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Cleveland: FirstEnergy Stadium renovations

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A word on stadium financing. OK, yes we all saw the John Oliver thing and we all know stadiums are a bad deal. That money could be spent on different projects that would almost certainly have a better return for the city. Personally, as somebody who follows planning and development, I would prefer other things.

 

But in the case of Cuyahoga County's stadiums, we have a voter-approved sin tax that can legally only go towards professional sports venues. Other projects would most likely not have had the same support, unfortunately.

 

The idea that the Browns are swindling taxpayers is a bit misleading, because taxpayers literally voted to give the Browns money. Voters of this county voted to pay for stadiums, then they voted to pay for another stadium, and voted again to renovate those stadiums. And so we get stadiums.

 

 

If a basic presentation was made showing how much these stadiums ACTUALLY cost taxpayers and what other opportunities we are missing out to use the land, it would never pass...  beer swilling fans think "oh my gawd!  I can't live without the browns!"

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"other opportunities we are missing out to use the land" is the best argument for rebuilding the stadium- elsewhere.  The value of that lakefront land should be thrown into the analysis.  It still may not pan out as a win for Cleveland, but I'd like to look at it from all angles.

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I believe cities/metros can and should learn to walk and chew gum at the same team. Just because a new stadium in a better location is needed, doesn't mean the city has to shut down and become preoccupied with such matters.

 

 

Needed? The shot you posted looks like a terrible location for a stadium. Surrounded by freeways and industry...that'd make a great impression to visitors. I get it. Stadiums are sexy projects, and everyone loves to dream about the mega project. But 9 times out of 10, stadiums have very little effect on their surroundings, especially ones that are used only a handful of times per year. Of all the things Cleveland needs, though, I really can't think of a lower priority than a new Browns stadium. You all know your city better than me, but I can't get behind demolishing a perfectly fine and nice stadium that's less than 20 years old. It's a waste of money, waste of materials, bad for the environment, and it's unnecessary. Especially without a solid plan in place for the lakefront, this idea seems nonsensical.

 

 

you know whats a terrible location for a stadium? prime waterfront property.

 

and are you aware of the perjorative ‘mistake by the lake?’ oh i bet you are.aren’t we all. well long before it was turned against the city as a whole it was originally coined by clevelanders themselves about ... guess what? that damn stadium site.

 

so you could literally move it anywhere and it would be a better site than where it is now.

 

god forbid anybody open up discussions about it and try to plan a decade or more ahead. sheesh.

 

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As has been discussed, NFL stadiums are used for 10-12 NFL games a year and are unable to host many other events. A retractable roof and proximity to a convention center might help, but even Lucas Oil Stadium doesn't have many non-NFL events (besides their temporary deal with Indy's D2 soccer team). However NFL teams do have benefits as they generate civic and regional pride and national exposure (see: http://www.urbanophile.com/2009/11/08/pro-sports-as-naming-rights-deal/)

 

So my question is: if you're going to rebuild the stadium, why rebuild it in Cleveland at all? How about a location about halfway between Cleveland and Akron, near a bunch of highway intersections (and maybe a rail line linking the cities??). I'm not too familiar with NEO, but a two minute survey of the area led me to chose this location in Boston Heights, but a better spot surely exists: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.2426568,-81.5080592,2796a,35y,38.72t/data=!3m1!1e3

Drive times:

Downtown Cleveland: 35 minutes

Downtown Akron: 20 minutes

Downtown Youngstown: 50 minutes

Elyria: 40 minutes

 

 

The Patriots' Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is the model here. It's located at the epicenter of Boston, Providence, and Worcester. There's a rail station that connects the stadium to Boston and Providence on game days. There's a mall with dining, hotels, big box stores, and a small music venue around the stadium to use to the parking the rest of the year. It's pretty bad from an urban perspective, but it's probably the least bad option. Here's what the complex looks like: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.0841413,-71.2669964,1006a,35y,39.16t/data=!3m1!1e3

 

Some other examples of this development style:

Giants/Jets stadium in New Jersey - complex is similar to Foxborough, but also has an arena and racetrack

Niners stadium in Santa Clara - between San Fransisco and San Jose - on Caltran line and VTA light rail line; shares parking lot with California's Great Adventure amusement park

Cowboys stadium in Arlington - between Dallas and Ft. Worth - no transit as far as I can tell; shares some parking with the Texas Rangers

Eagles stadium - shares subway line and parking with 76ers/Flyers arena, Phillies ballpark, and live music venue

 

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^OMG.  Are you Nick Mileti's grandson?

 

I'm from Cincinnati, so I wasn't aware of who that is until now. I don't understand the reference, has he proposed a suburban stadium before?

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^OMG.  Are you Nick Mileti's grandson?

 

I'm from Cincinnati, so I wasn't aware of who that is until now. I don't understand the reference, has he proposed a suburban stadium before?

 

Yes, the Richfield Coliseum...

http://nordoniahills.news/vics-corner-remembering-the-richfield-coliseum-great-memories/

 


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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^OMG.  Are you Nick Mileti's grandson?

 

I'm from Cincinnati, so I wasn't aware of who that is until now. I don't understand the reference, has he proposed a suburban stadium before?

 

Yeah, the Cavs played in an arena for 20 years in almost exactly the location you proposed so that's why your proposal struck us funny. A bit before my time, but they say traffic was an utter nightmare getting in and out of there. There still is Blossom Music Center in the vicinity (similar to Riverbend) which is also a nightmare to get in and out of.

 

In reality people in Akron are happy to drive to Cleveland to watch the Browns, and the drive times you posted from Youngstown and Elyria aren't affected by whether or not it's in Cleveland or Akron. So by moving South you basically only benefit Akron/Canton people and make things a little worse for Clevelanders.

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More to the point Mileti made the same arguments you did in the early 70's regarding location between two major cities and how massive development would follow the arena give  its proximity to I-271.  Absolutely nothing was built around it, not even a Motel 8.  It is now a big field.  Driving by you might not even know a huge arena surrounded by ugly surface parking existed.

 

I do have found members, however, of the miracle of Richfield (as well as sitting in the parking lot for a half an hour trying to get out),

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Thanks for the responses, I wasn't aware of that part of Cleveland's history. I'm surprised traffic was an issue at that location. Maybe extra exits on I-80 and I-77 would have helped. Was/is there any rail right of way in that area?

 

The Coliseum looks like it was used mainly for basketball and hockey, which makes a suburban location not make much sense. Each sport has significantly more games (41 home games in the NBA and NHL) and an arena is easily used for other events, so it won't sit empty for most of the year. Basketball and hockey games are usually shorter than football, which means fans are more willing to pair the game with other entertainment and dining. When it comes to arenas, the more central the location, the better.

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More to the point Mileti made the same arguments you did in the early 70's regarding location between two major cities and how massive development would follow the arena give  its proximity to I-271.  Absolutely nothing was built around it, not even a Motel 8.

 

I'm not trying to argue a stadium would cause development. Each of the examples that I provided are monolithic, single ownership complexes without any development outside the boundaries of what the team owns. I think spending a billion dollars to replace the stadium would be a monumental waste of money, but if you're going to do it, you might as well put it in a location that won't impede other development. Putting the stadium on cheaper land between the cities would free up money to be spent on something actually useful but otherwise politically infeasible, like a rail link. Cincinnati used popular support for building Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark to fund the parking garage that lifted The Banks out of the floodplain.

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A suburban stadium would be the WORST.

 

Especially with the trend in professional sports in America to adapt to the European mold of walkable stadiums, though some egregious examples suggesting otherwise (Kansas City, Dallas, Foxborough, and New York still exist)

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Ironically, the development has happened since as the ring of suburban sprawl has pushed out to Richfield -- lots of new office parks in the area nowadays. The site of the Richfield Coliseum itself is now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so it won't be developed.

 

I went to the Coliseum, which is all we called it, many times -- often to see the Cleveland Force indoor soccer. It was a good Cleveland sports team to watch when the Indians and Cavs were awful and the Browns were mediocre from 1975-85. But I also went to see concerts there -- including a memorable 1978 visit by Kiss on a very snowy Sunday night four days before the great blizzard of Jan. 26-27.

 

And yes, trying to get in/out of there was a nightmare. Route 303 was just one lane in each direction albeit with an extended center turn lane. We got into a few car-to-car fights trying to get in/out of there.

 

I was overjoyed when the Cavs moved back downtown.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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A suburban stadium would be the WORST.

 

Especially with the trend in professional sports in America to adapt to the European mold of walkable stadiums, though some egregious examples suggesting otherwise (Kansas City, Dallas, Foxborough, and New York still exist)

 

Like carnevalem said, it's a mistake to lump football stadiums in with other sports facilities.  Football stadiums are disamenities. 70k+ fans with a huge numbers of cars 8-15 times per year, but totally empty otherwise. Would be great to take advantage of transit infrastructure if it happens to work out (like KJP's proposal), but I'd be much more interested in reducing construction costs, which for a city like Cleveland will inevitably be shoved onto the public. If that's in a cornfield by the highway, so be it.

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A suburban stadium would be the WORST.

 

Especially with the trend in professional sports in America to adapt to the European mold of walkable stadiums, though some egregious examples suggesting otherwise (Kansas City, Dallas, Foxborough, and New York still exist)

 

Almost no football stadiums in Europe are directly in the central business district however.  There is, however, always a train station!

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^Fair point, I think that nuanced point digs deeper than we may need to for the purposes of this conversation though - as residences in CBD's in Europe are almost exclusively a 1%er move.

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A totally bonehead idea but I would love for somebody to propose it because the explosion by city officials and civic boosters would be fun to watch. ;)

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I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't considering a dome.  In that case, it *could* put the city in play for other events like Super Bowl, NCAA final 4, etc.

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I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't considering a dome.  In that case, it *could* put the city in play for other events like Super Bowl, NCAA final 4, etc.

 

Oh God, These "big silver bullets are gonna save the city model" of development we've been using for the greater part of half a century.  Make it stop.

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^My reaction, too.  Punch is right that a dome would be more useful, but holy cow are those things expensive. And hosting those high profile events is the emptiest of sugar highs out there.

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The European model is the same as the New York and Chicago model... stadiums in the city, accessible by transit, but not in the city center.

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I'm surprised traffic was an issue at that location.

 

Why?  There was one way in and one way out.  20,000 people all trying to get back on the freeway at the same exit was horrendous.  I can't imagine what 80,000 people would be like.

 

It was a terrible location for everybody with absolutely nothing else to do around there.

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I'm surprised traffic was an issue at that location.

 

Why?  There was one way in and one way out.  20,000 people all trying to get back on the freeway at the same exit was horrendous.  I can't imagine what 80,000 people would be like.

 

It was a terrible location for everybody with absolutely nothing else to do around there.

 

The location did allow for fans to accurately predict exactly where their favorite bands would be hanging out. For the life of me I couldn't remember the bar's name. It was Barney Googles.

 

p.s. KJP I used to watch the Cleveland Force on ESPN. My friends and I would tape their games (and the San Diego Sockers games too) on vhs and then watch after school. When I moved to Ohio I got to see so many Crunch games with my dad at Richfield. Those teams were so good. Then their big championship win at the Wolstein Center was maybe my best sports memory ever. So much fun! 

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The European model is the same as the New York and Chicago model... stadiums in the city, accessible by transit, but not in the city center.

 

....It's slightly different. Though your point is well taken re: transit.

 

What is the difference that you see? Just the that NJ stadiums are in less residential areas?

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Wembley is probably a better comp to MetLife than either White Hart Lane or Stamford Bridge.  It looks a lot more similar to the images you showed. 

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wembley+Stadium/@51.5560208,-0.2817075,545m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x48761181d57a876d:0xa64f9f185de8e097!8m2!3d51.5560208!4d-0.2795188

 

 

Wrigley Field is a pretty good analogy to a lot of European (or at least English) football stadiums (including for the hated Spurs).  https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wrigley+Field/@41.9484424,-87.6575214,652m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x880fd3b2e59adf21:0x1cea3ee176ddd646!8m2!3d41.9484384!4d-87.6553327

 

 

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Thanks for the responses, I wasn't aware of that part of Cleveland's history. I'm surprised traffic was an issue at that location. Maybe extra exits on I-80 and I-77 would have helped. Was/is there any rail right of way in that area?

 

The Coliseum looks like it was used mainly for basketball and hockey, which makes a suburban location not make much sense. Each sport has significantly more games (41 home games in the NBA and NHL) and an arena is easily used for other events, so it won't sit empty for most of the year. Basketball and hockey games are usually shorter than football, which means fans are more willing to pair the game with other entertainment and dining. When it comes to arenas, the more central the location, the better.

 

 

well no offense, that sounds like you are also seemingly young.

 

exactly what you are saying was the case everywhere prior to places like the suburban coliseum being built in the 1970s.

 

the cavs and the former cle hockey teams the crusaders (my sig pic!) and barons played in the old arena downtown before 1976.

 

unfortunately, being the 1970s, a weird era, our cities all fell to shite when the boomers doubled down on abandoning ship and taking off to the burbs.

 

and thus came the suburban minded idea of things like building an arena in the middle of nowhere.

 

that kind of thinking was as much about people not wanting to go downtown as it was about akron/canton, if not more.

 

luckily ... that trend has been well reversed these days by more sensible younger people!

 

 

trivia -- the dallas stars nhl team are the former cleveland barons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Stars

 

 

more trivia -- the richfield coliseum is quite a remarkable back to nature reclamation site:

https://www.tpl.org/magazine/rise-and-fall-richfield-coliseum-landpeople#sm.00018qfa0q3tmfo2ygk2dxmob61ve

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Maybe we're going about this all wrong.  We have a stadium, but no one likes the site.  But what if they put up buildings around the stadium to include apartments, condos and retail, which also would support a radical roof structure covering the playing surface.  The only issue I could see is actually fully enclosing the openings to make it actually "indoors."  But with some clever design it may be possible.

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Here is a quick photoshopped plan of what I would like to see happen.  As Daniel Burnham would say "make no little plans".    Turning the stadium 90 degrees and aligning with the existing Malls, The Cleveland Browns Stadium would become the connector to downtown and the lakefront. The facade facing Mall C would be designed to look like the original planned train station that would complete the original northern terminus plan.  Think Soldiers' Field in Chicago.  Once the stadium is relocated let's turn the former site into a mirror image of North Coast Harbor which returns symmetry to the area. This provides much the same area to develop but in a more aesthetic area to incorporate residential, retail, office, and entertainment.  I believe this overhaul answers many mistakes. Imagine Sundays when all the areas connected by the new location can be activated together

MY_CONCEPT_FOR_STADIUM_LOCATION.jpg.1d1f4d48adffa617053baa2782b5b08e.jpg

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^Probably not how you meant it, but a football stadium towering over city hall and walling off the city form the lakefront would be a pretty honest expression of this city's horrible, backwards civic priorities (IMHO).

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i have to admit i bust out laughing at this one --- is via a cle dot bomb commenter  :D

 

 

 

Satan Is The Good Guy

1 hour ago

build eight new stadiums in various parts of the city. the browns can play one game in each stadium each year. more stadiums can be built for postseason games if they ever make the playoffs.

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They have to try and run the stadium like a business. The problem is, its used for, what, 10 Browns games a season plus a handful of other events? I'm seeing other teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, the Jacksonville Jaguars realising theres more to a stadium than simply just gameday. When I did the tour of Lambeau Field they highlighted this perfectly.

 

I'd even be offering it out for peanuts to a minor league soccer team. Simply because it'll make use of the stadium and bring people into the area. Its sitting there idly and wastefully.

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I think the key is being able to open and close it in sections to keep down operating costs and keep a sense of vibrancy in the stands.

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Cleveland lakefront developer unruffled by Browns stadium talks. 'It's good,' Dick Pace says

http://realestate.cleveland.com/realestate-news/2018/05/cleveland_lakefront_developer_2.html

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"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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I think the key is being able to open and close it in sections to keep down operating costs and keep a sense of vibrancy in the stands.

Matchday attendance should be the least of their worries, IMO.

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They have to try and run the stadium like a business. The problem is, its used for, what, 10 Browns games a season plus a handful of other events? I'm seeing other teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, the Jacksonville Jaguars realising theres more to a stadium than simply just gameday. When I did the tour of Lambeau Field they highlighted this perfectly.

 

I'd even be offering it out for peanuts to a minor league soccer team. Simply because it'll make use of the stadium and bring people into the area. Its sitting there idly and wastefully.

 

Yeah the St Louis Cardinals did a great job...before the the team moved.....then they got a new team, who then moved again!

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bring back the world series of rock at least once a summer. live music festivals are on the upswing lately.

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St. Louis Cardinals

 

Do you mean Arizona? They haven't played in St. Louis since 1987

No the baseball team and what they are doing with Ballpark Village.

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The future of my Cleveland: Charles Stack (Opinion)

 

CLEVELAND -- I am a lifelong Clevelander and a lifelong, die-hard Browns fan. I would rather save Cleveland than save the Browns.

 

I got to thinking about that as I was reading the recent Plain Dealer editorial connecting the conversation about a new football stadium to the greatly needed, much broader regional development conversation.

 

If you're not sure we need this conversation, consider the following. (Warning: it's bleak.)

 

1.      Cleveland ranks dead last -- 71st of the 71 largest metro areas -- in job creation, according to a May 7 Forbes magazine ranking.

 

2.      Cleveland was the fifth largest city in America 100 years ago. Today we are 51st, and we are one of only three major cities continuing to decline. (US Census)

 

3.      Our poverty rate is currently 35 percent. That's the second worst in the nation. That's connected to other depressing rankings: According to a 2017 study by CBRE, we are 45th in tech talent; U.S. News has us 84th out of 100 for livability. And here's the worst one: Our infant mortality rate is among the highest in the country.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/05/the_future_of_my_cleveland_cha.html#incart_2box

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Ugh, there is so much in this article that is true.....and the bigger question is how does Cleveland get it turned around? 

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I think things like Plug and Play will have a significant impact on the region. Yes, job growth is lacking; however, I think we're finally positioned to see significant job growth. The Plain Dealer article from a couple days confims this. There are hundreds of unfilled jobs in region. The labor pool in the region doesn't match the jobs that are being created. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

In-demand jobs go unfilled because workers lack skills: Team NEO report

 

Plenty of good-paying jobs go unfilled in Northeast Ohio because job seekers lack the credentials to hold them, according to a report released Monday, prepared by Team Northeast Ohio , a regional economic development group.

 

"The big takeaway was that we saw particularly acute misalignment in IT, health care and manufacturing," said Jacob Duritsky Team NEO's vice president of strategy and research, who prepared the report. "In our world (Northeast Ohio's economy), health care is the largest employer, manufacturing is the second and IT is embedded in every thing we do."

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/articles.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2018/05/in-demand_jobs_go_unfilled_bec.amp

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While there's not much new here, I'm sure there will still be some opinions about this...

 

Decision on stadium's future is a ways off, but Browns want to 'operate with some sense of urgency'

http://www.crainscleveland.com/kevin-kleps-blog/decision-stadiums-future-ways-browns-want-operate-some-sense-urgency

 


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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While there's not much new here, I'm sure there will still be some opinions about this...

 

Decision on stadium's future is a ways off, but Browns want to 'operate with some sense of urgency'

http://www.crainscleveland.com/kevin-kleps-blog/decision-stadiums-future-ways-browns-want-operate-some-sense-urgency

 

 

I feel like before we spent $150,000,000 on what amounts to "gingerbread" around the stadium they should have come up with a concrete plan back in 2014 to either replace or substantially renovate the stadium (Dome or roof and all new MEPs). Then once a plan was agreed upon, started saving most of the funds we spent and maybe invest some to try and increase the reserves we had to get the project financed quicker. Now we will have spent $150mm and have to spend another $150mm+ to update it again or even more to replace it with X number of years of inflation on top of it!

 

I did like the idea about covering up the railroad tracks to connect better to downtown. Northcoast Harbor and the Brown's stadium may as well be on an island in Lake Erie.

 

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And

 

And

 

 

Edited by KJP

"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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^^Dee Haslam: "We have this huge asset so I think it’s really important that we connect to the waterfront. And that people … the city people are moving back into town. And you want to be able to run along the water and access the water. I think those are the first two priorities that we have to think about before we think about what else we can do to our stadium."

 

When billionaires start echoing  you sentiments, that’s a good sign.  

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18 minutes ago, CleveFan said:

Other than having to come up with more money, why would the city prefer to have the stadium remain in its current location? 

My guess would be that the future incarnation of the stadium will be much more of a multi-use facility. Also if the connectivity goes as hoped and is planned out well, the Lakefront will be best suited to accommodate large crowds. 

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8 hours ago, surfohio said:

^^Dee Haslam: "We have this huge asset so I think it’s really important that we connect to the waterfront. And that people … the city people are moving back into town. And you want to be able to run along the water and access the water. I think those are the first two priorities that we have to think about before we think about what else we can do to our stadium."

 

When billionaires start echoing  you sentiments, that’s a good sign.  

 

I've had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with Dee Haslam on multiple occasions - she may be a billionaire, but I genuinely believe she wants any changes that the team, organization, stadium bring to Cleveland to be a net positive for the community. They get a bad wrap, but in my interactions with them, they are very approachable and kind people. 

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