Obstacles abound as 2 poor US cities consider merging

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two of the country’s poorest cities are talking about a merger they say could help both, though they may need a sizable boost in taxpayer dollars to make it happen.

Cleveland officials cite the development possibilities that exist in next-door East Cleveland, a place so impoverished that some residents fill their own potholes.

Cleveland has its eye on an area bordering Cleveland’s thriving University Circle neighborhood, home to many of the city’s top cultural institutions.

East Cleveland’s longstanding financial struggles have only gotten worse in recent years, prompting its city council to reluctantly agree to pursue annexation.

Both cities say the state of Ohio needs to provide millions to begin fixing East Cleveland’s infrastructure and finances, a request that’s been rebuffed by the state Legislature and Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk).

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