WIRE-Net celebrates dedication of “The New” West 67th Place
(Plain Press, November 2004) The West Side Industrial Retention and Expansion Network (WIRE-Net) and its community partners held a public dedication ceremony for the newly reconstructed West 67th Place Tuesday, October 5. It was held at Blue Ribbon Meats, Inc., 3316 West 67th Place – one of several West Side businesses greatly benefiting from the nearly $2 million project.
Major funding for the project came from a $1.25 million infrastructure grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration, with additional financial support through matching funds from the State of Ohio Department of Development, The City of Cleveland Department of Economic Development, and a $250,000 ward allocation from former Ward 17 Councilman Tim Melena and current Councilman Matt Zone.
Located in Cleveland ’s historic Stockyard neighborhood, West 67th Place is home to 11 companies employing nearly 185 people. The road had been a private drive and historically served as access to acres of animal holding pens used by the many meat-processing facilities that lined West 65th Street north of Storer Avenue , dating back to the turn of the 20th century. Several food processing and other light-manufacturing firms continue to occupy properties along the road due to its close proximity to I-71 and downtown Cleveland .
Years of continued deterioration of the roadway and water/sewer lines had caused many of the existing businesses to consider leaving the area. A strong-willed spirit of collaboration, however, prevented this scenario from playing out. The owner of the roadway property, as well as all abutting property owners, agreed to donate necessary properties needed for the 50-foot right-of-way requirement for public dedication. The City’s Engineering and Construction division worked closely with the businesses on the roadway design, and Perk Construction, the general contractor, was extremely accommodating to businesses during the nine-month construction process.
WIRE-Net continues to focus on the basics when it comes to economic development. “Public investments in basic infrastructure pays huge dividends in terms of securing solid employment centers and leveraging private sector capital investments,” said Michael Hoag, WIRE-Net’s Real Estate Program Manager. “Blue Ribbon Meats is a shining example. Since learning of the roadway improvement project they have acquired adjacent property for future expansion and relocated a Lorain-based seafood business to West 67th Place ,” Hoag said.
The West 67th Place project is one of several infrastructure investment priorities in WIRE-Net’s Capital Investment Plan. More than $8 million in public investment has already been pumped into projects in key industrial corridors including West 110th Street (complete), Western Avenue (underway) and Berea Road (scheduled in 2005). “Modernizing our existing transportation connections between neighborhood-based businesses and the broader regional economy is the best way for our west side neighborhoods to remain competitive locations for business”, noted John Colm, WIRE-Net’s Executive Director. “WIRE-Net will continue to keep a focus on strategic public investment for business expansion and retention.”
The West Side Industrial Retention and Expansion Network is a nonprofit membership organization devoted to the advancement of manufacturing on Cleveland ’s West Side . Its mission is to retain, grow, and attract manufacturing-related businesses and connect leaders to each other and the West Side community.
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