committed to building in Avon — CEO
By Kevin Kelley
Published Oct. 3, 2007
Cleveland Clinic is committed to building a 170,000-square-foot
facility in Avon regardless of whether a proposed interchange is
built at I-90 and Nagel Road, according to Dr. Toby Cosgrove, chief
executive officer of the local health care institution.
“One way or another we’re going to build there,” Cosgrove
Cosgrove made the comments at a Sept. 25 meeting of
Fairview Hospital’s Community Advisory Board.
Cosgrove also confirmed that the 40 acres of land
the Clinic plans to build on is being donated by The Richard E.
Jacobs Group, which owns much of the land around the site of the
proposed interchange location.
The Clinic began looking for a location to expand
once it became apparent that it would outgrow its Clemens Road facility,
In addition, that building has problems with its foundation
that are causing it to sink, Cosgrove told the advisory board. The
building’s basement has flooded a handful of times within the past
year, he told West Life. Any future owner of the Clemens Road property
will likely have to demolish the building, he added.
Cosgrove said trying to find a new location has been
a very frustrating experience, he said.
The Clinic attempted to find another location in Westlake,
Cosgrove said. Preliminary plans of a medical facility at Crocker
Park were even developed.
However, the Clinic could not find a location with
enough space at the right price in the city, Cosgrove said.
“We just couldn’t find a site (in Westlake),” Cosgrove
Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough told West Life that Cleveland
Clinic officials have assured him that the institution’s Columbia
Road facility will remain open.
Clough has said he is not opposed to the Avon interchange
per se. But he wants a commitment that funding will be available
to maintain ancillary roads that may see an increase in traffic
once the interchange is built.
The proposed I-90 interchange has created battle lines
between suburbs and even counties. Several western suburbs of Cuyahoga
County has expressed concerns about increased traffic the interchange
may create. And officials from the cities of Cleveland and Westlake
are concerned that an accelerated outmigration to Lorain County
will cause them economic hardship.
Cosgrove said studies have indicated the interchange
will have a negligible effect on suburban sprawl.
“I’m amazed that it’s risen to the level of angst
that it has,” he said of the interchange controversy.
The governing board of NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide
Coordinating Agency), which has debated the interchange issue at
recent meetings, will take the issue up again at its Oct. 12 meeting.
The proposed interchange will be constructed with
local, not federal, funds. However, the project is located on the
federal highway system and is therefore subject to the metropolitan
transportation planning process. As the designated metropolitan
planning organization, NOACA’s governing board must decide if this
project should be added to the region’s transportation plan.
Fred DeGrandis, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic
Regional Hospitals, said a larger Avon family health center will
better utilize Fairview and Lakewood hospitals.
“Not only is it good for the community, it’s good
for our individual hospitals on the West Side,” DeGrandis said.
“It’s not about moving out of Cuyahoga County.”
While Cosgrove said the Clinic is committed to the
Avon site regardless of what happens with the interchange, the health
care giant has been lobbying NOACA for its construction.
“The Clinic is looking to more adequately serve the
citizens of Northeast Ohio,” Cosgrove said at NOACA’s Aug. 22 meeting.
“A new facility in Avon will meet our expanding needs, and we anticipate
that the new interchange will provide improved access to the new