Cleveland City Council is expected to vote tonight on committing the city’s share of funds to help pay for $140 million in upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena. Backers say the 22-year-old arena must be modernized to stay competitive and attract events that generate money for the entire community. But if the measure passes as expected, opponents may try to stop it on the ballot.
The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus and the Greater Cleveland Congregations have been fighting against public funding for the upgrades. They say there should be a commitment to spending the same amount of money on important social needs in the city’s neighborhoods.
The groups will be at tonight’s council meeting and announce their formal plan after the vote. They also plan a public meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church to work on strategy.
A referendum would take just over 6,000 valid signatures within 30 days after council’s approval to get the measure on the ballot. At issue is the city committing $88 million from admission taxes for the Q renovations. Cuyahoga County has already agreed to sell bonds to help finance the project. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Destination Cleveland will kick in the rest of the funding.