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Economy and Business

Port Authority's plans for Flats
CEO William Friedman says dredging and development are key to renewing Cleveland's lakefront and Flats

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:

The Port of Cleveland has big plans to renew the city's lakefront, though not as big as those announced in 2009.  WKSU's Kabir Bhatia talked with Port CEO William Friedman about the strategic plan the port is considering...

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The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's plan will try to bring jobs to the lakefront while creating recreational development like the kind that once thrived in the Flats.  Making that happen means shoring up the slowly-sliding Irishtown Bend and finding a suitable home for heavily metallic sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River and port.
Development has already started, with construction on a 275 million dollar entertainment complex by Scott Wolstein and Fairmount Properties on the East Bank.  And across the river to the west, the Port Authority itself is getting in on the act, purchasing a 4-story building on West 9th Street for 3.1 million dollars, which it plans to use as permanent offices after renting space for the past decade. Port CEO William Friedman says the more significant development is the new way the port will approach how it handles the sediment that it traditionally has mounded into containment areas along the lakefront, including in front of Burke Lakefront airport.

In addition to federal matching dollars the Port hopes to use for things like sediment dredging and new bulkheads, the Cleveland Browns will be boosting the project.  The team just approved a new one-year lease for its parking garage,  which would net the Port at least 200 thousand dollars each year. 

The port board meets again in two months to consider the plan, and the hiring of an engineering firm to look into the Irishtown Bend.  The slope above the bend has been slowly sliding for years, and its collapse into the river would choke off access from upstream.

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