GATEWAY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP. was organized in the spring of 1990 to oversee the financing and building of a sports complex at E. 4th St. and Bolivar Rd. in downtown Cleveland. Endorsement of the project by city leaders in 1989 and a spirited campaign in May 1990 led to voter approval of a 15-year "sin tax" on sales of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages to help finance the project. The non-profit Gateway corporation, headed by a 9-member Board of Trustees, was immediately established to carry out the project with Cleveland lawyer Thomas V. Chema as executive director. Initially the sports complex proposal called for a $128 million open-air baseball stadium and a $75 million indoor area, with half the financing to come from the proceeds of the sin tax and half from the operating revenues generated by the stadium. Throughout the 4-year construction period, however, there were cost overruns and arrangements had to be made periodically for additional funds, for which Cuyahoga County guaranteed repayment. In 1991 the success of the project was assured when Richard and DAVID JACOBS, owners of the CLEVELAND INDIANS, agreed to a 20-year lease to play in the 42,000-seat ballpark, and the Gund Brothers, owners of the CLEVELAND CAVALIERS signed a 30-year lease for use of the 20,000-seat sports arena. The stadium, named JACOBS FIELD, was finished in time for the 1994 baseball season; the Cleveland Cavaliers played in GUND ARENA for the first time 21 Oct. 1994. The Lake Erie Monsters hockey team also play their home games at the arena, and a variety of traveling shows perform there as well.
Gateway Economic Development Corp. Records, WRHS.