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About City Council
A Message from City Council President Kevin J. Kelley
Greetings from Cleveland.
Summer weather is finally settling in and a lot has been happening in our city these days, from the $50 million renovation and expansion of Public Square to the building of hotels and housing, including the first high-rise apartment tower in more than 40 years.
As of this writing, the Transplant Games are underway and Hollywood’s Universal Pictures has turned part of downtown into an action movie set, shooting some of Fast 8, the newest in the popular “Fast and Furious” series.
All this, not to mention the National Republican Convention coming to town next month, is putting Cleveland in the national spot light and, from what I’m seeing, we’re looking pretty good.
Outside of downtown, the first phase of a five-year, $150 million expansion and renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is underway, as is the $40 million conversion of the West Shoreway from a high-speed freeway to a tree-lined, 35-mph boulevard, providing easier access to our lakefront.
Also underway is the Opportunity Corridor, a $331 million boulevard connecting University Circle to I-480. And on both sides of town, we are seeing major apartment developments that will bring more residents to our city.
Much of this development is due to the hard work and creativity of the Jackson Administration and City Council, working together to draw major public and private investments to our city.
But the business of City Hall is not just about bricks-and-mortar, ground-breakings and ribbon-cuttings.
Local government’s immediate business is to provide city services, public safety and general welfare for its citizens. That encompasses a great deal of needs, including jobs for our unemployed.
But when the Republicans come here next month, you will hear a different version of the purpose of government. They generally have contempt for social welfare programs and government job creation as they push for privatization and the dismantling of public institutions.
In fact, the State of Ohio’s top Republican, Governor John Kasich, recently signed into law a bill that prohibits cities from requiring contractors working on large public improvement projects to hire a share of local residents.
The governor’s pen wiped out a Cleveland ordinance that had helped put our citizens to work on big construction projects. We find the governor’s action reprehensible and we intend to fight him on this, using every legal avenue available.
Meanwhile, we continue working for the protection of public health, safety, morals and welfare. We recently launched an initiative to reduce infant mortality in Greater Cleveland, the rate of which is shockingly high and unacceptable.
The goal of our initiative, called “First Year Cleveland,” is to ensure every baby reaches his or her first birthday and lives a long and productive life.
We are currently in the process of putting together a board of trustees and hiring a “First Year Cleveland” executive director. We recently secured a $3 million award from Ohio Department of Medicaid for the initiative.
In closing, I want to express the high hopes I have for Cleveland and its leaders. We certainly have our challenges, but more importantly we have hard-working people who meet those challenges head-on every day.
City Council is now on summer recess, but that does not mean work has been put aside. We have a couple of summer meetings scheduled and we’ll be rolling up our sleeves in the wards. So please, don’t hesitate to contact your council representative with questions or concerns. And please, enjoy a safe and relaxing summer.
Kevin J. Kelley
President, Cleveland City Council