Cleveland Clinic Lets Slip That the “Opportunity Corridor” Isn’t About Opportunity At All

The official line on the $331 million road project was that it was supposed to help poor Cleveland residents, not whisk people past their neighborhoods to reach the Cleveland Clinic. Now an official at the Clinic says otherwise.

The "Opportunity Corridor" is actually a road that will be gouged through poor neighborhoods so suburbanites can shave a few minutes off their car trips to the Cleveland Clinic. Image: Ohio DOT
The "Opportunity Corridor" is actually a road that will be gouged through poor neighborhoods so suburbanites can shave a few minutes off their car trips to the Cleveland Clinic. Image: Ohio DOT

Boosters of a new three-mile road that will be gouged through low-income black neighborhoods in Cleveland — known euphemistically as the “Opportunity Corridor” — have always insisted that the project is not about speeding car commutes for suburbanites who work at the Cleveland Clinic.

The very name “Opportunity Corridor” was a defense tactic to deflect criticism. How dare you impugn our motives, project supporters said, when this asphalt needs to be poured for the sake of the neighborhoods bisected by the road.

But in a recent Politico article, a representative of the Cleveland Clinic suggests that — whoops — the actual motivation was less than altruistic. Politico’s Dan Diamond reports:

When asked about the project’s purpose, the Clinic’s top tour guide explained that the current road to campus ‘goes through neighborhoods that people don’t want to go through’ and the Opportunity Corridor would help staff and patients get to the hospital faster.

The Politico article highlights the deep distrust of the project and the hospital among residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Clinic’s own tour guide confirmed those suspicions.

And yet throughout the process of planning and funding this road, Cleveland policy makers, elected officials, and civic leaders have remained largely supportive, saying that it will help attract investment to “forgotten” sections of the city. Meanwhile, critics — myself included — have pointed out that even if you take the project at face value, it’s just rehashing discredited 1950’s-era notions of “urban renewal.”

America’s original highway-building spree fueled segregation, tearing up black neighborhoods so white suburbanites could have driving access to the city. Cleveland’s so-called “Opportunity Corridor” is perpetuating that legacy.

More recommended reading today: If you want to learn more about the Opportunity Corridor and what it says about Cleveland politics, Chris Stocking has an in-depth look. And City Observatory points out the hypocrisy of employers that go to great lengths to make their buildings green but still supply free parking.

  • Giuliana S

    Classic accidental truth-telling. Does that tour guide still have a job?

    Just today, too, cleveland.com reports that CCF and CareSource, an important Medicaid managed care plan, can’t seem to come to an agreement to renew, so, CCF, having gotten a driveway paid for not just by you and me, but by pillaging Kinsman and Woodland Hills, now gets to ignore that population. How utterly cozy. Mind you, I had to scroll down to find this. CCF’s face transplant operation is right at the top of cleveland.com’s homepage. Quel surprise.

  • Vooch

  • Nick

    Who cares.

  • Nick

    I’m tired of this black vs mentality that the media constantly creates.

  • dexter

    Read the article to find out…

  • dexter

    Read the article to find out…

  • A lot of people care. If you didn’t care, why even make the comment eh?

  • Edward

    Although in this case it appears to be white vs …

  • WillOfCLE

    It’s perpetrated by Liberals who want to foster a divide so they can be seen as the saviors of minority rights. In actuality it’s the Liberal’s policies that have kept minorities rights down.

  • TakeFive

    Nick makes a fair point. Unfortunate or not many have different levels of tolerance and vulnerability – especially women who are typically more security sensitive. It’s but a liberal blindness that would suggest that if all people were just like them wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place. Well, they’re not and no it wouldn’t necessarily be better.

    America’s original highway-building spree fueled segregation

    Poppycock. Segregation didn’t need fueling. FWIW, AA’s choose to live in segregated communities which should be their right to do btw.

    As a veteran of the 60’s/70’s marches a lot of good changes have occurred and there’s much that’s still the same… and so it goes. How many here even know who Sam Cooke is? His song became the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Howard

    What neighborhoods are actually being torn down for this road? Who’s being forced to move?

    Regardless of whether the expected new businesses the primary or secondary reason for the corridor, why would this area be better off without them if the corridor never happened at all.

    And what is the purpose of sticking it to one of the biggest tax-producing entities (the Cleveland Clinic) in the city — you know, that public money that actually can fund aid for the poor?

  • Skip Batz

    Oh please. The tinfoil in your hat is rotting your brain. It’s as stupid as ‘blacks chose to live there FWIW’ when whites wouldn’t sell properties in affluent white neighborhoods to blacks even when they could afford to buy them. But hell, that’s the ‘Conservative’ way, right? That’s freedom in action, right?

  • Kevin Barnard

    AA did not choose to live in segregated communities. They were forced to by law. They could not live anywhere else. Since the Fair Housing Act was passed, although legally allowed to live wherever minorities choose to, they lost the wealth of owning a home in a middle class neighborhood. Can you move out of a “regulated” neighborhood if you were denied the opportunity for wealth even when told you are now “allowed to”?

  • cigarette

    The Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit. It does not pay sales tax, property tax, or corporate income tax. Its employees generate income, sales and property tax, but the organization itself does not.

  • divadahling

    You are a moron. Have you ever heard of “redlining”? If not, Google it, because I’m not going to take the time to enlighten you. Also, as Skip Batz pointed out, most white areas wouldn’t sell to blacks; many still won’t. They just find ways to cape their bigotry. Furthermore, study after study has shown that banks either deny loans to blacks with perfectly good credit ratings or charge them a much higher interest rate than whites, even whites with significantly lower ratings. Trust me: those banks are NOT owned by liberals. Try taking your head out of your ass. You might learn something.

  • Howard

    Considering a Cleveland Clinic employee roster of 51,487 (and yes, I am aware many are at the main campus), that’s still a lot of income, sales and property taxes that would not otherwise be in Cleveland, not to mention taxes from vendors, associated businesses and middle-class residences. To even imply that the Cleveland Clinic, one of the biggest employers of Ohio, has not been a monumental financial and demographic asset to Cleveland would be disingenuous.

  • cigarette

    I didn’t say that, or even imply that. You, however, implied they pay taxes. Or, being as charitable as possible, you left it open to interpretation so that someone who was not aware that they were a nonprofit would be led to believe that they do. ¯_(?)_/¯

  • Coni Reed-Cole

    Anyone know what street in the village they’ll take? How can I find out??

  • Howard

    You’re right. Conversely, given the negative context of all these other posts, a comment with the purpose of stressing that the Cleveland Clinic does not pay taxes itself (even in clarification) may leave some people to infer you were trying to minimize the Clinic’s impact on the economy.

  • TakeFive

    I guess it depends on if you want to live in the dead past or look to tomorrow but thanks for the history lesson. Never hurts to understand or be reminded of the past; the question is whether that needs to be considered a permanent affliction (or excuse) or if it’s better to move onto something more constructive.

  • nickfrisco

    The Opportunity Corridor is perfectly sensible, if expensive, temporary fix to help professionals avoid entering and encountering the rotted and extremely dangerous inner city (i.e., black) neighborhoods of Cleveland–as with every other large city in America (except S.F., thank you Justin Herman).