A coalition of Cleveland faith groups is requesting a meeting with the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers about the proposed $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers are putting up half the money for renovations at The Q. Greater Cleveland Congregations has been vocal in its opposition to the plan to use public money for the other half. Now, they're requesting a meeting with Dan Gilbert to see if some funds can be sent back into Cleveland's neighborhoods.
Donna Weinberger, organizer with Greater Cleveland Congregations, says the group is asking Gilbert for $35 million toward building mental health centers to help people who might otherwise be incarcerated.
“Everybody agrees this is a good idea, but when we start talking about where the money is going to come from, they kind of shrug their shoulders. We’re calling for one on the east side and one on the west side of Cleveland.”
Weinberger adds that Greater Cleveland Congregations is not anti-Cavs nor anti-Quicken Loans Arena, and simply wants officials to set up a matching fund to assist with neighborhood programs alongside the improvements at The Q.
Weinberger says, after several decades of downtown development, officials need to explore ways to fund re-development of the rest of the city such as "increasing the consumer tax for people coming into The Q by a small amount. But if they don’t like that idea, we’re happy to work with the county around other ideas that they can come up with.”
Weinberger says her group already met with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish to request his assistance with the matching fund.
On March 9, Greater Cleveland Congregations will hold a public meeting about the project at Elizabeth Baptist Church.
A request for comment from Dan Gilbert has not been returned.