Ohio Homecoming Movement looks to bring Times Square-like New Year's Eve celebration to Cleveland

CLEVELAND - The Ohio Homecoming Movement met with a city of Cleveland steering committee Wednesday about bringing a Times Square-like New Year's Eve celebration to Cleveland's Public Square.
 
The grassroots organization's goal is to keep and draw people to downtown Cleveland to bring in the new year. It said Public Square is the perfect place for party goers to celebrate and have fun.

"Cleveland is in need of exciting new events to draw people back downtown," said Managing Partner Alonzo Mitchell.

The group said they believe the city is losing money by not offering a local event to keep Clevelanders from flying to New York and Chicago for their celebrations.

They want fireworks to light the sky, paper hats, live music and people enjoying themselves like they do in Times Square.

The steering committee gave them direction on how a large scale event would have to be done. They gave them a list of requirements that must be met before the event can become a reality.

"Obviously we're going to have to do street closures, a little bit of bus rerouting, budgets, volunteers, anything that has to do with food -- gotta get food permits," said Mitchell.

The group knows it won't be easy, but they're determined.

"We've had events in our history the last four years, and we've traditionally drawn 10,000 people so we also know a lot of friends who travel to New York, Chicago for New Year's Eve and we think this year being on a Tuesday a lot of people instead of going out of town we can keep them here in Cleveland," he said.

Ohio Homecoming Co-Director Tony Madalone said the organization was started to find ways to keep young professionals in greater Cleveland and to also attract more young people to the state.

"It's Cleveland and we love it here, we all work here in different sectors and we just want to celebrate the city," said Madalone.

While other cities drop the ball bringing in the new  year, Mitchell said Cleveland would raise the bar.

"Public Square is go big, or go home, everybody drops a ball; well Cleveland we're onward and upward, instead of dropping the ball we're going to raise it because we're saying 2014 and 2013 and everything going forward we're going to the top," exclaimed Mitchell.

Madalone said the group also believes the event could be another shot in the arm for downtown businesses.

"You have a lot of businesses that don't get a lot of traffic because people leave town, so you've got East 4th, West 6th, you've got a lot of areas that people will be coming downtown and being involved in these businesses because we're bringing them down here with this event," said Madalone.

If the event is approved it will be held Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Public Square. They expect anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 people to attend. The target audience is 18 and up.

If you're interested in helping with this movement or sponsorship you can contact Alonzo Mitchell at 216-926-1906.

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