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Program History

The complexity of infrastructure and the need for collaboration

The simplest everyday tasks—turning on a light, pouring a glass of water, flushing the toilet, commuting to work—rely on an intricate and essential network of pipes, wires, steel, and concrete.

Though commonly taken for granted, the ongoing maintenance of these utilities and transportation routes is critical to supporting our modern way of life.

The task of ensuring the working order of these systems is incredibly daunting, with 100-year-old infrastructure entangled with new, varying degrees of maintenance issues, contrasting funding schedules, and numerous public and private agencies responsible for their own portion of this interwoven web.

These complexities necessitate the cooperation which has been an emblematic part of Northeast Ohio’s capital investment efforts for more than three decades.

A legacy of public-private partnerships

Greater Cleveland Civic Connection carries on the legacy of a public-private partnership that traces its roots to 1979 when newly elected Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich (photo right) asked the Greater Cleveland Growth Association (one of the predecessors of the Greater Cleveland Partnership) to collaborate with local public officials to resolve the numerous public works issues facing the city and region.

These informal discussions led to the development of a county-wide infrastructure rebuilding plan that identified more than $2 billion in underfunded infrastructure needs and recommended a strategy to guide and facilitate investment.

In 1983, a newly formed program, known as Build Up Greater Cleveland, was assigned the task of implementing this plan and, over the course of the ensuing three decades, would help drive more than $12 billion in transportation and utility investment throughout the region.

Though the strategies and stakeholders have evolved over time, the transformational impact of this collaborative remains today.

Greater Cleveland Civic Connection leverages the strength of the region’s business community through the GCP and provides direct interaction with public-sector leadership to help identify critical infrastructure needs, articulate the challenges, and work toward a solution that benefits Northeast Ohio’s economic well-being.