Cleveland’s Public Square Renovated and Reopened to the Public

Cleveland’s Public Square is once again open to the public. It has been closed since the reconstruction began in March 2015. The new design by internationally renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, has transformed The Square from four separate quadrants into a unified public space in the heart of Downtown Cleveland.

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The Square is a welcoming space that invites people in, encourages them to stay and will be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events.

The Square includes pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a café, a new public restroom and a water feature, which was ceremonially activated during today’s rededication.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument remains as an integral feature of the park and will become more accessible to the public.

“The new Public Square moves us closer to a pedestrian, cycling, and public transportation friendly downtown,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “It would not have happened without the support of the public, private, and philanthropic communities, or the vision of Tony Coyne and the Group Plan Commission.”

On April 30, 2010, Mayor Jackson met with Cleveland City Planning Commission Chairman, Anthony “Tony” Coyne, who proposed a renewed Group Plan Commission based on the original 1903 Group Plan for Cleveland’s malls and adjoining buildings. Mayor Jackson agreed and appointed the Group Plan Commission members in June of  2010. He charged the Commission with improving public spaces and connecting nearby projects such as Flats East Bank, the new casino, the new convention center, and the Global Center for Health Innovation. By May of  2011, The Commission presented a bold vision for Public Square, the Malls, and the lakefront.

Since tasked, the non-profit Group Plan Commission has been working in partnership with the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, along with other stakeholders, to finance and deliver this project.

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After viewing public spaces during trade missions to European cities—Paris and Rouen, France, Vicenza, Italy, and Lubijana, Slovenia—Mayor Jackson urged Commission Chair Coyne to think boldly about a unified Public Square achieved by closure of Ontario Street and a less intensive Superior Avenue crossing.

By April, 2013, the Commission and its landscape architect James Corner had proposed the design for Public Square that you see today.

While the on-time completion of the $50-million reconstruction of Public Square is a milestone for the GPC, and its civic partners, LAND Studio, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the GPC is looking forward to how The Square will be used by Clevelanders and visitors.

“As excited as we are to have people come and experience the world-class design and craftsmanship that went into the transformation of Public Square, we are equally focused on how The Square will be maintained and programmed for years to come,” said Anthony Coyne, GPC Chairman. “GPC’s focus on ensuring that The Square will be used by the whole community was an important driver of Public Square’s transformation.”

The Group Plan Commission has formed a partnership with the City of Cleveland to help take care of and activate The Square with a variety of year-round programming, and has brought on Sanaa Julien as a loaned executive from the Cleveland Metroparks to serve as CEO for Programming and Operations.

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