Many like to tout the Opportunity Corridor's benefits by emphasizing the first half of the name: Opportunity.
Look! Look at how many more people will be coming through your neighborhood! This road is going to bring jobs!
This is what you might say to the inhabitants of Slavic Village and Kinsman and Buckeye — the areas that will be affected by the new highway that will connect the East Side to the rest of civilization — in order to sell them on the idea of paving through their neighborhoods and displacing homeowners.
And you can say those things if you want, but don't expect not to get called out by the people who live there. They're not dumb.
For the most part, it doesn't seem that many are too upset about the plans right now.
Yesterday's meeting with residents and officials didn't produce any angry moments, just, as the PD characterized it, a little anxiety and hope.
There are nine different plans on the table right now — five of which were recommended to receive further study after last night's meeting — each with a different route and a different set of projections on how many residents would have to be moved and how many buildings torn down.
And everyone seems fine with this with one little exception: Don't go telling them this is all about opportunity around the corridor and not all about getting rich people over to the Cleveland Clinic and University Circle faster. They know better.
An hour into the meeting, no one had expressed outright opposition. But several residents were skeptical the route will generate any jobs. The real thrust, they said, was to move employees to the Cleveland Clinic and other large employers in University Circle.
Meetings on the corridor
"Let's just be truthful," said Joe Dennis, who lives near East 90th Street and Buckeye Road. "This is nothing but a road to get from University Circle and the Cleveland Clinic to the freeway."
Tim Tramble, head of a neighborhood development corporation operating in Kinsman and Central, said he has the same concerns. But the potential of the boulevard to create multiple links and development along East Side streets is compelling.
"We can recognize it was probably initiated by the powers from University Circle," said Tramble, who sits on a committee of city, civic and business leaders that's steering the project. "But we have the power to influence what it can be.
Calling a spade a spade — that's how they do it in Slavic Village. Shit, man — it's just a corridor.