Originally Planned for Completion Prior to RNC, Pedestrian Bridge Now on Track for 2017

click to enlarge Originally Planned for Completion Prior to RNC, Pedestrian Bridge Now on Track for 2017
Rosales + Partners, Parsons Brinckerhoff
We've reported here many times that imposing an RNC-focused deadline on downtown development and construction projects comes with trouble — or at least a degree of skepticism. Today, we learn that city and county leaders have pushed completion of the pedestrian bridge back to 2017, well out of scope of the RNC.

Simply put, the $25-million bridge would not be ready by the July 2016 Republican National Convention, barring a dramatic redesign.

"It was very clear that the kind of value engineering we would have to do to get it done by then would not lead to the kind of project we want to do," said Jeremy Paris, director of the Group Plan Commission.

This is the first time development partners have acknowledged the incredible turnaround required to get massive projects done between now and the RNC. The Hilton hotel, another RNC-ready undertaking, seems like it's coming along at a good clip. But yesterday, during Destination Cleveland's annual meeting, Mayor Frank Jackson said, "All these things are on a fast-track and design built with a sense of urgency. But we will, when the lights come on, we'll be ready."

The notion that city leaders are presiding over "fast-track" development is, as we've all recognized, odd. It either dilutes or fully supports Destination Cleveland's new "We're just getting started" tagline. Who knows?

To be clear, though, and referring to Jackson's comments, "when the lights come on" — referring to the RNC, we suppose — the bridge will not be ready. Given that the public funding is already in place, to whatever end one's opinion leans on that note, that's a good call.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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