Public commenters urged City Council to take a closer look at proposed plans for expanded broadband internet access in Cleveland and to support a new veterans housing project. Others shared memories of the West Side Market.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Gennifer Harding-Gosnell.

Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.

Broadband internet infrastructure

Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

David Passalacqua, a union telecommunications worker, asked City Council to look further into a planned broadband internet access program – who will be hired to do the work and what type of system they plan to use. Passalacqua said access to adequate high-speed broadband service is a necessity, not a luxury. Another telecommunications worker, John Gearo, also shared concerns about two companies involved in the construction and talked about fears that out-of-state contractors won’t provide the same level of quality of work as employees who live here.

I’m here to advocate that Cleveland build a broadband network that benefits all of its citizens and prioritizes best-in-class technology and accountability.”

David Passalacqua

Watch Passalacqua’s full comment.

Veterans housing

Makanya Smith, of the Union-Miles Development Corp., asked council to help with more funding for the Walter Collins Veterans Housing and Service Center, a facility being built on Harvard Avenue to house and support veterans. The center is working with Rid-All Green Partnership to include training in urban agriculture training and farm management and with Evergreen Business Services to assist with building a successful worker-owned cooperative. Walter Collins also thanked council members and other residents who support the vision for the center.

When the veterans return home, the communities in which they left, most of the time it’s not the same as when they return. This is the first step in a whole new way in which we help to rehabilitate our veterans.”

Makanya Smith

Watch Smith’s full comment.

West Side Market support

Cleveland residents Ramat Wiley and Richard Pryor spoke in support of using $15 million of federal stimulus money to support the West Side Market. Both shared childhood memories and discussed the ways they still utilize the market. Wiley serves on the new Cleveland Public Market Corp. board.

We must stop using this community meeting and marketplace to divide an already divided city, because if we’re honest, the West Side Market is the one place in town where no one asks if you live East or West, they’re just excited that you’re here.”

Ramat Wiley

Watch Wiley’s full comment.

Gennifer Harding-Gosnell, Audio Producer

Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

Gennifer Harding-Gosnell, Freelance Audio Producer(she/her)
Gennifer is a news writer returning to her first love, radio. She holds a MA in Journalism from Kingston University in the UK, and has spent the last couple years as a Cleveland Documenter.