Columbus –State Senator Michael Skindell (D- Lakewood) and House Minority Whip Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) are pleased to announce the inclusion of funding for the Variety Theatre, the Wendy Park Bridge/Lake Link Trail, and the Irish Town Bend in the current version of the two-year capital budget, which was introduced in the Ohio Senate on April 12, 2016.

The historic Variety Theatre, located on Lorain Avenue, will reuse a vacant, mixed-use structure and transform the iconic building into the new town center for the Westown neighborhood in Cleveland. Combined with the $1.4 million Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit awarded in 2015, the $14 million project would see a combined $1.65 million awarded by the state of Ohio. State capital dollars will be used to finance the hard construction and demolition costs for the main theatre space.

The Lake Link Trail is a 1.3 mile urban multi-purpose path that connects with the historic 110 mile Towpath Trail. With the $1 million in funding provided by the capital budget, a bridge would be constructed, connecting the Lake Link Trail with Wendy Park. The completion of the bridge would create lakefront access to the residents of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, and Tuscarawas counties.

The Irish Town Bend is a section of the Cuyahoga River that passes by Franklin Hill. Due to wear and tear and lack of existing functional bulkheads, this hillside section along the Cuyahoga ship channel is at risk for catastrophic failure. Such collapse would block movement by freighters delivering bulk commodity cargos to upstream industrial users. The state capital budget includes $2,500,000 for installation of steel bulkheads to reinforce the banks and keep the shipping channel open.

“I am thrilled to see important projects included in the Capital Budget for the west side of Cleveland,” said Senator Skindell. “These projects contribute to important assets in our community, whether they are cultural, recreational, or economic. I will continue to advocate for these projects to make sure they are included in the final budget.”

“We will continue the hard work of securing resources that add to the economic health and well-being of our district,” remarked Representative Antonio. “It is an honor to be a part of this capital budget process. I will continue to advocate that these funds stay committed to these important projects, which ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the region.”

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