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Rep. Fudge leads major support of the Q Transformation

Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)

United States House of Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) is among the prominent individuals and organizations that have overwhelmingly endorsed the Cleveland’s approval of an $88 million commitment to the Q Transformation Project that was signed into legislation on April 25.

In addition to Rep. Fudge, the Cleveland NAACP, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Western Reserve Land Conservancy Vice President Jim Rokakis, Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council, Dr. Larry Macon and the powerful United Pastors in Mission, and many others support the project.

“This investment in The Q will result in numerous, significant economic benefits for all of the residents of Cleveland,” said Congresswoman Fudge, whose congressional district includes much of the City of Cleveland.

Rep. Fudge continued, “The Cavs are paying for half of this project and the public contribution does not involve a tax increase – there are no new taxes,” she continued. “ In fact, a large part of the public revenues that would be used to help pay for this necessary project are existing admissions taxes generated by events held at The Q and paid for by those purchasing tickets to attend events.”

She hailed the Q deal as one of the best the city of Cleveland has ever made for the benefit of our residents and neighborhoods. “And it's one of the best I've seen in my 27-year career in public office.”

The deal requires the Cavs to extend their lease at the Quicken Loans Arena until 2034, Rep. Fudge said the project is a forward-thinking investment in Cleveland's neighborhoods, with big results now and in the future.

The building’s improvements – which feature increased public areas and address structural flaws and shortcomings in the building – would extend the life of the arena and the Cavaliers’ lease in Cleveland through 2034.

Expanding Quicken Loans Arena will bring jobs to local laborers. And that's why the 17 unions in the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council are backing the plan to spend $160 million in tax dollars on the renovation.

The council, made up of 14,000 members, held a news conference Monday to showcase its support.

"We own the project so we should fund it," said Dave Wondolowski, executive secretary of the organization. "From our perspective this is first and foremost about jobs for our members, but more importantly it's about keeping the ball rolling in Cleveland, keeping our foot on the pedal and continuing growth."

The project would ensure that The Q – the oldest publicly owned NBA arena – would remain competitive for many years to come. Building a new NBA arena can cost in excess of $600 million, so this solution represents a much more efficient and appropriate way to extend the life and competitive level of the arena.

“The facts about what The Q means for all Cleveland residents are irrefutable. The Q means jobs and growth, tax revenues and so much more,” she said. “The building is a tremendous economic asset,” said the congresswoman.

The Q generated $44 million in tax revenues in 2016 alone - $18 million of which went to the City of Cleveland. Since The Q’s inception, the arena has generated more than $180 million in tax revenues for the city of Cleveland.

“The challenges facing Cleveland would be more substantial if it wasn’t for the economic benefits generated by The Q,” Fudge said. “The public half of the funding being invested in this project is almost entirely self-generated by The Q and well spent because it’s going to prolong the life of this publicly-owned building.”

Improving The Q increases our community marketers' efforts to attract top regional, national and international events, including the NBA All-Star Weekend, which would bring substantial revenues into Cleveland.

Fudge noted that ensuring that the Cavaliers will remain in Cleveland through 2034 yields other benefits. Team owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers have invested more than $42 million during the last 20-plus years in community programs and causes that largely affect residents of the City of Cleveland, such as the Cleveland Food Bank and the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.

Gilbert and his Rock Ventures entity also recently led successful lobbying efforts to secure $60 million of federal Hardest Hit funding to fight blight in Cleveland neighborhoods and across Cuyahoga County – with 82% of that to date being spent in the City of Cleveland. The Hardest Hit Funds program has provided significant resources to help Americans avoid foreclosure, and eliminate blight and stabilize housing markets in targeted states.

“The transformation of The Q will greatly benefit the City of Cleveland and help ensure more economic opportunities for its residents,” Fudge added.

“Simply put, The Q transformation is good for Cleveland,” Fudge added. “It will create more economic opportunities for its residents and tax revenues for neighborhood services.”

The Cleveland Chapter of the NAACP agreed with Rep. Fudge to support the Quicken Loans Arena transformation project plan.

In a statement the NAACP pointed to the continued strong impact and track record the Cavs have in our minority community, as well as their organizational focus on growth in partnership with the NAACP.

Michael L. Nelson, Sr., president of the Cleveland Chapter said of the decision, “This decision was not met lightly. We had this plan reviewed by our economic development committee and determined it to be a good investment partnership of public and private dollars. We also recognize the many challenges the residents of our community face and look forward to working with the responsible parties and civic leaders that can, and should, advance those efforts as well.”

The statement added, “The NAACP recognizes the significant economic impact The Q and the Cavs organization bring to Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland and our neighborhoods. We applaud their high level of diversity and inclusion with their staff as one of the top levels in all of sports. Their track record for these elements related to construction projects has also been exemplary. Now, we recognize that for Quicken Loans Arena to remain a nationally and internationally competitive facility over the long term, it needs the major update and expansion of space that the transformation project will bring. This upgrade will enable our community to successfully compete for additional major events well into the future.”

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Council President Kevin J. Kelley, the Cavs have agreed to contribute even more to the city’s neighbor- hood revitalization efforts as part of this deal, including: 3 For every city dollar that goes to The Q Transformation Project, at least an equal amount will go to the city’s general fund. That money goes directly to our neighborhoods. To do nothing would leave the city with less revenue to provide services. 3 The Cavs will refurbish all 22-gym floors at our city recreation centers as well as all basketball courts at Cleve- land School District high schools.

3 The team will donate the proceeds of the Cavs away game playoff watch parties to Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit will renovate 100 homes over three years in Cleve- land’s neighborhoods.

Several key people, churches and organizations have publicly expressed their support for The Q deal be- cause of the Cavs’ commitment to creating jobs and opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

Also joining Rep. Fudge in support of the project is State Sen. Sandra Williams, the Cleveland Building Trades and the Black Contractors Association, to name a few.

The Cavaliers are an important part of the fabric of the city of Cleveland. Keeping the team in our city is vital not only for the economic success of downtown Cleveland but also for the people in neighborhoods throughout the city who rely on The Q and surrounding businesses to provide for their families. Despite the loud and misleading rhetoric coming from opponents, the fact remains that The Q deal is an investment in our city’s future and our neighborhoods. It is a good deal for Cleveland, its neighborhoods and its people.

Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson thanked the Cavaliers for their ongoing commitment to the city and for expanding their community benefits if the legislation up before council passes.

“They have added to last year’s work at Fairfax Recreation Center by now agreeing to refurbish basketball courts in every City recreation center,” Mayor Jackson said. “And they have agreed to invest the proceeds of their playoff watch parties in a Habitat for Humanity home program throughout the City of Cleveland.

“Finally, they have agreed to ensure—in years 2024 through 2034—that the City’s General Fund will receive no less than an equal amount to the amount paid from Admissions tax to the trustee for the Q Transformation debt.”

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