referendum.
In response, the Cavaliers issued a statement that said that they were encouraged by the development. More from The AP:
“We are very encouraged by this new development related to the private-public partnership plan to transform The Q for the long term,” team CEO Len Komoroski said in a statement. “We are reviewing the impact of this change and discussing it further with the county, the city and others.”
The Cavaliers had previously hoped to that work on the renovation project would begin in June, with the potential for securing the NBA All-Star Game in either 2020 or 2021. The team would have contributed $70 million toward the costs, and extend its lease through 2034. Quicken Loans Arena originally opened in 1994.
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