Now that’s “Special”!

Arthur Hargate
2 min readJun 2, 2023
Photo by J.E. Hargate

TO: Cleveland City Council

I am writing to express concern about the Special Improvement District (SID) requested by University Circle, Inc. (UCI). I live in Little Italy. While Little Italy is presently not included in the proposed SID, residents of Little Italy are well familiar with and sensitive to the manner in which UCI member institutions interact with their host communities.

It appears as if a relatively small number of large property owners are imposing their will on a large number of smaller ones. It’s not at all clear that the community will benefit much from the SID, but it is crystal clear that certain UCI member institutions will.

One wonders how UCI will expand the SID in the future, both in terms of imposition of costs for other services and projects, and in terms of the areal extent of the SID.

It worries me that there is little determined questioning of potential underlying motives and future implications of an SID that may not be transparent to the community now. Many people that live in host neighborhoods to UCI’s members institutions, based on their history, are correctly skeptical that all is what it is being sold as with the proposed SID. It feels very much like the camel is just getting its nose under the tent.

I suggest City Council defer a vote until UCI’s new leadership is in place, has an opportunity to assess the SID and can be thoroughly and vigorously questioned by UCI’s host communities that are entitled to a complete understanding of the future implications of the SID. Appropriate restraints and oversight must be in place with any SID to assure that the University Circle institutions’ host neighborhoods are properly informed, listened to and respected.

Thank you,

Arthur Hargate

Edgehill Rd., Little Italy, Ward 6



Arthur Hargate

Arthur Hargate is retired after a 40-year management career in the environmental services business. He now writes, plays guitar and is a social activist.