Opportunity Corridor to connect I-490 to University Circle provides bittersweet opportunity

CLEVELAND - Opportunity Corridor, a new two-and-a-half mile long boulevard that would connect I-490 to University Circle, provides bittersweet opportunity for neighbors.

When Joyce Hairston thinks about leaving her home of 16 years, she said she considers it a bittersweet prospect. Her home on Butler Avenue is one of 95 that may be taken by eminent domain to make way for the Cleveland Opportunity Corridor.

The Opportunity Corridor is a massive transportation project on the city's southeast side that would connect I-490 to University Circle. The project promises to open the door to new economic development and jobs in an area with little to no economic activity right now.

The route the Ohio Department of Transportation recommended will connect 490 from East 55th to East 105th and Quincy. This will allow thousands of motorists to have an alternate route into the University Circle area and possibly trigger business growth in what has become known as the forgotten triangle.

Homeowners like Joyce Hairston would lose their homes -- and that gives her the opportunity to get out of a rundown, depressed neighborhood.

"I probably couldn't get a thousand bucks for my house right now," said Hairston. "But where do you go? I've had 16 wonderful years here."

Hairston did say the state is making an "equitable offer" for her property. Out of 95 homes that may be affected, it appears only 12 are owner-occupied. Many are boarded up. Some are spray painted with the words "No Copper Inside" -- a warning to vandals who might try to steal the pipes.

City and state officials are holding public meetings this week to hear from residents and others with an interest in the project.

A meeting will be held Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Calvary Hill Baptist Church at 2171 East 103rd Street in Cleveland.

What do you think of this project? Chime in by entering your comments in the form below.

For more information about the Opportunity Corridor project, go to ODOT's website: http://5.wews.com/DFm

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