Local religious leaders speak out about plans for overhaul of Quicken Loans Arena

Posted: 6:49 PM, Jan 12, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-13 12:40:59Z

One month after the announced partnership to give Quicken Loans Arena a $140 million facelift a group of local religious leaders rallied to demand transparency in the deal and that an equal amount of money be set aside for failing neighborhoods, education and other social needs.

"Let me state unequivocally we're not anti-Cavs, we're not anti-Q," said one of the members of the Greater Cleveland Congregations. "We can't just value this asset to the detriment of others."

The funds for the project though would not come from the general revenue funds of either the county or city. The cost of the project would be split 50-50 with Cavs' Owner Dan Gilbert with Gilbert's $70 million cut coming from increased rent and by extending the team's lease through 2034. The $70 million in public funds will be realized through taxes generated by events at the arena, a portion of the county bed tax and funds left over by the under budget Hilton Hotel project.

Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Pastor at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church said he's not arguing against the project they just want the city and county to find the money for those in need like they were able to find it for the arena.

"We're not talking about taking dollars away from the Q," Rev. Colvin said. "We're talking about matching dollars. We think that just as there was creative imagination and ingenuity in identifying where resources could be drawn from to invest in this arena that we can apply the same type of ingenuity and imagination to do that for our neighbors in our communities."

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said in a statement the county is already doing that.

"The GCC demands that the public invest the same amount, $160 million over the next 18 years, in health, human and social services.  In fact, the county itself is investing far more than that amount this year alone.  Projected over 18 years, the county will spend billions of dollars, many  times the amount demanded by the GCC," the Budish statement read. "And that doesn't even include the monies to be spent by the city of Cleveland."

The group also called for the project not to be fast tracked through county and city councils but neither body yet has had legislation introduced to even take it up for debate.