The Vision

Friends enjoying lunch at the outdoor café. A family ice skating during the winter holidays. A couple enjoying a glass of wine before a well-attended evening concert. Colleagues strolling along the pathways and admiring the latest art installations during lunch. Kids splashing in a cool fountain. These are just a few of the examples of the vision for Public Square.

Our goal is to create a vibrant public space for all of Cleveland in the heart of the city. We want to develop a destination that attracts citizens and visitors to Downtown and encourages them to stay. We want to connect pockets of existing development including Tower City, East 4th Street, the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation. And we want to catalyze future economic growth.

“We want it to be about people,” Corner said Tuesday, speaking by phone from his office in New York. “We want to make sure it's active, that there's a pride of place and a sense of excitement to be in the city.” – Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, April 11, 2013


Public Square Previously

Public Square Revitalized

Photo: James Corner Field Operations

The Design

Image: James Corner Field Operations

We have partnered with James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) to develop an active and engaging Public Square. JCFO is a world-renowned landscape architect firm that has created dynamic and inviting public spaces in Chicago, New York, Toronto, Brazil, Norway and more.

In developing the design for Public Square, JCFO has honored the historical vision of the Group Plan of 1903 and also created a modern-day public space that focuses on people. Public Square will be transformed from four individual quadrants into a singular public park that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events. Landscape and design will create a soft colorful space that invites people in and encourages them to stay. The Square will include pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument will remain, but will be integrated into the overall park and become more accessible. 

The Commission has and continues to work closely with RTA and Nelson/Nygaard, a leading traffic consultant, to ensure that cars and buses will continue to flow smoothly through Downtown. Based on an extensive traffic-transit study and numerous discussions with RTA, the existing design for Public Square will close Ontario Street and narrow Superior Avenue, perhaps ultimately serving only public transit and enabling closures for special weekend events. Further traffic studies are needed to finalize the flow of traffic in and around Public Square.

The Commission is currently targeting a summer 2016 completion date. For more information about changes to traffic and transit on Public Square, please visit Downtown Cleveland Alliance.


The Construction

Construction of Public Square began on March 9, 2015. Below is an image from October 16, 2015. For more information about changes to traffic and transit on Public Square, please visit Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

The Process

  • 2009 – Initial engagement of James Corner Field Operations
  • 2011-2012 – Nelson/Nygaard conducts Phase 1 of traffic and transit study and presents findings
  • 2012-2013 – JCFO unveils schematic designs collects key stakeholder feedback and refines design
  • April 2013 – Initial schematic design phase concludes
  • March 2014 – JCFO presents revised 50% designs and collects feedback
  • Spring-Fall 2014 – JCFO continues design development, Nelson/Nygaard conducts Phase 2 of traffic and transit study
  • March 2015 – Construction begins on Public Square

See the innovative design that will transform Public Square, presented by renowned landscape architect James Corner June 23 at the City Club of Cleveland:

The Mall

Link to the Lake