Council Meeting Highlights (1/23/23)
Jan 23, 2023
Cleveland (January 23, 2023) - City Council held its regular Monday meeting tonight, both in person in Council Chambers and through live streaming. The next meeting is Jan. 30th.
Here are tonight’s highlights:
Superior Avenue Midway Bikeway: Council approved the project, which entails construction of a separated bikeway and enhancements along the center of Superior Avenue from Public Square to East 55th Street, approximately 2.5 miles.
Called the “Superior Midway” the project includes a 10-foot wide separated bikeway within a new 26-foot wide median in the center of Superior Ave. Eight-foot buffers on both sides of the all-purpose path will protect users from car traffic. The median also functions as a traffic calming measure. ODOT will be the agency to construct the bikeway on Superior Avenue.
The improvements also include resurfacing, curb ramps, landscaping, pavement markings and signage. The project is expected to cost more than $24 million with federal funds picking up about three-fourths of the cost. Ord. No. 1144-2022
Remaking Lorain Avenue: Council approved the city’s reconstruction plan for Lorain Avenue from West 65th Street to West 20th Street, 1.8 miles. The improvements include new pavement, curb, walk, and driveway aprons, upgrade catch basins, ADA compliant ramps at all locations, new water lines, traffic signal improvements, and new pavement markings. A new separated bikeway will be installed next to the sidewalk with a buffer from car traffic. The construction costs are estimated at more than $30 million. There is a current funding shortfall, and the city hopes to receive federal grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make up the remainder. Ord. No. 1201-2022
Upcoming Event Permits Approved: For The 5th Annual Cleveland Kurentovanje Kurent Dash, February 18, 2023, The Hermes Chili Bowl Classic on February 25, 2023 and The Ohio City Run on July 1, 2023.
Forgiving Medical Debt: Council introduced legislation, sponsored by Council President Blaine A. Griffin, and Council members Kris Harsh, Charles Slife, and Kevin Conwell, to use $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to buy medical debt. The purchase will erase nearly $200 million of medical debt for approximately 48,800 City residents. Council members met with experts to learn about the program and the process. Toledo passed similar legislation and Columbus is exploring something similar.
Council members Rebecca Maurer, Jasmin Santana and Richard Starr have signed on as co-sponsors. Others are expected to join.
Cleveland will buy medical debt through the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, an organization that specializes in purchasing “bundled medical debt portfolios on the secondary debt market, and then forgives that debt at pennies on the dollar.” Medical debt is one of the main drivers of bankruptcy in the U.S. Ord. No. 128-2023
Tik Tok & WeChat: Councilman Polensek sponsored a resolution for introduction both asking for and recommending that the administration adopt a strict policy prohibiting City employees from using any Chinese-owned social media platforms on City-issued devices. Res. No. 119-2023