Ceremonial Topping Off for Med Mart

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Another sign that the city of Cleveland is on the road to economic recovery was the traditional topping off event Friday, complete with the ceremonial signing of the final steel beam and the signature fir-tree and American flag, symbolizing good luck and continuing growth.

"It's a beautiful sight to see that last beam go in," said Local Union 120 pipe-fitter Benjamin Wells, who has worked on many construction projects in Cleveland, including the Horseshoe Casino.

Construction at the 1,000,000 square-foot site located on the corner on Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue began in January 2011. The Medical Mart, large enough to fit 17 football fields, will showcase the latest in medical technology catering not only to local professionals, but the healthcare community worldwide.

But despite all the space, currently there aren't any parking plans in place.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says, "We are having discussions about how that's gonna happen, and there have been discussions with companies that are talking about putting up parking facilities that will be done in time."

The L-shaped convention center will be located beneath the Medical Mart, and is expected to also be a venue for concerts and festivals. The landscape will also feature fountains, tree-lined promenades and gardens to lure pedestrians.

The $465 million center, funded by county taxpayers, is expected to be complete by the summer of 2013. Officials say they've already booked close to two-dozen conventions and events for the first two opening years.

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