Group Plan Commision appoints Sanaa Julien to lead
new programming and operations department

Loaned Cleveland Metroparks executive will work with partners to “activate” Public Square

CLEVELAND – March 16, 2016 – The Group Plan Commission (GPC) announced today the appointment of Sanaa Julien to CEO of Programming and Operations, a newly created and collaborative programming and operations department. As a loaned executive from the Cleveland Metroparks, Julien will work with GPC, LAND Studio, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and the City of Cleveland to ensure that the newly transformed Public Square becomes a destination for Northeast Ohio residents and visitors, and that it creates opportunities to continue exploring Downtown Cleveland.

“Creating an inviting and welcoming space was the first step in this transformation project. Once Public Square re-opens, we need to integrate it into the fabric of our community,” said Anthony Coyne, GPC Chairman. “Each partner in this collaborative brings valuable expertise and knowledge in creating places here in Cleveland. Together, we will ensure Public Square really does become Cleveland’s front door by helping Cleveland maintain the new space and providing robust activities, events and programs for every member of our community throughout the year.

With the re-construction of Public Square slated to conclude in June, the City and the GPC are focused on how it will be used. “The transformation of Public Square will make it more pedestrian friendly, a space that will allow for events and informal gatherings of friends and family further connecting residents, tourists and commuters in downtown Cleveland to other destinations in the City,” said Edward W. Rybka, Chief of Regional Development for the City of Cleveland.

The GPC has engaged in discussions with community leaders and partners about how to best maintain and activate the space. Cleveland Metroparks responded by agreeing to provide its chief marketing officer as a loaned executive to lead the effort. Her appointment was effective March 1 and she will report directly to the GPC for up to one year.

“Sanaa Julien’s 30-plus-years of expertise in programming, marketing, corporate branding and identity, and project management, combined with her long-standing knowledge of, and love for, Cleveland make her the perfect choice to spearhead the Public Square project,” said Cleveland Metroparks Chief Executive Officer Brian M. Zimmerman. “As we approach the Cleveland Metroparks’ 100th anniversary in July 2017, we’re proud to help reshape Public Square – and the City of Cleveland – for the next 100 years.”

This newest partnership is in keeping with the GPC’s strategy of having civic partners with proven capacity lend that capacity to help deliver the GPC’s agenda for transforming public spaces at the highest level. Using this model, LAND Studio has led the planning, design, and construction management of Public Square, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has led the GPC’s efforts to reach Downtown stakeholders, working with the GPC to integrate its construction and plans for activation of Public Square into broader plans for building a dynamic Downtown.

Joe Marinucci, President and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance states that, “Public Square is the epicenter of Downtown Cleveland. We’re excited to see the community embrace the square with new energy as we continue to enhance the quality of life and build a more dynamic downtown.”

More information about the Group Plan Commission can be found at www.groupplan.org.

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