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Government and Politics

Gund Foundation puts up $5 million for overhaul of Public Square
The campaign to raise $30 million is nearly half way there

The plan to overhaul Public Square includes closing two blocks to vehicular traffic.
Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations
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In The Region:

An effort to renovate Cleveland’s Public Square has gotten a hefty boost -- again. The George Gund Foundation has approved $5 million towards the effort, bringing the total raised so far to $13 million. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull reports:

LISTEN: More money for Public Square

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Earlier this month, the Cleveland Foundation dropped $8 million into the bucket for the Square’s makeover. 

Combined with the amount approved by the Gund Foundation Wednesday night, the campaign is almost to the halfway point for the $30 million project.

David Abbott is the foundation’s executive director. 

He says right now, Public Square is a “big underperformer” with too much space for vehicular traffic.  He says the new design will improve on that, in part by closing off two blocks of Ontario Street.

“We are a place that has dedicated far too much space and effort and money to moving cars as quickly as possible through the community. And that’s really hurt us as a community. It makes us less attractive, especially to younger people who are less interested in having a car, to people who ride bikes, to people who walk.”

Tony Coyne, chairman of the Group Plan Commission, applauds the development because it will help improve a public space and enhance the area between the downtown and lakefront with expanded greenery, a caféand fountain area.

“It really helps with other development; it’s a quality of life thing that’s very important for people. We’ve seen a lot with our convention facility infrastructure, and this adds to that.”

The Public Square renovation is expected to wrap up in time for the 2016 Republican National Convention. 

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