On February 4 a Crain's Cleveland Business reporter,
SHAD (our neighborhood community development corporation)
didn't know about a $750,000 grant from the City of Cleveland
for the Square, asked us if we knew what it was.
No, we follow
the news of the Square closely and we also didn't know.
A quick look at SHAD's
latest Connection newspaper, published in December,
said nothing. Nor did the websites of
Coral Company, their
Shaker Square site, or
about this good news. But more searching has turned up news of
this $750,000 from Cleveland. Karen Kurdzeil had included it in
her story in the July 14, 2005 Sun Press. Though the
story is no longer on their website, we had saved it on these
pages. To read it, click
Cleveland City Council did
We visited the City Council website to find that
at their meeting held on Wednesday January 28, our Ward
4 Councilman Kenneth Johnson had introduced this emergency resolution. I show it
in full below, adding some bold for emphasis. (To read
it on the City Council website,
click here [pdf].)
|Ord. No. 103-09.
By Council Member Johnson.
An emergency ordinance authorizing the
Director of Economic Development to enter into a
grant agreement with Coral Shaker Square, LLC to
provide economic development assistance to partially
finance capital improvements to Shaker Square.
Whereas, this ordinance constitutes
an emergency measure providing for the usual
daily operation of a municipal department; now,
Be it ordained by the Council of the City of
Section 1. That the Director of Economic Development
is authorized to enter into a grant agreement with
Coral Shaker Square, LLC to provide economic
development assistance to partially finance capital
improvements to Shaker Square.
Section 2. That the costs of the grant shall not
exceed an amount of $750,000 and shall be
paid from Fund No. 17 SF 652, Request No.185944.
Section 3. That the agreement and other appropriate
documents needed to complete the transaction
authorized by this legislation shall be prepared by
the Director of Law.
Section 4. That the contract authorized in this
legislation will require the recipient of financial
assistance to work with The Workforce Investment
Board for Workforce Area No. 3 to identify and
solicit qualified candidates for job opportunities
related to the City’s contracts, and place special
emphasis on the hard to employ, including but not
limited to the disabled and persons who have been
convicted of or have pled guilty to a criminal
offense, unless the criminal conviction or
circumstances relate to the duties for the
particular job sought.
Section 5. That this ordinance is declared to be an
emergency measure and, provided it receives the
affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members
elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in
force immediately upon its passage and approval by
the Mayor; otherwise it shall take effect and be in
force from and after the earliest period allowed by
Motion to suspend rules, Charter, and statutory
provisions and place on final passage.
The rules were suspended. Yeas 21. Nays 0.
Read second time.
Read third time in full. Passed. Yeas 21. Nays 0.
reaction was "What is the
How does a project that has nothing to do
with the daily operation of a city department become an
emergency? We've since learned that such resolutions are the
norm for City Council. As Councilman Johnson has noted, this avoids
a 40 day delay. But it also precludes public comment and open
discussion. (Yes, there is a review process in committees and
approval of a funding source.)
We passed the news along to the Sun Press, which
assigned a correspondent, Thomas Jewell, to report the story.
Last week's edition had the news on the first page. To read
Tom Jewell's good story, appropriately titled "Better late
than never", on their website,
news and the bad news
The good news is that the City of Cleveland is helping to
improve the Square.
The bad news is that we shouldn't
expect to see improvements. The funds will pay for
projects already completed such as new roofs, parking signs, and
Frankly we had hoped that the
City would be financing further improvements, such as more parking
and possibly a visitor
center at the Square.
Two questions remain
Other than the City Council minutes, the Sun Press story is the only public
information on this grant. Even today (three weeks later)
there is no mention on the websites of
Coral Company, their
Shaker Square site, or
In our view, as Cleveland
taxpayers and friends of Shaker Square, we deserve to be
better informed, especially about publicly funded projects.
a gift to the Coral Company or a loan?"
(Urban Development Action Grants) funds were originally
provided by our federal government years ago and usually
required repayment by private developers. As Cleveland's
first UDAG grants were repaid, the funds were recycled for
other grants, such as the $750,000 grant just made. But neither the Council
resolution nor the comments of Councilman Johnson and the
Coral Company have mentioned a commitment to repay the grant. So we ask
the question, "Does this grant have to be repaid?" We hope someone will tell us all soon.
Berger webmaster revised February 25. 2009