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Public Square Makeover Lands Several Million More Dollars

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 11:29 PM

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An architectural rendering of the new Public Square site, to be completed in 2016 (James Corner Field Operations)

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

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’s board of directors Wednesday night, that puts the campaign almost to the halfway point for the $30 million project.

David Abbott, the Foundation’s Executive Director, says right now, Public Square is a “big underperformer” with too much space for traffic.  He says the new design will improve on that, in part by closing off two blocks’ worth 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,” says Abbott. “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’ll help improve a public space that will enhance the area between the downtown and lakefront…with expanded greenery, a café, and fountain area.

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

And speaking of conventions, the Public Square renovation is expected to wrap up in time for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

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