CLEVELAND — Area leaders made a final push Thursday for federal funding that would help revitalize Cleveland’s Hough and Midtown neighborhoods with a reconstructed East 66th Street corridor.
The project, called Dream 66, involves transforming East 66th Street from Euclid Avenue to Superior Avenue.
“What the grant does is allow for reconstruction of the roadway, along with the development of complete and green streets,” said Grace Gallucci, CEO and Executive Director of Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). “That means not only are you going to have a street available for cars and drivers, but also for walkers, bikers, and public transit riders.”
Mayor Justin Bibb, along with Congresswoman Shontel Brown, explained how they’ve requested more than $10 million as part of the U.S. Department of transportation’s RAISE program.
That same program provided nearly a million dollars to Cleveland Metroparks to improve six miles of trail and bicycle connections on Cleveland’s east side.
A walking tour highlighted investment already injected in the mile-long community including a new Cleveland Public Library branch and League Park, as well as helping many imagine what else is to come.
When professional baseball was played at League Park, it was in the middle of a densely-packed, diverse community.
“When you think about the generations of disinvestment that has been intentional and purposeful here in Ward 7 and throughout Cleveland and many other communities throughout the country, it is about time for partners, governments to reinvest into these areas,” Cleveland Ward 7 councilwoman Stephanie Howse said.
For Sheila Wright and Frontline Development Group, the grant would represent even more investment for the neighborhood.
The minority owned business is already working to create 237 housing units, broken up between single-family homes, townhomes, and mixed-use buildings that could also bring street-level retail back to Hough.
The project, entitled Allen Estates, is designed to make home ownership more attainable for residents and could help make future development nearby easier by increasing property values and bringing more people to the neighborhood, including Wright.
“We are moving into this project to show we want to put our money where our mouth is,” she explained.
With construction underway on one single family home, Wright told News 5 she hopes their apartments could be ready as soon as the beginning of 2024.
According to the Department of Transportation, selections for the RAISE grant program will be announced no later than August 12. Records show the city of Cleveland previously applied for the grant in 2021, requesting more than $15 million in funding for the Midtown-Hough connector project.
To learn more about the Dream 66 project, click here.