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A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
Landscape architect James Corner's design would close two blocks of Ontario to traffic and open the space to more grass and green

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Landscape architect James Corner's projects include urban parks in New York, Brazil, Toronto and London.
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Cleveland’s Group Plan Commission has unveiled a $30 million proposal to change the look, feel and flow of downtown’s Public Square. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the first public reaction to the plan to make Public Square Cleveland’s downtown centerpiece again.

LISTEN: A $30 million overhaul of Public Square

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Instead of the intersection of Ontario and Superior that cuts the 10-acres Public Square into four, the plan shows walkways and cobblestones weaving through wide swaths of green. 

Ontario would be closed to north-south traffic, and Superior would be narrowed for bus traffic only. New lighting and paving would set off the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, 300 trees would line the space and the plan includes space for a splash one, skate park and even outdoor movies and concerts.

 Olyvia Brown and Brittany May work downtown and, even on their lunch hours, don’t generally spend time in the square. 

“I think it would be a nice idea to have more green, more places to sit and come out on your breaks and enjoy, better than the concrete and buses running around.

“I definitely think the green space would be better than what it is now, maybe clean it up a little bit, make it feel a little safer walking to and from work -- especially if you stay late or come in early." 

The renderings are already up on the web site of landscape architect James Corner.

What’s not clarified yet, though, is exactly where the money will come from. The group is looking at tax increment financing, and the city and Cuyahoga County have committed $25 million towards downtown public space projects including Public Square, the Mall and a pedestrian bridge to Lake Erie.

For more on James Corner:,28804,2091589_2092033_2102278,00.html 

Related WKSU Stories

The new deal with Public Square
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Downtown Cleveland's $350 million plan includes hotel and green space
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Listener Comments:

While this plan would admittedly make PS more attractive and pedestrian friendly, where is all the traffic going to go? I have both driven and ridden RTA busses through this very intersection, and can't imagine where all the traffic is supposed to be re-routed.

Posted by: Mark Smith (Canton, Ohio) on September 2, 2014 4:09AM
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Square, create a unified, central park. Make it right! Save Public Square / Only you can make it right. Join the movement.

Posted by: Donald Shingler (Cleveland) on August 24, 2014 2:08AM
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