Mayor Justin M. Bibb proposes more than $160 million in ARPA allocations focused on long-term investments and economic revival
April 11, 2023 — Cleveland — Mayor Justin M. Bibb has proposed a plan utilizing the remaining $163 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds focused on inclusive economic recovery, neighborhoods, housing, modernizing City Hall, and violence prevention. These allocations have the support of Council President Blaine Griffin, following negotiations after the April 10 City Council Caucus meeting. The adjusted plan will include catalytic neighborhood investments identified by Council members and amendments to the dollar figures outlined at yesterday’s caucus.
This innovative proposal focuses ARPA funds on long-term investments that will produce a lasting impact for Cleveland and its residents, tackling some of the City’s most pervasive and complex challenges. Most of the investments will have a lifespan of more than 10 years.
“Our ambition is to transform the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by ARPA into funds that last decades and impact generations. These proposals focus dollars in areas that have been long neglected and will create the environment necessary for our residents, neighborhoods, and businesses to thrive,” said Mayor Bibb. “I appreciate Council President Griffin’s support of this plan and his commitment to advancing these investments.”
The Bibb administration will underscore its commitment to the economic revival of Cleveland. Substantial dollars will be targeted toward major capital projects to address basic neighborhood infrastructure, chip away at decades of disinvestment in Cleveland’s Southeast Side and capitalize on Cleveland’s unique assets.
As part of this economic recovery focus, the administration proposes the establishment of a $50 million fund for land assembly, brownfield remediation, and other pre-development work. Through this work, the administration anticipates the potential creation of over 65,000 (25,000 direct and 40,000 indirect) quality jobs that are proximate to residents, population gain as a result of increased job opportunities, and the reactivation of vacant land across the city over the next decade.
Plans in this proposal also include endowed and evergreen funds. These innovative tools will exist in perpetuity, working to uplift Cleveland’s neighborhoods through housing and violence prevention.
A donor-advised Violence Prevention Fund at the Cleveland Foundation (Neighborhood Safety Fund) will be formed to create a perpetual source of support for community-driven, evidence-based programming to address the root causes of violence. This $10 million investment is conservatively projected to allow for nearly $13 million in grantmaking to initiatives for Cleveland residents over the next 25 years. The fund will exist in perpetuity, generating an average of around $500,000 in grants each year. The City of Cleveland will be seeking partner contributions to help grow the influence and impact of these dollars.
Additionally, the first-of-its-kind Down Payment Assistance Program will promote homeownership, especially for residents of middle neighborhoods. Administered by Landed, this program will be aimed at reducing the mortgage burden for Clevelanders, developing a financial empowerment roadmap, and building partnerships with local financial institutions. This evergreen fund’s shared appreciation model has the potential to support over 1,200 homebuyers over the first 30 years.
“Though this final proposal completes our allocation of ARPA dollars, our work is not done. The whole city— residents, community leaders, and government — must be prepared to work hard to make these ideas a reality,” said Mayor Bibb. “Through this tidal shift in energy, partnership, and investment, we have the potential to revolutionize our city.”
This docket of ARPA proposals includes:
Funds for Cleveland’s Future
Site Assembly and Development Fund: $50M
Establishing a Site Assembly Fund that could create 65,000 quality jobs that are proximate to residents, reverse population loss, and reactivate vacant land. In partnership with JobsOhio and Cuyahoga County and held by the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, this fund will be governed by an advisory board. Use of funds will include land assembly, brownfield remediation, pre-development work, and engineering. Eventual financial returns will be reinvested both back into the fund and into the community.
Cleveland Neighborhood Safety Fund: $10M Establishing a donor-advised Neighborhood Safety Fund at the Cleveland Foundation to create a perpetual source of support for community-driven, evidence-based programming to address the root causes of violence. A $10M investment is conservative projected to allow for a conservative $13M in grantmaking over the next 25 years to tackle this long-term problem.
Back to Basics Capital Fund: $20M
Investing in basic capital improvements in communities across the City. These will include: roadway improvements, playground and park improvements, including equipment, basketball and tennis courts, and traffic calming, safety, and multimodal enhancements. In addition to roadway repairs and resurfacing, these improvements will include park/playground upgrades, speed tables, traffic circles, school zone flashing lights, updated traffic signals on Vision Zero corridors, and modular bus stops.
Neighborhood Investments – Transformative Projects for Cleveland’s Assets
Waterfront Activation: $20M
East Side Lakefront: Down payments in the Beulah Park-Euclid Beach Connector, the CHEERS Early Implementation Phase, and the Euclid Creek Greenway Phase 2 North to increase access and improve public space on the East Side Lakefront.
Downtown Lakefront: Investments in the design, activation, and development of the North Coast Connector, near-term installations from the North Coast Lakefront Master Plan, and the creation of the Waterfront Development Authority to support equitable development of the Lakefront.
Riverfront: Funds to improve public spaces along the Cuyahoga Riverfront, including a downpayment for Bedrock Public Infrastructure and stabilization of Irishtown Bend for the future park.
Southeast Side Investments: $15M
Commercial Corridors: White boxing, streetscaping, public art, tenant improvements, storefront renovation, commercial property acquisition, planning, demolitions, and public space improvements in commercial corridors where targeted public investment could lead to private investment.
Housing Rehab and Repair: Creating a network of new grants, deferred loans, and low interest loan funds for home repair to be created and administered by a third party based on guidelines and parameters developed by the City. Low income/disabled/senior residents would have the option of combining grants with deferred loans to assist them in filling gaps with existing programs to substantially repair their homes. Partner banks/CDFIs would facilitate the grants and lending and create a loan loss reserve to allow participating banks to extend credit to those traditionally viewed as unbankable. Grants for home repair will be directed to complement and close gaps of existing programming.
Catalytic Redevelopment: Investing in development subsidies and costs to redevelop large-scale sites, such as vacant school sites.
West Side Market: $15M
Funding capital improvements to set the West Side Market on a path to financial self-sufficiency by reducing operating costs and increasing opportunities for revenue while also meeting the basic infrastructure needs.
Downtown Lighting: $1M Installing a display of experiential lighting to create a memorable experience for residents, workers and visitors while increasing public safety. This program will make Public Square, Euclid Avenue, and the Malls safer, more useful, and more vibrant at night.
Financial Tools for Residents
Down Payment Assistance: $10M
Increasing homeownership by sponsoring a Down Payment Assistance Program. This shared appreciation model has the potential to support over 1200 homebuyers over 30 years. Administered by Landed, this down payment assistance program targeting middle neighborhoods is aimed to reduce mortgage burden, develop a financial empowerment roadmap, and build partnerships with local financial institution.
City Council Initiatives
Catalytic Neighborhood Investments: $35M
Priority neighborhood projects identified by Cleveland City Council members, such as Birthing Beautiful Communities Campus and others.
Utility Assistance: $1M
Assisting customers who have experienced a hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, reside at the service address, and are currently on a payment plan for an outstanding water account balance. The one-time benefit will match the total amount they have paid under their current payment plan up to the total balance owed.
Age Friendly Home Repair: $1.1M
Medical Debt Relief: $1.9M
Cleveland Tenants Organization: $1M