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Council Meeting Highlights (3/13/23)

Mar 13, 2023

Bridgeworks Development Moving Forward: Council approved a Tax Increment Financing Agreement to assist with the financing of the Bridgeworks Development Project at 2429 West Superior Avenue (near the Detroit and W. 25th intersection). While the development is receiving a 30-year TIF, it will provide the payments to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for what they would have received without the TIF.

The mixed-use development will include retail, 140 apartments, class-A office space, ground floor commercial space, a 130-room hotel, a 120-seat restaurant, rooftop patio, and parking. The site contains elements that will be preserved like the historic entrance to the streetcar level beneath the Detroit-Superior Bridge. The city is requiring the developers to meet hiring goals and a community benefits agreement. Ord. 1213-2022

Introduced Legislation

Erasing Clevelanders Medical Debt: Authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with Medical Debt Resolution, Inc. dba RIP Medical Debt, an organization known for its work with municipalities nationwide to eliminate medical debt, to provide for the purchase of medical debt of qualifying Cleveland residents. An estimated 100 million Americans– or 41% of adults - have medical debt, one of the main causes of bankruptcy. The agreement is for an amount not to exceed $1.9 million.  

The $1.9 million from the general fund will eliminate more than $190 million in medical debt for approximately 50,000 Cleveland residents. Council members and sponsors Kris Harsh and Charles Slife previously met with representatives from RIP Medical Debt. Other sponsors include Council members Kevin Conwell, Richard Starr, Rebecca Maurer and Council President Blaine A. Griffin. Council’s legislation will address the outstanding medical debt of Cleveland residents that earn 400% or less of federal poverty guidelines. This legislation is a substitute for an earlier ordinance. Ord. No. 336-2023

Railroad Safety: Councilmember Jenny Spencer sponsored a resolution on railroad safety urging Congress and the Ohio General Assembly to enact legislation to protect Cleveland residents from the inherent dangers of a train derailment on the multiple tracks that run through the city. Railway derailments or accidents have occurred three times in Ohio cities of East Palestine, Springfield, and Cleveland in the past 40 days, resulting in the death of a Norfolk Southern train conductor, surrounding communities being forced to flee their homes, and the release of hazardous materials into the air and groundwater.

The resolution notes that Council passed a resolution in June of 2020 condemning Norfolk Southern Corporation for rerouting daily trains carrying highly toxic flammable crude oil and ethanol through Cleveland, without public notice, and urged Norfolk Southern Corporation to cease this rerouting and move all hazardous materials shipments not originating or terminating in the City of Cleveland to less populated routes.

The resolution also urges Congress to pass Senate Bill 576, The Railway Safety Act of 2023, to take clear actions to prevent future, man-made rail disasters. Res. No 340-2023. Council will hold a special hearing on rail safety and emergency preparedness on March 21st.