A screenshot of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Ed Eckart Jr. (left) discussing a proposal to allow people to drink alcohol outside on East 4th Street at the Cleveland City Council Safety Committee on May3, 2023.
The Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Ed Eckart Jr. (left) discusses a proposal to allow people to drink alcohol outside on East 4th Street. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Covered by Documenters Gennifer Harding-Gosnell and Lena Anglin

To fund or not to fund: Debate will continue over whether the city should spend $10 million of American Rescue Plan Act money on a violence-prevention fund. The committee held the legislation for more discussion. The proposal would let The Cleveland Foundation set up and run the fund. The foundation would use it to issue grants to programs targeting root causes of violence (Note: The Cleveland Foundation is one of Signal Cleveland’s funders). Council Member Richard Starr said his concern was The Cleveland Foundation having final say on violence-prevention strategy. He would prefer City Hall and council keep that authority. The legislation would establish an advisory committee, explained city official Sonya Pryor-Jones. That panel would include herself, other administration staff, council members and residents. The advisory committee could make recommendations, but the foundation is not obligated to follow them. Council’s Safety Committee is set to discuss the proposal again at its May 10 meeting.

Downtown CDC takes on crisis-intervention: Ed Eckart Jr., of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA), said that the community development corporation trains its safety personnel in crisis intervention. The information came up in discussion about a proposal to allow people to drink alcohol outside on East 4th Street. People would have to buy a specific cup from participating restaurants and bars. Council members asked about safety. Eckart, former assistant director of the city’s Public Safety department , addressed their concerns. The committee discussed and advanced the legislation for further review. 

Care to comment on the proposed outdoor-drinking area on East 4th Street? Cleveland City Council is hosting a public hearing at Cordelia, a restaurant located at the downtown dining strip. It is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 18.

Read the Twitter thread by Documenter Marvetta Rutherford:

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Assignment Editor (he/him)
Doug, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a copy editor and reporter. His work includes: The Pace of Passage about how quickly Cleveland City Council passes legislation; a look at the challenges of the city’s Exterior Home Paint program; and University Circle Police Department’s complaint-review process. Doug has also written explainers and guides and launched #CLEDocsAnswers, which answers questions Documenters have about local government.