The Cleveland program, now entering its 10th year, expands on preexisting models—from recent initiatives in West Philadelphia to a priest’s campaign to empower Basque workers after the Spanish Civil War. It has been in place long enough that it has seen its share of successes and experienced invaluable setbacks that have forced a rethinking of approaches when economic realities didn’t align with the vision. Buffalo, Atlanta, Amarillo and at least a dozen other cities are closely monitoring the program.
Is Cleveland really coming back? Is the Greater University Circle Initiative, as the grand experiment is known, a solution for other cities? “Hold on,” says Ronn Richard, a former diplomat and CIA executive widely credited as the catalyst for Cleveland program. “Please don’t hype it. It’s not a national model yet.”
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