For two years, Clevelanders from all walks of life worked together to prepare our city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. In one short week, their collective efforts paid off in ways that will benefit our region for years and years to come.
As a Fortune correspondent wrote, “…there does seem to be one thing that all of the delegates (and even media members) seem to agree on: Cleveland has been a fantastic host city. Cleveland’s walkability, cleanliness, friendliness, and even its weather have drawn nothing but rave reviews.”
Despite the critics who challenged our city’s selection and the countless questions about our readiness, we were ready. And we performed.
Thank you to the citizens of Cleveland. Your hospitality and energy charmed every one of our guests and set the stage for them to return. You also managed the necessary inconveniences that come with hosting a convention with class. There are many others I want to thank – including the nonpartisan Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, the Republican National Committee’s Committee on Arrangements, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, GCRTA, Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland and all city staff, and many other organizations tasked with ironing out countless details… to the hotel, restaurant and transportation workers and volunteer ambassadors who were on the front lines of welcoming our 50,000 guests and showcasing our great city.
I also want to thank every RNC delegate and visitor, the scores of media that covered the event and even the protesters and demonstrators who came to the city to express their views in a peaceful and respectful manner.
I want to specifically thank the men and women of the Cleveland Division of Police, who performed in an excellent manner under the calm and effective leadership of Chief Calvin Williams and his entire Command Staff.
Supported by and working in close cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from across the country, our safety forces consistently demonstrated professionalism and restraint in protecting the First and Second Amendment rights of protestors and demonstrators, just as importantly, protecting the safety of all citizens and de-escalating several tense situations. This was an example of the engaged community policing that is becoming a part of the DNA of our police division.
Many visitors talked about how surprised they were by what they saw and experienced in Cleveland, but Clevelanders know that this is who we are and what we do. Just as we worked hard for two years to prepare for the RNC, all of us are working hard every day to create a greater Cleveland together.
We are a community with diverse, friendly people who are proud of their city and have a new, winning attitude… a region blessed with a diverse economy with particular strengths in health care, education, research, financial services and manufacturing… a place where businesses want to locate and people want to live… one with a thriving food and entertainment scene… and a city that is working together to provide quality education for its children and provide economic growth and wealth creation for its citizens.
That is the city we worked so hard to show off to the world this week. And our guests felt the real Cleveland and took notice, constantly remarking about their positive impressions of the city and the kindness and class of our citizens.
Our 50,000 guests have now gone home to every corner of the country and to locations throughout the world, taking with them new perspectives of our city that they will share with others.
Many, I am sure, will be back. Maybe to experience more of our outstanding restaurants and entertainment venues… or to receive care from our world-renowned health care resources… perhaps even to live and work or to locate their business and create jobs for our citizens. Whatever their reasons, we are prepared to welcome them with just as much Cleveland charm as we did this week.
The Republican National Convention took place at a crucial time in the growth of our city. We are experiencing significant momentum in economic growth, brick-and-mortar construction, major projects, downtown housing,neighborhood development and real steps forward on social and cultural issues. We are excited that the world had an opportunity to see and feel the results of that momentum.
But as I travel throughout our city and talk to our people, I am reminded that we still have a ways to go to become a great city. A truly great city will be measured by the condition and well-being of its people, in particular, the least of us. Not in terms of welfare or charity, but where all are able to participate in the prosperity and quality of life that we create as a community. In our striving for greatness, this is the challenge that we embrace and the struggle and fight that we accept.
That’s what we are committed to achieving and The RNC was a step in the right direction, opening even more opportunity to the city. We are excited about the new friends and partners who will return in one way or another as a result of how they saw our city perform.
Our city….all of us can all be tremendously proud of what we accomplished this week – together. We demonstrated to the world that we are a first-class city on a road to greatness.
We are Cleveland – and we are open for business.
—Mayor Frank G. Jackson