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Collaboration Takes Center Stage

By Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business

The punchline, “very carefully,” to the joke question, “How do porcupines mate?” could also apply to the more serious question, “How will the Cleveland and Akron areas collaborate to build the regional economy of the 21st century?”

More than a century of independent industrial growth and a recent rivalry or two — some in Akron still don’t forgive Cleveland for wooing the Cavaliers from Richfield in Summit County to downtown Cleveland — have kept the two largest cities in Northeast Ohio from working more closely on bringing new jobs and economic growth to the region.

But that appears to be changing.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson are scheduled to meet in May. No agenda is set but it will mark the first time in recent memory that the mayors of the two largest cities in Northeast Ohio have sat down together one-on-one.

The first step in this détente came in March, two months after Horrigan took office, elected to a full term to replace long-time mayor Don Plusquellic, when staff members from the planning departments of both cities met at Cleveland City Hall to discuss common zoning issues.

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