Cleveland: FitzGerald proposes Great Lakes Exposition sequel

7:42 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND--It was a landmark event for Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald wants to do it again.

It's an idea that got perhaps the most enthusiasm of anything suggested in his State of the County speech.

In 1936, the City of Cleveland, together with business and civic movers and shakers, staged the Great Lakes Exposition.

In the aftermath of the Depression, it was a way to showcase the best of everything Cleveland had to offer.

It continued in 1937. It drew huge crowds to the city and it really put Cleveland on the national map.

FitzGerald is still pushing to get a political convention in 2016. That would be the 80th anniversary of the original Exposition.

But the Exposition sequel idea may be taking precedence.

FitzGerald said, "I.m thinking it could be a uniting event for the community... Political conventions are great but they're not the most uniting event. This would not be whether you're a Democrat or Republican. It would be about whether you live in or work in Cleveland and are proud of that."

This even could be tailored to be whatever the city and county want to make, not just to fit the needs of a party or sponsoring organization.

The trial balloon is getting some lift.

Huntington Bank President Dan Walsh said, "We have such a great momentum in our community right now. And having milestones to distinguish ourselves globally are worth considering and rallying the public around."

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's Joe Roman said, "I think it could be a game-changer."

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said, "It's a good idea. It's a good idea... We'll gladly work with the executive to move forward to make that happen."

But this is all a vague idea now, no definite theme or costs.

And some point out the city will have hosted two huge events -- the  Senior Olympics is in 2013 and that will be followed by the Gay Olympics in 2014.

An event of this scale would take lots of planning and preparation.

It's a See the Possible conversation to be continued.


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