Last week, Cleveland.com uncovered the fact that Columbus officials were seeking $5 million in taxpayer money to build a multi-purpose recreational facility, with the driving force being the fact that the Cleveland Browns would move their training camp to the facility in the future. The proposal angered many Northeast Ohio residents, and today, Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, wrote that they are now dropping the request for $5 million:
"We included a request for this project in the draft of central Ohio’s recommended allocation of state capital dollars for community projects, a process that has decades of precedence. We did this recognizing that nearly $100 million has been spent in Ohio, primarily in Cleveland and Cincinnati, over the past 15 years in support of sports facilities. Our $5 million request seemed reasonable given the multiuse nature of the facility.
Despite open communication among Columbus, the Browns and many Cleveland leaders who support these plans, this request has surprisingly raised the ire of several Northeast Ohio politicians in a manner that mischaracterizes our collaborative nature. We would never advance state funding that is perceived as pitting Columbus against another Ohio community. As such, we will remove this request from the priority list we give to legislative leaders next week."
For now, Cleveland residents are victorious as far as the taxpayer portion of this goes. However, Fischer insists that they remain excited about a multipurpose facility and will continue their partnership discussions with the Browns without any request for state support.