The Q renovation vote expected next week
A proposal to commit $88 million in city taxes toward upgrades at Quicken Loans Arena cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, when City Council's Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee gave its approval.
The committee approval means the controversial deal could come up as early as next Monday for a vote by the full council.
Following a six-hour hearing Tuesday at which proponents, opponents and representatives from the Cleveland Cavaliers organization gave testimony, the panel sent the measure on to council's Finance Committee, the last stop before a final vote of the full council.
The proposed upgrades to the arena involve building a large glass atrium that would significantly expand the indoor footprint of the arena, allowing for more dining and gathering places. The proposed deal involves contributions from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland.
Cleveland's share would involve an estimated $88 million in admissions taxes, paid over 11 years beginning in 2024.
As part of the project, the Cavaliers would commit to a lease extension to play in the arena until at least 2034.
Cuyahoga County Council already has passed a resolution to borrow money to fund the transformation of arena, which will mean issuing $140 million in bonds.
Addressing pressing needs
Leaders from the Greater Cleveland Congregations and Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus made the case that Cleveland has serious pressing needs in its neighborhoods and that investing in The Q project downtown won't address those needs.
"We'll stipulate for the record that it generates income, but that's not why we're here," said Richard M. Gibson, pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Cleveland. "It's about how we allocate the money."