City Council approves new arts center near Seymour Avenue

(Cuyahoga County) - City Council has cleared the way for the creation of a new community-oriented arts center, just around the corner from where the Cleveland Rescue took place six years ago.

Rick Foran is redeveloping the old Astrup Awning Company building at West 25th and Seymour, where Ariel Castro held three women captive.

Foran tells Newsradio WTAM 1100 it will cost $13.7 million to renovate the structure, create 65 jobs, and house several non-profits involved in the arts, and social services. Doors are expected to open in September.

City lawmakers approved legislation to set up Tax Increment Financing for a Foran to redevelop the vacant century old building, diverting the increase in future property taxes resulting from the project’s improvements for up to 30 years. Mayor Frank Jackson is expected to sign the measure.

The property, which is in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, consists of four interconnected buildings, three stories high. The renovated space will house a number of organizations including a wing of the Cleveland Art Museum, the Boys & Girls Club, a dance studio, and the Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults, a nonprofit created by Gina DeJesus and her cousin Sylvia Colon.

Foran says he wants to bring a positive vibe to the neighborhood, and doesn't want it to be defined by the crimes Ariel Castro committed.

The Castro kidnappings took place between 2002 and 2004 when he kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus and held them captive in his home on Seymour Avenue.

They were imprisoned until May 6, 2013, when Berry escaped with her six-year-old daughter, to whom she had given birth while imprisoned, and contacted the police. Police rescued Knight and DeJesus and arrested Castro within hours.

Castro committed suicide while in prison.

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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