Cleveland's new Director of Economic Development started work this week. 39-year-old Brian Reilly comes to Cleveland from Milwaukee. He is charged with attracting businesses and jobs to the city. ideastream's Mark Urycki reports.
Brian Reilly sees lots of similarities between Milwaukee and Cleveland. But the city on Lake Michigan has a highly-developed lakefront with a bike trail and entertainment complex. So when you ask him about Cleveland assets he mentions Lake Erie. First thing to do, says Reilly, is to lay out a clear vision.
Brian Reilly: We need to work together and create some clarity for the investment community - what needs to be where. And that will be something we'll have to work really strongly on. Send a clear signal to the private sector what kind of investment do we want, where, and then try to attract it.
Reilly was an expert on sustainable development with the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Chicago. He made a name for himself by redeveloping brownfield areas of Milwaukee - the leftover, often polluted old manufacturing sites.
Brian Reilly: Great Lakes Cities all have to deal with this legacy of the first industrial revolution, so bringing the land back into productive use is really going to be a top priority.
Reilly said he's excited about the range of partners the City of Cleveland has.
Brian Reilly: ...the port, the county and one of the things that Cleveland has that's stronger than Milwaukee is this legacy of community development corporations, non-profits. Public/private partnerships - private institutions even. There's juts a civic infrastructure here a that - if tapped - can really jumpstart a lot of economic development.
Brian Reilly said one of the reason he came to Cleveland is the commitment of Mayor Jackson. He said not every city has a mayor who really wants to be a mayor. Mark Urycki, 90.3.