Cleveland’s massive federal grant bid for lakefront plans

The City of Cleveland, Ohio, US, is going big on its request for federal funding this year, as it submitted one of its largest proposals ever, according to local media, seeking US$268 million from the US government for four Erie lakefront projects.

Render of Cleveland lakefront projects (Image: City of Cleveland, Field Operations) Render of the proposed Cleveland, Ohio, downtown lakefront projects, for which the city is seeking $268 million in federal funding. (Image: City of Cleveland Field Operations)

The application was sent to the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Infrastructure Project Assistance program (or Mega Grant Program), which would – if approved – fund up to 60% of a project’s cost.

That means, with the dollar amount requested by Cleveland, the four downtown projects together are expected to cost more than $446 million, though the final total could be higher.

The quartet of plans include creating a land bridge near the National Football League’s (NFL) Cleveland Browns’ stadium, as well as reconfiguring a portion of the city’s lakefront motorway – the Shoreway highway – into a boulevard with intersections. Shoreway bridge demolitions and recreations, and landscaping around the created boulevard, are also included in the scheme.

Additional renovations would take place at two multimodal transport hubs located in the same vicinity.

In addition to the Browns’ stadium, the site is also the location of the Rock Hall of Fame and the Great Lake Science Center.

Mega Grant Program awards are highly competitive, and there is no guarantee the plan will receive funding.

Cleveland Browns may leave downtown

The proposal is somewhat clouded in the short-term by uncertainty regarding the Cleveland Browns’ stadium.

The NFL club’s owners are investigating two plans regarding where the team plays its home games: it will either refurbish or reconstruct its current downtown facility for about $1.2 billion or relocate to a Cleveland suburb and build a new domed stadium for approximately $2.4 billion.

The Browns’ current stadium lease with the city expiries in 2028.

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