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Cleveland seeking more than $10 million to remake East 66th Street

Standing in front of a brick wall, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb looks at renderings of a Baseball Heritage Museum expansion planned across the street from League Park in the city's Hough neighborhood.
Nick Castele
/
Ideastream Public Media
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb looks at renderings of a Baseball Heritage Museum expansion planned across the street from League Park in the city's Hough neighborhood.

Cleveland is waiting to hear if the U.S. Department of Transportation will send more than $10 million its way to overhaul a main street in the city’s Hough neighborhood.

East 66th Street is home to neighborhood landmarks like historic League Park and Chateau Hough vineyard. New development — like the Allen Estates project, the expansion of the Baseball Heritage Museum and a new Cleveland Public Library branch — are planned nearby.

The $10.7 million RAISE grant would help Cleveland remake the street, adding a multi-purpose trail, a 6-foot-wide sidewalk, pedestrian crossings, benches, new trees and parking for bicycles and scooters.

The year-in-the-works street project, called DREAM 66, would run from Superior Avenue south to Euclid Avenue, where the Cleveland Foundation is planning a new headquarters.

“It is what we call a complete and green street, and these multi-modal investments will make East 66th Street a tributary to the Euclid corridor bus rapid transit line now called the Health Line,” said Grace Gallucci, the executive director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

A decision on the federal grant is expected later this month, Gallucci said.

NOACA will contribute $1.5 million to the project, which is estimated to cost a total of $15.7 million, according to a fact sheet distributed Thursday. The city of Cleveland will chip in $3.5 million. The regional planning agency and the Cleveland Foundation helped to fund the initial design for the project, according to NOACA.

At an event announcing the application Thursday, attendees took a walking tour of the neighborhood and heard presentations on the new construction projects that are planned or underway.

“This event shows our commitment as a city to put real dollars and real investment in the East Side, because for far too long, it’s been neglected,” Mayor Justin Bibb said at the event.

Keith Benford, who joined the tour, has lived in Hough for 21 years and welcomes the planned street overhaul.

The neighborhood’s cracked and overgrown sidewalks are difficult to navigate when he’s out walking with his wife, who has a visual impairment, he said.

“We have to walk in the street,” he said. “And that occurs in a lot of areas in our neighborhood that we have to walk in the street, because the sidewalks are uneven and it’s a tripping hazard.”

Corrected: August 5, 2022 at 1:02 PM EDT
This story has been updated with a more up-to-date cost estimate for the DREAM 66 project.
Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.