CLEVELAND (WJW) — The 2021 NFL Draft is in the history books for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
“Downtown Cleveland felt more normal over the last three days than it has in a long time,” said Interim President and CEO Micheal Deemer.
For the businesses, it was their chance to shine, an opportunity that continued into Sunday with an 80-degree day.
“It’s just great. We’ve got the water, got the food, got the drinks,” said Executive Chef Gregory Sears of Lindey’s Lakehouse in the Flats.
Deemer hopes the draft’s energy will endure.
“There’s a real opportunity for us as a city and as a downtown to use this as a catapult into the Spring and Summer, to really come out of the pandemic very strongly,” he said.
He says that while this draft was certainly different — it came at a perfect time for the city.
“We showed the world once again that Cleveland can pull off a world-class event on this scale even under very challenging circumstances,” added Deemer.
The economic impact numbers are still rolling in but from the looks of things it was a needed boost to the city’s businesses.
“I think anybody who spent any time in downtown over the last few days saw thousands of people,” said Deemer.
While the are near the draft stage was certainly busy, the entirety of downtown was able to benefit from the crowds.
“The more people in downtown, the better for every business here, especially the restaurants and places like that you know we’re all sharing the same guests,” said Sears.
He says the crowds they were expecting definitely came out to the flats despite the weather dampening access to the patio.
“I think everybody had a positive weekend and hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come,” added Sears.
The weather progressively improved as the draft went on but it was Sunday that delivered optimal temperatures. Chef Sears says that also gives them a needed boost.
“People are, in my opinion, is that people are tired of being indoors,” he added.
He says they hope they delivered to northeast Ohioans who came to the city and discovered them for the first time, and the same goes for the visitors he was able to speak to.
“I always ask people, ‘are you from Cleveland?’ ‘No, I live in Florida but if I come back, I know where I’m coming,’ so definitely a lasting impact.”