Leon Bibb on Cleveland's revival

Posted at 8:11 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-29 20:11:55-04

There is a resurgence in Cleveland.

Statistics will point out the obvious growth of this Ohio city built on the shores of Lake Erie, but you don't need exact numbers to understand the feeling which is permeating much of the city.

When the Republican National Committee selected Cleveland for its convention in the Summer of 2016, it wasn't because the political party wanted to give the city a break by setting up its big show in the city.  There was a new spirit the party saw in the city.

Cleveland celebrated its being chosen.  Hotels which were already being built as an enticement to the GOP moved at quickened pace to completion.  New hotels came on line.  Developers knew these were profitable moves to get the convention which lasted only a few days.  But the developers figures the new building would be part of a long-range upturn in Cleveland business.

Weeks later, the nation tuned in again to Cleveland as the Cavaliers, the city's NBA franchise, scored big enough to win the league's championship.   Now the Cleveland Indians baseball team is making a run in the World Series.

All of sudden, Cleveland has a bigger footprint on the map.  It is a footprint which is growing larger and deeper.  Fifteen years ago, there were few people who lived in downtown Cleveland.  Today, the number is approaching 15,000 with a goal of 25,000 to live in the downtown area.  

The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and the MetroHealth Medical Center are the three big health facilities in a community which has been reinventing itself over the last several decades.  Steel is still made in Cleveland, but the numbers of workers needed are far below the numbers of steelworkers at the height of the city's manufacturing days following World War II into the 1960s.  But medicine is one of key ingredients to Cleveland's resurgence with patients coming from all over the world for specialized treatment.

The Cleveland Indians baseball team is trying to duplicate what the Cavaliers, their next-door neighbors in the Gateway sports complex of the city -- bring home a national major sports championship.  This year also saw the Monsters of the American Hockey League bring home the celebrated Caulder Cup for winning the league championship.

As the nation continues to turn its eyes to a new Cleveland, the achievements over recent years has given Greater Clevelanders a boost in their own sel-esteem.  There is a new spirit which is almost tangible, especially in the downtown areas of the city where restaurants, bars, and other establishments are doing big business -- especially on nights when the city's major sports teams are playing.

The Cleveland Browns of the NFL is a team struggling to find its way, still hoping for its first win after seven games.  However, there are still about 70,000 fans who fill the stadium on the Cleveland lakefront.  The team is losing, but there is a belief that will eventually turn around.  In the meantime, money is spent at the games.

Clevelanders will tell you they feel a resurgence in the city in more ways than one.