Cavs Won't Refurbish Youth Basketball Courts (the Only New Community Benefit They Offered in Q Deal)

click to enlarge Cavs Won't Refurbish Youth Basketball Courts (the Only New Community Benefit They Offered in Q Deal)
Sam Allard / Scene
Now that the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal is (for the moment) off the table, the Cavs will no longer refurbish Cleveland rec center and CMSD basketball courts. A Cavs' spokesperson confirmed to News Channel 5 earlier this week.

This is hardly unexpected. The collapse of the deal not only killed the complex four-party financial arrangement but also the perks which were added at the last minute.

Though "refurbishing" was never defined, the improvements at 40 rec center courts, and all the courts at CMSD high schools, were the one new public benefit that the Cavs offered as part of the deal — a far cry from the dollar-for-dollar community equity fund that the GCC sought, but a nice gesture and a testament to the strength of the community opposition.

On the steps of City Hall, the night of Cleveland City Council's vote on the the deal, the court-refurbishing was presented as one of three deal-sweeteners in a PR extravaganza that attempted to lure at least one of the six council opponents at the time. (Councilman Brian Cummins ultimately surrendered.)

The other two deal-sweeteners included the announcement that Habitat for Humanity would receive revenue from the Cavs' post-season watch parties. As Scene noted at the time, the Cavs already  had been donating 100 percent of their watch party revenue to area charities. The announcement merely selected a new recipient of the funds for the coming year.

The other deal-sweetener was considered the most important. It was the most referenced, at any rate. It was a guarantee that the admissions tax revenue that went to pay down debt on the renovation would never be more than tax revenue that went to the city's general fund. Scene reported that the cooperative agreement on which the Q Deal is structured already generates an almost exact 50/50 split. The pledge was a valuable safety net, but was not well understood and may not have amounted to much.

The basketball courts would have been great for local kids, though it's difficult to say if, when and how the Cavs would have made good on their pledge.

You can read all about the Q Deal here: The Essential Q Deal Reading List.
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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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